So, will artificial intelligence change journalists? Of course it will, but it is not going to alter our lives or our jobs any more than the elimination of bees changed our lives. We are going to continue to report the news; I hope that is a comfort to you.
In this sense, journalists can use AI to generate content for their websites and articles that would be more likely to be clicked by website visitors. For example, they might collect a broad range of media reports and articles about the same subject and then begin linking from those reports and articles to a short news story. Then, they might again perform the same algorithm, compiling a list of recent articles about a given subject and pulling out the most recent and highest click-through rate. Then they might list the most-read headlines, allowing readers to vote on them.
IOM has also developed software that can be employed to help publishers and broadcasters (including newspaper and TV stations) produce specialised magazines and newspapers, as well as other print publications. That software enables publishers to automatically decide the most appropriate titles for their publications. There are some serious advantages to using such software:
Some titles are obvious choices and can be researched quickly and easily. A good example of this is the ‘mini-edition’ of a newspaper – the small print about a particular subject (usually about three or four lines) will normally be the most read news.
Other titles might be harder to find, especially if they are not produced by The IOM and are published in third party online sources. So, what if the reader, after finding out what a particular topic is all about, is unable to find any useful information online to help him or her make a decision?
One solution is to allow publishers to also display IOM articles in the same form as a tabloid or other such publication. This would mean that readers who wanted to get to the point, and perhaps had a slow connection, would still be able to read the article, and thus be able to see the title and keywords.
If one user looked at both IOM publications (for example, with IOM’s site viewable online and through the publisher site), the user could then click the IOM link in the publisher site to read the full report. But another way of looking at this is that the two publications are being read together, so readers who clicked on the IOM would also be clicking on the publisher site, and vice versa.
This also means that IOM sites could become more valuable to publishers. Most publishers would like to have the largest number of readers, so each user can click through to read what he or she wants. In order to achieve this, publishers could try to combine multiple publishers to have a larger number of links to their content.
Readers might consider IOM sites to be lazy, but many were able to find the information they needed without any help from IOM. IOM sites could play a similar role. Authors and editors of IOM sites would benefit, as their content could be syndicated through IOM websites.
IOM seems to have stirred up more interest in artificial intelligence and has already spawned a few companies which provide the necessary technologies. These companies include Cognito, Cadence, Flink, Lucene and Pivot. It is also worth noting that several well-known philosophers, including Nick Bostrom and Nick Szabo, are also researchers in artificial intelligence.
Artificial intelligent software will shape journalism and the media, but there is still room for improvements to ensure that consumers can gain the maximum benefit. That is what makes this emerging technology such an exciting prospect. IOM can’t stop us being journalists; we will still report the news and those with cyborg brains will be required to explain it.