Is Artificial Intelligence a Threat to Journalists and Writers?
Mar 10, 2021
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Is Artificial Intelligence a Threat to Journalists and Writers?

Remember the movie, WALL-E where every little thing was controlled by the machines -- From household work to running the massive spaceship! Well, guess what? With Artificial Intelligence's (AI) development, we are relatively close to that!

But do we have to fear AI?

?Robo Journamlism? is a buzzword in the News Industry! Ever read an article written by a BOT? You may have without even realizing it. That's because they are designed to imitate the writing style, language, and structure like a human. For now, the Robo Journalists write short articles. But are expected to assist with further journalistic tasks in the near future.

Yes, 'assist'!

You need not fear that the AI will take away your jobs.

Why Do People Fear AI?

Not only the news industry but almost all industries are using bots. The Robots assist in carrying out the laborious tasks! But the primary concern with this is the fear that it will lead to unemployment. The fear is genuine as we have watched many movies where robots are taking over the world!

However, in reality, these machines are helping the industries work faster. Although it is replacing a few employees, these machines also require someone to operate them! Companies are hiring people who have the expertise to run massive machines. Technological knowledge has thus become essential in today?s time.

People are afraid that if AI develops further in the future, it will replace more professions. This is possible only if Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) is developed. With AGI, the machines will think and work just like humans. However, as of today, it is possible only in Science Fiction!

But if you are a CEO, Social worker, Doctor, Teacher, or Psychiatrist, you need not fear the AI. The professions which require humane qualities are entirely safe from the bots.

Similarly, in the field of Journalism, the bots will only assist in producing rote articles. They won?t take over other journalistic works which require high-level understanding and interpretation. For example, Investigative and Interpretative Journalism will always require humans!

How Is AI Helping Journalists and Writers?

A good journalist needs to have an excellent analytic mind, understanding of the affairs, curiosity, and creativity! The AI is not capable of handling these qualities as of now.

The Robo journalists are currently writing in the field of sports, weather, elections, and business. The news from these sectors is data-driven which is easy for AI to understand. Many large news outlets use automation in these beats to carry out the tasks. They leave the difficult work for the human journalists.

If you are a journalist or a writer, you must have already come in contact with AI! Things like Google Translate or any other translation tool are part of Artificial Intelligence.

Do you use Grammarly or Hemingway to sharpen your write-up?

Then you are already taking the help of the AI.

Do you use the Trint to transcribe your interviews?

Well, that also works on the machine learning algorithms.

AI is helping journalists and writers by making their work easier. Moreover, it is also economical.

According to the Journalism AI report, AI frees the journalists to work on journalistic tasks that require in-depth analysis. This is essential when most news organizations are fighting against their economic condition.

Machine Learning Gadgets in Newsroom

Large news outlets and agencies such as Reuters are experimenting with many new AI technologies. In 2018, Reuters came up with Lynx Insight and News Tracer. These are artificial intelligence tools that support Reuters in newsgathering.

The Lynx Insight identifies the on-going trends and key facts in a huge database. On the other hand, the News Tracer uses Twitter to find out any breaking news. Usually, news outlets hire a journalist for this task. However, with News Tracer, this work is done by the machine accurately.

In the present times, social media has turned into the hot zone for breaking news. Therefore, having a bot look over helps a lot! It can detect the news easily and inform the newsroom about it.

Bloomberg News has the ?Cyborg? to help them with business reports. It can study large databases and find out key facts within a few seconds. This is then used to generate reports. Cyborg is one such automated technology that saves time for the company.

In 2014, the Associated Press got their hands on a software that can generate news stories. They tried it out with the sports news first. When everything went well, they started using this for business news too.

The Washington Post has an AI known as the ?Heliograf?. According to the wired.com article, the ?Heliograf? detects the important data from a massive database and then adjusts it into templates and phrases. It uses various templates and replaces the blanks to make different copies that are shared on various platforms. The software can also alert the user if it finds any issues in the machine.

So, we can expect that soon more media organizations will employ AI to produce news stories on a large scale.

The primary task of AI in the news and writing industry is to assist journalists and writers. They are programmed to do repetitive work. But in recent experiments, it has been found that AI can help in a wide range of tasks such as newsgathering.

The creative aspects of the Journalistic work are for humans only. Although the AI algorithms can assist in this job. So, journalists and writers must learn how to use Artificial Intelligence to make their work easier. Google News Initiative is one such program that educates journalists and writers about machine learning in Journalism.

You may visit the Google News Initiative training section to do the free online courses. You will not only learn about machine learning in Journalism but also about other Journalistic google tools. After completion, you will also receive an e-certificate free of cost.

So, Artificial Intelligence and Journalists can work together to generate high-quality information for the public. This will not only help in strengthening the economic condition of the media organizations but also help in building public trust.

According to Francesco Marconi, the head of research and development at The Journal, "Maybe a few years ago A.I. was this new shiny technology used by high tech companies, but now it's actually becoming a necessity,". So, it is probable that many more tools of journalism will require AI in the future.