Artificial Intelligence could be a powerful tool in journalism

Artificial Intelligence could be a powerful tool in journalism

The evolution of Artificial Intelligence (AI) poses numerous drawbacks as well as advantages for the media industry and journalism. Applied judiciously, it presents a plethora of potentials along with emerging new trends, as explained by Applied AI Professor Divyansh Juneja from Chitkara University in Punjab, India, in a brief conversation with Business Bhutan.

BB: In what ways can AI be applied to improve the effectiveness of journalistic tasks like fact-checking and information gathering?

Prof: AI’s application presents a nuanced blend of opportunities and challenges in journalism. Fact-checking tools like Full Fact and Chequeado leverage AI to cross-reference and verify information against a broad spectrum of sources, enhancing accuracy in news reporting. Predictive analytics in AI offer potential insights into emerging news trends, but this also raises questions about data privacy and ethical use. AI                significantly contributes to the efficiency and scope of journalism. It operates best when complemented by the disconcerting judgment of human professionals.

BB: What ethical considerations should journalists take into account when implementing AI in newsrooms?

Prof: In the integration of AI into journalism, ethical vigilance is paramount. Journalists must be acutely aware of potential biases in AI, ensuring these systems don’t inadvertently skew reporting based on race, gender, or political leanings. Transparency is key; the public should understand how AI influences news production. Privacy concerns are also critical, as AI’s ability to parse through extensive data must be balanced against individuals’ privacy rights. There’s a risk of over-reliance on technology, which could overshadow essential journalistic skills.

BB: How can journalists collaborate effectively with AI systems to ensure accurate and unbiased reporting?

Prof: Integrating AI effectively requires a thoughtful blend of human expertise and technological aid. Journalists should see AI as a helpful tool, not a replacement. It’s crucial they stay educated about AI, understanding its strengths and limitations, ensuring the data are diverse and unbiased. Ethical use of AI is key, with a clear focus on maintaining privacy and journalistic ethics. Additionally, journalists play a vital role in fighting misinformation, using AI to fact-check but also relying on their judgment to understand the bigger picture. Educating the public about AI’s role in news creation is also important, fostering a better understanding of how modern journalism works. This balanced approach allows journalists to leverage AI’s capabilities while upholding the integrity and depth of their reporting.

BB: Are there specific AI technologies that have proven particularly beneficial in supporting journalistic endeavors?

Prof: AI tools are really helpful. Large Language Models (like GPT-3) are great for writing drafts and summarizing articles. They’re like smart assistants that can write, but journalists need to check their work for accuracy. Retrieval-Augmented Generation (RAG) is another cool tool. It’s like a super-smart search engine that helps journalists check facts quickly by pulling in information from lots of sources. There are also AI programs that help with pictures and videos, like spotting fake images or videos (deep fakes). These tools can make a journalist’s job easier and faster, but it’s important to use them carefully to make sure the news stays true and fair.

BB: In your opinion, what are the main areas where AI can bring the most significant advancements to journalism in the future?

Prof: AI is bound to impact all verticals of journalism in the future. It’s set to revolutionize how news is personalized for readers, ensuring they get content that aligns with their interests. In investigative journalism, AI’s ability to sift through massive datasets will uncover stories that might otherwise remain hidden. Real-time reporting, especially during significant events like elections, will be enhanced by AI’s quick data analysis. The creation of engaging multimedia content will also see a boost from AI technologies. AI’s predictive capabilities could alert journalists to emerging trends and news stories. Additionally, it will streamline newsroom operations by automating routine tasks. Importantly, AI can help monitor the fairness and balance in news reporting.

BB: What challenges do news organizations face in integrating AI into their workflows, and how can these challenges be addressed?

Prof: Integrating AI into newsroom workflows presents challenges such as a lack of expertise, high costs, data privacy, and bias issues. These challenges can be addressed through training, partnerships, open-source tools, diverse training data, and bias audits. Cultural resistance can be overcome by emphasizing AI’s role in enhancing journalistic skills. Editorial control and quality assurance require a balance between technological and human oversight. Adaptation and agility are necessary due to rapid technological changes. Building AI literacy and redesigning workflows are crucial for effective integration.

BB:  Can AI play a role in combating misinformation and fake news, and if so, how?

Prof: AI plays a crucial role in combating misinformation and fake news, a task it accomplishes through various sophisticated methods. Automated fact-checking, a notable example being Facebook’s AI fact-checking tools, allows for rapid cross-referencing of claims against established facts and databases. AI’s ability in pattern recognition is the key to identifying the hallmarks of fake news, such as sensational headlines or content inconsistencies.

BB:  How do AI professionals envision the future relationship between journalists and AI evolving?

Prof: I foresee the future relationship between journalists and AI as a dynamic partnership, where AI is not just a tool, but a collaborator that amplifies journalistic capabilities. This partnership will revolutionize investigative journalism, making the once daunting task of parsing through complex datasets a breeze. Imagine real-time reporting being elevated by AI’s ability to process events as they unfold, offering journalists a sixth sense in their coverage. Personalized news delivery, powered by AI, will become more nuanced, though it’s crucial to avoid creating digital echo chambers. A key battleground will be misinformation, where AI will serve as a frontline soldier, swiftly identifying and flagging fake news.

BB:  Trust from audience- what is your stand on this?

Prof: As an applied AI professor, I emphasize that building trust with an audience in the digital age, particularly in journalism, hinges on several key principles. Accuracy and reliability are paramount; consistently delivering factual content and correcting errors transparently is essential. Engaging with the audience and valuing their feedback fosters a deeper connection. Upholding ethical standards, including respecting privacy and avoiding sensationalism, is non-negotiable for trust. Embracing diversity and inclusivity in content reflects and respects the varied audience demographics. Educating the audience about the intricacies of news gathering, especially in the context of misinformation, cultivates an informed community.

BB: Any other comments?

Prof: In envisioning the future of AI in journalism, a key focus must be on fostering AI literacy in newsrooms. This involves not just training journalists to use AI tools effectively, but also cultivating a deep understanding of how AI works, its potential impacts, and its limitations. This literacy extends to ethical considerations, where journalists must navigate the balance between leveraging AI’s capabilities and maintaining journalistic integrity. Collaborations between AI experts, journalists, and ethicists will be vital in developing AI applications that are both technologically advanced and ethically sound. Ultimately, the goal is to create a newsroom culture where AI is used as a powerful ally in the pursuit of truth, enhancing the depth and breadth of journalism while upholding its core values.

Nidup Lhamo from Thimphu