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The future of journalism and AI

A speech to the Journalistfonden in Stockholm, Sweden

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The future of journalism and AI

  1. 1. Prof Charlie Beckett, LSE @CharlieBeckett Journalistfonden Seminar, Stockholm, November 2019 New powers, new responsibilities On the future of journalism and artificial intelligence
  2. 2. Life’s a (media) riot media-riot-speech-to-almedalen-in-sweden/
  3. 3. Four topic strands ● Journalism credibility ● Platform responsibility ● Online political communications (‘Democracy’) ● Media citizenship (‘Media Literacy’)
  4. 4. Key proposal: Independent Platform Agency ■ Report on trends in news and information sharing ■ Report on the effectiveness of self-regulation of the largest news-carrying social and search platforms. ■ Mobilise and coordinate all relevant actors to ensure an inclusive and sustained programme in media literacy ■ Report annually to Parliament on the performance of platforms’ self-regulation and the longterm needs for possible regulatory action. ■ Work closely with Ofcom and the Competition and Markets Authority to monitor the level of market dominance and the impact of platforms on media plurality and quality
  5. 5. Other proposals: News media should continue their important work to develop quality and innovative revenue and distribution models. They should also continue to work with civil society and the platforms on signalling the credibility of content. Create a News Innovation Fund Government should mobilise an urgent, integrated, new programme in media literacy. This could also be funded by the digital platform levy and should include digital media literacy training for politicians. Parliament should bring forward legislation to introduce a statutory code on political advertising as recommended by the Information Commissioner
  6. 6. Don’t panic! ● Don’t confuse political, economic and social problems with a media crisis ● Is this a post-truth world or a multi-perspective world? ● Is the loss of ‘trust’ part of an institutional crisis – is the reality a growth of skepticism and relativism? ● Technology: we know it is not neutral but what choices can we make about who has the power to control its influence and for what goals?
  7. 7. Artificial Intelligence ❓ 🤔❓
  8. 8. Autonomy The ability to perform tasks in complex environments without constant guidance by a user. Adaptivity The ability to improve performance by learning from experience. Source:
  9. 9. Artificial Intelligence A collection of ideas, technologies, and techniques that relate to a computer system’s capacity to perform tasks normally requiring human intelligence. Source: Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism
  10. 10. What future for AI in news ? 🔹 How are journalists and news organisations adapting to AI technologies? 🔹 What are the challenges and opportunities they present? 🔹 What are the financial, ethical, and editorial implications?
  11. 11. The Journalism AI global survey 🔹 71 news organisations from 32 countries 🔹
  12. 12. The Journalism AI global survey
  13. 13. The Journalism AI report Free to download online from November 18th at:
  14. 14. What is AI for news ? 🔹 News gathering 🔹 News production 🔹 News distribution
  15. 15. AI for news gathering
  16. 16. AI for news production
  17. 17. AI for news distribution
  18. 18. Is your newsroom AI-ready ?
  19. 19. Motivations for AI adoption Source: The Journalism AI report
  20. 20. Strategic challenges to AI adoption Lack of resources & willingness to invest Lack of skills & challenges in hiring talent Skepticism towards tech & fear of losing jobs Cultural issues & gaps between departments Lack of knowledge & understanding of AI Lack of strategy and direction Lack of time & inability to prioritise Source: The Journalism AI report
  21. 21. A strategy for AI? 37% have an AI strategy 63% don’t have an AI strategy 🔹 Do you need a strategy? 🔹 If so, how should it look like? 🔹 Who leads on it? 🔹 Do you need new roles? 🔹 What challenges await you? Source: The Journalism AI report
  22. 22. Editorial & Ethical implications Source: The Journalism AI report ⚠️ Algorithmic bias ⚠️ Misinformation ⚠️ Transparency ⚠️ Savings vs Investments ⚠️ Artificial vs Human intelligence ⚠️ The role of tech companies
  23. 23. 🔹 Identify your stage and state of AI readiness 🔹 Understand the different kind of AI technologies available 🔹 Reflect on what problems you are trying to solve with AI 🔹 Identify what areas of your organisation might be helped by AI and how 🔹 Identify key obstacles and plan how to address them in a systematic way 🔹 Establish clear roles and responsibilities across the organisation 🔹 Pick one or more projects to experiment with and start small Key steps to approach AI Source: The Journalism AI report
  24. 24. Thoughts on the way forward 🔄 Changes to structures and culture 📖 Need for education and training Potential for collaboration (between news organisations & with research institutions)
  25. 25. The future of journalism and artificial intelligence? New powers… ...and new responsibilities
  26. 26. Prof Charlie Beckett Director, Polis, LSE #JournalismAI @CharlieBeckett Thank You