AI Can Change Journalism In India Completely – For Better Or For Worse

Posted by Speakup With Priya in Sci-Tech, Society
March 15, 2018

By Priyamvada Dixit:

What would happen if one day you turn on your television in the hope to watch the prime-time or the news hour show by your famous national news presenter and you find that the anchor is a humanoid? What if you come across an article is by a robot?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is loaded with benefits that take technology to a new level. It is fast becoming an important element in the worlds of business, big data, predictive analysis and in biomedical sciences. But what is AI and what happens when it comes to the world of full-fledged journalism?

Artificial intelligence is a branch of computer science whose work is to build machines who behave, think and act like humans. Actually, AI are not just about robots. It’s also about creating a mechanical mind that can think like a human.

The AI has already taken a larger part in human lives. For instance, with the new facial recognition software in Apple’s iPhone X to the AI programme to detect colorectal cancer, AI are acquiring a place everywhere. The work AI programmes do are supposed to be indistinguishable from the work of any human. The advance of AI in journalism are just one aspect of the rapid potential future advances in this technology.

According to the International Data Corporation, it is estimated that by 2021, worldwide spending on AI will be $57.6 billion. In the process of this growth, many creative industries will be automated by AI. Each of them start with content creation or collection – and journalism is just one sector within this creative economy that has adopted AI into its processes.

The working of journalism will change if AI programmes become full-fledged journalists. A month or two back, Twitter released a report written by WordSmith (an AI programme). But what are the changes and challenges that AI will have to go through when it comes to journalism in India?

On February 25, 2018, while addressing the nation on his radio show “Mann Ki Baat”, Modi had said that AI will change India and take Indian technology to a new world.

What Are The Changes AI Will Bring If It Comes Into Indian Journalism?

1. The AI may possibly summarise long articles into bite-sized content for social media. In the process, this technology may free the journalists and allow to explore and report on more issues.

2. It will also quickly decrease the workload of the quarterly reports. For instance, Reuters, one of the largest news providers, takes the help of Graphiq to build and update its visualisation services for publishers.

3. It will also help the Indian newsrooms to compete with the ones abroad. By using more AI, we may be able to improve the quality of news pieces and thereby attracts more readers, even from abroad. But this process should be free from any biases and must provide news at its best.

Change Is Easy, But Will AI Also Face Some Challenges If It Comes Into Indian Journalism?

1. One of the biggest hurdles here is money. Big media houses may develop their own AI programmes, but what about the new or smaller ones? After all, AI software needs huge investments.

2. There may be a problem about authenticity as AI may not be able to distinguish whether the input it receives is accurate or inaccurate.

3. We will have to develop a technology that understands many languages because India is home to many languages.

4. We’ll have to develop our own Reporters and Data and Robots (RADAR) programme like other nations if we are to see AI in Indian journalism.

5. It’s possible that AI may only increase the quantity and not quality of stuff produced. They may analyse massive data sets but that doesn’t mean that all this data will be equally useful.

Nowadays, AI seem to be all round and it’s on the verge of changing societies significantly in many developed countries. It’s therefore time that AI also made their mark on journalism in India. India in the 21st century has seen some major changes in many fields – and in my opinion, it will very tough to stop the advent of AI into the world of journalism.

However, it’s also possible that media houses may use the technology for gaining more profit. Therefore, researchers who invent new things in the world of AI should also develop an inbuilt media ethics system in the machines so that they can deliver unbiased news. Otherwise, the people’s faith in AI reporters will probably be no larger than their current faith in human reporters.


Image used for representative purposes only.

Featured image source: The People Speak!/Flickr