Artificial Intelligence in Journalism: A Boon or a Bane?

JJohn August 5, 2023 6:51 AM

As media corporations increasingly adopt generative AI to churn out content, we delve into the potential impacts on journalism. With AI-powered content farms rapidly expanding, concerns surrounding the quality, accuracy and ethical implications of such content are escalating. Are we staring at a future of media dominated by AI, or is this a self-destructive path leading to the degradation of online content?

AI takes over content generation

In the race to keep up with the digital age, media corporations are increasingly turning to generative AI for content creation. News Corp, for instance, reportedly produces thousands of news stories per week, using AI. And it's not alone. This mass production of content is not limited to 'service information' only; we're slowly seeing the AI-penetrated domain expanding. But the question that arises is: at what cost?

The pitfalls of AI in journalism

One of the major concerns with AI-generated content is the potential for inaccuracy and misinformation. Ai, unlike humans, don't produce facts; they predict language. While this might work for some applications, when it comes to journalism, it raises serious questions about credibility. Add to this the issue of poor readability, and it becomes evident why the adoption of AI in journalism is a topic of heated debate.

The adoption of AI is indicative of a larger trend in the media industry: the shift towards acting like digital platforms. These platforms are data-hungry, algorithmically optimized, and constantly looking to monetize our attention. With media corporations opposing reforms to the Privacy Act that could potentially curb this behavior, it's clear that the industry is willing to adopt the surveillance capitalism business model to stay afloat in the digital economy.

Another potential pitfall of excessive AI-generated content is the emergence of what's been dubbed as 'Habsburg AI'. This refers to AI systems that are heavily trained on the outputs of other AI systems, leading to inbred, exaggerated, and often inaccurate results. This autophagous loop is doomed to a progressive decline in the quality of content, potentially leading to an internet filled with 'blah'.

The brighter side of AI in media

While the negatives of AI in journalism are substantial, it's not all doom and gloom. AI applications can also have beneficial implications for the media, particularly in terms of accessibility. Tasks such as transcribing audio content, generating image descriptions, or facilitating text-to-speech delivery can be significantly improved with AI, opening up new avenues for the consumption of content.

Protecting journalism from AI encroachment

As AI continues to make inroads into journalism, there's a growing need for protective measures. Journalists, especially those in regional areas who provide unique, locally relevant content, deserve protection from the encroachment of AI. The country needs a strong, sustainable, and diverse media to hold those in power to account and keep people informed, rather than a system that replicates the issues exported from Silicon Valley.

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