AI in Journalism: Could robots deal with the spontaneity of live broadcasts?

The threat of artificial intelligence is a topic which I have talked about on this blog many times before. From 1000-word articles on the TV show Humans, to talking about how humanity’s love of patterns could aid the rise of AI, it’s fair to say that robotics and the ethics of artificial intelligence really get me talking.

Photo: A Health Blog on Flickr. Licensed under Creative Commons – https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/.

As mentioned above, I’ve already discussed whether a structured human life is to blame for AI’s increase. However, this post didn’t touch on journalism – a profession which, when brought down to its basics, can be quite structured.

Whether it’s the inverted pyramid or the typical newsroom routine, there’s a lot of patterns in the job which makes things easy for the journalist. Yet, with structures being things that robots and AI can easily follow, what’s something spontaneous that the cyborgs from the future could struggle to comprehend?

Live broadcasts. It’s when humans accept the complexity of life that the fear of Terminator-style beings taking our jobs is somewhat reduced. Whilst it may be able to use code and probability for interviewees and writing articles, live broadcasts – such as Facebook Live videos – could be difficult for a robot. All it takes is for something to ‘go wrong’ and a robot would have to construct a whole new set of codes to deal with the new direction the report or interview has taken.

Aside from that, there’s some aspects of journalism which I think AI would struggle to replace. Some elements of reporting require humanity (take ‘the death knock’ journalists have to make on a family’s door when a public figure has passed away) which the robotic tone of these computers could struggle to replicate.

Nevertheless, I was left with these ideas after attending a lecture from The Gadget Show’s Jason Bradbury this week on the future of journalism. With a big focus on technology, of course artificial intelligence came up.

As well as this, Wednesday saw me take part in my first Facebook Live broadcast.  I had previously been behind the camera, but on International Women’s Day, I reported on a ‘Reclaim the Night’ event. This was organised by the University of Lincoln Students’ Union and saw students march against sexual harassment, abuse and inequality.

I covered the proceedings for the university’s student newspaper, and you can view my Facebook Live from the event on The Linc’s page here.

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