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AI journalism's inevitable rise
Future News 146
Update: I’ve created a Twitter List of the all the reporters on the AI beat. If you know of any additions, please let me know.
For those who pay attention to the ‘Media and Tech Questions I’m Thinking About’ section of this newsletter, you would have noticed my open query earlier this week about whether the AI industry "deserves its own beat in the national and international media”?
“The Financial Times has appointed Madhumita Murgia as AI editor. In this newly created role, Murgia will head up the FT’s coverage of artificial intelligence stories, writing about the business, companies, policy and science behind AI.
“Murgia will be the FT’s lead correspondent on the subject while also working with the technology news editor, Murad Ahmed, in the development of coverage, and provide expertise to other reporters as they increasingly encounter stories about how AI is upending industries around the world.”
The announcement comes as the so-called ‘AI war’ between Google and Microsoft kicks-off. The latter company is a long-time investor of OpenAI, the business behind the popular ChatGPT product.
The machine-learning driven chatbot has captured the imaginations of tens of millions of users after launching in November 2022. It’s also raised concerns amongst journalists.
“But for the industry at-large, Beckett thinks the news media sector needs to “get its act together” on AI and technological innovation, something other and rival industries happily embrace.”
And though Bloomberg and The FT are dedicating more resources towards the AI industry, the sector has had a healthy trade media for years.
“[In five years’ time] we are going to be hard-pressed to tell the difference between what was written by humans and what was written by robots,” he said.
An exploration of the ethics surrounding AI deserves its own treatment, but you may enjoy reading about John Searle’s Chinese Room thought-experiment.
This argument is used to counter claims that computers (like ChatGPT) can create consciousness or intentionality:
“The narrow conclusion of the argument is that programming a digital computer may make it appear to understand language but could not produce real understanding.”
You can read LSE’s JournalismAI report here. An overview:
“This report is not a manual for implementation, but rather an introduction to and discussion of journalism and AI. We hope it will help newsrooms make decisions around strategy, and think proactively about the ethical and editorial challenges, as well as the potential implications of adopting these new technologies.”
🗽 The Times They Are A-Changing
The New York Times has now surpassed 9.6m paying subscribers, with a target of 15m by the end of 2027. The Gray Lady said it had added 240,000 net digital-only subscribers in its Q4 2022, totalling 8.8m. But print subscribers had fallen to 730,000, down from 795,000 a year earlier.
📺 Media and Tech Questions I’m Thinking About
What are the known ‘unknowables’ in media and tech?
The BBC has unveiled a big presenter shake-up, so where will all the former presenters end up?
As Bloomberg looks for an AI reporter, does the industry deserve its own beat in the national and international media?
Can ‘watch parties’ significantly boost the fortunes of on-demand TV?
How popular will ‘de-influencing’ become?
Can The Express and The Mirror make it in America?
How will media outlets cover The Superbowl this weekend?
🎙️ Podcasts I’m Listening To
The Internet History Podcast (a real hidden gem)
How I Built This on Miles Copeland and I.R.S Records