Using AI in the world of news

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New Delhi | Published: September 21, 2018 12:16:33 AM

Will we see a lasting marriage of technology and human intelligence?

Using AI in the world of news

In the current times, the way people consume information has drastically changed. With online giants like Google and Facebook providing unending content and breaking news notifications to consumers on their mobile phones, it has become imperative for media houses to pace up their technologies, and meet the needs of generation X.

That’s where artificial intelligence (AI) comes into place. With investments in the sector growing, the technology is not only making content creators more efficient but is also creating an engaging experience by personalising content.

Personalised user experiences

People have come to expect customised experiences as they have been used to Facebook’s news feed, Google’s smart engine, LinkedIn’s job recommendation, etc. With AI-backed capabilities, news giants across the globe have started offering personalised news. Machine learning is used to learn a reader’s habits, interests and preferences over time to provide them with relevant news stories and notifications. To be sure, AI will not create a ‘filter bubble’; instead it will delight consumers by crafting experiences via a clean and customised layout.

AI can identify and convey relevant information in conversational language that people can comprehend and trust.

With content demand rising, focussing on mass production has been a bone of contention for most news creators. Creating content that is not only relevant for diverse audiences but also adjustable for each segment will most likely require a large number of resources; and that’s where AI becomes the news superhero.

Even a large team of journalists or news aggregators can’t guarantee an absolute scale. AI can help scan thousands of articles, thus providing a better context to each story. Smart news assistants can assist the journalist in fact-checking, draft versions, headline suggestions and thus augment the newsroom altogether. The intelligent assistant can simultaneously learn from selections and inputs of the journalist.

Going hybrid

We are in an era where a piece of news from unknown sources gets viral via social media and then feeds into the mainstream press. Currently, social media giants are reeling under extreme pressure from the governments globally to take measures to stop the spread of false information. And that’s where AI comes into picture. By detecting word patterns that may indicate a fake news story, tech giants like Facebook are combating the spread of fake news. Even WhatsApp has recently launched significant updates and features in this regard.

News organisations have a deeper content understanding and editorial prowess, which can build more sophisticated algorithms to fight fake news. Hence, it puts the onus on conventional media houses to provide users with authentic and credible information. Weeding off fake news can’t completely rely on machines; companies are adopting a hybrid model to strike a balance, a case in point being Toutiao that was shut down for 24 hours by the Chinese government at the beginning of 2018 as its technology failed to weed out pornographic content. It has now hired over 1,000 human editors to oversee the content review, adopting a hybrid model.

AI is still a work in progress in the news sector. We are entering an era where it will ensure that users have access to the content they want to read.

By- Deepit Purkayastha, The author is co-founder & CSO, Inshorts

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