How AI can empower news production


  From oral communication, to text printing, telegraph, radio, television, Internet, and today's artificial intelligence, news communication has always been transformed again and again with the upgrading of technology.

  Especially in the last decade, media convergence has triggered the closure of a number of paper media, robots such as DreamWriter and Quick Pen have replaced manual writing, Midjourney produces images that are indistinguishable from news photos, Sora can quickly generate blockbuster-quality videos based on textual commands, and AI virtual anchors express themselves with clarity and are highly acclaimed... ...With the rapid development of artificial intelligence (AI) technology, its application in the news industry has become more widespread.

  In this case, what should news people do?

Let's take a look at the use of artificial intelligence in news production.

  The technology assists journalists in gathering news information. On the one hand, with the ability of AI technology to have large-scale data mining, processing and analyzing, as well as predicting trends, journalists are able to access new sources of information and news selections. For example, among the 25 robots launched by Xinhua Zhiyun in 2019, eight robots, including text recognition and data citation, are used to help journalists and editors collect news resources.

  On the other hand, smart hardware devices have also greatly improved journalists' news gathering efficiency. For example, Xinhua News Agency in the National People's Congress coverage for journalists equipped with intelligent AR live glasses, wearing live glasses, the reporter's eyes become a "camera", see the scene in real time live to the netizens.

  Robot-assisted writing into the practical stage. As early as 2015, Xinhua News Agency launched the "fast pen small new" for financial and sports news reports; in 2016, today's headlines "Xiaomingbot" successfully tested the water of the Rio Olympics news reports. After that, robot-assisted writing is more and more mature, China Science News robot "Xiao Ke" to the English paper abstracts as the basis, can quickly "write" the Chinese science news article; cover news "small cover In addition to writing news, "Xiao Feng" of Cover News has also learned to write modern and ancient poems, and opened a column called "Xiao Feng Writes Poems", which has become a major breakthrough in robot-assisted writing.

  Intelligent editing has expanded from media production to mass use. The intelligent editing robots used by the media today include subtitle generation, intelligent dubbing, video packaging, and high-speed rendering, which have reduced the work pressure of media professionals. For example, in the 2019 super typhoon "Lichima" report, Zhejiang Radio and Television used a robot to produce a number of data news videos; in the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the founding of China military parade report, CCTV also used "AI editors", each time to complete 300 short videos. More than 300 short videos. With short videos becoming an important way for people to record their lives, cell phones now come with intelligent editing functions to meet the needs of the public's daily use.

  At present, the application of AI technology in the field of journalism is mainly focused on some repetitive, simple and mechanical tasks, such as big data analysis, translation, summarization, generation, classification and so on. Some news tasks that require a lot of repetitive work, such as screening, organizing, classifying and labeling a large number of press releases, as well as some simple reports, such as weather forecasts and stock market quotes, are likely to be replaced by AI.

  Of course, there are some limitations to the application of AI in the news field. As people point out when analyzing the videos produced by Sora: confusing left and right, inability to understand cause and effect, etc.

  In addition, while we embrace the convenience of new technologies for news production, we should also hold some cold thoughts.

  Artificial intelligence may jeopardize the public's right to privacy. Whether it is intelligent hotspot collection, robot news writing or intelligent recommendation, it is built on the collection and analysis of massive data. On the one hand, AI collection of news information so that citizens' data may fall into the danger of being illegally collected and over-analyzed; on the other hand, the intelligent distribution of mining user information, reading habits as a prerequisite for users to obtain information at the same time there is the possibility of leaking personal privacy. If the AI grabs the writing material and uses the user's writings published online, it will invariably violate citizens' copyrights.

  Bias and malice may lurk beneath the technological veneer. Although AI technology continues to develop, it still has some technical limitations, such as algorithmic "bias". These "biases" are often overlooked under the technological veneer. For example, the resume screening system of Microsoft, IBM, Amazon and other companies, the score of men and people with lighter skin color is higher than that of women and people with darker skin color. And on social platforms such as Youtube and Twitter, many AIs concoct inaccurate anti-Chinese issues, exacerbating international public opinion bias.

  AI cannot perform the function of public opinion monitoring. Compared with journalists, AIs currently do not have the ability to monitor public opinion because they do not have a sense of the big picture, and they are unable to judge which issues can be reported, at what time to report, and what effect will be achieved after reporting, and they cannot express profound insights that have a guiding effect. Therefore, public opinion monitoring can only be accomplished by human beings at this stage.

  The "mechanical production" of news loses creativity, emotion and other depth and temperature. When journalists with their own emotions, style, value judgment to write, showing a variety of unique, blossoming situation, which is the news writing "no fixed law, there is a routine" of the attraction. However, AI writing makes interviews, writing and other processes become mechanized, and the completed articles are also bland, unoriginal and lack of insight, increased productivity, but no creativity.

As technology continues to evolve, AI and journalists can complement each other and work together to drive progress in news reporting.

  AI can help report on large-scale data analysis and mining, such as analyzing data on politics, economy, society, etc., or analyzing the heat and trend prediction of an event or topic to help journalists make reporting judgments and decisions.

  When AI takes on a large amount of basic and repetitive work, then journalists can devote more energy to the in-depth digging of news stories, character interviews, and elaboration of viewpoints, thus improving the quality and depth of news coverage.

  AI also plays an important role in verifying the authenticity of news. Through natural language processing and machine learning algorithms, AI can analyze language patterns, factual statements, etc. in news reports to determine the credibility of the news. This helps journalists identify fake news and improve the accuracy and credibility of news reports.

  News reporting requires journalists' insight, judgment and interpersonal skills, which cannot be replaced by current AI. An excellent reporter can dig out full of dry goods from seemingly bland environment, which is a comprehensive test of the reporter's professionalism, emotional intelligence, interpersonal skills and other abilities. When a journalist writes after a solid interview, his or her writing will have the basis of saying something and capturing people's hearts.

  No matter how upgraded the communication technology is, interviewing and writing are the foundation of a good journalist's life, and this will not change.

  As journalists in the all-media era, they should be good at using new technologies to broaden their learning channels and improve their work efficiency, and we expect the media to provide readers with more comprehensive, accurate and in-depth news reports through the good use of AI.

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