April 15, 2024
Does AI threaten the existence of journalism? - Comment


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Fox News freelance correspondent Zachary Anders envisions a future in which he no longer needs to report from the field because a synthetic version of him will do the job instead.

Their words, spoken through this AI-generated version of themselves, will convey a narrative different from the truth.

Anders presented this approach to foreign journalists and think tanks at a Government Press Office (GPO) event held at the Friends of Zion Museum in Jerusalem on Monday evening, as he explained how the fight against fake news is rapidly reaching its limits. Putting the existence of journalism in danger has not yet been imagined.

Anders said, “If freedom of information in free speech is the pillar or foundation of our democracy, it is under attack from every angle.” “It’s falling apart. It is sinking.”

While much of the discussion focused on the challenges of covering the conflict and the fight for truth in the foreign press, Anders answered the question, “How do you get up every day and report on a tragedy?” By expressing less concern about doing his job and more concern about whether his job will stay or not. A book containing George Washington’s personal copies of the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights, on display at Christie’s auction house in New York. (Credit: Brendan McDiarmid/Reuters)

“We don’t even know what our enemy is. TikTok algorithm: does anyone know how that formula is calculated? How does the Chinese government decide who gets to see what?” Anders said. “We are far ahead of the curve, and we don’t know what will happen next. But I can tell you it’s scary.

“This is what we are fighting against. We need to do something; Our states need to take action,” he said. “A ‘Digital Bill of Rights’ is needed.”

Can the world of journalism reach AI?

The scary story of the world Anders describes is that technology is moving faster than we are and is already so far ahead that some experts are worried it may be impossible to catch up.

His comments came just weeks after the World Economic Forum (WEF) released this Global Risk Report 2024 And identified misinformation and disinformation as a top risk, saying it could “destabilize society.” Advertisement

The report predicts that foreign and domestic actors will take advantage of this misinformation to increase social and political division.

“With nearly three billion people expected to engage in election surveys over the next two years across multiple economies, including Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Pakistan, the United Kingdom and the United States, widespread use of misinformation and disinformation, and its dissemination could undermine the legitimacy of newly elected governments,” the report said. “The resulting unrest could range from violent protests and hate crimes to civil conflict and terrorism.”

The report highlights a worrying trend in which people’s perceptions of reality may intensify polarization, weakening the foundation of truth. This increase may lead governments to seek control over information dissemination to ensure that only what they believe to be true appears.

Citizens living in ostensibly democratic societies may be subject to censorship or other restrictions.

“Freedom related to the Internet, the press and access to wide-ranging sources of information, already in decline, is at risk of widespread suppression of information flows across countries,” the WEF report said. “The convergence of the ‘post-truth era’, electoral processes, and the rise in generative AI over the past year means that tech companies, governments, and the media must consider how they can help protect democracy.”

During the Forum, a separate report was published discussing the challenges of AI and media. The WEF report, “Principles for the Future of Responsible Media in the Age of AI”, suggested five principles by which media should be governed, coined “GenAI”.

The principles were:

  • Principle 1: Adopting principles to create quality content and trustworthy information
  • Principle 2: Embrace openness to innovation and responsible adoption of generic AI
  • Principle 3: Empowering consumers through increased transparency
  • Principle 4: Enhance accountability by developing and adopting common standards
  • Principle 5: Promoting ethical leadership and upskilling the workforce

The first principle relates to the ideas of “truth and accuracy,” “transparency,” and “accountability” – ensuring that journalists follow standard journalistic codes of conduct even when using AI.

The second centers on adopting AI for its benefits – improving writing and editing efficiency and creating business opportunities.

The third is about labeling what is created with AI so that consumers can put it in context.

The fourth is about defining “common standards for compliance”.

And the last is about training employees to navigate GenAI.

These principles become even more important when the data from the report is considered. For example, the report highlighted that less than half of the population (40%) trusted the media most of the time in 2023, a decrease from the previous year. Additionally, it revealed that half the population was concerned about fake news. Finally, it stated that by 2026, 90% of online information would be “synthetic”.

The situation in Israel may become even more dire, with only 22% of Jews expressing trust in Israeli media, according to a 2022 Israel Democracy Index survey. The survey revealed that trust in media has been declining in the country since 2019.

What do media leaders have to say about all this?

Well, like Anders, who is only 27, he is concerned – though also excited – about the power of technology to improve the craft.

“Bloomberg has long been an innovator in combining the magic of humans and technology to deliver better, faster information. This is the core of our AI approach,” Bloomberg President Peter Grauer is quoted as saying in the WEF report. “Now, as the pace of change accelerates, we believe it is important for leaders across industries to come together on principles that sustain trust [the] Media.”

“As AI fundamentally transforms our industry, it’s up to media companies to uphold standards of transparency and accuracy and provide global access to quality journalism,” said Jessica Sibley, chief executive officer of TIME.

Stefan von Holtzbrinck, chief executive of Holtzbrinck Publishing Group, said: “It is journalism brands, and journalists are the heart and soul of their brands that will drive the change that is needed. People trust, first and foremost, people. For our journalists, being visible, transparent, accountable, accessible and committed to the highest standards will be key to success more than ever and will differentiate quality journalism from simply capturing information and turning it into synthetic content. Those who invest in the best journalists will succeed; The machines will remain only as their support.”

Technology has been a huge benefit to journalists over the past decade, especially during COVID-19, when it enabled the press to access information from wherever they were. However, as many experts are beginning to point out, the technology can be dangerous. If it puts journalism at existential risk, it also puts the future of democracy and free societies at risk.

The author is Deputy CEO – for Strategy and Innovation jerusalem post And a senior correspondent. She is also the co-host of Inside Israeli Innovation podcast.

Source: www.jpost.com

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