AI in Media: Revolutionizing Efficiency and Provoking Ethical Questions

ASTANA Artificial Intelligence (AI) is transforming the media industry by automating numerous tasks and raising ethical concerns about potential information manipulation, according to media expert Alena Gorbacheva, who spoke to The Astana Times.

Alena Gorbacheva.

Gorbacheva has over 16 years of experience working in key positions in Kazakhstan’s major TV channels, producing different types of content.

In your opinion, how is AI reshaping contemporary media? What opportunities and risks does it pose for journalism? 

I am not an IT specialist but an ordinary user and an explorer of AI possibilities from a user’s perspective. My focus lies in AI tools applicable in the media sphere, which constitutes my primary area of expertise. AI is profoundly reshaping this sphere, generating diverse content, from articles to movie scripts or crafting photo and video materials. On the one hand, this enables media companies to save time and resources while delivering more personalized content to their users. On the other hand, it introduces significant challenges to professions within the media sphere.

Many have likely come across viral online clips, such as one seemingly depicting former United States President Donald Trump fleeing from the police. These videos appeared highly convincing but, in reality, were AI-generated fakes. This starkly illustrates how AI accelerates the rapid and widespread dissemination of misinformation. It may be argued that fake content and information manipulation predated AI. But AI’s advent has changed the swiftness and scale at which fake content proliferates, which could significantly harm society, leading to the adoption of erroneous decisions that directly impact a substantial number of individuals.

In your view, which professions face potential risks due to AI advancements? 

The World Economic Forum (WEF) released an analysis of the future labor market based on a survey of over 800 companies in May. According to this report, in the next five years, influenced by macro trends, including AI development, 14 million jobs will vanish globally. The global labor market anticipates significant disruptions. Undoubtedly, AI creates new job prospects. Some will oversee AI implementation and automation processes, while others will provide directives to AI. 

As per the WEF forecast, by 2027, employment in data analytics, machine learning, and cybersecurity is expected to increase by an average of 30%. Simultaneously, the proliferation of AI poses a threat to numerous other professions. 

A recent report from Goldman Sachs indicates that AI will impact around 300 million jobs, including bank clerks, lawyers, employees of marketing agencies, and certain members of media editorial teams.

Concerning the media landscape, drawing upon my experience in managing editorial teams and comprehending all internal processes, alongside my study of AI capabilities, I perceive that journalism functions can be divided between AI and humans as follows: AI can handle tasks such as content rephrasing and information processing, while journalists will continue to be responsible for fact-checking and crafting original news stories. 

AI cannot generate entirely novel content. It can solely operate with preexisting written, recorded, and published material. By analyzing these information databases, AI can rework them and swiftly locate pertinent information.

Notably, this viewpoint on journalism’s future is grounded in the current landscape. The pace of AI advancement and its future potential remain challenging to predict.

What skills and knowledge are essential for modern journalists to succeed in a rapidly evolving technological landscape? 

Now, more than ever, it is pivotal to cultivate critical thinking and elevate fact-checking proficiency. We exist in a world where an alternate stream of fake news emerges daily alongside a stream of accurate information. As mentioned earlier, this fake news now propagates more rapidly and extensively. Journalists must possess a foundation in digital ethics, comprehend the mechanics of AI technologies applied in the media, and acquire at least basic AI tool proficiency. I advocate that AI will not replace humans but will be managed by others who can harness its capabilities.

Where and how do you personally use AI? 

I actively employ AI in my work, education, and daily life to tackle various tasks. For instance, I refined my writing skills and achieved a 7.5 score on the IELTS test with AI’s assistance. I requested AI to assess my essays following the IELTS scoring system, identify errors, and propose paraphrasing options.

I employ AI to simplify complex processes using plain language. This is particularly invaluable for journalists whose role entails conveying information on diverse topics in an understandable manner, occasionally of a highly specialized nature. AI is efficient when drafting routine work documents, memos, or recommendation letters. While AI-generated texts cannot be directly employed, they can serve as a foundational framework for subsequent refinement, resulting in substantial time savings. I use AI to create illustrations for work-related tasks and personal purposes, such as enhancing my social media accounts.

Overall, AI can be an effective tool for those willing to experiment and explore new avenues for its application. Therefore, I enthusiastically study AI’s possibilities and incorporate them into my work and everyday life.

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