Is Max Headroom now a reality? This was up for discussion in the panel on Racing With Machines at the 2017 NYC Media Lab’s Machines + Media event in New York City last week.
Zorroa CEO Beth Loughney participated in the panel along with several veteran journalists and another technologist to discuss this topic. They all agreed that AI and machine learning will be great for automating processes, gathering data, and providing analytics, but those simply create more room for real reporting and journalism.
Visual search engines, facial recognition systems, and tag generators will be useful, especially as they serve up pertinent information to the journalists reporting the stories.
The Washington Post and the New York Times have both seen significant increases in their online subscriptions, and much of it can be traced to the real journalism they have been engaging in. However, at least some of it is due to their willingness to adopt new technologies to aid the storytelling and engage readers in different media and points of interest.
The New York Times’ Story(X) is dedicated to ensuring that the newest technologies are put into play—augmented reality, bots that work with Alexa and Echo, and AI-driven messaging apps.
The Washington Post is doing similar work—targeted tweets for the Twitter focused, digests to offer breadth to the busy, and, of course, award-winning long-form for those who still read in bed on a Sunday morning.
Bots & Blurbs
Even if bots are writing the blurbs, though, for the foreseeable future it’s the editorial perspective of our most valuable outlets that will keep us coming back.
In an era when Cambridge Analytics can have a provable impact on public opinion and even elections, what do you think is the future of media? Have we lost the race with the machines?