One of the priorities of the Portuguese EU Presidency is to raise awareness for the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) in the production, distribution and consumption of news as well as to reflect on its impact on journalism in the digital era. The organization of a relevant conference in Lisbon is placed in this context. While such a debate has acquired international characteristics in a digitalizing world order, it also provides an opportunity for Greek scholars and experts, who frequently excel within the country and abroad, to intellectually join.
The survival of media organizations in a competitive technological environment emerges as a critical priority. The coronavirus pandemic unleashes the potential of digital journalism and information. As long as this tendency evolves, careful marketing strategies are required for media organizations. By using AI techniques and offer tailor-made content to online viewers they will be able to adopt sustainable business models for the long term in the hope to safeguard economic viability without state support that will arguably be provided in good times. Profits will be possibly generated not only via subscriptions for paid material but also through a rising number of online adverts that will target specific audiences who freely navigate the internet.
For journalists themselves, AI can be a blessing in disguise. While, in theory, much of their work is to be replaced by machines that act quicker than human beings, the so-called ‘Big Data’ constitute an endless source to improve the quality of this work. Ethical questions remain unresolved but young journalists should build their career by using the extraordinary achievements of technology in envisaging a creative role in the digital society.
Nostalgia for traditional journalism does not solve problems. Paradoxically, journalists who are widely considered as ‘watchdogs’ in the Western scholarship, ought to further strengthen their mission. By ascribing anthropomorphic qualities to AI they will be able to take control of automation and act responsibly. This responsibility is necessary in forging efficient responses to the challenge of fake news – often produced by robots. The development of innovative start-ups that require journalistic sophistication in identifying misinformation or disinformation narratives is an indicative example.
The intellectual capacity of Greeks will only be an asset in the search of new policies and a philosophical understanding of the unprecedented dilemmas affecting the media sector in the era of technological revolution.
Dr George Tzogopoulos, is Lecturer at the European Institute in Nice and senior fellow at the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP) and the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies.