Dr. Pradeep Mahapatra
Mass media experts’ prediction for 2023 on the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in various fields including journalism took its roots from the developments such as the introduction of platforms like ChatGPT during later part of 2022. ChatGPT (Generative Pre-trained Transformer) is a ‘Chatbot’. Online questions and answers are conducted by ‘Chatbot’ or ‘Chattorbot’ software. Synthesis of data made accessible to the system can be disseminated to the seekers instantly using such software. Mediation of humans is not required for its operation. Many can access to required content at a time.. etc…
Within five days of the nascent public appearance of the startup, OpenAI developed ChatGPT on November 30, 2022 the fact that a record number of over 10 lakh netizens appeared in the platform proved its popularity from the very beginning. It is identified as an optimized language model. ChatGPT is powered with a huge amount of data available online up-till 2021 and is set not only to locate relevant documents on a given subject but also to present the information in language form displayed on the seekers’ device screen. In other words, when a question is asked, ChatGPT answers in conventional written form.
In recent years many research establishments including Google and Microsoft took initiative to develop mechanisms to generate content utilizing AI. But for various reasons, none of the innovations could be popular. of course, ChatGPT is supported by Microsoft. In previous attempts, the language models had the capacity to compose a line or two. On the other hand, ChatGPT software can produce long forms including essays or even a book On command. In the preliminary stage, ChatGPT is available for free to use. It may seek a subscription in the future.
Initial attempts for use of AI in journalism, mostly in writing news stories and features started during the earlier part of the second decade of the twenty-first century. Technicians at Beijing Times of China demonstrated an automized facility that could produce 1,000 words per minute. Experimental use of AI to generate content for media platforms started in Germany, France, Britain, China and Rasia. The Washington Post in the United States used a language software named Heliograf, developed in-house to update schedules, results and medal tally in its blog and Twitter account during Rio Olympics, 2016. There was considerable success in the effort.
In the following years, both digital and traditional news platforms took interest in the utilization of AI from content generation to the determination of print order to subscriber engagement efforts. A few print newspaper chains in the United States have adopted AI models for the preparation of ‘hyper-local news’. It has been told that the use of AI will not result in the retrenchment of working journalists. It would create an environment where the journalists will be able to spend less time in routine data collection which will be taken over by the machines and get more time for critical analysis of news stories. Such explanations flash back the memories of the use of calculators and computers in mathematics during the bygone days.
Experts believe that, use of AI will accelerate ‘fact check’ and ‘data analysis’ functions in journalism. But would move backward for critical thinking during the primary years. Development of perspectives taking into consideration past history and future speculation may not be possible in a machine-learning situation. On the other hand, news consumers may prefer machine-generated content in some categories of news taking into consideration it’s error-less and non-partisan qualities.
Digital news platforms will prefer new solutions like ChatGPT for reporting current events. For example, posting the results of games and elections may prove more efficient than human intervention. On the other hand, problems may arise to determine who will be responsible for the trustworthiness of such reporting.
Adoption of tech innovations among large number of netizens takes no time in the changed environment. It is interesting to note that soon after the unveiling of ChatGPT school children in United States started utilizing the platform for their classwork. It becomes a problem for teachers and parents to bar the young population from using such manipulative devices for education. It lead Yew York City school officials to restrict ChatGPT website on school computers and networks within five weeks of its appearance.
Automated content generation utilizing AI-powered tools like ChatGPT is set to change the documentation landscape. ChatGPT developed in the English language has the potential to influence major regional languages in India. As facilities of translation from English into regional languages are in offering, original content created using such applications in English can be easily translated into regional languages by using another app. Google’s project to improve translation utilizing AI for over a hundred regional languages and dialects fuels for better future in the field.
In the event of the development of automated content generation facilities and forecast on possible influence upon journalism, experts feel that it is wise for the journalist community to acquaint themselves with the new technology. Journalists can segregate data collection and fact-checking tasks to the machine which will allow them to spend more time on creative pursuits to improve the standard of news stories and opinion pieces. Online training facilities for working journalists and the inclusion of AI in journalism in the curriculum for media students is the need of the hour.
(English translation of the original Odia newsletter by the author circulated on January 13, 2023. https://tinyletter.com/pradeepmahapatra/letters/message-284 . It is an open-access content, free for translation and reproduction)
Dr. Pradeep Mahapatra is a retired faculty of Journalism, Berhampur University, Odisha.https://about.me/pradeepmahapatra
ChatGPT optimized Language model
Obrien, Matt. Explainer : What is ChatGPT and why are schools blocking it ? apnews.com. Jan 06, 2023