Just imagine, if 100 years ago the Wright brothers would have tried to build an ‘artificial bird’ rather than calling it an airplane? Or Henry Ford an ‘artificial factory’ rather than a car manufacturer? We would have had endless discussions around engineering this machine to emulate birds in every detail. Would you feel comfortable to fly on an artificial bird? Makes it emotional right? Does an artificial factory produce better cars than a human-centered production environment?
Artificial intelligence was invented as a term in the 1950's when computer science professors at Dartmouth College convened a conference in order to teach computers to think during one summer - a slightly optimistic view as it turned out. While the researchers did not succeed in one summer, their core principles and main ideas have had a lasting impact.
Instead of emulating the human, we (the authors of this article) believe brain machine learning is best applied when it focuses on the items that human brains aren’t ideal for: endless repetitive tasks, constantly scanning vast volumes of data, broad mathematical simulations and rapid decision making based on big data. So, what does this have to do with media and publishing?
• According to a recent study from Oxford University, AI will replace up to 45 per cent of jobs within 20 years globally
• It doesn't just affect blue-collar jobs; think of how Uber is aiming to replace all human drivers with autonomous vehicles. But also white-collar professions like insurance agents as 34 employees at the Japanese insurance firm Fukoku Mutual Life found out when they were replaced with a computer programme in January; basic legal procedures face a similar development.
• Chatbots are taking over customer support functions, by not just using pre-defined answers but actually ‘thinking’ and helping customers like ordering at Taco Bell or get tickets from Ticketmaster while scheduling doctor appointments and providing medical info
• Wal-Mart is already applying AI and blockchain to better master its supply chain safety by spotting anomalies and reacting to them pre-emptively
• Artsy has redefined how we find, look at, buy and sell artworks by implementing a massive big data system to catalogue artists, artworks, museums, exhibitions and galleries around the world; the next step is combining this setup with chatbots and automated art consultants – a blueprint for publishers catering to the art aficionados?
• Back in 2014, one of the first examples of robo-journalism was applied when a machine for the LA Times wrote an automated article about an earthquake only 3 minutes after its appearance.
• The Associated Press working with data from the baseball association NCAA, is now using automation technology to provide thousands of stories about college sports it would have previously not covered.
• German newspaper publishers have begun using services like AX Semantics to quickly publish dozens of fully automated Dritte Fussballliga and Regionalliga reports every week about soccer games based on match reports taken from national databases.
• Similar to how Netflix used data to help fine-tune House of Cards, news organisations will have the opportunity to adjust editorial narratives to make stories more engaging
• AI can be used to suggest the right articles based on your reading habits in real-time, 200-year-old Ebner Media Group even has gone so far to combine this with a predictive commerce engine to monetise audiences automatically
• Companies like OpenTopic use IBM’s Watson technology to provide hyper-segmented ‘cognitive content’ landing pages in order to convert website visitors into ‘magazine’ subscribers
• Even in the esteemed world of peer-reviewed science publishing, the use of AI is coming. Too many examples exist of published articles that contain plagiarism and wrong facts. AI could run every submission through a plagiarism detection software system and a robust image detection software system
Get stories like these every week directly in your inbox. Subscribe to our (free) FIPP World newsletter.
Like any other disruptive technology, AI will shake up production, business development, marketing, sales, administration and finance of every firm in every industry. Only because we have this traditional mental image of journalism and publishing will not make it different for the publishing industry. We already use automation to produce cars (i.e. products), predict the weather, report on stock markets, trade natural resources, print 3D objects, create VR environments, and recruiting software is targeting the right candidates using precise algorithms – why would the impact on the underlying procedures of the media industry be different?
That’s why we think AI in media will just help to turn this industry into a normal industry where products are enhanced with AI, marketing and distribution optimised with computer learning and customer engagement boosted with chatbots.
Instead of sitting back and letting this AI revolution drive by you, your firm should actively create an AI strategy to think about in what parts of your value chain AI can save costs, improve sales or enhance your production of content.
This is the right time to have (inside or outside your company) your first AI manager. He will lead your strategy based on the aforementioned principles, he will leverage AI technologies to provide your business a competitive edge.
By Dominik Grau & Simon Schneider
Dominik Grau is the CIO of Ebner Media Group.
Simon Schneider is an entrepreneur and UK Director of ECSI Consulting.
More like this
[Sponsored] Recently the WoodWing team traveled to London for the FIPP World Congress. For those of you who haven’t been lucky enough to attend yet, the FIPP World Congress is the largest and most high profile media event in the world. It brings together the world’s leading multi-platform media publishers and industry suppliers, to explore the latest trends and solutions.25th Oct 2017 Opinion
Digital editions have been around for a long time, going all the way back to the late 90's. But in 2010 when the iPad hit the digital runway, publishers jumped on the tablet bandwagon faster than they could shout, “Hallelujah!”. The struggling publishing industry had found itself a saviour.16th Oct 2017 Opinion
With Facebook and Google predicted to take half of the World’s total digital ad-spend in 2017, it’s no surprise that other players in the industry have raised concerns. But by updating their own data offerings to better reflect advertisers needs, media owners can keep pace with changing digital trends.25th Aug 2017 Opinion
If I were to ask you to describe the Internet of Things (IoT), I expect many of you would start to talk about how new technology is revolutionising the internet, providing “anything connectivity” through advanced networks, sensors, electronics, and software. And you wouldn’t be wrong.24th Aug 2017 Opinion
Recently, there has been a period of time where there was somewhat of a slow-down in international brand activity as companies focused on shoring up their bases. However, this year we have seen an increasing number of reports surfacing about media companies adopting a more global outlook again – at least in certain segments. Does this mean a renewed focus on brand licensing, and in what form? And what is the outlook as we head into 2018?13th Nov 2017 Features
CDS Global and Zeddit announced a strategic technology partnership in the UK and Australia to provide advanced subscriber conversion capabilities for print magazine publishers. The partnership will focus on improving the conversion of visitors to magazine websites into subscribers for CDS Global clients.13th Nov 2017 Industry News
One of the biggest drives for publishers in the past decade or two have been transitioning their print content to digital. For some it is all about maintaining the magazine's brand essence online, yet others have enjoyed success in amalgamating print publications to create new web first brands.13th Nov 2017 Features
Publishers’ growing urge to be platform agnostic needs to be balanced by focussed efforts to ensure content remains platform specific.13th Nov 2017 Features
The Future Today Institute recently published its 2018 report into the emerging tech trends that are likely to shape the publishing industry in 2018. Here, we speak to Amy Webb, the founder of the organisation, about the development of study, and explains how better scientific modelling undertaken today can help us to predict future technologies.20th Nov 2017 Features
Visit our Youtube channelFIND OUT MORE
FIPP newsletters allow you to keep up with industry trends, research, training and events across the worldFIND OUT MORE
Get global coverage of your launches, company news and innovationsFIND OUT MORE
What’s happening now, what’s coming next