AI is disrupting several industries. The power of Natural Language Processing (NLP) has empowered tools like ChatGPT and Bard to communicate with humans efficiently. And this has led to a question that is very critical to the already financially constrained news industry: How AI will impact news roles?
The following are some of the roles I believe will lose significance in the immediate future:
Google Translate and several other tools already demonstrate the ability to translate texts into different languages with accuracy. And AI improves on these, as it can accurately translate content while retaining the essence and style of the copy.
- Copy editors:
Copy editing is an integral role in news writing and it is not going to go away in the immediate future. However, the ability of the likes of ChatGPT and Bard to proofread and even modify the style of the text according to the specified parameters is going to reduce the number of copy editors in newsrooms. It will be easier for newsrooms to train the AI to learn from already produced news stories to understand the format, language and style of text, and easily reformat any text. Just ask ChatGPT to rewrite this blog into a speech in Donald Trump’s style and you’ll know what I mean.
- Desk editors:
ChatGPT has the capability to be fed with a scorecard of a football game or a transcript of a press conference and convert into a news story. This will reduce the role of desk editors who come up with desk stories by monitoring different news feeds.
- Executive assistant:
Executive assistants take meeting notes, maintain calendars, email staff, etc. AI can automate all of these functions. It also can send meeting reminders, record meetings, and transcribe and summarize them. We already have a tool called Parrot.AI that does a decent job.
- Visual artists/graphic designers:
Graphic designers display data in a visual format and create illustrations for news pieces. However, generative AI will soon take over that. Systems like DALL-E2 work on prompts provided to them and automatically generate visually appealing images and there are programs that can convert complex spreadsheets into a graph.
- Social media promoters:
Social media promoters or producers, as they are widely known, promote the content produced by the news organization on different platforms. ChatGPT currently does have the capability to go through a story and come up with a relevant excerpt for the target audience. In fact, there are tools other than ChatGPT that can do this job with somewhat efficiency. Echobox is a tool that can automatically share stories from the website at the most effective time.
AI is here to stay. It may disrupt the industry, but it can be a force for good. It can empower journalists to produce stories in a shorter time span and can automate a lot of tasks that previously took hours. Yes, some roles might fade away, but isn’t this the case with every industry?
Technology disrupts and facilitates. Interesting times ahead.