The mainstream media is in its death throes, in a world where cellphones and social media enable eyewitnesses to broadcast live on the Internet about newsworthy events, as we’ve seen with some attestants to the Las Vegas shootings.
It makes sense that the next step for the controllers would be to own the search algorithms and social media newsfeeds, which has been seriously underway for over a decade. As an example, I remember for a period in 2003, that if you were to do a Google search on then-Vice President “Dick Cheney” nothing – and I mean nothing – no search results with Dick Cheney would appear! Google has become a lot more sophisticated since then.
So, what’s next?
Last Saturday at the online news Association’s annual meeting in Washington, the writing on the wall became a little more clear. The topic was raised about how news organizations have been struggling over the past two decades, as readers have moved online and into mobile devices and how they’ll soon need to adapt to Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality and automated journalism to find ways to connect to their consumers beyond the smartphone. Voice Interface was predicted to be one of the biggest challenges for media organizations.
Amy Webb, founder of the Future Today Institute estimated that by 2023, 50% of interactions that consumers currently do on computers will be done using their voices with other web-connected devices.
So, what happens to journalism’s business model when consumers are accessing the news using voice commands on various devices? Voice skills on Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home will be key to the future news ecosystem, along with AI, all of which are in the hands of tech firms like Google, Amazon, Baidu, IBM, Facebook, Apple and Microsoft.
News organizations are mere customers and not significant contributors to these technologies, however. Webb advocates that journalistic institutions get involved in their development. (She fails to grasp the realpolitik of the news and its actual function as a means of social control).
Among the 75 technologies and trends likely to have impacts on journalism in the coming years are drones, wearables, blockchain, 360-degree video virtual reality and real-time fact-checking web studies, with some of these already starting to have an impact on the media in the very near future; others within 12 to 36 months, towards a major acceleration towards automated journalism and giving new meaning to “news programming”.
AI will play a role in the elimination of traditional tasks for journalists, such as article-writing. The AI can use your social media posts and that video that you posted, the AI can instantly write a news story about it.
Instantaneous information is wherever you need it to be. Big Brother is everywhere, there’s a camera everywhere and an AI can instantly get it out there faster than any journalist and the algorithm tweaks will keep the narrative on the reservation. Journalism is obsolete.