In 2017, artificial intelligence will slowly but surely make its presence known, both within newsrooms and to readers.
In newsrooms, bots will start to produce more stories where structured data is readily available — think game recaps, weather run downs, and overviews of how the stock market performed. This will free up resources and reduce costs. Robots will analyze complex editorial content of all lengths, and provide feedback to the humans sitting behind the keyboard. Much like how Netflix used data to help fine-tune House of Cards, news organizations will have the opportunity to adjust editorial narratives to make stories more engaging.
Google and Facebook will use artificial intelligence to identify fake news and help stop the spread of it.
Apple, Google, and Facebook will merge their fragmented audio, search, and news ecosystems while leveraging artificial intelligence to make recommendations across content types. For example, if you read an article in The Economist, you might get recommended a similar episode of the Planet Money podcast. This approach keeps users engaged with their devices and services longer…something that is financially advantageous for Apple, Google, and Facebook.
Bots will replace publishers’ iOS and Android apps. Data shows that nobody uses publisher apps, while messaging apps are insanely popular and growing larger everyday. Publishers would be smart to migrate resources away from maintaining unused apps and redirect them towards the development of bots that push the most relevant news directly to the screens that readers most frequently look at.
Newsrooms should embrace artificial intelligence, just as they have embraced other technological tools. AI will help us become better storytellers while simultaneously ensuring our audiences are the right ones.
Matt Karolian is director of audience engagement at The Boston Globe.