Eyes, ears, and brains

“Early experiments may yield mixed results — it’s early days! But the media industry must not repeat the mistakes of the past, and allow itself to be a laggard with powerful new technologies.”

The mobile phone will become our “eyes and ears,” on the world thanks to major enhancements with image- and voice-recognition software.

Intensifying competition between Google, Amazon, Apple, Samsung, Facebook, and Snapchat will lead to significant progress in turning the camera of a mobile phone into an “eye” that can identify images and instantly return information about an object or person. Listening devices — the “ears” — will increasingly replace tasks ranging from typing into a search field and using an app. Furthermore, image- and voice-recognition software will plug into vast databases in the cloud, unlocking the power of artificial intelligence — the “brain” — so that computers that can sift through data and extract relevant information in fractions of a second.

These technologies are becoming the new battlefield for tech giants, opening up an array of consumer experiences and business opportunities.

The lines are already being drawn: Apple’s purchase of Shazam is a prelude to connecting Siri voice-recognition to the HomePod music service, which launches in 2018. Apple is hoping that voice-activated music may help close the gap between Apple Music, with 30 million paying customers, and the more popular Spotify, which has 60 million.

Amazon currently leads the way in voice-activated systems with its Alexa software and Echo devices. Google is hot on the heels with Google Home voice-command software and Google Lens image recognition, which will launch in 2018.

The new software and hardware open up a bewildering array of opportunity for media, removing friction points to information discovery. At Dow Jones, we are busy experimenting. This includes using Google and Blippar image-recognition software to help readers save and share stories (both in print and digital) and surface related stories. We are working with Apple and Google to harness the power of augmented reality: Using the camera of a phone, we are experimenting with a Minority Report-style view of the daily drama of the U.S. stock market using live markets data. We are experimenting with Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home on voice-activated services, including top stories from the Journal.

Early experiments may yield mixed results — it’s early days! But the media industry must not repeat the mistakes of the past, and allow itself to be a laggard with powerful new technologies. “We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten,” as Bill Gates reminds us. “Don’t let yourself be lulled into inaction.”

Edward Roussel is chief innovation officer of The Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones.

Juleyka Lantigua-Williams   Women of color will reclaim and monetize our time

Vanessa K. DeLuca   Women’s voices take center stage

Kyle Ellis   Let’s build our way out of this

Mi-Ai Parrish   Blockchain and trust

Nancy Watzman   Know thy TV

Emily Goligoski   Looking beyond news for inspiration

Nicholas Diakopoulos   Fortifying social media from automated inauthenticity

Mary Meehan   Real lives are at stake in rural areas

Tanya Cordrey   Finally, the seeds of radical reinvention

Dheerja Kaur   Fun with subscription products

David Skok   Finding an information-life balance

Rodney Benson   Better, less read, and less trusted

Pia Frey   Address users as individuals

Jennifer Brandel and Mónica Guzmán   The editorial meeting of the future

Jacqui Cheng   Retailers move into content

Cristina Wilson   The year of the Instagram Story

Molly de Aguiar   Good journalism won’t be enough

Manoush Zomorodi   Self-help as a publishing strategy

Felix Salmon   Covering bitcoin while owning bitcoin

Miguel Castro   The arrival of the impact producer

Steve Grove   The midterms are an opportunity

Frédéric Filloux   External forces

Doris Truong   Computer vision vs. the Internet vigilantes

Mario García   Storytelling finally adapts to mobile

Edward Roussel   Eyes, ears, and brains

Rasmus Kleis Nielsen   The Snapchat scenario and the risk of more closed platforms

Rachel Schallom   Better design helps differentiate opinion and news

Matt Carlson   Attacks on the press will get worse

Debra Adams Simmons   And a woman shall lead them

Pablo Boczkowski   The rise of skeptical reading

Matt DeRienzo   A recession, then a collapse

Renée Kaplan   The year of quiet adjustments (shhh)

Almar Latour   Conquering calm

Rick Berke   Value is the watchword

Lucas Graves   From algorithms to institutions

Kristen Muller   The year of the voter

Andrew Losowsky   The year of resilience

Caitlin Thompson   Podcasting models mature and diversify

Mariano Blejman   News games rule

Imaeyen Ibanga   Longform video leads the way

Jim Brady   With the people, not just of the people

Zizi Papacharissi   Women come back

Heather Bryant   Building the ecosystems for collaboration

Niketa Patel   Live journalism comes of age

Richard J. Tofel   The platforms’ power demands more reporters’ attention

Taylor Lorenz   Social and media will split

Hossein Derakhshan   Television has won

Michelle Garcia   Navigating journalistic transparency

Alfred Hermida   Going beyond mobile-first

S. Mitra Kalita   The arc of news and audience

John Keefe   Scooped by AI

Trushar Barot   The Jio-fication of India

Cory Haik   Suffering from realness, pivoting to impact

Rachel Davis Mersey   AI, with real smarts

Millie Tran and Stine Bauer Dahlberg   (Hint: It’s about your brand)

Brian Lam   Sketchy ethics around product reviews

Betsy O'Donovan and Melody Kramer   Skepticism and narcissism

Ståle Grut   Reclaiming audience interaction from social networks

Mike Caulfield   Refactoring media literacy for the networked age

Jessica Parker Gilbert   Design connects storytelling and strategy

Kathleen McElroy   Building a news video experience native to mobile

Sydette Harry   Listen to your corner and watch for the hook

Ruth Palmer   Risks will grow for news subjects — especially minorities

Errin Haines Whack   At the ballot, it’s time to count black women

Craig Newmark   Working together toward sustainable solutions

Marcela Donini and Thiago Herdy   Collaboration is the way forward for Brazilian journalism

Nushin Rashidian   Publishers seek ad dollar alternatives

Mary Walter-Brown   Show a little vulnerability

Corey Johnson   The pro-fact resistance

Rubina Madan Fillion   Unlocking the potential of AI

Andrew Haeg   The year journalists become relationship builders

Dannagal G. Young   Stop covering politics as a game

Alice Antheaume   Are you fluent in AI?

Hannah Cassius   The year of the echo-chamber escapists

Amie Ferris-Rotman   More female reporters abroad (please)

Kawandeep Virdee   Zines had it right all along

Vivian Schiller   Pivot to tomorrow

Federica Cherubini   The rise of bridge roles in news organizations

Caitria O'Neill   The new court of public opinion

Daniel Trielli   The rich get richer, the poor scramble

Nicholas Quah   Stop talking trash about young people

P. Kim Bui   The reckoning is only beginning

Umbreen Bhatti   The trust problem isn’t new

Ray Soto   VR reaches the next level

Laura E. Davis   Writing answers before you know the question

Tamar Charney   We get serious about algorithms

Julia Beizer   A longer view on the pivot

Adam Thomas   Sharing is caring: The year of the mentor

Jennifer Coogan   The future is female

Matt Boggie   The intellectual equivalent of the Dead Sea

Ernst-Jan Pfauth   Publishing less to give readers more

Mariana Moura Santos   Think local, act global

Tanzina Vega   It’s time for media companies to #PassTheMic

Claire Wardle   Disinformation gets worse

Helen Havlak   Keywords, not publishers, power the world’s biggest feeds

Joanne Lipman   Journalists inventing revenue streams

Juliette De Maeyer   A responsible press criticism

Lanre Akinola   Making noise is not a strategy

Joyce Barnathan   It will be harder to bury the news

Borja Echevarría   TV goes digital, digital goes TV

Amy King   Let’s amplify visual voice

Lam Thuy Vo   Breaking free from the tyranny of the loudest

Sarah Marshall   Loyalty as the key performance indicator

Jassim Ahmad   Thriving on change

Amy Webb   Listen to weak signals

Evie Nagy   Pivot to mobile video frustration

Pete Brown   Push alerts, personalized

Cindy Royal   Your journalism curriculum is obsolete

Bill Keller   A growing turn to philanthropy

Corey Ford   The empire strikes back

Carrie Brown-Smith   Transparency finally takes off

L. Gordon Crovitz   Serving readers over advertisers

Will Sommer   The year local media gets conservative

Tim Carmody   Watch out for Spotify

C.W. Anderson   The social media apocalypse

Ariana Tobin   Too tired to tap

Rodney Gibbs   Tech workers turn to journalism

Susie Banikarim   R.I.P. Pivot to Video (2017–2017)

Yvonne Leow   The rise of video messaging

Elizabeth Jensen   Show your work

Alan Soon   The rise of start of psychographic, micro-targeted media

Usha Sahay   Wallets get opened

Jesse Holcomb   Information disorder, coming to a congressional district near you

Kinsey Wilson   Facebook and Google: Help out or pay up

Julia B. Chan   Looking for loyalty in all the right places

Dan Shanoff   You down with OTT? (Yeah, DTC)

Jake Levine   The return to now

Francesco Marconi   The year of machine-to-machine journalism

José Zamora   Revenue-first journalism

Damon Krukowski   Reviving the alt-weekly soul

Charo Henríquez   Training is an investment, not an expense

Sam Sanders   Shine the light on ourselves

Tracie Powell   The muting of underserved voices

Feli Sánchez   The year for guerrilla user research

Mandy Velez   texting is lit rn, fam

Marie Gilot   No assholes allowed

Raney Aronson-Rath   Transparency is the antidote to fake news

Jamie Mottram   From pageviews to t-shirts

Michael Kuntz   The only pivot that might work

Joanne McNeil   Gatekeeping the gatekeepers

Kelsey Proud   No, no, no

Burt Herman   Things get real

Jarrod Dicker   Honesty in advertising

Eric Ulken   The year local publishers get smart(er) about change

Neha Gandhi   Filler killers

Alastair Coote   The year of self-improvement

Raju Narisetti   Mirror, mirror on the wall

Nathalie Malinarich   Peak push

Kim Fox   Audience teams diversify their approach

Jared Newman   Venture funding and digital news don’t mix

Luke O'Neil   The end is already here

Aron Pilhofer   We can’t leave the business to the business side any more

Matt Thompson   Here come the attention managers

Sally Lehrman   Trust comes first

Emma Carew Grovum   Newsroom culture becomes a priority

Sue Schardt   Jump the niche

Eric Nuzum   Beyond the narrative arc

Mira Lowe   The year of the local watchdog

Jennifer Choi   Standing up for us and for each other

Valérie Bélair-Gagnon   Seeking trust in fragmented spaces

Monika Bauerlein   The firehose of falsehood

Andrew Ramsammy   The year ownership mattered

Jim Moroney   Newspapers have to be good enough for readers to pay for

Christopher Meighan   Passive partnership is in the rearview

Nikki Usher   The year of The Washington Post

Justin Kosslyn   The year journalists become digital security experts

Basile Simon   We need better career paths for news nerds

Dan Newman   A return to trust

Monique Judge   Letting black women tell their own stories

Alexios Mantzarlis   Moving fake news research out of the lab

Carlos Martínez de la Serna   The new journalism commons

Paul Ford   Go global

An Xiao Mina   Memes and visuals come to the fore

Sam Ford   The year of investing in processes

Sara M. Watson   Feeds will open up to new user-determined filters

Michelle Ferrier   The year of the great reckoning