What is the potential of Artificial Intelligence on public media services? Back in December 2019, we participated in a workshop organised by the European Audiovisual Observatory on the use of Artificial Intelligence in the audiovisual industry.
The workshop gathered industry professionals, researchers, legal specialists and policy makers to discuss areas where AI could have the most impact and the regulatory mechanisms that are needed to support its responsible use. These topics are of particular urgency to public media organisations whose services are undergoing a radical transformation from analogue to digital and at the same time, are faced with competition from commercially-driven online media companies.
Improving the efficiency of production workflows is one of the top priorities. Here AI can provide assistance with repetitive, manual tasks such as the cutting of production footage into meaningful segments, leaving more time for creative editing processes. Recommendation and forecasting algorithms can help organisations determine how to best spend their resources in order to achieve success with their content.
But efficiency needs to be balanced against the societal role of public media organisations to inform, educate and promote diversity. One of the well-known caveats of AI-drive recommendation systems is their tendency to create echo chambers by offering content that reinforces existing views and biases rather than expanding them. The industry experts uniformly agree that in order to retain their audiences, their technologies and content should cater to diverse individuals with a multitude of interests, without igniting division and polarisation between different groups.
From a legal perspective, there are few national regulatory mechanisms in Europe addressing the use of AI, and the fast-paced technological development makes it difficult to assess its impact. Public media organisations have an important role to play in guiding such regulations to ensure that AI systems are built around democratic values and serve the public interest.
You can find participant presentations and read the full report from the workshop here.