Soumya Prakash Pradhan

Artificial intelligence (AI) is gradually making its presence felt in the media industry.

If the recent buzz is anything to go by, AI is transforming the way media along with entertainment brands are creating viewers' experience.

At the India Today Conclave 2023, the Indian media group launched its first AI news anchor named Sana. “She is bright, gorgeous, ageless, tireless and speak multiple languages and totally my control at least for now,” said the India Today group’s vice chairperson, Kalli Purie.

Sana is fed data that it can read using text-to-speech technology and has a human-like appearance.

While AI-generated news presenters may have certain advantages, there are concerns about the impact of AI on journalism jobs and the potential for AI-generated disinformation.

The impact of AI on jobs in media industry:

AI-generated news presenters may be able to do news bulletins, but they may not be able to replicate human observation and experience.

Media critic Shailaja Bajpai told DW that it is possible that explanatory journalism, on-site reporting, and investigative journalism may hold the key as AI bots may not possess the capability to imitate human observation and experience.

Speaking to DW, media columnist and ombudsperson Pamela Philipose cautioned that in the near future, the tasks carried out by a journalist may be executed more efficiently by the "Alexas" of the newsroom, thereby posing a genuine threat.

Senior journalist Rajdeep Sardesai told DW that technology ought to be viewed as a means of assistance rather than a substitute. He argues that AI and ChatGPT-like applications should be utilised to support newsroom operations rather than to supplant human skills.

Additionally, he questions whether propaganda truly necessitates an AI presenter to promote it.

Indian journalist and television personality Nidhi Razdan stresses the importance of exercising prudence and carefulness, noting that the implementation of AI news anchors could require regulation to prevent journalism from taking a downward spiral.

The potential for AI-generated disinformation:

Robinson Philipose told DW that the danger presented by AI and its applications is genuine. He states that the circulation of false information via WhatsApp texts and images, which can result in manipulated election outcomes and the marginalization of specific communities, may seem minor compared to AI's complete capacity for altering raw data.

This issue is complex as AI's ability to deliberately generate disinformation is substantial.

Nevertheless, Nidhi Razdan suggested that AI anchors might perform better at being impartial than real-life counterparts, many of whom no longer speak the truth.

Moving forward, it is believed that there's a need to be mindful and prudent regarding the potential benefits and risks associated with the AI.