Will Artificial Intelligence journalism be able to overcome oppression and uphold the freedom of press? - GulfToday

Will Artificial Intelligence journalism be able to overcome oppression and uphold the freedom of press?

Dr Mohamed Abdulzaher


Media Consultant at UAE Government Communication Office.

Media Consultant at UAE Government Communication Office.

Artificial Intelligence

The photo has been used for illustrative.

There are some reports which indicate that suppression of media increased over the past three years, especially in western countries which praise their ‘political democracy’ day and night.

According to the latest report about freedom of the press in the world, the 2019 World Press Freedom Index, according to the annual report of Reporters Without Borders, recorded a decline in several countries

In Europe, for example, verbal violence from politicians against the media is also on the rise although it is the region that respects press freedom the most. In the Czech Republic, President Milos Zeman turned up at a press conference with a fake Kalashnikov inscribed with the words “for journalists.” And other incidents were also recorded in US, Germany and many Western countries.

This raises curiousness about Artificial Intelligence journalism and the future of media freedom like — on what side will Artificial Intelligence Journalism be. Will the fourth Industrial Revolution technologies and Artificial Intelligence technology support suppression of the media, restricting freedom of information, and restricting the movement of the journalists? Can we find armies of robot journalists acting on orders of authoritarian leaderships to suppress freedom and prevent the media from working in a more humane way?

The answer is yes, of course. Artificial Intelligence journalism, like any new technology, can be used for good or for evil.

As there will be a free robot that moves transparently, support free circulation of information, support fair media, or support media which has some credibility, there will also a robot which will speak, write and execute authorities’ orders, capable of suppressing the media and freedom of opinion. And as there are open data platforms that support the good of mankind, and share all reports and data in an easy and democratic way, there will also be open data platforms that support crime and violence, target countries and destroy the information systems available to millions around the world.

The 3D printer is an example. The world has begun to use them in medicine and disease detection, for diagnosis in some cases, the manufacture of alternatives of some artificial limbs, as well as in the field of engineering and making more complex designs. All this is to facilitate human life and to bring benefits for all.

But there are negative uses to 3D printer like in thefts, counterfeiting, the gold bullion industry and the weapons industry. And there is also something beyond that. There are new 3D printing techniques that will allow the printing of drugs and remedies, which will revolutionize the pharmaceutical industry and allow the patient to print their medicine of chemical compounds but may also threaten human health by encouraging the use of narcotic drugs or drugs that destroy the human nervous system.

And so we can also say that Artificial Intelligence Journalism may also be a tool for some harmful actions by way of suppression of the freedom of media by broadcasting one fixed “stereotyped” message. Here the person in control can put a single content which can be formed by a “robot” or self-moving cameras, or satellites.

But at the same time, more intelligent techniques could exist to serve humanity, which will be designed to resist such tools and act as antibodies in creating the suitable and the diverse content.

According to World Economic Forum report, available AI is a fair AI. A completely rational machine should be impartial and free of human weaknesses such as being emotional or prejudicial - but this should not be taken for granted. Recent incidents, like the vulgar language used by a Microsoft chatbot demonstrate that AI can go seriously wrong when fed by inaccurate, incomplete or biased data. An ethics by design approach is preferred here — that is, to carefully identify, solve and eliminate bias during the AI development process.

The breaking point, between goodness and evil or usefulness and harm of Artificial Intelligence Journalism, is — How can we count on human creativity to counter any mechanized content, or super typical content that goes beyond borders and laws of states, to reach the target audience? That will be the big problem in the era of Artificial Intelligence journalism.