AI, machine learning & automation: what future for journalism?

What does the rise of automation mean to media makers? How is AI affecting journalism? Which role can algorithms play in this changing context and what are the possible ethical implications? How to combine AI and humans in the journalism of the future?

These were the key questions, which animated the debate at the summer school “AI and journalism”, organised by the European Science-Media Hub (ESMH) in cooperation with the European Youth Press network of media makers (EYP).
70 enthusiastic young journalists from all over EU countries attended the event and the programme featured 10 AI experts among researchers, policy makers, journalists and media representatives.

The first edition of the European Youth Science and Media Days (#eysmd2019) took place on 4-7 June at the EP premises in Strasbourg. The four-day event was opened by Diana Bologova, Project Manager of the EYP, and Theo Karapiperis, Head of Unit of the Panel for the Future of Science and Technology (STOA).

DAY 1 – Tuesday 4 June 2019

The first session “AI, EU and ethics” (Tuesday 4 June afternoon) was moderated by Mićo Tatalović, Chair of the Association of the British Science Writers.

Theo Karapiperis, HoU STOA, on AI, EU and ethics : “The European approach to AI promotes innovation and investment, in the framework of an ethical charter of best practice, and aspires to put Europe globally in the lead by deploying only ethically embedded AI.”

After a short break, Mattia Peretti presented the joint LSE-Google initiative “JournalismAI”. The first day was closed by the talk of Stefan Hall, Project and Engagement Lead at the World Economic Forum.

DAY 2 – Wednesday 5 June 2019

The morning session of Wednesday 5 June started with a hands-on training on “Machine learning” (to demystify AI), given by Julie Scherpenseel (ML6).

After her, Carl-Gustav Lindén, researcher at the University of Helsinki focused on human-machine interaction in journalism, especially automation. The journalist Miço Tatalovic presented his last paper and closed Day 2 of the summer school.

In the afternoon of Wednesday 5 June, participants split into nine working groups to elaborate some outcomes on the topics discussed during the first two days.

DAY 3 – Thursday 6 June 2019

Day 3 started with an introduction by Mr Paul Rübig, first STOA vice-Chair, who greeted the participants from Brussels via video link.
After him, it was time to propose to the young journalists a practical AI tool (EU funded) that can be used in the newsrooms, INJECT.
Kostantinos Zachos, Lead Developer of the project, showed a DEMO of the tool. The presentation of the tool was then followed by a full session devoted to case studies from the EIT community. The session was moderated by Caroline Vandenplas, Head of Communications Section at the EIT.

In the afternoon, the nine working groups met again to finalise the different media products that will be the “outcomes” of the summer school, in view of their final presentation on Friday 7 June in the morning.

Virtual Reality workshop Summer School ESMHBut the third day of the event was not over yet and at 4.30 the participants visited the hemicycle of the plenary and at 5 pm the Virtual Reality experience started!
A Virtual Reality Cinema, with a selection of 3 films on AI for participants (Alteration, Merger, I saw the future). Also, three virtual-reality stations called “room scale” were installed, for the users to move in the experience: a space-themed experience (Mercury project), a vertigo-themed experience, spheres and an artistic experience to paint in 3D.

Friday 7 June was then devoted to the showcase of the work done by the nine groups of media makers in the previous days and some closing remarks wrapped up the event. The working groups produced several interesting media products on AI, stay tuned to see the outcomes of the summer school!

The records of the event are available here:

Tuesday 4 June, 13.30- 18
Wednesday 5 June, 9.30-12.30
Thursday 6 June, 9.30-13

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