The Growing Need for AI in Publishing Businesses
We live in a quickly changing world; one that often demands more from us whether it’s time or effort. Thanks to the advancement in artificial intelligence (AI) we now have a solution to streamline the creation of media content.
Years ago we didn’t have the technology we do now and today we can make great strides in how the material is generated, published, and delivered. As we strive to bring more news to the world of the internet, we have a need to approach it in new ways.
AI provides publishing businesses with a unique opportunity, as proven by the companies that we will discuss below. These organizations have each pushed the envelope to create content using automation powered by AI.
Associated Press and Automated Insights
Personalized and accurate reports are the key to news coverage. Companies release thousands of earnings reports every quarter, but manually writing each one is very time consuming due to monstrous length of such reports. For instance annual reports of FTSE 350 companies now average 186 pages, up 26% over the past five years, according to EY’s most recent study on the topic
The Associated Press (AP) has created a solution for this enormous challenge, by leveraging artificial intelligence to take raw numbers and then display them in a report, using automation. The AP has developed Wordsmith, which uses AI algorithms to help create short articles.
Wordsmith is able to automate the process of collecting data and writing reports. Typically, writers have to manually gather the relevant information from press releases or other sources, and then they manually enter that data on a pre-written template. By using Wordsmith, the AP is able to save thousands of hours for their writers, a significant advantage in the world of publishing. But, they’re not the only company using AI for publishing content.
China’s AI Newscaster
While the AP has developed considerably to help with business reporting, China has taken it up a step by developing a realistic AI newscaster. China’s state-run news agency Xinhua is using artificial intelligence to create a newscaster that can imitate human facial gestures. Their newscaster AI will be able to create a sense of realism, while also delivering news around the clock.
Using AI will allow Xinhua to cover news related stories much faster than previously possible. Unlike challenges when using real people, their AI newscasters won’t need breaks and are always available. Xinhua saw an opportunity and jumped on it, willing to take the risks even though the technology is still in its infancy because the advantages were far greater.
Xinhua is also creating solutions to broaden their reach with their AI newscaster technology. They are achieving this by experimenting with an English speaking AI, and this means we might start seeing this technology in several countries before too long.
The Washington Post’s Heliograf
Taking things back a notch, we have the Washington Post’s AI, known as Heliograf. Much like Wordsmith, Heliograf is made to help create content efficiently and quickly, while saving time and effort for their publishing business.
Heliograf is used to help create reports with information such as the weather, sports, or other data-driven news. Like Wordsmith, this saves them a lot of time by avoiding the manual process of inputting data into templates.
The Washington Post is so trusting of this tool that it is even using Heliograf to track major events such as the US election. By using Heliograf openly in such a way, they have proven that AI can have an influential and critical purpose in publishing content throughout the world.
Using Amazon StoryTime to Read Media
There’s more to the media than just news, and Amazon has taken this approach with Amazon StoryTime. With no account or hardware requirements necessary, Alexa you can read you a story and she’ll even add sound effects while doing her best to personalize the experience to you.
What makes StoryTime unique is the ability to find stories and to customize to the genre that the listener is seeking. Whether you want scary, fantasy, or any other style, Alexa will try it’s best to find a story you’ll like. Alexa as an AI powered program is useful for streamlining the experience by having many additional features built in already. This allows StoryTime to cohesively interact with what already exists with Alexa’s AI.
Amazon StoryTime brings added convenience to busy parents or those who want to multi-task, as you can listen to the story while engaging in other activities. But it’s much more than just that; sometimes we just don’t know what story we want to read or listen to. StoryTime takes away the stress this causes by letting its AI algorithm pick a story randomly, based on what Alexa is learning about us from our other activities and requests.
Amazon’s approach to using StoryTime may not turn a lot of heads or amaze many of us, but it’s indeed an innovation in and of itself. By adding StoryTime as a feature to Alexa, Amazon is demonstrating their devotion to improving as a whole.
AI is Necessary for Publishing Businesses
Whether it’s the news or how stories are being read to us, these four companies are pushing the boundaries of possibility. Each of the AI-powered programs has a purpose in how businesses bring us new information, or how they help us to interact with it.
While it could be some time before we start to see fully automated newscasters, the technology is here now. As companies like the AP, Washington Post, Xinhua, and Amazon continue to innovate, we’ll continue to benefit from their endeavors to deliver more published and useful content.
Simply put, whether you’re a business that is benefiting through these products, or a consumer that is enjoying them, everyone can benefit. And while each company has a different approach, they each help to create the AI of tomorrow for every content provider involved.
Victoria Liset is strategic business & technology consultant to SMEs. She helps businesses improve their performance by using data more efficiently, and helping them to understand the implications of new technologies such as AI, Machine Learning, Big data, blockchain and IoT.