ITN CEO Rachel Corp has called on the government to take a “proactive stance” to protect journalism from the impact of AI in the run up to general elections that are due to take place in 2024.

Speaking at New Xchange conference in Dublin, Corp revealed that ITN has written to ministers at the Department of Science, Innovation and Technology and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to safeguard quality journalism as AI technology – specifically generative AI – develops rapidly.

In the letter Corp outlines the need for a working group to address concerns that have been raised in recent interventions. “Questions about the role of AI and its development are already being posed by experts, politicians and regulators, but with little mention of journalism”, she writes.

Corp references calls from leaders in the field for responsible AI to be adopted, adding: “Some of the concerns raised have been about the impact that generative AI will have on misinformation, which will need to be carefully guarded against in the run-up to numerous general elections in 2024. Generative AI may also distort audiences understanding of impartial and accurate information, which could have a direct impact on social cohesion”.

As well as recognising the challenges of AI, Corp also acknowledges that there will be benefits from AI, such as “journalists being freed-up from administrative tasks”. However, she warns that “AI will never be able to replicate the work of journalists who gather information and contextualise it by building relationships and being eye-witnesses to events as they occur”.

Speaking at News Xchange she added: “Journalism’s role in any well-functioning society is going to become even more important with the rapid development of AI that we are witnessing. Broadcast journalism has a track record of being a source of information that people trust, which has been demonstrated during times of crisis such as the pandemic. It must remain relevant and accessible.

“While much of the current AI conversation focusses on scenarios we are yet to encounter, there is a more pressing threat that can be addressed now through guardrails to ensure that journalism continues to thrive and play a vital role in society during this time of rapid change.”


Jon Creamer

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