In Conversation: AI Journalism Goes Global, With Charlie Beckett

In the year since ChatGPT arrived on the scene, journalism has grappled with the ethics of generative AI. From robot-written articles to the proliferation of “fake” images, the problems the media needs to think through have been bubbling in the background for a long time, but they’ve been exacerbated by the scale that generative AI makes possible.

One person who’s spent a lot of time thinking about all the perils and promise that AI brings to journalism is Charlie Beckett. A professor in the Department of Media and Communications at the London School of Economics (LSE), Beckett is the founding director of Polis, the school’s international journalism think tank. He’s currently leading Polis’s Journalism and AI project, which hosts the JournalismAI Festival, starting on December 6.

The festival promises to unite dozens of journalists who are innovating and using generative AI in  newsrooms all over the world. It’ll take on topics like detecting bias in content, the role AI can play in covering elections, and how small and local newsrooms can leverage the tech to punch above their weight.

In talking to Beckett, I was struck by the tone of optimism that emerged in our conversation. Even though we tackled thorny topics like the ethics of generative images in war and the recent generative-content brouhaha involving Sports Illustrated, it’s clear his focus is on how this manifestly transformative technology can help the truth that journalists seek shine through.

I hope you enjoy the discussion as much as I did. You can register for free for the JournalismAI Festival here.

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