AI: TV’s next frontier

A white man sings on the America's Got Talent stage, but is shown on the big-screen behind him as Simon Cowell

Daily, we are bombarded by headlines announcing the wonders – and risks – that generative artificial intelligence is bringing to our lives. AI has been used to help identify the hostages taken by Hamas from southern Israel on 7 October. More mundanely, apparently it can also help stem the alarming rise in shoplifting. On the other hand, it could put many of us out of work, lead to rampant breaches of copy­right and, ultimately, make it nigh on impossible to tell what on our screens is fake and what is real.

AI: opportunity knocks for news?

If you thought that AI is not yet having an impact on news organisations, think again. As panellist and data journalism pioneer Gary Rogers reminded this absorbing RTS discussion, “AI: the new frontier for journalism”, the Press Association’s Radar service – which he set up – has been using machine learning to create news stories for the past five years. Radar says it generates around 150,000 stories utilising local data journalism each year for clients across the UK.

Sky News creates ChatGPT-powered reporter to test AI journalism

Together with Norwegian YouTube and coder, Kris Fagerlie, Sky News created the reporter using ChatGPT and other publicly accessible AI software.

They found that the AI reporter was able to pitch a "topical, accurate and impartial story idea" within a single 20-minute software run.

But they also found that the reporter made vital mistakes, falsifying expert evidence for its article (something that's called "hallucinations" in AI science) and requiring human intervention to uphold other ethical and editorial standards.

The case for and against AI in TV

Should the television industry be worried about artificial intelligence (AI) or excited? Or both?

Each day seems to bring fresh warnings that AI will wreck businesses, cast thousands out of work and even destroy the human race. So, is TV safe? Judge for yourself from this little experiment.

“Can you suggest a format for a new television gameshow?” I asked the AI chatbot ChatGPT.