Web3 Media’s 12 AI Integration Methods.

This article was not written by AI. But will that be the case in the future?

As questions about artificial intelligence dominate every industry — from crypto to law to farming — it’s only natural that newsrooms, too, are weighing the promise and the peril.

“Artificial intelligence will soon transform media on a scale and pace that rivals the internet two decades ago,” predicts a recent Axios newsletter. “The media companies that survive — and thrive — will be those that adapt quickly to fast-changing consumer needs.”

Read more: Michael J. Casey – Why Web3 and the AI-Internet Belong Together

Which brings us to the spirit of this exercise: How could a savvy media website — specifically a Web3-focused publication, such as CoinDesk — smartly use AI in the future? Will us fleshy organic humans, with our pesky needs for sleep and food and paychecks, soon be replaced by machines?

And is it worth even opening this Pandora’s box? “I think there’s a first-order question for newsrooms to ask themselves, which is, ‘Why are we even using these tools in the first place? Is there a need?’” says Claire Leibowicz, head of the AI and Media Integrity Program at The Partnership on AI, a non-profit organization devoted to the mandate of responsible AI.

Leibowicz’s team concluded that ultimately, yes, AI can be leveraged as a tool to support sustainable journalism…with some important caveats. It could give a boost to small local newsrooms, for example, which might otherwise be headed for extinction. This doesn’t mean that AI should replace the human writers and editors. (I’ll cop to some bias. Full disclosure: I am a human writer.)

Let’s start with the range of journalistic functions that Leibowicz says AI should not be doing, which includes: Editorial decision-making, story curation, interviewing, and the writing of high-stakes stories. “We should take a step back and consider which stories are high stakes,” says Leibowicz. “Any story can be high-stakes, whether it’s pop culture or public health, and there should always be a human in the loop.”

That’s the theme from every expert I interviewed: AI can be an additive tool, but not a substitute for humans. There is a very real risk, of course, that AI could gobble up jobs anyway. It would be naive to ignore the possibility. But on a more optimistic note, Zain Kahn, who writes the AI-focused Superhuman newsletter, says that AI is “like having a very competent intern. It saves you from the work that you find to be drudgery anyways.”

The Partnership on AI has grouped the role for AI in newsrooms into three buckets, which we’ll adopt as a framework for this piece:

i. Lead Generation and Investigative Tools

ii. Content Creation and Distribution

iii. Audience Engagement

It’s early days for AI. (Everyone in crypto, of course, is familiar with the theme of “early days.”) There will surely be more use cases. And this list is hardly comprehensive. So with all of those disclaimers in mind, here are 12 ways that Robot Journos could help a Web3 newsroom:

Bucket I – Lead Generation and Investigative Tools

1. Spot trends and insights from large pools of data

Even the speediest of readers have trouble poring through 5,000 pages of financial documents, court papers, or on-chain transactions. AI can help with this, and it’s already happening.

“A classic example is the Pandora Papers,” says Leibowicz. Journalists used machine learning to help make sense of 11.9 million documents containing information on the secret offshore accounts of presidents and billionaires, which they used to break a Pulitzer-winning story.

2. Analyze social media trends

The question of “what to cover?” is at the heart of every newsroom. AI could suss out what the crypto community is most interested in. “There’s a world where AI tools are analyzing social media and trending topics, and we think both of those are vital,” says Leibowicz. But she adds a note of caution — trending topics might actually mask the more important stories that no one’s talking about. “You don’t want to overlook these insights in favor of an algorithmic tool that’s deriving its data from the more macro picture,” she says.

Put simply, it is the responsibility of the newsroom to not only react to what people are talking about, but also to seek out and report on stories that people will be discussing in the future. (For example, CoinDesk broke the FTX story.)

3. Assist in generating story ideas and perspectives

While AI should not replace human brainstorming, it could serve as a starting point. It could help get the creative juices flowing. “Why not have a fallible but potentially creative thought partner in coming up with lead generation ideas?” suggests Leibowicz.

This article was not written by AI. But will that be the case in the future?

Kahn, of the Superhuman newsletter, is even more specific. “Let’s say you want to write an article and you’re not sure what angle to take,” says Kahn. “You can say, ‘Give me a list of 10 article ideas based off the text below.’ Many of those will be garbage, but only one needs to be useful.”

Section II: Content Creation and Distribution

4. Write (low stakes) automated news articles

This is a difficult and controversial area. The general consensus among AI experts is that human beings should stick to writing the news. But Leibowicz suggests that in addition to the stories that would already be written, AI could be used to create “lower stakes” stories that would otherwise go unnoticed. This is already happening. Leibowicz says the BBC used ChatGPT to write “7,000 or so hyper-localized news stories on British shopping trends,” which is an example of creating “stories that might otherwise be overlooked.”

Or maybe a local newsroom doesn’t have the resources to cover every City Council meeting, but AI could scrape the transcripts and create quick summaries. The application of AI in Web3 is easy to see. There are hundreds if not thousands of projects, conferences, and meet-ups that aren’t being covered by crypto media — AI could help plug the gaps.

Read more: Michael J. Casey – What AI Governance Can Learn From Crypto’s Decentralization Ethos

Of course, what counts as “low stakes” versus “high stakes”? Does AI have the expertise to understand this rapidly evolving field? Can AI differentiate between the authorities and the hucksters? None of these questions have easy answers.

5. Quickly translate technical papers for a mainstream audience

AI is good at analyzing dense, difficult academic papers and extracting insights. Kahn suggests feeding ChatGPT a long and intimidating document, such as a blockchain white paper, and then asking for 20 key takeaways. Ideally, humans would then verify the accuracy and coherence of these insights.

6. Summarize crypto-adjacent news

“I don’t think you’re going to get replacements for reporters,” says Nathaniel Whittemore, who now hosts a daily AI podcast in addition to his daily Web3 podcast. He believes that traditional journalism — with human interviews, reporting, and a dose of skepticism — will help publications differentiate themselves from AI-reliant content farms.

That being said, Whittemore imagines that in the Web3 space specifically, AI could be used to quickly summarize crypto-adjacent news. “CoinDesk is the destination website for a lot of people in Web3,” says Whittemore. But CoinDesk is not the destination for all business or financial news. So for areas outside of its core competence, why not use AI as a service to the readers? What happens to the S&P 500 is not exactly CoinDesk’s focus, but it is of interest to most in the space. So Bloomberg or Wall Street Journal articles could be summarized and then linked to by AI, says Whittemore, as these are “sort of orthogonal to their interests, but relevant.”

7. Extract insights from long videos

There are already plug-ins available for ChatGPT that allow you to quickly summarize and synthesize videos, and these will only improve over time. For instance, if there’s a two-hour-long speech at a Bitcoin conference, you don’t have to watch the entire thing. You can simply plug it in, and within a few minutes, you can get the entire transcript or a summary of the key points.

The one thing everyone in the industry can agree on is that there’s a lot of talking at crypto conferences.

Bucket III: Audience Engagement

8. Create AI chatbots

Francesco Rulli, an Italian businessman and philanthropist, has already used AI chatbots to rapidly scale up education platforms for young Afghan women. These chatbots could be trained on a body of Web3 knowledge, like an archive of CoinDesk explainers, and serve as a dynamic guide for those learning about crypto. “You have a digital assistant that helps you to navigate,” says Rulli, “just like Virgil did with Dante in the inferno.”

What if instead of reading an article, you chat with a bot who tells you about the news?

Rulli also envisions an AI chatbot primarily focused on crypto education. But beyond that, chatbots could change the nature of news itself. What if instead of reading an article, you could chat with a bot that provides you with all the news and answers any questions you might have? This is a more speculative idea, but there are also more immediate uses for AI.

9. Facilitate better reader comments and interactions

Comments sections are often the worst part of the internet. AI can help clean this up. “The New York Times relies on something called Perspective API,” says Leibowicz, which uses machine learning to rank comments based on how toxic they are.

10. Quickly transform content to publish across other platforms

Every newsroom struggles to keep up with the constantly changing content platforms. AI can help by making it easy to publish across platforms. “You as a journalist can write this story, but maybe there are other modes of storytelling that can reach a different audience,” says Leibowicz. With just a few clicks, you can turn a 1,000-word article into a punchy Tik-Tok video.

11. Scale and automate social media

Once an article is finished, editors often have to come up with “call to action” tweets, which is not what they trained for. AI can help by quickly creating graphics and prompts for social media. Feed it an article, and it can generate 10 Twitter prompts. In the future, the entire process may be automated.

12. Customize the news reading experience

“AI can match interests with information, and information with interests,” says Rulli. For example, if you’re Italian, you might be more interested in news from Italy. The AI can learn your preferences and tailor the content to your interests. If you’re into NFTs, you’ll get more of that. A Bitcoin maximalist will get more Bitcoin, Lightning Network, and Michael Saylor news.

Final thoughts

The potential of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is immense and can be groundbreaking. However, there are also significant risks and disclaimers that come with it. These include concerns about data privacy, bias in AI, inaccuracy and hallucinations, an over-reliance on AI, security, the loss of a personal touch, legal uncertainty, and ethical issues.

Our final AI expert recommended many of these disclaimers and added a note of caution. The expert emphasized the importance of carefully considering the implications of AI integration and using AI responsibly. While AI can significantly improve efficiency and user experience, it should not compromise user privacy, accuracy, or the site’s values. Our AI expert is ChatGPT.

This article was edited by Ben Schiller.

We will continue to update Phone&Auto; if you have any questions or suggestions, please contact us!


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