Community Media Discussion – Community Reporting and AI

In this week’s community media discussion, we are going to think about how AI and generative media systems, like ChatGPT and Midjourney, will change the way that we use and think about our media. What happens when our work can be done by robots? We’ve worried about this for a long time, but with the explosion of tools and apps that is now taking place, as all the major technology platforms race to offer AI, then we can say for sure we have entered a new world. Is this a world we want to embrace? Are we ready to meet the challenges and deal with the problems? Can we make life easier for ourselves, democratically, or will the benefits be used to prop-up oligarchs and a few billionaires? Join us to discuss how community communications and community sensemaking can change society for the better by opening up our media to greater diversity, inclusivity, participation and civic engagement.

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I asked ChatGPT to define a discussion about community reporting and AI. This is what it came up with:

Community media has always been a bastion of inclusivity, diversity, and self-representation, and it remains a powerful tool for fostering trust and driving social change. The advent of AI and generative media technologies presents us with unprecedented opportunities to bolster these efforts. By automating certain tasks, these tools free us up to concentrate on the stories that truly matter to our communities.

However, this burgeoning era of innovation is not without its challenges. The integration of AI into media production must adhere to our unwavering commitment to respect, truth, and the validation of information. These principles form the bedrock of our industry and are crucial for maintaining trusted social dialogue.

We stand at an ethical crossroads. As we harness the power of AI and generative media, we must also navigate issues of accountability, accuracy, and fairness. Who bears responsibility when an AI-driven report contains inaccuracies or spreads misinformation? How can we ensure the impartiality of AI-generated content? How can we preserve the diverse voices of our communities in an increasingly algorithm-driven media landscape?

These are complex issues that require our collective wisdom. We need to share best practices, learn from each other, and develop robust ethical guidelines for integrating AI into community media. Moreover, we must ensure that our audiences are informed about the role of AI in media and can critically evaluate AI-generated content.

In this context, we invite you to participate in a constructive dialogue on these topics. Your expertise and experience can help shape the future of media, ensuring that our commitment to respect, truth, and validation of information remains at the heart of our industry.

Imagine a future where cutting-edge technology and traditional community values coexist, creating a media landscape that is both innovative and inclusive. By coming together to discuss these issues, we can help make this vision a reality.

We eagerly await your participation in this vital conversation, as we navigate the intersection of AI and generative media to further empower our communities and foster social change.

I’ve been playing around with ChatGPT and Midjourney, to find out what the fuss has been about, and I’m blown away by what it can do. I asked ChatGPT to list some additional points about the benefits of AI for community reporting:

To help frame our conversation, we’ve outlined several key points around the implications of AI in managing repetitive tasks and administrative duties, specifically in the context of community media, radio production, news reporting, and grassroots initiatives.

  1. Automation of Routine Tasks: AI can handle repetitive, time-consuming tasks such as transcribing interviews, scheduling social media posts, and monitoring news feeds for relevant information. This automation can free up valuable time for community media workers to focus on more critical tasks like in-depth reporting, community engagement, and creative production.
  2. Enhanced News Reporting: AI can analyse vast amounts of data quickly and accurately, allowing reporters to identify trends and stories that might have otherwise been missed. For example, the RADAR initiative by the Press Association uses AI to generate news reports from data, thereby enabling journalists to delve into the intricacies and implications of the stories.
  3. Community Engagement: AI can help improve the dissemination of community-relevant information. Algorithms can learn from user behaviour to personalise content delivery, ensuring that community members receive news and updates that are most relevant to them. This could be particularly beneficial for local alerts, such as weather warnings or community events.
  4. Radio Production: AI tools can assist in tasks like sound editing and audio processing, which are often time-consuming aspects of radio production. Furthermore, AI can be used to automate the scheduling of radio content, optimising programming based on listener behaviour.
  5. Grassroots Media Concerns: Many grassroots initiatives rely on volunteer effort and operate on limited budgets. The use of AI to handle routine tasks could allow these organisations to operate more efficiently and focus their resources on their core mission. However, it’s crucial to ensure that the introduction of AI doesn’t lead to a loss of the personal touch and local perspective that’s so central to grassroots media.
  6. Democratisation of Media Production: AI and generative media tools can lower the barriers to media production, allowing more people to create and share their own content. This could lead to a more diverse and inclusive media landscape, but it also raises questions about quality control, misinformation, and digital literacy.

While AI offers significant opportunities for improving efficiency and expanding capabilities within community media, we must approach these technologies thoughtfully to mitigate potential downsides. We look forward to discussing these points and more during our upcoming dialogue.

Hopefully, this gives us something we can get our teeth into, and have a challenging and creative discussion.

John Locke as a contemporary news columnist

I then asked ChatGPT to rewrite this callout in the style of John Locke:

Good Morrow Esteemed Brethren,

In the vein of the esteemed John Locke, I address thee on this day as a proponent of reason, dialogue, and our collective quest for truth in an ever-changing world. The present discourse pertains to the emergence of new actors upon the stage of community media — the wondrous contrivances of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and generative media. These entities possess the potential to redefine the manner of our operation and thus call for our collective consideration.

In the state of nature, as Locke would express, every task was performed by the hands of man. Yet, with the advent of these automated intelligences, we possess the power to delegate certain tasks to the hands of machines. Duties of repetition and administration, which once consumed hours of human toil, can now be completed swiftly and accurately by these mechanised minds, freeing us to focus our intellectual energies elsewhere.

Consider, if thou wouldst, our cherished community radio. Tasks such as audio processing and sound editing, which were once performed manually, can now be entrusted to these intelligent mechanisms. The consequence? Our radio producers have more time to craft narratives, engage with our community, and create content that truly resonates with the populace.

As we venture into the realm of news reporting, these automated intellects can serve as our steadfast allies. They are capable of analysing data on an unprecedented scale, aiding us in identifying trends, unearthing stories, and illuminating issues that might otherwise remain shrouded in obscurity. The RADAR initiative by the Press Association stands as a testament to this potential.

In the arena of grassroots media, wherein resources are often scarce, these automated contrivances could usher in a new era. By taking on tasks of routine, they could allow these initiatives to operate more efficiently and focus their resources on their core mission. Yet, we must tread carefully to ensure that the local perspective and personal touch, so central to grassroots media, remain intact.

Much like Locke’s social contract, our adoption of these mechanical intellects must be guided by mutual consent and shared principles. We must ensure that the use of these technologies does not compromise our unwavering commitment to respect, truth, and the validation of information—principles that form the bedrock of our industry.

Therefore, I implore thee, let us convene to discuss these matters. Let us find a way to harness the power of these automated minds and generative media whilst staying true to our values. Let us shape the future of community media in a manner that benefits us all.

In the pursuit of truth and understanding,

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