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The UAE has a new AI journo: Is artificial journalism a job taker?

Global media organizations have been using AI since 2017, only now the technology is gaining a prominent role and in some cases eliminating traditional media jobs

Kundera enables the generation of articles with speed and accuracy never seen before in the region AI robots perform basic tasks like writing two to six paragraphs on sports scores and quarterly earnings reports The future of journalism, and its survival, could lie in artificial intelligence

Dubai-based start-up, KF Solutions, has announced the launch of Kundera, a unique AI mobile application developed in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) that will enable individuals and businesses to research and generate articles in minutes to improve productivity and increase efficiency.

This is not a new trend. Global media organizations have been using AI since 2017, only now the technology is gaining a prominent role and in some cases eliminating traditional media jobs.

Let’s first take a look at Kundera.  

Article producing intelligence  

Kundera, the mobile app and web platform for enterprise, was launched on September 14th in English, with Arabic being rolled out in early 2021, and further languages being rolled out in the following months. 

The platform enables the generation of articles with speed and accuracy never seen before in the region, KF solutions claims, adding businesses in the region can empower their workforce to be more productive by saving time and enabling faster, more accurate decision-making underpinned by insight and data.

The app is the brain-child of Kareem Farid, a former journalist and communications professional. 

“We have had over 10,000 downloads within 48 hours, and it’s been fantastic to see the appetite. It is set to empower users to focus on their creative output and save hours they would otherwise spend on mundane tasks,” he said.

Kundera is available to download on Apple AppStore and Google Play Store.  

Another AI creation is Contentyze which is a universal platform that generates texts based on data sources and aiming to build a universal set of tools for media agencies, news outlets, and marketing companies.

AI, an aide to journalism

The future of journalism, and its survival, could lie in artificial intelligence (AI), according to Francesco Marconi, a professor of journalism at Columbia University in New York, author of Newsmakers, Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Journalism.

In Canada, The Canadian Press news agency is, for example, has developed a system to speed up translations based on AI. The Agence France-Presse news agency (AFP) also uses AI to detect doctored photos.

At the moment, AI robots perform basic tasks like writing two to six paragraphs on sports scores and quarterly earnings reports at the Associated Press (AP), election results in Switzerland, and Olympic results at the Washington Post.  

AI robots analyzing large databases can send journalists at Bloomberg News an alert as soon as a trend or anomaly emerges from big data.

AI can also save reporters a lot of time by transcribing audio and video interviews. The machines can analyze complex data in no time at all.

AI has also helped developing systems for detecting fake videos (deepfakes) and fake news.

AI and Machine Learning (ML) sports solutions are capable of identifying specific game objects, constructs, players, events, and actions helping sports producers create highlight packages automatically even when the game is in progress, which are immersive experiences that fans demand.

The Times cut digital subscriber churn down by half last year using AI software dubbed JAMES (Journey Automated Messaging for Higher Engagement) that created newsletters tailored to readers’ interests.

Bloomberg’s Cyborg AI tool helps reporters to be first with the headlines on financial market movements in a competitive environment.

UK news agency PA’s Radar (Reporters and Data and Robots) service, which launched in 2017, uses software to produce localized data stories at scale and speed: up to 30,000 a month for its local news clients.

Does AI replace journalists?

Perhaps AI is not there to replace journalists or eliminate jobs. Marconi believes that only 8-12% of reporters’ current tasks will be taken over by machines.

But Microsoft News isn’t aware of that. It is upping its use of algorithms for certain editorial functions, handing out layoff notices to contract journalists in the US and UK. 

The layoffs signal a shift from AI systems augmenting journalistic tasks to replacing news jobs.

Multiple accounts say the functions being converted to algorithmic work include story selection and placement, optimizing headlines, and picking supplementary material, such as images.  

In China, a 3D AI news anchor is the latest in a steady evolution of ‘vocational avatars’ in China. Like its predecessors, this AI presenter is modeled after a well-known news person.  They are promoted for their ability to ‘work tirelessly.’

Sogou has previously shown four AI news presenters, two males and two females, each based on known news personalities.