07 Mar 2018 – 11:09

Al Jazeera summit discusses artificial intelligence in detail

The participants during the annual Al Jazeera Future of Media Leaders’ Summit.

The Peninsula

DOHA: The second day of the annual Al Jazeera Future of Media Leaders’ Summit (FMLS) got underway yesterday with a series of keynote addresses from dignitaries and panels discussing Media and Cloud – Limitless Possibilities. It followed on from a successful first day discussing Cloud and Security.

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On Monday afternoon following keynotes, the Summit broke down into specialist parallel sessions to discuss how the cloud is transforming their working environment, increasing collaboration and even changing approaches to issues like disaster management, as Hervé Pavard, Chief Technology Officer at French channel TF1 explained.

The panels debated new innovations such as Eluvio’s use of the blockchain for smart contracts, allowing suppliers and users to seamlessly record transactions through distributed ledger technology, and discussed the advantages of the automation and scalability that the cloud will provide.

In the evening, Abdullah AlNajjar, Al Jazeera’s Executive Director of Global Brand and Communications, addressed the audience at the Gala Dinner, saying, “We have come to be known as the media network where the world conducts debate, dialogue, and informed conversation. It is global space for free expression that needs to be protected”.

He also reiterated Al Jazeera’s commitment to a free and independent media, through its global #demandpressfreedom campaign. This provided the context for yesterday’s detailed exploration of Artificial Intelligence and Augmented Reality.

Addressing the Summit, Dr Mostefa Souag, Acting Director General of the Al Jazeera Media Network said, “The purpose of organizing such an event is to seek – through acquaintance, dialogue and discussions – to highlight the most important challenges faced by contemporary media, which present themselves with the adoption of new technology and innovation.

Serious and professional journalism and media is based on applying professional, high standards such as truthfulness, accuracy, objectivity, and balance while preserving individuals’ and organizations’ rights and privacy.

At the end of his keynote, Dr Souag stressed that the high number of attendees proves that we are fundamentally hopeful for the future. He emphasized that meaningful development and progress not only creates new technological tools, but also enlightens us and serves mankind, feeding our humanity’s hunger for knowledge.

The opening keynote was delivered by Yves Bergquist, of the Entertainment Technology Centre at University of Southern California, and corto.ai, was on Ethics and Implications of AI for the Media Industry.

He clarified the differences between machine learning, and machine understanding, and explained in depth how his technology is “numerically vectoring nuance” – enabling machines to understand the complex variety of humanity for the first time.

The applications for this in the media are manifold, and will help the media navigate an increasingly information-flooded news cycle. Commenting on the implications for job security in an AI-driven future, he said, “88% of jobs are staff-based, and if we are not careful with AI we may alienate our own society. Business values must not be divorced from our human values”.

Ali Shah, Head of Emerging Technology and Strategic Direction at the BBC presented on The Value of AI in Media.  Following the keynote, in the panel on robot reporting, asking if journalists are becoming an endangered species, Ingrid Silver of Reed Smith moderated experts including Dr. Yasir Bishr, Executive Director of Digital from Aljazeera, Ali Shah from the BBC, Rainer Kellerhals from Microsoft, and Dr. Ahmed from the Qatar Computing and Research Institute.