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News organisations are using AI but many are concerned about its ethical implications, survey shows

This photograph taken on July 5, 2023 shows a sign of International Telecommunication Union (ITU) AI for Good Global Summit in Geneva
This photograph taken on July 5, 2023 shows a sign of International Telecommunication Union (ITU) AI for Good Global Summit in Geneva Copyright FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP
Copyright FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP
By Euronews
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A new report on the use of AI in journalism found that more than 60 per cent of respondents were concerned about its ethical implications.

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A majority of news organisations globally are using artificial intelligence (AI) in at least one aspect of their work, but many remain concerned about the ethical implications of doing so.

That is according to the second global survey of news organisations conducted by the London School of Economics (LSE)'s JournalismAI project.

A total of 105 news and media organisations in 46 different countries completed the survey between April and July 2023.

Nearly three in four news organisations said that they were using AI in either news gathering, production or distribution, and around 80 per cent of respondents expect that AI will have a larger role in their newsrooms in the future.

But more than half said they were concerned about the "ethical implications of AI integration for editorial quality and other aspects of journalism", the survey found.

"Journalists are trying to figure out how to integrate AI technologies in their work upholding journalistic values like accuracy, fairness, and transparency," the report authors wrote.

They added that some journalists fear AI technologies could further commercialise the industry and erode public trust.

Just one-third of survey respondents said their news organisations were ready to deal with the challenges of using AI in the newsroom.

A similar number of respondents said that their newsrooms had an institutional strategy for using the technologies or were developing one.

Around 85 per cent of survey respondents said that they had at least experimented with generative AI to help with writing code, image generation and authoring summaries.

'Exciting and scary technological change'

"Journalism around the world is going through another period of exciting and scary technological change," said the director of LSE's JournalismAI project Charlie Beckett in a statement.

"Our survey shows that the new generative AI tools are a potential threat to the integrity of information and the news media. But they also offer an incredible opportunity to make journalism more efficient, effective and trustworthy. This survey is a fascinating snapshot of the news media at a critical juncture in its history".

As these new technologies increase in newsrooms, there will be a need to integrate this into young journalists' training.

"Most journalism graduates I see coming into our newsrooms have very little understanding unless they themselves are naturally inquisitive," a South Africa-based newsroom was quoted in the report as saying.

The survey also highlighted large differences between the use of AI globally, with the "social and economic benefits of AI" limited to the Global North.

The report said the lack of technical infrastructure, limited resources, and language challenges in the Global South were among the various reasons behind the inequality.

The authors recommended that newsrooms should better inform employees about AI, assign responsibility to someone on the topic in the workplace, review the impact of AI tools, draw up guidelines, and collaborate moving forward.

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