OLD Media Moves

How the FT is using AI for journalism

August 24, 2020

Posted by Chris Roush

Calum Chace of Forbes.com writes about how the Financial Times is using artificial intelligence to help its journalism.

Chace writes, “Another way the FT is using AI is to spot trends within economies and within markets. The FT’s own content lends itself to this kind of analysis, and it is looking at using other data sources too.

“The FT is also using bots to help it reduce the bias within its own output. A system called Janetbot – named after Janet Yellen, former chair of the Federal Reserve – analysed the gender ratio of the faces appearing in the paper. It was trained on an industry-wide sample of photos, but its use had to be paused earlier this year, when it became apparent the sample was not racially diverse enough to detect gender reliably.

“The FT, of course, is an unusual newspaper. It was one of the first to introduce a paywall successfully, when it became apparent that the old model of display and classified ads were not going to work so well in the new digital world. In recent years, it has moved heavily towards the subscription revenue model. The FT’s Innovation Editor, John Thornhill, relates the adage that there are two kinds of people who will pay for accurate news: investors and spies. The former want to avoid investing in the wrong company, and the latter want to avoid ordering a drone strike on the wrong target. He assumes it is mainly the former who subscribe to the FT, but you never know with spies…

“Because of the importance of accuracy, the FT is always on the lookout for new ways to spot and correct errors. Its systems track reader engagement with articles, and monitor their feedback. Thornhill says this is like having an AI mark your homework in real time: valuable, if a little scary. But the best error detection protocol remains crowdsourcing – the hive mind of FT readers.”

Read more here.

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