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Gamechanger AI?

On the March weekend before Easter, somewhere in Berlin Kreuzberg, a small conference room fills up with motivated young journalists. Outside, a steady rain pours against the large windows, there is a general sense of excitement in the corridor. Then the large ceiling lights in the hall go out and an atmospheric light illuminates a small stage with five chairs at the front of the room. A young dark-haired woman takes the stage with the words “Welcome to YouMeCon 2024 – Gamechanger AI? Journalism in the age of ChatGPT & Co.” The next three days will focus on the use of AI in journalism and the dangers and opportunities it presents. It starts with a panel discussion on the topic of “Gamechanger AI? With experts from science and journalism. One topic that comes up again and again is the fundamental fear that AI will become too smart at some point; the fear that robots and algorithms could one day take control over humans is clearly noticeable. Real worries are mixed with gloomy scenarios from science fiction films in which machines enslave and subjugate humanity.

AI as a tool

Hanna Möllers is often confronted with these concerns and accusations. Möllers is deputy managing director of the German Journalists’ Association and works as a journalist herself. She takes on the discussion surrounding AI with a trained smile but also takes a clear stance by clearly labelling AI as a tool. A tool that should be used with caution but is also an integral part of both the present and the future. “AI is like a knife, of course, I can do damage with a knife. I can hurt myself as well as others, or I can use it in the kitchen to prepare a delicious meal for friends and family. How you handle the knife is crucial,” emphasised Möllers.

Are robots taking over?

As a result, conference participants also expressed their concerns that AI could soon take over the work of journalists, jeopardising the quality and independence of reporting. The credibility of the established media in particular could be jeopardised. Others, on the other hand, see AI as a great opportunity to make journalism more efficient and diverse. However, as the discussion continues, it becomes clear that the fear of robots taking over the world is completely unfounded. The experts agree that we should be more concerned with so-called “weak AI”, i.e. systems that can perform specific tasks but do not have human-like intelligence – everything else is science fiction. The discussion at the conference clearly shows that artificial intelligence in journalism harbours both challenges and opportunities. It is now up to the media makers to find solutions together in order to utilise the potential of AI optimally and at the same time uphold the ethical standards of journalism.
At the kick-off event, various stakeholders spoke about the opportunities and risks of AI
We had the opportunity to visit the ARD capital city studio
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