FIBEP Tech Day 2021

Magdalena Horanska

What sort of artificial intelligence can be effectively applied in the field of media monitoring and analysis? This year’s FIBEP Tech Day 2021 conference focused on this topic. The event is organized annually for its members by the international association FIBEP, which brings together companies engaged in media intelligence services. This year’s conference took place virtually due to the global pandemic.

The conference was opened by our very own Magdalena Horánska, who has been the general secretary of the association since 2019, and who also moderated the conference together with Sophia Karakeva from the Greek company Datascouting.

The conference was divided into three blocks with six speakers and a final informal discussion. In the first block, Jochen Spangenberg from the German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle presented the available artificial intelligence tools to combat misinformation. Deutsche Welle uses these for easier and more efficient tracking of the source of a message.

The development of such tools is possible thanks to the close cooperation of monitoring companies, the media, research centres, sociologists, psychologists, and other specialists. However, verification of text by people without the use of technology can be erroneous due to subjective bias, so it is appropriate to combine artificial intelligence and human work. This was also confirmed by Athena Vakali from Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, who presented a study on robots on social networks and the possibilities of their detection. According to the conclusions of Professor Vakali’s team, it is very difficult to detect robots on social media and distinguish the results of their activities from ordinary human activity.

Rebecca Skippage from BBC also addressed disinformation and its detection, speaking together with freelance journalist Alistair Coleman about the specific challenges editors face when deciding which events to cover so as not to amplify the voice of disinformation. Further, it was presented which artificial intelligence tools BBC uses to achieve that.

In the last block, David Llorente from the technology company Narrativa presented a project of automatically generated texts (so-called NLG – Natural Language Generation) for the Wall Street Journal and other partners. The conclusion then belonged to the Identrics company presenting the possibilities and use of automatic classification, extraction of entities, and creation of automatic summaries.

This year’s Tech Day has clearly shown how important role advanced technology can play in the media space. The human role is still irreplaceable, but AI technologies untie our hands from manually and intellectually demanding activities and allow us to think about topics in a much broader context. At the same time, this creates new „manual“ activities that will need to be developed. Tech Day thus confirmed that the NEWTON Group has set out in the right direction in this area.

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NEWTON Media was yet again shortlisted for the AMEC Awards for the best media analysis, entering with their research on the image of schizophrenia in the Czech media landscape. The winner of this year’s Awards will be announced in a few days during AMEC Global Summit 2019 happening in Prague. If successful, NEWTON will be winning for the 4th year in a row.

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