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Artificial Intelligence to impact publishing industry
March 10, 2018, 4:43 pm

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and algorithmic reporting would profoundly impact media and publishing industry than all other revolutions that came before it, while providing more time for creativity, predicted UAE Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Omar bin Sultan Al Olama.

The minister was delivering his keynote address at the 13th iteration of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) Middle-East Conference. The event, which was organized in association with Dubai Production City, was held in Dubai from 28 February to 1 March.

Held under the theme of ‘Roadmaps for Transformation’ the two-day event brought together over 300 media experts, publishers, journalists, policymakers, and other stakeholders from around the globe for a series of industry talks and sessions. The sessions on modern publishing platforms, as well as content and commerce, provided publishing executives an ideal opportunity to discover the latest in regional and global trends, and best practices in the publishing and media industry. The conference aimed to attract, foster and empower young innovative talent in the region, and explore the outlook for news media companies amidst the rise of digital content.

Saying that “I just want to share a few facts and perspectives about change”, happening in the publishing industry, the UAE minister for AI added in his keynote address, “We are at a crossroads today, some feel hope and some fear of being made obsolete. We must understand that change is important for the future.”

Highlighting the publishing industry’s adaptability, and its shifting relationship with the reader over the years in the face of three separate revolutions — the invention of the printing press, the computer age, and the internet revolution — Minister Al Olama said: “Readers have always read, but with the internet and social media, the delivery of news has changed and the relationship with readers has also undergone a sea change. But Artificial Intelligence will have a bigger and more profound change than all three of the earlier revolutions.”

The minister added that innovators in media are already collaborating with tech companies to find ways that smart machines can help in data processing and other automated tasks, which will streamline the newsroom workflow. He said: “Some people may view this change with fear, fear for the future. But I see great potential in this development. If we get rid of the repetitive, automated tasks that take up our time, we can then focus on the creativity for which our species is known. Humans can leverage technology for progress and for a better future.”

For his part, Majid Al Suwaidi, Managing Director, Dubai Media City, Dubai Studio City and Dubai Production City said, “In the MENA region, the market for New Media is expected to grow from US$1.7 billion in 2015 to $3.6 billion by 2020. Furthermore, more than 60 percent of the MENA media market is in the GCC region. We have all witnessed the change in the media landscape and how it continues to evolve,” said Al Suwaidi.

Pointing out that in order to leverage the huge potential for growth and maintain a competitive edge the industry must evolve through simplification and providing quality content, Al Suwaidi said, “Publishers need to create content that is engaging and relevant. Companies need to constantly innovate and be open to new idea to reach wider audience segment while staying connected with their current consumers.”

Meanwhile, the Director of Middle-East WAN-IFRA Mechthild Schimpf pointed out that the exponential growth and adoption of consumer technologies drives new news media consumption patterns that force publishers to react rapidly and adjust their businesses accordingly. “By sharing industry best practices through our global events, we facilitate peer-to-peer connections for sharing and learning from one another’s experiences," said Mr. Schimpf.


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