Opinion Technology
December 28, 2023

‘Journalists Must Embrace Prompt Engineering Skills as AI Enters Newsroom,’ says United Nation’s AI Advisor Neil Sahota

In Brief

Neil Sahota, Lead AI Advisor to the United Nations delved into the ethical considerations surrounding the coexistence of AI and journalism.

"Journalists Must Embrace Prompt Engineering Skills as AI Enters Newsroom," says UN AI Advisor Neil Sahota

In the field of journalism, the integration of artificial intelligence has taken center stage. Newsrooms are embracing AI avatar reporters like Xin Xiaomeng in China and Sana in India, which is cost-effective, speeds up reporting and allows for a localized and multilingual approach, enhancing community connections.

Similarly, BuzzFeed’s recent use of AI in content creation and quizzes has triggered debates and concerns among journalists about the impact on their roles and employment.

As newsrooms grapple with the transformative shift brought on by AI automation, a crucial question emerges: Can they ethically establish a harmonious relationship that combines AI capabilities with journalistic integrity?

In a conversation with Metaverse Post — Neil Sahota, Lead AI Advisor to the United Nations delved into the ethical considerations surrounding the coexistence of AI and journalism.

“The old adage of ‘trust but verify’ is paramount. Whatever information AI provides, the journalist must validate its accuracy, especially if it is research-related,” said Sahota.

“Journalistic integrity is, unfortunately, going to be a major challenge. Most reporters will behave ethically. Regrettably, there’s always a small percentage of people who will either use AI tools as shortcuts and not do the proper due diligence or abuse the tools in hopes that their bad actions will go unnoticed in the sea of content that’s out there,” he added.

It will not be an extrapolation to state that the future of newsrooms is hybrid intelligence – blending human expertise with AI capabilities. AI operates within its training limits and is unable to master effective storytelling or creativity. However, traditional reporting is here to stay.

“Recent events often will not have much AI support because the AI hasn’t been trained on them or does not have access to the most recent information to research them. This is where the “traditional” reporting needs to be at its highest,” Sahota told Metaverse Post. “Conversely, stories that require a lot of research, examples, or explanations (such as science-related articles) are prime areas to leverage AI support because of the wealth of historical data usually associated with these topics.”

Charting the Course for Journalists in the AI Era

The time is not far from where AI will be achieving near real-time insight generation. For instance, currently, AI can instantly analyze events like a basketball game, create highlight videos with effects, and share them on major platforms within seconds.

Such breakthrough helps in delivering high-level reporting, but it comes with a caveat – AI errors or manipulation could lead to ‘baseless panic’ in certain situations which is a concern and demands careful consideration in this age of information.

So, what lies ahead for journalists? According to Sahota, journalists need storytelling skills and prompt engineering expertise. Good storytelling with sound creativity and an understanding of audience preferences will be crucial at a time when the audience is bombarded with abundant content.

Additionally, as generative AI becomes essential, journalists must master prompt engineering to ensure accurate and valuable information. It’s a dual skill set that will set journalists apart in the evolving media landscape.

“With generative AI getting mainstreamed as a research tool, journalists need to know the art of prompt engineering. The recent experience of lawyers using ChatGPT for legal research highlights the consequence of poor prompts, where fake cases were generated instead of genuine legal precedents,” Sahota told Metaverse Post.

“Media, journalists, technologists, and regulators must unite to plan for AI’s impact. Open dialogue is crucial, with each sharing insights on benefits and risks. This diversity of thought ensures comprehensive considerations for the future of artificial intelligence,” he explained further

In essence, effectively achieving a collaborative approach would pave the way for hybrid intelligence to transform the news industry.

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About The Author

Kumar is an experienced Tech Journalist with a specialization in the dynamic intersections of AI/ML, marketing technology, and emerging fields such as crypto, blockchain, and NFTs. With over 3 years of experience in the industry, Kumar has established a proven track record in crafting compelling narratives, conducting insightful interviews, and delivering comprehensive insights. Kumar's expertise lies in producing high-impact content, including articles, reports, and research publications for prominent industry platforms. With a unique skill set that combines technical knowledge and storytelling, Kumar excels at communicating complex technological concepts to diverse audiences in a clear and engaging manner.

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Kumar Gandharv
Kumar Gandharv

Kumar is an experienced Tech Journalist with a specialization in the dynamic intersections of AI/ML, marketing technology, and emerging fields such as crypto, blockchain, and NFTs. With over 3 years of experience in the industry, Kumar has established a proven track record in crafting compelling narratives, conducting insightful interviews, and delivering comprehensive insights. Kumar's expertise lies in producing high-impact content, including articles, reports, and research publications for prominent industry platforms. With a unique skill set that combines technical knowledge and storytelling, Kumar excels at communicating complex technological concepts to diverse audiences in a clear and engaging manner.

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