Hundreds of journalists reacted with indignation when well-wishers urged them to ‘learn to code’ in response to a round of firings at mainstream media companies like Buzzfeed and Huffington Post.
In an alarming development, it appears that it may be too late- as segments of computer code are already learning how to create journalism in their place.
A video of a computerized AI program introducing itself as a news anchor has been published by China’s Xinhua News.
The reality of a literal non-player character introducing itself as a television anchor left many feeling alarmed and uncomfortable.
The Chinese AI ‘journalist’ appears relatively indistinguishable from an actual flesh-and-blood news anchor, possessing lifelike body language and facial features. Such a development attests to the increasing sophistication of “deep fakes” and other AI programs meant to realistically simulate human behavior.
If implemented in the west, programs like Xinhua’s AI journalist could mean further job losses in America’s media and journalism industry. Such a development would come with a hint of tragic irony, as liberals employed by mainstream media companies have been known to respond dismissively to the plight of working-class Americans facing job loss and reduced economic prospects due to automation.
Unfortunately, many mainstream figures within the journalism and media industry are unwilling to take the problem seriously, at least until it becomes clear that automation will affect their own career prospects, not just coal miners in Appalachia or truck drivers throughout America. Major social media platforms such as Twitter continue to feed journalists comforting lies, to the extent that suggesting they learn to code on Twitter will be met with an immediate ban for “targeted harassment.”
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