Gresë Sermaxhaj brings you Day Four of our Media Information and Literacy Programme where we discussed in more depth about the newsroom in contemporary societies, and the implications of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in media and social media.
The fourth day of Youth Time International Movement’s Media Information & LiteracyProgramme started with a tour to BETA News Agency to end with an interactive panel discussion and cultural exchange between participants representing more than 20 nationalities.
Between Theory and Practice
The last day of full activities could not have been more productive, as participants had a closer look at how it is to be a journalist in Serbia – a country Freedom House listed as partly free when it comes to freedom of speech.
After visiting the agency’s newsroom, the participants heard more from Vojkan Kostić, Editor-in-Chief, BETA News Agency.
He initially presented a media situation overview, and then moved to the challenges of independent media in the country, the importance of fact-checking and government’s influence on media.
“The situation in the media in Serbia is difficult. Sometimes it seems like there is a place for everything but journalism. We are facing huge financial and political problems, and government control is increasing,” highlights Kostić, who has been working with BETA for almost two decades.
Combining the theory and practice of how journalism is developed and how it impacts our lives was a great takeaway from this day.
AI in Media: How to Use it to Our Best Interest?
Ibrahim Kushchu, Director of TheNextMinds led the second lecture of the day, by first giving simple examples of how AI is created and used.
AI is a simple imitation of the human brain and an extension of natural systems, he says.
He then takes us back to a historical background of how people have used intelligence in order to survive and, most importantly, to adapt.
“Throughout history we needed to be intelligent to avoid our predators, and to find food. All of our attempts for survival avoided and reduced uncertainty”, he explains.
He compared the narrow intelligence, the general intelligence and the super intelligence.
Despite all the advancement of AI, Kuşçu believes AI will never do pure-human tasks.
“AI creates constructs, so if you feed in data, it gives you correct answers”, he says, while putting it simply.
But, if the task is unique, and it has emotions and consciences (known as qualia) then it is harder for the AI to conduct or simulate them; he elaborates.
Is there Hope Toward an Unbiased AI?
Moving the AI into the media field and public sphere, the panel discussion of the day, moderated by Nerma Džaferović, brought together Kushchu, Professor Robert Warren, media theorist Christopher Sebastian, and Digital Advisor at Microsoft Karen De Sousa Pesse.
Together they delved into the implications of AI in media and how we can use it toward a fairer society.
In the beginning, they acknowledged biases are one of the biggest problems for data scientists to solve.
After a productive and, at points, passionate discussion, the speakers agreed that the main reasons they are critical to technology sometimes are precisely because they want to make it better and to use it to create a more peaceful world.
Seeing Through Participant’s Eyes
All this discussion and learnings take an even greater turn once we see how beneficial they are for participants of different backgrounds.
“It was a genuine pleasure being part of today’s session about AI in media and society. The speaker shared their experience and insights and built on others’ comments for the value of the audience,” says 27-year-old Youth Time Ambassador, Walaa Alfaqeeh from Saudi Arabia.
When this happens, she adds, you know it was a successful and value-packed session.
The day was also inspirational for Nerma Džaferović, 20, from Bosnia and Herzegovina, who emphasised the AI lesson.
“It was truly inspirational and educational to listen to great Ibrahim Kushchu talking about AI nowadays.”
This session helped her to understand the diversity and complexity of the ethical concerns arising from the development of AI.
The Last Day of a Memorable Experience
Today, besides completing their articles, participants will also enjoy a cultural excursion and the closing ceremony.
This event is being held in cooperation with Erasmus+ Youth Worker Exchange and we have been highlighting and livestreaming some of the best moments in social media.