Beyond AI, the newsroom of tomorrow must prepare for AGI

By Jan Thoresen

Labrador CMS

Oslo, Norway


By now, your entire newsroom has artificially powered publishing tools at your editors’ and their reports’ fingertips. AI is already built into the production system.

Now it’s time to start using them.

When the CEO of Softbank, Masayoshi Son (Masa), spoke at the SoftBank World corporate conference in October, he shared his vision of Artificial General Intelligence (AGI). While some experts think this never will be achieved, Masa told the audience that, within 10 years, we will have AI that will possess 10 times the wisdom of all mankind.

Everyone is focused on Artificial Intelligence, but right around the corner is Artificial General Intelligence.
Everyone is focused on Artificial Intelligence, but right around the corner is Artificial General Intelligence.

Slightly simplified, that means AI will go from narrow specific tasks to wider ranges of tasks — even tasks the models are not trained to do.

In a recent article, top Google Research executives Blaise Agüera y Arcas and Peter Norvig argue that AGI is already a reality, embodied in the current generation of advanced AI large-language models like ChatGPT, Google Bard, LLaMA by Meta, and Claude by Anthropic. The authors address the skepticism toward recognising these developments as AGI, stemming from debates over metrics, ideological commitments, human exceptionalism, and economic implications.

And, at the WSJ Live Tech conference in October, Vinod Khosla predicted that “80% of 80% of all jobs” will be made obsolete by AI in the coming decade, and that includes jobs in specialised, highly paid fields like accounting and medicine. Koshla is the first venture capitalist who invested in Open AI, and he is one of the founders of Sun Microsystems.

How can we train the mindset in our editorial teams for the AI reality today and the soon-to-come AGI? It will turn out differently than we expect, for sure. Fortunately, we have time.

Digital is not moving as fast as you might think. The term “superintelligence” was coined by Nicolas Bostrøm in his 2014 book Superintelligence. Open AI CEO Sam Altman loved the book, by the way, as it highlighted the risks of AI.

Vickey Williams from Kellogg School of Management detected in Life Beyond Print some years ago indicators for journalists’ digital appetite when coming from a print environment. Let me take the liberty to adapt their advice to address resistance against AI in the newsrooms:

1. Embrace AI skills: Start adapting to AI-powered platforms. For a journalist, this should involve learning about AI content research, the strengths and weaknesses of different AI models, and how to enrich your sites with AI as well as experimenting with different tools. Teach yourself the built-in AI tools in your existing editorial tools. Let your boss pay for our AI subscriptions; don’t stick to the cheaper free models.

2. Encourage personal Internet use and engagement: A strong correlation was found between personal computer use and a journalist’s eagerness to transition to online work. Staying actively engaged with digital trends and technologies in personal time can enhance a journalist’s digital appetite. Encourage your team to play with AI at home.

3. Adopt an adaptable mindset: The study emphasises the need for an adaptable personality and openness to change. Journalists should be proactive in learning new skills and adapting to the rapidly evolving media landscape. There is a significant emphasis on the need for ongoing digital training and education. Journalists should seek opportunities for professional development in digital journalism and new media technologies.

4. Keep up on knowledge of industry developments: Be in the know about AI. Keeping up with industry developments and company-wide initiatives is essential. This involves staying informed about the latest trends and innovations in media technology. You have to know the difference between and, between Claire and Claude.

5. Lean into leadership and strategic planning: Understanding the strategic priorities of news organisations, especially regarding digital transformation, is important. This helps in aligning personal development goals with industry trends. Most media companies are affected by a tough market for advertising and are working hard to attract subscribers. Find out how AI can help you reach your goals.

About Jan Thoresen

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