There are many potential partners that can help us. Facebook and Google have the data, code, and horsepower and also want to make friends in media and need the human analysis and value we in journalism can bring. Open AI has backing from the likes of Elon Musk, Reid Hoffman, and Peter Thiel to explore uses of the technology. IBM’s Watson is now led by media savant David Kenny (formerly of Publicis, Akamai, and Weather Channel).
I can’t leave this topic without speculating on the incredible importance of AI and learning systems to advertising. They are already in use in programmatic advertising and that not-very-smart retargeting advertising that follows you all around the internet for months after you dare to look at a pair of boots on Amazon. Advertising will support journalism for sometime to come (there just isn’t enough charity or revenue from other streams to do it). The serving of advertising will more and more be dependent on exchanges backed by AI. The value of media’s environments and adjacencies will continue to be commoditized. This is why I argue we must build relationships — so we can build and act on our own first-party data. That data will be the only chip we have to play in this game.