Di5rupt Mx3 Leadership interview: AI and the Media & Publishing Industry Q&A - Pt1

By: Rich Fairbairn, 17 February 2023

A futuristic 3d scene of walls of futuristic monitors running text

Di5rupt's Mx3 Leadership team recently interviewed industry leaders about the effect and outlook of the rising use of AI tools in the publishing sector. Glide's Richard Fairbairn sat down to discuss how the new phenomenon could change the landscape for publishers and journalists.

Q: How do you see AI’s impact on content operations in 2023? What are the things publishers should think of right now?

Before we get into details it’s worth setting the scene a little, and clarifying a point for the pedants among us!

  • Most of the AI people are talking about is not “true AI”, but more like Machine Learning and similar ‘educatable’ software. But we’re all calling it AI because, well, that’s what everyone is claiming it is in their marketing, their news reports, and everything else. It’s fair to say that outside of proper computational science circles, the rest of us just see it as a catch all term for ‘a leap forward in what software can do when it can learn patterns’.
  • Even if you aren’t yet convinced that such AI could have much impact on or for your business now, it is at a tipping point for wider use in daily life for all your readers and audiences and many of your suppliers.

Whether it’s packaged as chatbots, helpdesks, recommendations, better search, better ads, better healthcare, documents that write themselves, cars that drive themselves, whatever – there are going to be countless tools and services, often quite mundane, getting AI-like assistance.

So why does that matter? Until now, it’s been easy to see anything badged AI as the preserve of massive businesses with oceans of money, data science teams, and years to plan. No more: we’re now in the era of cheap accessible AI that does boring stuff and can be used easily.

Look how effectively ChatGPT has demystified AI for content businesses simply because it’s doing something we can understand: it writes things. In seconds, for literally fractions of cents. Boom! Just like that “AI in publishing” went from mostly intangible to something completely real and accessible.

With that in mind, it’s now much easier to consider how AI could be useful in publishing. You don’t need to think of it as reserved for the highest-concept projects and budgets suitable for moon landings: you can start with tasks which are small and fiddly but vital, at low cost and commitment.

If you used AI to, for example, only do better SEO page descriptions, you would be removing a fiddly task for a person and probably see an instant improvement in page performance to boot. Your writer can bring way more value elsewhere.

Increment that to, let’s say, better article metadata, better image metadata, better choices of related articles, better paywall pricing offers – all things which can improve returns instantly and free up disproportionate human time, which is what we all want. We want AI to free up people and magnify their effectiveness.

To see the full interview, visit the Di5rupt MxLeadership site here.

The full report can be downloaded here.