Have you ever talked to a gadget immediately? There are lots of potentialities for this, with the variety of clever voice-activated audio system and synthetic intelligence duties that develop quickly as producers and builders search to capitalize on the recognition of voice assistants resembling Alexa. When you’ll be able to management the devices, invoke your favourite songs, get a climate forecast and extra just by saying a couple of phrases, why wouldn't you?
However with regards to information, particularly in a media panorama in which there’s a rising concern about misinformation within the type of & # 39; pretend information & # 39 ;, and with the fact-checking processes by Fb that fall into discredited, there’s an ongoing debate about what impression there will probably be a rising use of voice interfaces to entry the information.
Whereas Siri was maybe the primary recognized voice assistant, and supplied inspiration for Spike's Oscar-winning movie Jonze Ella, the successors of Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant, have confirmed to be far more fashionable and able to transmitting the information to our orders.
In October, we noticed BBC Information launch an Alexa-specific news service in an attempt to interact with listeners through the popular voice assistant, with a combination of dedicated reports and reused information from other BBC editorial channels. (If you want to try it, just ask Alexa, "Give me BBC news").
To understand how voice search is changing the way in which news is accessed and distributed, and the possible consequences, we contact several figures who work at the heart of digital news production and distribution.
Make the most of voice search
We talked to Mukul Devichand, executive editor of BBC Voice + AI, about the reasoning behind the dedicated Alexa news service of the British broadcaster, and what it meant for future news broadcast.
"Our journey has just begun with this," Devichand said, calling Alexa's current service "the first iteration" on a much larger roadmap. "It is quite clear to me as a producer and editor for a long time, that the path We tell stories that should be reviewed with every major change on the Internet.
“The growth of artificial intelligence assistants has the potential to significantly alter the way we obtain information. Attendees offer an obvious and easy way to ask questions, which could be really transformative. What is easier than simply saying "tell me what is happening", or "Brexit happened yet", or "Arsenal won the game", or "I really do not understand why there is a war in Syria", to an assistant? Then we can end up doing that instead of just touching our phones. "
With smart speakers becoming fixed elements in millions of homes around the world, it is imperative that news stations attend to the new medium, in the same way that they have adapted to move through the news and a generation accustomed to receiving updates to requested through Twitter, Facebook and Google News on their smartphones, instead of the scheduled television newsletters, the BBC and other major stations around the world built their reputation.
Devichand also recognizes the changes and challenges that come with new methods of accessing information, suggesting that people today have a "24/7 currency expectation, and a genuine desire for interaction and depth on demand, with great confusion and distrust. the way online news is manipulated. "
Why distrust? "When algorithms or AI guide us to the contents, the dangers of misinformation, echo chambers and a polarized society are very real and current," he explains.
The danger of self-healing
Fake news is a big concern these days, whether it's about being retweeted without thinking or if the media distort the facts for the sake of a good story that readers will click on, with Facebook relaxed attitude towards deceptive political ads proving to be very controversial in the period before another election.
The danger with voice search specifically is that, given the brief and digestible snippets that Alexa and other smart assistants tend to provide, users could get an incomplete or overly simplistic picture of the day's events, and perhaps see only one side. of history
We spoke with Matilde Giglio, an investor in the venture capital firm Hambro Perks and founder of Compass News, a news aggregation service that was founded with the aim of getting news readers out of the echo chamber. Giglio sees voice search as a natural way to access the news, even if it tends to extract information from its original context.
"The voice is correctly seen by the publishers as a great opportunity to reach demographic data that is not always in tune with the news," says Giglio. “The podcast boom shows how people love audio. Young people are moving away especially from conventional sources, and they love the nature of the voice on demand that fits their daily routines.
“But publishers fear they are losing control over their content when it is repackaged or cured to fit the voice on demand, as with Alexa. The content is also separated from the publisher's own platform, and its brand risks being diluted. "
Giglio believes there are opportunities for voice assistant developers to gain the trust of publishers, and the BBC News Alexa service could be the beginning of a healthier relationship between news sources and the companies that distribute their content.
Mukul Devichand of BBC Voice + AI certainly believes so, arguing that the service is a way to channel users to a reliable news platform, rather than giving them more room to discard coverage sections:
"There has been some comment since we launched the service, saying it could perpetuate the echo chambers by giving people more control, but in fact it is the opposite here: once they ask & # 39; Give Me BBC News & # 39; they remain within a BBC experience that claims to be impartial and powerful, and that is the difference. "
Convenience at all costs
As much as we value the convenience of a voice-based interface, or the immediacy of the content they send us through various online channels, the ease with which we can share and receive information is the biggest obstacle to quality assurance or Basic verification of the facts. of what we hear and read.
Devichand talks about the appeal of "conversational AI," and some broadcasters and media may be taking steps in the right direction by gaining control of their editorial presence. However, if we are more interested in the convenience of having a conversation with AI than being precise, that can make it increasingly difficult to convey the truth to our homes.