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Artificial intelligence yet unable to replace journalists - media congress members

Summing up the results of the forum’s final session, Mikhail Gusman said that the AI technologies, demonstrated by Xinhua and Sberbank can be used in the media industry

SOFIA, June 15. /TASS/. The artificial intelligence (AI) can assist the work of media outlets, but has so far been unable to completely replace journalists, according to participants of the final session of the 6th News Agencies World Congress, which ended in the Bulgarian capital Sofia on Friday.

During the discussion, led by TASS First Deputy Director General and Vice President of the News Agencies World Council Mikhail Gusman, advanced AI technologies from China and Russia were demonstrated to representatives of over 100 news agencies from over 90 countries.

The Director General of Xinhua Europe Regional Bureau, Yong Huang, demonstrated his agency’s virtual news reader - a computer-generated image of a real person that can read news in Chinese, English and Russian almost flawlessly and with proper mimics. According to him, the virtual news readers gained popularity among the young audience online. He also said that his agency employs robotized technologies for its weather forecasts, stock exchange reporting and sporting results.

"The use of artificial intelligence in preparing news reports is still at the earliest stage of its development, but we are convinced that it will seriously influence the development of journalism and will help news agency employees to do their work faster and better," he said.

The deputy editor-in-chief of Germany’s DPA news agency, Niddal Salah-Eldin, agreed that AI technologies can help journalists in doing their work.

"Artificial intelligence and automation may help in fulfilling routine tasks, in preparing reports about sports results, in fact-checking, in analyzing various data. We can improve certain elements of journalistic work, but we won’t be able to completely rely on artificial intelligence, robots cannot replace humans," he said.

The first deputy chairman of the Executive Board of Russia’s biggest lender Sberbank, Alexander Vedyakhin, joined the discussion to demonstrate AI technologies used by the bank. According to him, 40% of Sberbank’s profit are received as a result of using AI-based technologies.

Summing up the results of the forum’s final session, Mikhail Gusman said that the AI technologies, demonstrated by Xinhua and Sberbank can be used in the media industry.

"That’s why the discussion on the issue was very active and interesting. The 7th News Agencies World Congress will be held in three years, and I have no doubt that we will return to the topic of artificial intelligence and its use in the daily work of news agencies," he said.

He thanked the event’s organizer - the Bulgarian Telegraph Agency - and its Director General Maxim Minchev for "holding the congress at the highest level."

The News Agencies World Congress, held in the Bulgarian capital, centered around the future of the media sector. The sixth edition of the forum brought together heads of more than 120 news agencies from over 90 countries. The TASS delegation comprised Director General Sergei Mikhailov and his first deputy Mikhail Gusman. The opening ceremony was attended by Bulgarian President Rumen Radev.