Pushing journalism to the forefront of digitalisation

June 23, 2022 | 13:52
All businesses and sectors are fundamentally changed by digital transformation. Journalism has changed more than most, as any form of mass communication is naturally tied to technology. That has been the case for hundreds of years since the first printing presses were invented. Whilst the need for technology has always been there, what is new is the pace of change.
Pushing journalism to the forefront of digitalisation
Colin Blackwell, Founder and CEO Enablecode

We live in an age of exponential change. It is said that the amount of change we will observe in our own lifetimes will be at least as much as all the changes of all human history that preceded it. We could well think that it would have been fun to be there when Gutenberg printed his first-ever document in 1450, but we are in luck as we will all witness even greater changes.

In my younger days in England, I would subscribe to the old broadsheets – impractically large sheets of paper that always managed to get awkwardly crumpled and annoy the person next to you on the train. Whatever was included was all that you could access at that moment.

What a contrast to today. We are nowadays so used to reading whatever most interests us personally in a convenient way online, that we forget how that was all made possible. As media readers, we are almost spoilt for choice, with everything so easy and accessible online. But that all took a huge amount of digital transformation to get us to that luxury. And it is an ongoing process, where further technology will make things even better.

I was having a coffee with a Vietnamese journalist recently who was showing me some of the technology they were looking at potentially using. There are ideas for using AI to scrape data sources for worthwhile written news, then have the AI summarise that into a video with an automatically-generated voiceover. The AI would then post onto social media channels and use machine learning to see what was most popular with viewers, to improve future videos.

This idea was quite casually mentioned and knowing I had a software company, they asked my opinion. I was genuinely impressed as this is literally world-beating technology. I do not think people are coming up with such innovation in my country, but it is potentially happening first in Vietnam. That demonstrates how well Vietnam is carrying out digital transformation.

It is not just in journalism, but across all businesses in Vietnam that we see this type of amazing innovation. Vietnam is rightfully regarded as a leading global technology hub – it is a reputation well earned. As with most things in technology, it is all very new. Those AI capabilities have only been available for a couple of years and it is here that people are coming up with the first practical uses. Vietnamese are great at not just creativity, but then actually getting on with it in practice to put technology into use.

I am looking forward to enjoying the future of innovation in media and communications. There will be ways to receive the news that I cannot even imagine now, but will undoubtedly come. Being in Vietnam, we will likely see that new technology here before many other places. It is all part of the fun of living here in the age of exponential change.

By Colin Blackwell

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