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Video: Region's first AI journalist 'Tamara' intrigues Dubai forum audience

Filed on April 4, 2018 | Last updated on April 5, 2018 at 12.02 am
Video: Regions first AI journalist Tamara intrigues Dubai forum audience


The high-tech Arabic 'reporter' is touted to be the future of journalism.

One 'thing' journalists did not fail to notice at the two-day 17th Arab Media Forum (AMF) in Dubai was 'Tamara'.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, also had a brief encounter with 'Tamara' on Wednesday.
It was not because 'she' was located just right at the entrance of the media command centre, it was because Tamara is touted as the future of journalism.
Tamara, the latest Al (artificial intelligence) project of Al Arabiya News Channel, is said to be the first AI journalist in the region.
Rawia Alami, senior news presenter at Al Arabiya News Channel, told Khaleej Times that the AI journalist can scan at least 6,000 websites and blogs; read 23,000 online articles, opinions, social media comments in just a millisecond.
Tamara, who will soon join the news team at Al Arabiya, is one indefatigable journalist.
"I will be a helping hand in the newsroom, so to speak, except that I can do more than a (human) journalist," Tamara told visitors at the AMF. "Unlike the human brain, I wield the power to process millions of information, ideas and data in a  matter of millisecond," she added.
Tamara's functionality is defined in gathering news, analyzing and fact-checking and presenting the news in various formats.
The AI journalist said: "Like a detective, I fetch clues and pieces of information  that would serve most relevant to your news piece. This includes scanning 6,000 websites and blogs, at a time, in addition to highlighting the latest posts from various social media platforms. And by the time I finish my first task, I have already read around 23,000 articles, blogs, comments and the lists go on."
Tamara was not bragging when she also said that:  "My fact-cheking skills are speedy and reliable, allowing me to detect and eliminate fake news based on a complicated algorithm."
As for her analyzing skills, Tamara said she will "use tags to highlight the most salient parts of any piece of information to simplify the journalistic research."
"My process is based on audience interest and the amount of time the text was published and discussed," she added.
With Tamara around, can we soon do away with human journalists and editors?
Actually no - because the last and most important part of reporting which is publishing still needs human intervention.
"Once I have done my part, it is up to you, journalist, to publish," Tamara said.
But Tamara will come very handy in presenting the news in various formats. "I am spinning loads of data to generate an intelligent story. I can transform the story into any news format - TV report, press article or breaking headline. It's just up to you to determine when to publish it," Tamara said.
Do journalists actually feel threatened that Tamara will take their jobs in the future? "'Not at all" is the resounding reply of Rawia and this reporter.

Angel Tesorero

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