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Google Announces ‘Journalism AI’ Project

According to Google, in Asia-Pacific, journalists and publishers are increasingly grappling with questions over how quality journalism can thrive in the digital age

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A Google logo is seen at the company's headquarters in Mountain View, California, VOA
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To help news industry use Artificial Intelligence (AI) in more innovative ways, Google has announced a partnership with Polis, the international journalism think-tank at London School of Economics and Political Science, to create “Journalism AI”.

Part of the Google News Initiative (GNI), the “Journalism AI” project will focus on research and training for newsrooms on the intersection of AI and journalism.

“As part of ‘Journalism AI’, next year, we’ll publish a global survey about how the media is currently using — and could further benefit from — this technology,” Google said in a statement on Friday as it organised GNI Innovation Forum here.

“We’ll also collaborate with newsrooms and academic institutions to create a best practices handbook and produce free online training on how to use AI in the newsroom for journalists worldwide,” informed Matt Cooke, Head of Partnerships and Training, Google News Lab.

After testing with partners over the last two years, Google also introduced a new tool called Google Earth Studio which is an animation tool for Google Earth’s satellite and 3D imagery.

The tool empowers graphics specialists with new ways to leverage Google Earth imagery for storytelling.

“We’re inviting newsrooms around the world to start using the product for the first time,” said Google.

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Google on a smartphone device. Pixabay

According to the company, it has provided free training to journalists on a range of tools reaching more than 140,000 people in-person.

“Our training on Google tools for journalists are now available in 16 languages — including Indonesian Bahasa, Thai and Turkish,” said Cooke.

Google News in November launched a new innovation challenge to help scribes and publishers in the Asia-Pacific region produce quality journalism in the digital age.

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The Asia-Pacific Google News Initiative (GNI) Innovation Challenge will fund selected projects up to $300,000 and finance up to 70 per cent of the total project cost, that inject new ideas into the news industry.

According to Google, in Asia-Pacific, journalists and publishers are increasingly grappling with questions over how quality journalism can thrive in the digital age.

“From Yangon to Manila, Sydney to New Delhi, they are experimenting with fresh approaches to reporting and new business models,” said the company. (IANS)

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Google Not Going to Offer Controversial Face Recognition Technology

According to Walker, Google has long been committed to the responsible development of AI

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- The Google name is displayed outside the company's office in London, Britain. VOA

At a time when pressure is mounting on tech companies to utilise facial recognition technology with care to avoid its misuse, Google has said it will not offer the controversial technology for now.

Toeing Microsoft’s line which has asked governments across the world to regulate this technology, Google said facial recognition merits careful consideration.

“Like many technologies with multiple uses, facial recognition merits careful consideration to ensure its use is aligned with our principles and values, and avoids abuse and harmful outcomes,” Kent Walker, Senior Vice President of Global Affairs at Google, said in a blog post on Friday.

“We continue to work with many organisations to identify and address these challenges, and unlike some other companies, Google Cloud has chosen not to offer general-purpose facial recognition APIs before working through important technology and policy questions,” informed Walker.

Earlier this month, Microsoft President Brad Smith said that given the potential for abuse of the fast advancing facial recognition technology, governments across the world need to start adopting laws to regulate this technology in 2019.

“Unless we act, we risk waking up five years from now to find that facial recognition services have spread in ways that exacerbate societal issues,” warned Smith in a blog post.

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Google not to offer controversial face recognition technology.
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“The time for action has arrived,” he said, adding that the industry must also exercise restraint while using this technology.

Microsoft is one of several companies playing a leading role in developing facial recognition technology.

The company, Smith said, would start adopting new principles to manage the issues surrounding facial recognition technology in the first quarter of 2019.

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According to Walker, Google has long been committed to the responsible development of AI.

“These principles guide our decisions on what types of features to build and research to pursue. As one example, facial recognition technology has benefits in areas like new assistive technologies and tools to help find missing persons, with more promising applications on the horizon,” he added. (IANS)