New Report: Emerging technology and challenges of AI and Automated Decision-Making in News and Media

Author  Kathy Nickels
Date 5 December 2023

The ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making and Society (ADM+S) calls for an increased investment in research, evaluation tools and infrastructure to address emerging challenges of generative AI and automated decision-making in news and media environments. 

This call comes from the AI and Automated Decision-Making in News and Media: Key technologies and emerging challenges report released today. 

The report describes the latest phase of media automation, driven by recent advances in artificial intelligence. It draws on peer-reviewed research to map emerging challenges associated with the use of generative AI and automated decision-making across the news and media environment, from lack of competition in web search engines; limited transparency of recommender systems; ongoing challenges of moderation and curation of online content; to automated ad blacklisting and its unintended consequences.

“This has been a massive collaborative effort, bringing together insights from 22 experts from the ADM+S Centre, from across diverse disciplines and career stages.” said first author of the report, Dr Dang Nguyen, Research Fellow at the RMIT University node of the ADM+S. 

Associate Professor James Meese, Associate Investigator at the RMIT University node of the ADM+S Centre explained, “Our news and media environments are undergoing/experiencing a period of rapid automation. 

“Our hope is that the report provides a valuable introduction to the key automated systems and processes operating across the sector and various emerging challenges associated with this wider transition.”

One of the recommendations made in the report, suggests the deployment of innovative methods such as a social ‘cyber range’ for testing and analysing a range of issues already occurring on digital platforms.

These test environments are often used in cyber security to test issues in a contained environment. In a similar way, researchers believe we need a social test environment or ‘cyber range’, a national research infrastructure, to test and analyse digital platforms and social media content to reduce harms, anticipate problems and support positive outcomes from digital platforms.

Figure: Automated systems and emerging challenges from the report: Nguyen et. al. (2023). AI and Automated News and Media: Key Technologies and Emerging Challenges. Melbourne: ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making and Society, RMIT University.

“The cross-disciplinary nature of ADM+S has helped us think more creatively about how basic and applied research could address these emerging issues,” said Assoc Prof Meese.

This report provides an overview of the technologies and emerging challenges of AI and Automated Decision-Making in News and Media environments.  It is recommended for policymakers, industry participants, researchers and citizens seeking a better understanding of this current phase of media automation.

Report Authors:
Dang Nguyen, James Meese, Jean Burgess, Julian Thomas, Louisa Bartolo, Nicholas Carah, Dominique Carlon, Jeffrey Chan, Sam Kininmonth, Amanda Lawrence, Ramon LobatoAriadna Matamoros Fernández, Silvia Ximena Montaña-Niño, Lucinda Nelson, Jing QianAaron Snoswell, Damiano Spina, Arjun Srinivas, Nicholas Suzor, Avantik Tamta, Patrik Wikstrom, and Joanna Williams.