Artificial intelligence - robots - future media
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If you're looking for a new job in journalism, how does augmented reality producer sound? How about bot developer? Or public editor for code?

These are just some of the roles Amy Webb, founder of the Future Today Institute, predicts may be seen in newsrooms in as little as 10 years.

Speaking at the ONA conference in Denver, Webb explained the next wave of digital would be underpinned by artificial intelligence (AI).

"It will impact all aspects of journalism," she said.

"Our newsrooms will look different. Things like reporter and social media manager will be gone."

Webb was presenting her 10 tech trends for journalists at the conference, which include object recognition (the ability for machines to recognise actions and behaviours and produce computer-generated news videos); conversational computing (such as bots); and mixed reality, such as augmented reality, virtual reality, and 360 degree videos.

Instead, argued Webb, newsrooms will shift their focus to more immersive and interactive forms of computer-assisted reporting (CAR), to help reporters analyse public documents and crunch data.

An investigations team would still exist, for example, but may be assisted by bots, and its scrutiny would be geared towards algorithms and data.

Computer-assisted reporting is already being used in newsrooms to some extent, such as ProPublica's Election DataBot, which collects vast amounts of data around the US presidential election, producing real-time reports on campaign finance filings, polls, Google search trends, and more.

Webb's predictions for a newsroom where traditional roles such as line editor and copy editor/fact checker no longer exist generated quite a stir on Twitter.

"Hummm, not sure where I would fit in here," tweeted Kim Fox, a journalism professor at The American University in Cairo. "Where's the storytelling?"

"People who can write, dig up facts, break big stories and know what news is will always have jobs," tweeted 9 News investigative reporter Chris Vanderveen.

And the BBC's mobile editor, Trushar Barot, wondered if his job might soon "be in the column on the left" too.

And while Webb quantified her predictions as "probably" the jobs of the future, she reiterated that "AI has not fully arrived... but it will soon."

"Now is the time to stop and ask these questions. Learn what AI is, what it can and cannot do, the difference between general AI and specific AI, learn the lexicon, read some papers.

"The future of news is not predetermined, it is something we are all creating together, in the present."

Update: This piece was updated to include a summary of Webb's 10 tech trends, and a link to ONA's write-up.

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