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Disruptive innovations and future of Nigerian media

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Exploring opportunities available demands a complete rethink of client’s engagement and business development models. A recent study by McKinsey Global Institute revealed that one-fifth of the global workforce would be impacted by the adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and automation.

The report noted that by 2022, 50 per cent of companies would decrease the number of their staff. The report also said that by 2030, robots would replace 800 million workers across the world.

The World Economic Forum said in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, all sectors would need to undergo a fundamental transformation to fully absorb the potential dividends of the data economy. Such transformations would also need to be accompanied by appropriate talent investments in data science skills.

According to The forum, “industries that have been able to capture a large share of high-skilled talent in more traditional data science skills such as, statistics or data management cannot afford to be complacent,” as they need to make “fresh investments in newer skills, such as data visualisation or statistical programming, if they wish to meet their potential.”

Artificial intelligence, which is one of the technology focuses of disruptive innovation, refers to the simulation of human intelligence in machines that are programmed to reason like humans and mimic their actions. Other technology focus areas are Robotics, Drones, 3-D printing, Augmented realities virtual realities and Internet Of Things IOT, etc.

In the media space, for instance, The Wall Street Journal is already adopting AI to actively help journalists in the newsrooms work more efficiently. It is facilitating a move away from routine work so that journalists can produce higher impact journalism. Machine learning is already helping reporters to sort out documents and images quickly as well as to find the most relevant information and providing journalists essential information to create more content while saving them time.

Similarly, Bloomberg reports that AI already develops 30 per cent of its financial stories. Their system, Cyborg, assists reporters in releasing thousands of articles on companies’ earnings each quarter and have the ability to dissect a financial report the moment it appears and creates an immediate news story.

Viacom, another US media conglomerate, with interests primarily in film and television, is using machine learning by figuring out precisely what their consumers want to see or enjoy seeing across both traditional and social platforms, then using this information to determine where it should be targeting adverts so that Viacom campaigns can reach wider audiences.

The question is how prepared is Nigeria’s media for the fourth industrial revolution?
Yomi Badejo-Okusanya, President of African Public Relations Association (APRA), said the way of consuming media has completely changed — you have to go where the customers are going and we all know that the customers are online. Someone like Linda Ikeji has no correspondence or offices and she is doing great. Everybody has gone online, so, my take is go where the customer has gone — you have to change. Media companies need to do a lot more to adapt, for instance, media houses must look for other sources of revenue, take for instance the economy.”

The data science and artificial intelligence expert, Toyosi Akerele-Ogunsiji, said, “I don’t see any industry that should be using data as much as the media. Communication scholars must understand python programming so that when number is brought, they can analyse and provide solutions. We must build a skills based economy. Research has shown that universities that have more skills are superior to universities that have knowledge because knowledge evolves.”

Also speaking, Managing Director, Jidaw System, Jide Awe said media houses must build capacity, because “it is a new technology and it is beyond ordinary computer literacy. Emerging technologies are very disruptive and employees must change their mentality.”

Awe said technologies “are more efficient and innovative” and they wouldn’t allow you to do things the former way. “Emerging technologies will remove certain jobs and create new ones. There will be high demand for critical thinkers in terms of emotion and empathy — that is, things that machine cannot do. There are certain jobs that you do on laptop that a machine can do better and it will not be tired.”


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