Publishing industry to witness dramatic shift with rise of AI

Publishing industry to witness dramatic shift with rise of AI DUBAI, 28th February, 2018 (WAM) — Omar bin Sultan Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, on Wednesday predicted that the Artificial Intelligence, AI, revolution would have a more profound impact on the media and publishing industry than all other revolutions.

Speaking on the opening day of the 13th edition of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers, WAN-IFRA, Middle East Conference, organised in association with Dubai Production City, Al Olama said, “I do not come bearing good news or bad news; I just want to share a few facts and perspectives about change. We are at a crossroads today. Some feel hope and some fear of being made obsolete. We must understand that change is important for the future.”

Al Olama was a guest of honour at the event that brought together over 300 media experts, publishers, journalists, policymakers, and other stakeholders from around the globe for a series of industry talks and sessions, under the theme “Roadmaps for Transformation.” The event runs until 1st March at the Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort and Marina and aims to provide publishing executives with an exceptional opportunity to discover the latest in regional and global industry trends and best practices.


Al Olama said that the publishing industry’s adaptability and its shifting relationship with the reader are in the face of three separate revolutions: the invention of the printing press, the computer age, and the Internet revolution.

“Readers have always read, but with the Internet and social media, the delivery of news has changed and the relationship with readers has also undergone a sea change thanks to Snapchat, Periscope and other apps. But Artificial Intelligence will have a bigger and more profound change than all three of the earlier revolutions. Through automation and Artificial Intelligence, news will always be customised and optimised for individual readers,” he added.

Innovators in media are already collaborating with technology companies to find ways that smart machines can help in data processing and other automated tasks, which will streamline the newsroom workflow.

“There will be an increase in human creativity. Everyone will be augmented the same way as today we all have our mobile phones. Today, we have access to so much information and can connect with any person, anywhere in the world at any moment, with the simple touch of a button. Today’s landscape will be seen as primitive compared to where we can be. There are positive and negative possibilities, but if all the key stakeholders come onboard, then we can have the future that we can only imagine,” he added.

Majid Al Suwaidi, Managing Director at Dubai Media City, Dubai Studio City and Dubai Production City, examined the changing media landscape and the emergence of digital in the MENA region marketplace that is expected to ensure significant growth in the coming years.

“In the past four years, we have seen a compound annual growth rate of 16 percent in digital companies operating in the Dubai Production City alone. In the MENA region, the market for new media is expected to grow from US$1.7 billion in 2015 to $3.6 billion by 2020. Furthermore, it is not surprising that more than 60 percent of the MENA media market is in the GCC region. We have all witnessed the change in the media landscape and how it continues to evolve,” he said.

Urging companies to adapt in terms of content, business and distribution models, he said, “Publishers must embrace a more collaborative and interactive media landscape. The UAE has pre-empted this shift and has taken the necessary steps to create new ways for content generation and content sharing to suit different types of audiences. Currently, the UAE has a mobile penetration rate of 193 percent more than 16 million active mobile subscribers nearly double the population, according to the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority.”

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