AI in Public Media?

Apple Seeds AI Next Week

ImageThe Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) is next week, and the anticipation could not be higher.  Since last month’s major AI release from OpenAI (4o) and Google Gemini presentation, techies and portfolio managers have been speculating on what Apple will bring to the table for AI, with the company’s valuation approaching $3 trillion yesterday.

During previous WWDCs, Apple has announced everything from new operating systems to the launch of the App Store. This year’s will undoubtedly be AI-focused, and a quick Google search will display thousands of click-bait posts and videos of varying veracity.

Apple’s AI strategy will most certainly:
Be privacy focused — Apple devices have had on-device AI capability in their hardware since 2017 with the iPhone 8.  On-device AI processing avoids the privacy issues that have hit Microsoft, which relays data to OpenAI.
Involve partnerships — Despite its brainpower, Apple has fewer AI scientists than other tech companies.  Even though there will be on-device AI, expect a collaboration for more advanced AI requests to be fulfilled by a large AI partner.  Apple has been meeting with Google and OpenAI in recent months.
Leapfrog the company to the forefront — Apple has rarely been first to the table with technology. Rember the Rio MP3 player? The TabletPC? The Pebble Watch?  When Apple is ready, they pounce and take market share.

Monday’s WWDC keynote is at 1pm [view it here] and will inform how Apple users will be able to create and consume media as AI metamorphoses more quickly than any technology I’ve seen.  I’ll have my popcorn ready and live Tweeting the event at https://x.com/AIEDGEMedia .


Headlines to Know


AI EDGE Headlines

Spotify Prepares Spanish AI DJ to Complement DJ X
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Generative AI is making its way into full episodic program creation. Showrunner allows users to create episodes using simple prompts.  The platform writes, voices, and animates shows, letting users watch AI-generated series or create their own content. The software was recently used to create nine episodes of South Park using a short prompt and has the potential to cater to generations who grew up on Minecraft and Roblox and are used to having more creative control over their digital entertainment.The tool is currently in an alpha release with a 50,000-user waitlist.
Read more


ElevenLabs Releases Text-to-SoundFX for All Users
Gannett
After a recent tease, ElevenLabs has gone live with their text-to-sound effects tools. Users can generate sound snippets by typing prompts like “waves crashing” or “metal clanging.” They can also create musical clips up to 22 seconds long with prompts like “guitar loops.” Non-subscribers can generate approximately 60 sound effects per month but must credit “elevenlabs.io” when publishing content that includes these sound effects.  Still on the ElevenLabs roadmap: AI song generation to catch up to services like Suno and Udio.
Read more


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Bruce Warren – 
Chief of a Lot of Stuff, WXPN/Philadelphia

ImageIn last week’s AI-EDGE, Bruce Warren spoke about the use of AI in music and how he’s seeing it used not only locally, but worldwide.  As programming head at WXPN-Philadelphia, executive producer of World Café, and a professor of media studies, Warren is gathering a lot of opinions on AI.  In the wrap-up to our conversation, which has been edited for clarity, he discusses where AI is in radio and the importance of integrity. -Chris

CB: Switching our conversation to radio, what are your thoughts on AI usage?
BW: When it comes to our radio community, we produce a ton of original videos and photography here.  We don’t use AI, although I have personally experimented with it because I’m curious. I’ve been having conversations with some folks on the staff and doing some experimentation with software that has built-in AI tools, and I can see what it can do to bring clarity to a photo.

I would absolutely make the case where AI can be useful in a limited capacity radio station to help you do some very basic fundamentals so more time can be spent on actually serving the audience.  It’s important that our colleagues in radio are thinking broadly about the implications of AI, and not just the music.

I think it’s important especially in non-comm space. It’s our trusted relationship with our listeners — who give us money — that we reinforce with them that we are authentic and transparent and they can trust us. I would say the same thing for commercial radio stations too.  AP, NPR, and New York Times have disclosure guidelines. I think that’s really important because I think that’ll ultimately make people more aware.

CB: Disclosure helps the audience understand AI.
BW: You know what?  If you love a podcast, and then you stick around for the credits, and you’ll hear this podcast was hosted by this person and produced by this person and engineered by this person in conjunction with ChatGPT and Suno.AI — that’s an endorsement.  You might be fearful of AI. But if you hear something that you really like. Then you learn that AI was used to help produce that, then that’s a good thing.

But there are some people that say, “If we’re going to use AI, we can’t say that we’re using AI!” — like, it’s some big evil thing, and that’s the problem. Do you see AI as an evil or do you see it as a benefit? Do you see it being used for good, and are you transparent about it, and are people getting paid, or are you doing anything illegal and stealing peoples’ ideas and Intellectual property?

Are you using AI ethically and morally?

CB:  What stage are you at with AI at XPN?
BW: We’re having a lot of conversations. We haven’t used it yet, and I’m not sure when and if it’s going to happen because internally we have a wide variety of opinions on it.

CB: The technology is evolving faster than society’s ability to process the changes.
BW: Well, that’s exactly right. You know the expression the horse is out of the gate?  This is five horses out of five gates at this point. I think there’s a lot of focus on all the legal issues, and for good reason. Because people’s work is being ripped off. Artists need to get paid for their work. Writers need to get paid for their work. Script writers need to get paid. Photographers need to get paid. Transparency in how AI models are taught is a REALLY big issue — there needs to be increased awareness around this.

I think overall in public radio at least at our NON-COMMvention, the vibe was that we need to learn more.  Most of us are not using it. In fact, I haven’t met anybody who’s using AI in public radio.

AI is a new toy for a lot of people. It reminds me of — literally — a week after Twitter went live.  I had a friend who was twenty years younger than me. She said, “Yeah, people are using it to talk about what they have for lunch.”

People had no idea what to do with it. No one even thought about how do we use this to build community? Do we use this to spread misinformation or how do we provide important education?

If you’re in media, be it radio or TV or publishing or podcasting or video production or whatever, and you’re in denial about AI, then you and your organization are at a loss and ultimately a significant competitive disadvantage.


AI EDGE The Kicker

ImageResearchers Create a Robotic ‘Second Thumb’
If one opposable thumb separates humans from animals, what about two opposable thumbs?  Researchers are going to find the answer! This high-tech gadget from Cambridge University lets users juggle more tasks by adding an extra digit to their hand. Think carrying all your drinks or performing delicate surgeries with ease. Despite being showcased to the public, only a few folks couldn’t handle it, mainly due to fit issues or control challenges. The thumb, controlled by foot pressure, promises to break the limitations of our biology, enabling us to do more with our hands. Researchers are now dreaming of applications ranging from manual labor to advanced medical procedures, hoping this little gadget could soon redefine human capabilities. Read More

Originally published by Jacobs Media

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