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The fourth estate is the bulwark of the democratic mechanism, to bring the truth to the fore, albeit in totality. Emphasis on one point that too not the main one might lead a skewed narrative very difficult to get over. The inherent nature of media is instant dissemination & discussion, prejudging the story with a bias. You name a TV channel in the US & anyone can tell you the bias. Sensationalism itself creates a bias. TRP battle is intense.

Elon Musk rocked the MIT in a Space symposium. On an off beat question at the end, on AI at the end, his answer included the phrase, ”with artificial intelligence, we are summoning the demon.” Only this was reported in the media & that too generally out of context. Max Tegmark in this book Life 3.0 on Artificial Intelligence laments that might be the journalists are inadvertently doing the exact opposite of what the AI research fraternity has set out to achieve. While the scientists are trying to build a community consensus, media’s incentive is in highlighting the divisions. He writes, ”the more controversy they could report, the greater their Nielsen ratings and ad revenue.” This does not forebode well for research.

People ought to know the reality. Fueling misconceptions work on the contrary. The trust factor is completely lost. In the biggest conference on AI ever at Puerto Rico media was banned. Besides the ban, the Chatham House Rule was also imposed. This prohibits the participants from revealing who said what at the conference. Peter Diamandis in his book Abundance had termed CNN as Crime News Network. Distrust solidifies.

When creativity, innovation & technology rules the world, a tangential media does not allow the real story to reach the masses. Rarely such topics are covered either. We have to be fed with what matters to us and they way it matters. People should be taken for a ride only to subserve commercial interests.


Sanjay Sahay

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