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AUK's RISE Center Holds a Lecture Entitled, "Mobile, VR & AI - the Future of Disruption in Media"

The Center for Research in Informatics, Sciences and Engineering at the American University of Kuwait presented a lecture entitled, "Mobile, VR & AI - the Future of Disruption in Media" presented by the renowned Glen Mulcahy, Head of Innovation at RTE, Irish national broadcaster, and founder of the "MOJOCON" conference for mobile journalism. The lecture gave a fresh perspective on how technology is incorporated in media, journalism and news reporting. The lecture has been facilitated by the Organizing Committee of Sheikh Mubarak Al-Hamad Journalistic Award.

RISE Director Dr. Amir Zeid gave his welcoming remarks noting that nowadays, technology is finding its way into everything, with media and news reporting being no different. Taking over, Mulcahy began to clarify that broadcasters in most places are not catching up fast enough with new trends; they not only tend to ignore them, but they are in denial, taking no effective action to address them. Mulcahy aims to empower journalists to be complete storytellers on their own, as opposed to relying on a full crew. Technology has advanced to the level that regular consumer products are competent enough to produce broadcast-quality reports. This not only saves money, but even the paperwork required for authorizations and permits are drastically reduced from a broadcaster’s perspective.

Moving on to newer and more futuristic technologies, the speaker then discussed 360 recording cameras and the impact of VR (Virtual Reality). Viewers are no longer bound by the fixed angle that the producers want them to see, but through 360 technologies, the experience is extensively more immersive- especially if seen through a VR headset. Drones are also being used to provide coverage for news reporting, which not only catches hard-to-reach angles but is four times cheaper than sending a professional camera man on a helicopter.

While technology has contributed to the advancement of many professions, Mulcahy warned that AI (Artificial Intelligence) is reaching worrying levels. Big conglomerates are using the data collected from us to provide media tailored around our interests and online activities which could be thought of as a borderline impeachment of privacy. It also predicted that by 2029, AI will pass the Turin test; this essentially means that we will not be capable of differentiating between a human and an AI computer.

Bringing the lecture to an end, the speaker wanted to remind the audience that broadcasting networks need to up their game and start incorporating methods and technologies of this new era for news reporting, agreeing with Einstein that, "We cannot solve a problem by using the same thinking that created the problem in the first place."

The AUK Center for Research in Informatics, Sciences, and Engineering (RISE) serves as AUK's primary source for research and development activities, a bridge to industry, and an important venue for community outreach. RISE adapts an integrative model by forging connections between academic disciplines, local & international innovators, academia & industry, as well as technology & society.

Photo 1: (From Left) Mr. Ayman Al-Ali, Chairman of the Higher Organizing Committee of Sheikh Mubarak Al-Hamad Journalism Excellence Award; Glen Mulcahy, the guest speaker; and Dr. Amir Zeid, Director of RISE Center

Glen Mulcahy

Dr. Amir Zeid

Released by the Office of Public Affairs on the 12th January 2017

Photography by the Office of Public Affairs (C) 2017

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