Fervin Earl L. Chavez

The decision to proliferate AI journalism is a step backward in journalism’s continuing evolution - which is humanized, laymanized, and tended for the people.

AIs don't always speak the truth - Gabriel Bazan
Cartoon by Gabriel Antonio Bazan

The mechanization of AI technology had shown us that impeccable and promising human-made innovations can be both a blessing, a development that will aid the human struggles and make our lives easier and more accessible in strife of technocapitalism, and a curse for the humanity - the gradual destruction of human force and labor, and the dissipation of human struggles aided by its pseudo-developmental technology.

Earlier this week, the GMA News had introduced its ‘refreshing’ idea to us and the journalism community: two (2) new sportscasters, named Maia and Marco, who are not ‘human journalists,’ but are generated by AI technology. This news, instead of throwing a celebration primarily since this is a huge ‘win’ for our local sciences, drew mixed clamor from the public for the AI’s antagonizing role in Philippine journalism and media.

AIs being the new set of journalists is promising, but lacks the essence of journalism itself.

Human journalists have the skills to encompass all the needed elements of a reader to digest a text. They have the heart to laymanize everything and provide the people with new information without compromising its appeal to the human interest and emotions. Needless to say that Maia and Marco are the first two (2) sportscasters; it is problematic that even in sports journalism, what makes it interesting to read is the telltaling of the human experience immersed to the sports event, and perhaps, it is mere ironic that sports journalism, a field of exhibiting human kinetic skills and , will be presented by emotionless, mediated and insipid AI sportscasters. That journalists under a media company will also be “used to become a medium” for the sake of these new named developments.

The introduction of Maia and Marco is a reminder to us upon the wearisome proliferation of AI integration into the human world. That in the future years (or generations), we are seeing ourselves having realized that the postmodernist fear of being replaced and overthrown by technology will, eventually, come true. The risk of making this as part of our new, innovative reality will dampen us into a much bigger tolerance to the AI world.

According to an insight report of the World Economic Forum, it is estimated that 14 million jobs will be lost in the next five years. This means that the pattern of aggravating human jobs to create one (labor-market churn) will be adversely affected as AI overtaking human jobs will implore an unequal distribution of losing more jobs and creating jobs to a lesser few, eligible only for trained individuals who will do the maintenance for such technology’s system.

It is exploitative against the human race for letting the AIs do our jobs. In fact, humans may not produce the same turnout of performance or work consistently without the impact of external variables (i.e. our personal lives), our labor still what makes our society productively works.

And the thing is, embracing innovations, like AI technology, is tolerable only to extents where it does not concern job aggravation and a replacement for humans. AI technology in journalism can be used to disseminate more facts to the people and let them have access to more factual information thereof. AI technology, instead of making AI sportscasters, should help eradicate misinformation and historical distortion that are present via the media. AI technology in the sports must implore a provision of better equipment and system to lessen the conditioned struggles of human athletes, coaches, or journalists themselves.

Additionally, let the human jobs be taken by humans alone. It is nice to see innovations where we met another life-changing leap of scientific development, but this ‘life-changing’ can also be detrimental to aggravating the structure of society and tenuring it with a non-human technology. In the case of AI journalism, a human sportscaster is advantageous for owning two overarching qualities of journalism - the truth and the ability to tell stories with a human touch (something that AI cannot do in their system).

Journalism is not always about the truth. It is also the depiction of human vulnerability and narratives. There is no doubt that AI sportscasters will consistently do great products and cater the people with the truth they need, but the limitation to the mechanization of such AI functions is its ability to tell the story of the truth in ways that human readers/watchers will be able to relate and feel about sports. Imagine a sports story being told to us by non-humans: at first, it is impressive but all it ends there to impress but nothing more in letting the readers connect to the story itself.

Now, making argue of the idea that AI sportscasting makes storytelling more accessible and powerful: retelling a specific sports event needs the capacity to compromise and adapt to the intensity of the game. A human comprehensibility to read and express emotions is what makes sports journalism interesting either. Moreover, having these AI sportscasters is not extensive enough to promote accessibility, whereas it will only widen the marginalization of technology to humans, and between the digital natives and those who are left behind in the advent of AI technology.

AI Journalism does not always speak the truth; it lacks the intrinsic flavor of incorporating a humanized way of telling the narrative of the people, the little, tolerable anomalies they keep making, and the experiential connectivity between the journalist and its readers. In strife of a challenged journalism status, AI technology must provide developmental opportunities to all those in the journalism field, not to exemplify their oppression and grievances.

What AI needs to do is to better aid the people’s struggles, not to replace them or to become one of them.


Fervin Earl L. Chavez is a student of the University of the Philippine Baguio. Gabriel Antonio Bazan is a senior high school student at the Ateneo de Zamboanga University. They both joined Explained Ph as part of its volunteer program.