11 Implications of Intelligent Agents
for Journalism: Ghosts in the Machine
In the age of the Internet, ubiquitous information has become both a blessing and a curse. For journalists as well as anyone who is a news consumer, this is especially true. With more than five thousand newspapers and other news sources online, it is possible to enjoy more access to information than at any other time in history. But at the same time, information overload has become an ever-present fact of life.This chapter examines the rise and role of intelligent agents as information filters, personal editors, and news summarizers in the digital age.1 How might agent technology transform both the practice of journalism and the news itself, for better or for worse? Although intelligent agents have the potential to serve as valuable tools in reducing information overload, they raise a variety of ethical concerns as well. Paramount among these concerns are implications for privacy. This chapter revolves around four questions about the implications of intelligent agents for journalism:
1. How do intelligent agents affect the way journalists do their work?
2. What are the implications of intelligent agents for the content of news?
3. How will intelligent agents affect newsroom or news industry structure?
4. What are the implications of intelligent agents for the news audience?

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