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Focusing on Emerging Media in the Era of Artificial Intelligence

Posted By Li Benqian, Shanghai Jiao Tong U, Department of Journalism & Communication, Tuesday, December 10, 2019

With the rapid development of artificial intelligence and other technologies, how will media be defined in the future? As machines create and recommend new algorithms, as images are recognized, and as humans continue to interact with computers, what does that mean for media? In what ways can new media derived from 5G and artificial intelligence make a breakthrough when it comes to the human imagination?

On 26 October, 2019, Shanghai Jiao Tong U School of Media and Communication held a conference in Shanghai, China, titled, “AI  Era: Emerging Media, Industry, and Society.” The event was affiliated with the International Communication Association. 

Terry Flew (ICA President), Hu Hao (Shanghai Jiao Tong U), and Ji Ying (Vice President of Shanghai United Media Group), gave opening remarks at the event. The event was attended by more than 500 scholars, including nearly 40 deans from various journalism and communication schools, who shared their latest findings on emerging media, intelligent communication, and communication in the era of artificial intelligence. Li Benqian, Distinguished Professor and Dean of the School of Media and Communication at SJTU, chaired the conference.


President Terry Flew gives opening remarks at the 2019 ICA conference on artificial intelligence.


Hu Hao of the Shanghai Jiao Tong U leadership welcomes attendees at the 2019 ICA conference in Shanghai, China.


Ji Ying, Vice President of Shanghai United Media Group


Professor Li Benqian, Dean of SJTU’s School of Media and Communication, addresses ICA conference attendees.

Terry Flew, (Queensland U of Technology), talked about AI, trust, and communication in his keynote speech. He proposed a pyramid model of Internet governance and stressed the importance of ethics while developing new technologies.

Jeff Hancock, Professor and founding director of the Stanford Social Media Laboratory, spoke about truth and trust in the digital age. He pointed out that communication research had shifted from CMC (computer-mediated transmission) to AI-MC (AI-mediated propagation). Artificial intelligence can help us communicate more effectively, but it also makes us face more lies, and it challenges the basis of social trust.

Patrice Buzzanell, ICA Past President and professor at the U of South Florida, used three case studies to show that people of different genders and races have different demands and degrees of utilization for AI mentoring. According to her studies, AI plays a necessary and crucial role in mentorship.


Patrice Buzzanell, ICA Past President and professor at the U of South Florida in the USA, addresses conference attendees in Shanghai, China.

Peng Hwa Ang, ICA Past President and professor at Nanyang Technological U, found that differences in gender, color, and ethnicity affect the accuracy of facial recognition technology. Global policies and regulations are required to make AI data more diverse and accessible to all. He added that data quality improvements are needed to make AI work better for humans.


Peng Hwa Ang, ICA Past President and professor at Nanyang Technological U in Singapore, speaks on global policy in relation to AI and diversity.

With over 30 years of data research under his belt, Jonathan Zhu, Professor at the City U of Hong Kong and ICA Fellow, spoke about his findings on academia as scholars have developed a more international focus.

Daniel Raichvarg, honorary president of the French Society for Information and Communication Studies and professor at the U of Burgundy, pointed out in his speech that AI, instead of merely being seen as technology, may also be seen as a producer of such technology within the communication system.


Daniel Raichvarg, honorary president of the French Society for Information and Communication Studies, speaks on the implications of AI.

Eun-Ju Lee, Editor-in-Chief of the Human Communication Research and professor at Seoul National U, talked about authenticity at the heart of mediated communication, pointing out that the integrity of social media faces serious challenges. As AI applications continue to popularize, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to identify people or to even tell human from machine. 

Fritz Cropp, Associate Dean at U of Missouri, spoke on the challenges of information overload as artificial intelligence continues to rise in popularity. He also discussed the ‘Missouri Model’ of convergent journalism. 

Chen Yong, Vice President of Public Affairs at Tencent, spoke on the company’s practices in exploring AI technology’s use of privacy protection and positive communication. He also expressed his vision and mission of “doing good” with new media.

Sun Jian, Deputy Editor-in-Chief of ThePaper.cn, spoke on the Oriental Morning Post’s "new media transformation path,” particularly emphasizing that entrepreneurship lies within the essence of media integration. Wu Jielin, Director of Sina Weibo Social Marketing Research Institute, discussed how Chinese consumers’ habits have vastly changed. With the surge of digital consumption, consumers now have a louder voice in this era, shifting from merely receiving information to actively searching for information.

According to Wang Mingxuan, a scientist at ByteDance AI Lab, their products such as Tiktok and TopBuzz have gained a large number of active users across the world, meaning that the demand for video translation is high; As their content continues to expand on a massive scale, they’re looking at the ways in which technology can help with translation. Neural network machine translating technology provides a solution to cross-border communication in the age of 5G.

In her speech titled "New Possibilities for Empowerment of Women by New Media", Professor Liu Liqun, President of China Women's U, said artificial intelligence can not only serve people but also empower women to provide more possibilities for women's development. Professor Wang Guanyi, Vice President of the Beijing Institute of Graphic Communication, talked about the importance of media integration, education, and research.

The changing media technology can challenge existing communication roles, and Zhang Taofu, Executive Dean of Fudan U School of Journalism, argued that we must find ways to combat challenges within the journalism education system, such as issues related to talent-training and theoretical research. Professor Hu Baijing, Executive Dean of the School of Journalism at Renmin U of China, examined the characteristics of communication and spoke about challenges faced by academics.

Kuo Liangwen, distinguished professor of the School of Media and Communication at SJTU, gave attendees insight on the common narratives within Chinese culture and communication. Liangwen called for integration between digital technology and traditional humanity disciplines.

This has been the seventh  consecutive year that ICA worked with SJTU to host the New Media International Conference in China. With there now being over 1,000 media and communication courses in China, this conference serves as a bridge between China and the international academic world as communication studies continues to thrive.


2019 ICA-affiliated New Media International Conference in SJTU

Tags:  December 2019 

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