September 9, 2023

The impact of AI on the publishing industry

The impact of AI on the publishing industry is changing how publishing works dramatically, and this change is not to be feared but welcomed instead.

min read

Artificial Intelligence has touched our lives in more ways than we can count. It has brought a sea-change to healthcare, education, entertainment, manufacturing, IT, and it is leading the world into the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Like all modern industries, the publishing industry has also been greatly impacted by AI-driven automation. From automated story production to content evaluation and better monetization, the use of AI in publishing is still in its nascent stage. 

This article explores some of the applications of AI in this industry and how it will shape the future of the written word.

Automated Story/Content Production 

Stories and content that are routine and monotonous can be written by algorithms quickly and accurately. However, the algorithm can create content only when its nature is highly formulaic; a series of variables must be created out of structured input data. A few renowned publishers such as Forbes and The New York Times have used content automation to produce simple financial reports and articles related to sports events. 

It is paramount to note that AI will not replace journalists by taking over their jobs. The act of making connections and drawing inferences from information in complex stories and content pieces remains the human’s forte.

Automated Text Classification 

Manual tagging of digital content pieces can be very time-consuming and error-prone, especially if the publisher has a vast database of articles spanning over several decades. AI and Machine Learning have simplified the classification of text to a great extent. The New York Times developed a tool called Editor that can analyze text while it is being written and simultaneously suggest relevant tags. The Editor tool is designed for word-by-word analysis of articles, resulting in a comprehensive database with data about people, places, companies, and events.

Personalized Content 

A 2019 study found that 72% of consumers engaged only with marketing outreach that is customized to their needs and interests. Additionally, a 2018 research finding by Epsilon revealed that 80% of consumers showed a higher likelihood of making a purchase when they were offered personalized experiences by a brand. 

AI has made content personalization an achievable reality by learning a user’s behaviour on a website and compiling a list of topics that they engaged with the most. This way, a treasure trove of data is created about a person’s preferences, allowing brands, agencies, and publishers to send only relevant content to their consumers.

Natural Language Processing 

NLP is a form of AI that allows computers to read, interpret, and understand the human language. In simple terms, NLP incorporates grammatical analysis into Machine Learning (ML), giving a computer the ability to recognize the nouns, verbs, and objects in a sentence. NLP is a complex and challenging aspect of AI because of the many nuances of language and the lack of clear-cut, formulaic rules.

NLP could have a profound impact on the publishing industry by automating a few straightforward formatting and copyediting functions. The use of NLP can allow editors to divert their time and resources towards more complex tasks in the publishing lifecycle. NLP can help publishers define a set of ground rules for grammar and text format, which not only saves time, but also ensures content uniformity. Ultimately, AI can help enhance the quality of content.

Tips for Publishers 

As a publisher, here’s what you can do to keep up with the changing publishing landscape:

  • Focus on training authors and editors to make the most out of AI in the publishing workflow.
  • Incorporate automated tagging systems to build a clean, organized database for your content.
  • Use the growth of AI as an opportunity to direct authors’ and editors’ focus towards more valuable, creatively-driven projects and opportunities.

As Andrew Ng, computer scientist, investor, and co-founder of Coursera said, “Artificial Intelligence is the new electricity.” AI is undeniably transforming the publishing industry, but the technology is not to be feared. Humans will remain at the core of the publishing process, aided by AI to perform optimally, produce better content, and achieve greater content engagement.

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Janani K
Brand Manager
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