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Don’t blame technology for fake news, say panelists at session on Future of Communication in Technology

12 February 2019


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Panellists at a session on the ‘Future of Technology in Communications’ at the World Government Summit being held in Dubai from 10-12 February, said that technology is merely a channel and should not be blamed for the proliferation of fake news.

The session on ‘Future of Technology in Communications’, part of the Future of Government Communications Forum at the World Government Summit, explored the ways in which emerging technologies will disrupt communications. The session featured Cassandra Kelly, Founder of Pottinger and CChange and member of the EU Global Tech Panel; Juan Carlos Riveiro, CEO and Co-Founder of Vilynx; and Jarosław Królewski, CEO and Co-Founder of Synerise. The Future of Government Communication Forum at the Summit is being organised by the Government of Dubai Media Office.

The session addressed the future of technology in areas like news production, media regulation, cyber security and data privacy. The panel also took a closer look at how artificial intelligence will disrupt media and communications in the future including how rapid changes in technology will alter the production of news.

Speaking on the phenomenon of fake news, Cassandra Kelly said: “I think it is incredibly easy to blame technology for human behavior. There has always been some form of bias. There is exciting technology available now to stamp out negative behavior and bad actors. We worry about fake news being disseminated quickly using technology, but it can equally be rebutted using the same mechanism. The antidote to fake news is critical thinking, not blind trust.”

Kelly pointed out that communication is a human endeavor and we shouldn’t “obsess too much about technology.”  “Communication is not just a transmission, it’s about dialogue. It’s about communicating back to them. It’s about finding out who are the people we are serving, what are their pain points and how can we solve them. We need to connect our hearts and minds to them,” she added.

Juan Carlos Riveiro said that emerging technologies can help journalists enhance their ability to search, verify and produce news. “Technology is giving people the opportunity to do their jobs better. They add value. Instead of finding content in one hour, technology can find content in one minute,” he said.

Riveiro said that quality and reliability will ultimately determine which sources people rely on for media content. “People rely on sources they can trust, they are looking for good brands.  Technology is just helping them. It gives them the ability to produce content more effectively and distribute it better.

Krolewski said that technology is set to create a sea change in the quality of life. “AI will bring new quality to your life. I believe in the next one to two years, everything will change. In the coming years there will be a transformation in technology.”

He also pointed to the greater choice and freedom that emerging technologies can bring. “Technologies like blockchain give us freedom from institutions. Technology has given us choice, so it is about your intelligence and capabilities,” he said.  

The session on ‘Future of Technology in Communication’ also discussed how regulation will evolve to keep pace with advancements in AI technologies and how the need for data privacy and its regulation will evolve in the future.

Held annually in Dubai, WGS serves as a global platform for leading voices from the private, public and non-profit sectors to discuss and showcase innovations, best practices and smart solutions to shape the future of governments – inspiring creativity to overcome challenges facing people and communities around the world.

The three-day World Government Summit 2019 runs until February 12 at Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai. The landmark event has convened more than 4,000 participants from 140 countries, including heads of state and governments, as well as top-tier representatives of 30 international organisations.