The BBC is using AI to assemble a 2-night programming block

The BBC is using AI and machine learning to mine its video content archives. (BBC)

Artificial intelligence and machine learning are working their way into all corners of the video industry, and the BBC has found another interesting way to use the technology.

The British broadcaster’s research and development group is using AI and machine learning to dig into back catalogs and content libraries and mine footage to fill out programming blocks. It will put it to the test in September when a selection of footage from the BBC’s archive will be shown as part of BBC 4.1 AI TV.

The AI used previous schedules and program attributes to learn what BBC Four’s audience wanted and to pull relevant content.

“Helping BBC Four scour the BBC’s vast archives more efficiently is exactly why we’re developing this kind of AI. It can find very specific pieces of content in large libraries of programs, which has massive benefits for BBC program makers and audiences,” said George Wright, head of internet research and future services at BBC R&D.

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BBC’s R&D department revealed plans for the experiment back in May and said AI would surface the content recommendations and then schedulers would choose from what was unearthed. The broadcaster said AI and machine learning would be used to support and enhance its content curation and delivery.

“And let’s just be clear—this will not replace our schedulers. Far from it. Humans have nuance, taste and judgment—the qualities of which no algorithm or machine can replace. This is all about looking at whether technology can help them even further,” BBC R&D wrote in a blog post.

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