The year of AI: media’s new best friend

IBC takes place Sept. 13-18 at the RAI in Amsterdam. (Pixabay)

As IBC 2018 is set to unspool in Amsterdam September 13-17, artificial intelligence and machine learning continue to push innovation and stretch boundaries in electronic media. A rich lineup of panels and presentations offer a deep dive into a field that’s driving areas from voice to navigation, from connectivity to compliance to live broadcast. AI has truly jumped from the science fiction playbook into labs and living rooms around the world.

In fact, this year’s winner of the IBC best conference paper is titled “AI in production: video analysis and machine learning for expanded live events coverage.” In it, a team of BBC researchers under project lead Mike Evans describe a system they developed known as "Ed" aimed at creating live content with minimal crew.

AI is revolutionizing working practice, in this case in production, by dispensing formulaic, repetitive tasks so humans can use their creative energies best. For live broadcasting, this means more events can be covered more cost-effectively. Craig Wright, a project research engineer for the BCC, will present the project at Tech Talks, a new feature at IBC this year.

Other speakers in the Tech Talk series include Hiroyuki Kaneko, senior manager at NHK, on AI-Driven Smart Production, and Joost de Wit, founder and CPO of Media Distillery, on Using Machine Learning (AI) to Create Personalized Snackable Content.

Artificial intelligence sandwiches the entire five-day event. An opening keynote, a nod to the era of Siri and Alexa called “Give your vision a voice,” explores why voice is crucial to any multi-platform content business. The closing address, “New. Now. Next: The Definitive Roadmap,” highlights AI and other trends with far-reaching implications for how media companies adapt their business models and attract audiences.

Panels dotting the conference address the use of AI in content navigation and delivery, compliance, public service media, 5G-enabled content and sports.

Some of the biggest AI players will be there: IBM will be demoing its work with Fox Sports as the two teamed up to provide an AI-powered highlight experience for the 2018 World Cup—the first event where Fox Sports implemented AI into its production and distribution systems.

Sky News will tout the world’s first live-streamed event enhanced by artificial intelligence at scale in the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

And, if you love VR but it makes you queasy, VR and AR experts will even be discussing a machine-learning mechanism for predicting “sickness causing content.”