Artificial intelligence (AI) and its close relative, machine learning (ML), have evolved over the last decade from a futuristic and mysterious idea in science fiction tales to an underlying reality in nearly every aspect of our daily lives. But there is still a lot of confusion over what it can and cannot do. That’s certainly true in magazine publishing. Most likely, you are already using it in small ways, such as routine business tasks. But with the speed of technology growth these days, if you aren’t already looking at ways to leverage the technology, you are losing valuable time.
AI and machine learning: An overview
As AI moves from mysterious and nebulous to mainstream business and societal use, there are still a lot of questions about what it is and how it can best be leveraged. AI is a wide, umbrella term for a field of science dealing with how machines can imitate human intelligence. Machine learning is a subfield of artificial intelligence that uses statistical techniques to give computer systems the ability to “learn” and progressively improve performance of a task.
Today, AI and ML are ubiquitous: from ordinary mundane uses to futuristic applications. It can be used to provide driving directions, recommend purchases, predict the Super Bowl winner, or assist your Roomba vacuum to navigate your house. It also has great potential for publishers and their bottom line.
Using AI in magazine publishing
More and more businesses, including publishers, are turning to AI to perform certain tasks faster, cheaper, and with greater reliability and accuracy than their human employees. It’s a natural technology to automate invoicing, payment processing, database management, recordkeeping, and much more. But there are many other areas, specific to magazine publishing, that can benefit from AI and ML technologies.
Publishers have begun using AI for a number of publishing tasks. For example, it can be used to analyze manuscripts for plagiarism as well as perform basic edits according to grammar rules or your specified magazine styles. Publishers can use it to digitize older print content or reformat current content for other channels such as video, podcasts, or other media. It’s also useful for automated tagging of content for search engines, as well as translating content to other languages. And if you’re jumping on the voice technology bandwagon, AI can help you turn your text into voice for readers who use their smart speakers to consume content.
More advanced uses include analyzing data to customize content and make relevant, personalized recommendations for additional content, purchases, or social media influencers to follow. Publishers are using AI for more targeted marketing and increased advertisement revenue. It also can be seen with chat bots that help to improve customer service with personalized problem solving. It has tremendous potential for mobile. In fact, app developers are increasingly using AI to create more personalized user experiences.
Challenges of integrating AI into your publishing enterprise
Although AI is a phenomenal tool for magazine publishers, it has its inadequacies and implementation challenges. AI often has a somewhat negative connotation and intimidating image. People are wary that it might take over their jobs or gain too much power and control. It also has accuracy limitations. For example, predictive analysis is great for predicting the likelihood that 8 out of 10 people will be happy with an article suggestion; however, a self-driving car that only “sees and recognizes” a person crossing the street 8 out of 10 times is obviously not adequate. The effectiveness and accuracy of AI depends on the quality of your data. You also need to have the right experts in place to implement the technology effectively and efficiently.
It’s important for publishers and their employees to understand that AI doesn’t replace humans in the publishing process. It just makes them more efficient and able to focus on the creative, innovative processes that humans still excel.
If you’re ready to embrace AI in your publishing operation, you must first determine which problems you want to solve. Assemble an expert team to determine the data needed and how to achieve your goals. It’s often best to get your feet wet by finding an existing tool that meets or can be modified to meet your specific needs. Once you see the benefits to routine processes and productivity, you’ll be more than ready to branch out into countless other directions to grow and engage your audience while improving your bottom line.
Contact your Sheridan representative or visit our contact page to ask how we can help you streamline your publishing processes, reduce costs, and keep up with changes in print and publishing strategies.