The Future of Information in 10 Steps and You won’t Believe What Happens Next!

Francesco Marconi
3 min readNov 18, 2020

1.A key premise of computational journalism is that news events can be explained with the same rigor used by scientists to study the natural world. Journalism is going through a process of “mathematization” and eventually evolve into *Information Science*

2.The explosion of data from the web, sensors, mobile devices and satellites, combined with the accessibility to machine learning, creates the ideal environment for transforming how all information around us is sourced.

3. Advances in AI research are already allowing computational journalists to measure issues that were previously impossible to quantify (like counting trees in a desert), and as a result surfacing entirely new analytical baselines for the world around us.

4. Currently, financial news is one of the areas of coverage that gets closer to the notion of *ground truth*: stock prices and economic indices provide journalists with shared reality for the markets.

5. What if we could define real-time baselines for how our healthcare system is operating? or for knowing the resilience level of our communities? What if we could report the news with the same analytical detail we follow covid infection rates?

6. I believe the traditional news process needs to become more scientific. The next frontier in news innovation will be focused on developing *self-gathering information systems*: continuously tracking data, processing it for insight and vetted by humans in the loop.

7. What we call “news” today, in the next decades will evolve into a process exponentially more focused on finding and explaining statistical outliers: the mathematically unpredictable and the scientifically unlikely.

8. This doesn’t mean that the future of journalism is about letting the machines run loose. Bien au contraire.

9. Optimal computational journalistic performance happens somewhere between finding these new data signals and having humans validating and contextualizing them.

10. In the future, journalists will become information officers and arbiters of algorithmic truth.

Author’s note: for more on how AI is changing and journalism, check out “Newsmakers: Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Journalism”.