ARLINGTON - Could artificial intelligence be the savior of local journalism?
Two neighbors in Arlington want to keep people aware of what is happening in their cities and towns and they believe AI could be the key.
Winston Chen and David Trilling have created the non-profit Nano Media.
"David and I have had conversations about local news for years. We share the concerns of a lot of people around the country about the disappearance of local news," Chen told WBZ-TV.
They're using digital tools to break down lengthy local government meetings found on YouTube. Some are more than three hours long. The technology then spits the information back out into easily digestible summaries.
"At the end of the day, it's about revitalizing local news, as a way to strengthen our democracy," Chen said.
He and Trilling stress AI is a way to help journalists understand information quicker and not replace humans gathering news.
"We have a human read and review every text before it is published," explains Trilling.
Both say the technology needs to be embraced and not feared.
"AI is like the steam engine," says Chen. "It's like the printing press. It's like electricity. It's a technology that it improves productivity and in the case of local news, that's exactly what we need," said Trilling.
Chen and Trilling hope to expand the program beyond Arlington and into other cities and towns, which would give residents the tools to create their own local news page.
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