I am currently a PhD candidate at the London School of Economics, department of Media and Communications, supervised by Dr Dylan Mulvin and Professor Lilie Chouliaraki and funded by a studentship from the Economic and Social Research Council. My research focuses are on the implications of automation and ‘artificially intelligent’ software systems for the field of visual journalism.
Certain aspects of prose journalism have become increasingly automated over recent years, with a growing number of companies employing software systems of varying sophistication to complete tasks ranging from the banal to the relatively creative. By contrast these technologies are only just starting to make themselves felt in the field of visual journalism, partly as a consequence of the technological and semantic challenges presented by visual media, but also as a result of the insouciance of the industry itself.
The fact that the use of automation lags behind in visual journalism presents a unique opportunity to anticipate how these technologies might be deployed in the years to come, and what the consequences of this might be for the industry, both internally and externally. Along the way I plan to engage with broader questions about photographic representation and algorithmic transparency, the politics of archives, the accelerating speed of photography, the social construction of technology, and the purpose and perception of photojournalism in modern digital democracies.
My ultimate aim is that this research will help to start conversations in the industry, and shape the development of policies and regulations around these technologies which will help to maximise their beneficial potential for visual journalism, while minimising the considerable risks they pose to a field already battered by issues ranging from economic disruption to public mistrust.