Niko­lay Mal­yarov

EVP, Chief Con­tent Of­fi­cer and Gen­eral Coun­sel

The Insider - - FRONT PAGE -

To say that 2016 was an ex­cit­ing and nerve-rack­ing year would be a bit of an un­der­state­ment. From con­tin­ued strife around the world, to at­tacks on the me­dia, the re­la­tion­ships be­tween us hu­mans were not just tense, they bor­dered on a per­pet­ual state of con­flict.

The so­cial con­struct of re­la­tion­ships within our so­ci­ety is chang­ing, with the role that has been fos­tered for gen­er­a­tions and as­signed to var­i­ous groups, evolv­ing.

2016 saw a con­tin­ued in­crease in the amount of con­tent that we face as in­di­vid­u­als ev­ery sin­gle day. But not all con­tent is truth­ful. On the one hand, we see me­dia sources be­ing used as paid pro­pa­ganda, while on the other, we see the state at­tack­ing me­dia for be­ing overly bi­ased.

It would be dif­fi­cult to dis­agree that 2016 has ush­ered in a new era in the re­la­tion­ship be­tween me­dia and all other lay­ers of so­ci­ety, and where trust in me­dia con­tin­ues to de­cline.

In this is­sue of The In­sider we ex­am­ine the role that me­dia plays in our so­ci­ety to­day and where hu­man-based, qual­ity journalism fits in a fu­ture that is be­com­ing more and more al­go­rith­mi­cally driven.

Elon Musk said some­thing very provoca­tive this past year, that there’s only “one in bil­lions chance” that we’re not liv­ing in a com­puter sim­u­la­tion. Our lives are al­most cer­tainly be­ing con­ducted within an ar­ti­fi­cial world pow­ered by AI and su­per com­put­ers, ac­cord­ing to one of the most in­trigu­ing in­no­va­tors of our time.

Now, you can agree or dis­agree with him on his as­sess­ment, but some­times I feel that we’re in­deed a part of some sort of script. Which begs the ques­tion, “If ev­ery­thing that we do is al­ready pre-pro­grammed, such as the evo­lu­tion of the in­dus­try and the role of journalism in its fu­ture, is it all fu­tile?”

Be­cause if main­stream me­dia is part of a script, then shouldn’t it just fall into its pre- de­ter­mined place? Or is it sim­i­lar to a com­puter game? You can still play it in mul­ti­ple ways, choos­ing dif­fer­ent paths and have fun along the way, but it will even­tu­ally lead to largely the same out­come at the end.

2016 was yet an­other year when pun­dits were pro­claim­ing the death of journalism. And al­though I don’t be­lieve for a minute that to be the case, the ques­tion I think that we should all ask our­selves as in­di­vid­u­als is this, “If journalism did (or were to) die, will we miss it?” I can’t speak for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions, but I can say with­out any doubt that I most cer­tainly will.

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