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Atomic Units of News

The médialab is welcoming Chris Anderson (University of Leeds) for a talk untitled "Atomic Units of News": Structured Stories Between AI and Shoe Leather

Event, Research Seminar

Paris, 1 Saint-Thomas d'Aquin


Recent years have seen increasing attention paid to the relationship between journalism and artificial intelligence (AI). Because AI is usually assumed to be the technology of the future, its entry onto the journalistic scene is usually framed as "something that is coming but is not here quite yet." This allows for the deployment of a curious mixture of utopianism, dystopianism, and speculative theorizing in a great deal of academic research. But what if "AI" is something whose basic operations and practices are already prefigured in current journalistic practice. This talk begins by reviewing the current literature on AI in news before returning to data collected in New York City in the Fall of 2015, data which intersects with theorizing about AI in generative and productive ways. By looking at the ontologies of Structured Stories- the way they used digital ontologies to define the nature of objects, actors, and particularly news events- this talk attempts to shed light on the futurism of AI and news by looking at its more recent (perhaps banal) past.


Chris Anderson is a Professor of Media and Communication at the University of Leeds and member of the board of advisors at the Tow Center, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Chris Anderson studies journalism, politics, and how the production of public knowledge is being transformed in the digital age. Chris Anderson was most recently the author of Apostles of Certainty: Data Journalism and the Politics of Doubt (Oxford University Press), which tells the intertwined history of data journalism and the social sciences in the United States.

Practical information

The seminar will be held on the Sciences Po campus, 1 place Saint  Thomas d'Aquin (Room K. 011), 75007 Paris. A virtual meeting room will  also be available.

Mandatory registration.