If you are a researcher, journalist, or a media user, you must have heard of at least one of the following phrases: digital media, new media and digital search techniques according to Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC), Search Engine Marketing (SEM), most searched words and others. These complex phrases have come to define today's content standards.
Digital media technologies led to the surge of artificial intelligence through the media and search engines and the great shift from paper to digitization. The measure of the success of the article or topic has become drawing the number of “likes” and readers “through advertising and media".
In this context, many researchers in modern media theories and the fiercest defenders of media quality believe that many publications and articles do not receive enough attention or interaction, as the entire media has become hostage to search engines or to what the reader requests - even if it is sometimes of improper quality.
You get to see "dull" or "ridiculous" content that receives a strong interaction, while in the corner of one of the sites there is a scientific article about a huge invention whose readers do not exceed hundreds or dozens. We all know that it is unfortunate.
There are many studies in this regard: whether the public is responsible for defining the content or the media is the one who molds it in order to promote a certain ideology! But all of these theories are united on the one constant fact – quality content will not lose its value over time if the number of its readers decreases.
While diving into research on the existing technological development, we notice a clear contradiction in most of them, especially those that look into its benefits and harms. However, most theories agree that artificial intelligence, if combined with high standards of quality and good use, will inevitably be for the benefit of humanity. It will not cancel the human role or cancel the true, authentic value of any product, whether research, medical or otherwise.
In the most important studies of artificial intelligence, scientists emphasized the strong and effective role of humans in directing robots, machines, and digitization to serve humanity, not to disrupt its development. From their point of view, the process of directing technology is in the hands of man alone. In the end, he is the one who created it and he is the one who progresses it.
In view of all of the above, you may feel lost now as a reader, content creator, or applications and social media user. We can read your mind – What is best suited for the content industry? How do I minimize those consequences? Don't worry, between the following lines, a glimmer of hope appears in IT.
Kundera App: A Combination of Digital Transformation and Human Creativity
In recent years, media organizations have witnessed a quantum leap in their management structures at home. Newspapers and magazines turned digital, which required extensive preparation and brought up questions and fears that were crystallized by many questions: Is the content at risk? Is the press losing its value? How can the "paper" journalist compete with this amount of development and technology in record time while maintaining the quality of the topics? Are we keeping up with speed at the expense of quality content?
These pertinent questions may have some answers today with the definitive answer coming through the Kundera application, which was created to support the creativity of content makers and shorten their turnaround time by providing a valuable and quality product. This has changed traditional research concepts and preserved the privacy of the sender, the message, and the recipient. In short, we are in front of an application that replaced the old media model with a modern framework that kept pace with development.
We have in our hands today a digital product that blends technical research and human creativity while eliminating insubstantial content through methods that relieve pressure on the researcher in light of the overwhelming amount of information overload.
Kundera strives to empower content creators to respond to technical challenges in a healthy manner. Perhaps the most important thing about this application, as stated by its developer, Kareem Fareed, is "raising the quality of Arabic content around the world.”
Majalla conducted an interesting interview with the developer of Kundera, with a view towards the complexities surrounding the digital challenges and the added value that the application has brought to the content, as well as future projects that reassure its makers.
The journalist, the researcher, or the user spends a lot of time on “traditional” research for information. He/She needs to search for keywords through search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing...), then compile dozens of articles and peruse the results at a time when his/her work requires quick access to information.
The approach through Kundera saves time from the beginning of the research until the writing of the first copy, as the work is focused on the creative side. What is the process? Kareem Fared explains, “The user selects an aspect of the topic, and Kundera sets out to search, reviewing thousands of results to create a summary of what it read in an article containing nearly a thousand words, saving the user time and introducing him to the essence of the topic. After this comes the role of the journalist in creating and developing the text that Kundera provided.”
We can imagine here the amount of time that we save owing to the research that the application does through machine learning development, which creates a fusion between itself and the user.
Because professional research requires citing the source of the information, Kareem points out that the identity of the sources are documented and preserved, but the role of the researcher is to link the information and the source, as the sources come in a marginal frame at the end of the article or topic. Kareem indicated recent updates in this context that will appear soon, in terms of linking the information directly to the source. But as followers of theories of the intrusiveness of artificial intelligence and media, we see it as a good way to emphasize the role of the journalist and establish his presence in light of the development taking place. It may be a means of reassurance to be advised that Kundera will not eliminate the role of the researcher, but rather support him to develop his creativity.
But for the moment, development is not without errors, and technology is not without some lapses. We believe here, that the translator in particular is aware of what we mean. The Google Translate experiment wasn't really innovative and it still contains many errors and grammatical lapses that change the meaning and content. This calls for some vigilance. This application did not replace the translator, certainly not. (No one underestimates your role as a translator, don't allow it. Google didn't do your job.)
Here, Fared asserts that "no current technology can provide accurate and integrated writing, not even Kundera, despite its proficiency in writing articles in the original Arabic and this is what he describes as "the first algorithm in the world that does this."
The app developer continues, "Kundera still needs a proofreader. The Arabic language is difficult and complicated, but it can be considered a startup from the Arab region to support the Arabic language, as there is no focus on it abroad."
He believes that "Arabic content on the Internet is minimal. Therefore, we are developing an algorithm to properly develop this Arabic content." He also states that “modifications to the article can be made with the application itself. The more modifications, the better the results, so as to store the information for future times.”
Regarding the journalists’ fear of an abundance of applications, the digital transformation, and whether the journalist’s profession is threatened with demise, the expert in technology and digital media stresses that it is impossible to dispense with the “journalistic workforce.” He points out that technical work falls within the framework of implementation and facilitates the effort, but it cannot be classified in any way in the field of creativity.
"Kundera only summarizes, but the article needs a human mind to add to the creative side," he stressed. He also added that the application contributes to empowering the journalist, but it does not compete with him.
UAE and Saudi Arabia are Pioneers in Preparing the Infrastructure for the Development of Artificial Intelligence
Developed countries realize the importance of artificial intelligence and its advanced technologies in penetrating into our daily activities, so they are making great efforts to lay the infrastructure for developing technical projects that keep pace with rapid digital transformation.
In this regard, Fareed stresses that what matters in entrepreneurship is the infrastructure, the legislative and legal environment which supports small projects, and the ease of establishing businesses and companies.
Respecting the extent to which Arab countries keep pace with the development of artificial intelligence, he believes that "UAE has provided everything that innovators need to launch applications in this framework. It has thus provided the legislative, legal, and financial infrastructure in which we can work as application developers.
The UAE constantly provides support in a knowledge-based economy based on technology, and is trying to be a hub for entrepreneurship in the region, especially in its economic capital Dubai.” He adds, “As for Saudi Arabia, it is also on a similar path to building integrated strategies in artificial intelligence, with the vision of His Highness the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the changes that he brought," stressing that the Kingdom will have a major role in this regard and wishing his country Egypt to have a similar role.
The Experience of Kundera Founder in Artificial Intelligence
The young Egyptian, who studied computer science in Cairo before discovering that modern media is his true love, tells us about his experience in digital media and content development, through his KF Solutions company which he established during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fared explains that he has worked on the project since mid-2018 when he developed the surrounding matrix to deal with articles in terms of preparation and promotion. He considers that his real breakthrough was through a research article he wrote about the robot, "I was thinking about artificial intelligence and the extent of its impact in the future."
He pointed out that the COVID-19 pandemic was a catalyst for the development of technology. “The biggest challenge lies in accepting change and digital transformation,” declaring that the pandemic forced people to adopt technology and to accelerate the adoption of technologies. "The launch of applications like Kundera would have been delayed by years without a strong catalyst,” he said.
The Kundera application has spread in the English version, while work is currently underway to develop an Arabic version which is expected to be launched in March 2022.
Fared believes that Kundera supports and empowers the journalist and researcher as well as the pre-university student, "Those people need to develop critical and creative thinking, and they need research almost daily. Kundera helps them develop this skill."
On the role of search engines in impoverishing or enriching the content, he explains that during past years the content has been marginally relevant due to the nature of the work of search engines with the focus on what the audience wants. Here, the app's inventor believes that "Kundera solves the problem because it produces rich and high-quality articles and publishes them in a short time. It thus promotes valuable Arabic content on the Internet, rather than content that attracts clicking on the link."
What's next for Kundera?
Fared describes Kundera as being made with the goal of "empowering creators to produce the best possible content." So, what's next for Kundera? What is the future project? Fared reveals to us that he is working on a pioneering idea that all media organizations need. In his opinion, it is the second solution to the crisis of Arabic content. "After improving its quality, the role of promotion comes next by publishing a platform to facilitate interaction."
Thus, he considers that, in addition to the relevance of the content, the first part of the problem lies in the pressure exerted on journalists and media professionals, as represented by the mass production of topics in record time.
He also points out that content creators face a severe challenge by publishing strong content without getting profits. “Search engines, social media platforms, Google, and tech companies get the lion’s share of media revenue on publishing platforms. On the other hand, some crumbs reach the content creators and the media.” This is what he calls the unfair equation. On the other hand, press institutions, with their huge experience, deserve an adequate return for their performance. Therefore, in order to distribute profits equitably, Kareem Fared saw the necessity of a new method of distributing the percentage of profits to content creators.
We must start work on constructing a new but different type of social media, where content creators have a big share of continuous income, pointing out that the platform will take privacy into account, as it does not need user data to fetch ads as do other platforms.
Between “the audience wants that,” digitization, and the quality of content in the midst of the expansion of the publishing media, a strong and fair balance are required that preserves the basic rules of the media. This balance will inevitably maintain quality, and transmit information to the recipient in a correct manner, taking into account the correct language and the true message of transforming users into an “audience who wants healthy digital content.”