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Concept Note of the AUB's International Conference on Artificial Intelligence- Kigali, November 2023


14, 15, 16 November 2023, Kigali - Rwanda



1) The issue: fascination and concern

African audiovisual media must prepare for the revolution of artificial intelligence. This new development, which will impact all areas of social life, will particularly affect media in general and, specifically, African audiovisual media in terms of the information, knowledge, and entertainment they provide to their audiences.

Artificial intelligence produces more authentic images than those captured on the ground. It imitates human voices and creates near-perfect language elements. It formats program content, determines artistic-technical sequences, decides editing sequences, creates music, suggests the best programming slots, aggregates audiences, recommends advertising partners, reads and responds to social media exchanges. It is already doing these tasks, and it will do even more in the future.

Undoubtedly, both opportunities and threats loom for the media. Beyond automation or digitization processes, AI already has and will continue to have a major influence on information collection and processing, the design, production, distribution, and programming of audiovisual content, as well as the management of radio and television networks and the organizational use of social media. African media, whether they like it or not, will be caught in the turmoil of this significant phenomenon, which raises ethical, social, human, legal, technical, professional, and political questions. They are already observing the unfolding situation with some concern.

2) A first solution: a collective reflection

The AUB (African Union of Broadcasting) is the largest professional organization of radio and television in Africa. It includes over 80 public and private audiovisual organizations as members. Covering the entire continent, its mission is to develop broadcasting and television in Africa while taking into account the expectations and aspirations of Africans. As a Pan-African organization that plays a sentinel role for its members and the continent, the AUB is inevitably concerned about the anticipated disruptions. Recognizing its continental mandate, it has the obligation to contribute by enabling its members to engage in collective and in-depth reflection on this new phenomenon, hence the organization of an international conference. This international conference will be held under the effective presidency of His Excellency Mr. Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda.

3) Conference objective: raising awareness and providing information

The AUB aims to ensure the presence of high-level experts from Africa and other continents to raise awareness and educate African audiovisual entities about the extraordinary potential games, challenges, and impacts of artificial intelligence on their activities, as well as the foreseeable upheavals in their sector. It will assess the current state and progress of AI usage, the level of knowledge, understanding, and preparedness of its members. It will also outline methodologies and strategies for the future in terms of guiding practices and organizational, national, or continental policies.

Ultimately, the primary objective is to address the fundamental concerns arising from the emergence of artificial intelligence on the contemporary scene, within African audiovisual organizations, and to envision political, economic, and cognitive methodologies for its integration. This integration should aim to provide better service to African listeners, viewers, and internet users.

4) Target audience: managers, organizations, and ultimately, the public

The conference is dedicated to senior managers of African audiovisual media, who are members of the African Union of Broadcasting. However, through this primary target, the conference aims to reach the leaders of all African audiovisual media and their strategic, technical, and professional collaborators. Ultimately, we aim to reach the African population at large, as the new paradigm could potentially undermine trust in the media. The experts invited to present come from various backgrounds: inventors, academics, researchers, and practitioners in AI from large multinational organizations or professionals in the media industry who can provide a thorough understanding and meaningful context of the phenomenon.

5) Conference content: preparing for action

The international conference will take place in Kigali, Rwanda, on November 14th, 15th, and 16th, 2023. Its content aims to:

a) Present the ecosystem of artificial intelligence and its multiple social impacts in different areas of society, identifying the advantages it generates and the challenges it suggests.

b) Discuss AI in the media, particularly in audiovisual media, addressing issues of disinformation, plagiarism, manipulation, and trust in the media in an environment where the artificial could thrive.

c) Enable decision-makers to identify threats and opportunities in areas such as ethics, content, technology, marketing, editorial policies, internal management, and environmental resources.

d) Envision future strategies for embracing AI to retain and capture audiences as well as explore new niches.

6) Expected outcomes: public trust

At the end of the conference, we expect senior leaders in African audiovisual media to be informed about the impact of artificial intelligence on the media and prepared to take measures to maximize the benefits of this revolution while avoiding its pitfalls. The AUB expects the actively engaged members to emerge from the conference seasoned and sufficiently attentive to the issues surrounding artificial intelligence. At least the following concrete components should be evident:

a) African audiovisual media are informed and aware of the new dynamics introduced by AI, recognizing the need to minimize risks and maximize productivity.

b) African audiovisual media are better equipped to understand, or at least grasp the extent of possible changes.

c) Media outlets consider the equation of AI in their journalistic and entertainment productions, leveraging advancements while avoiding pitfalls.

d) The hundred AUB member managers are aware of the stakes and capable of making the necessary strategic or practical decisions within the new ecosystem.

e) Radio and television leaders lay the groundwork for an efficient and concerted strategy, considering how to incorporate artificial intelligence into African media.

f) African audiences, ultimately, are better informed and benefit from the advantages of AI while having confidence in their media and the assurance that risks associated with the phenomenon are controlled.

7) Event partners: respectful of Africa

Our partners are organizations and institutions involved in the observation or advancement of artificial intelligence worldwide, who respect our continent. They are concerned about Africa's development or international development and are aware of the role of media in African cultural and economic contexts. They are also engaged by the impacts of artificial intelligence on our societies, particularly our media.

They can get involved and participate in our on-site activities or through various media channels, taking advantage of the event's high visibility among invited or interested media decision-makers from Africa and around the world, as well as in media coverage in Africa and globally.

They will have access to spaces, activities, openings, territories, or mentions in our conference and in our communications and public relations, on our posters in both print and digital formats. Specifically, they can also acquire advertising pages in the event's brochure in both print and digital versions, participate in on-site demonstrations or exhibitions, or propose operations for their and our visibility.

Conclusion Through this international conference, the AUB intends to raise awareness by fostering structured conversations about a phenomenon that could reshape contemporary civilization. Media plays a decisive role in African society. By introducing the debate on artificial intelligence in the continent's media, the ultimate goal is to introduce its terms more broadly into the African public space.

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