Join us this week for a series exploring the use of artificial intelligence in Charlotte. Come learn with us.
OK, I’ll start (answering my own question): At The Charlotte Ledger, we use a couple tools that incorporate AI – particularly speech-to-text technology, like you might find on your iPhone or Amazon Alexa.
One is called Otter.ai, which takes audio files and converts them into text. This is helpful with interview transcriptions and is far more efficient than the method that was used when I started in journalism 25 years ago, which was a handheld tape recorder with a cassette or mini-cassette. Otter converts audio files to text in about 5 minutes. It is not 100% accurate, but it is pretty good. The plan we have is $100 a year.
The other one we use is called Descript. It is similar to Otter, but it helps with production of our Charlotte Ledger Podcast. It takes an audio file and converts it to text, and when you edit the text, it removes that piece of the audio file. So you can go through and select all the “um”s and delete them from the audio before releasing the podcast, or go through and delete whole sections. It saves us 1-2 hours of staff production time on a 30-minute episode. It is $144 a year.
We are a more wary about using AI to write. It is frankly not helpful in most of what we do, which is interviewing people and writing timely and original articles. If our publication just rewrote press releases and churned out timeless articles — like “5 great things about Charlotte” or “7 places to get a good taco in Charlotte” — then AI could be very helpful. ChatGPT can do that right now and produce articles that look legit in about 10 seconds.
We have also played around with tools that summarize articles, but we have found their accuracy to be too unreliable to use consistently.
If you want a glimpse of what an AI-generated newsletter could look like, we produced one as a thought experiment in June 2021: https://charlotteledger.substack.com/p/a-computer-wrote-this-entire-newsletter
I’m still learning from others in the aging industry about all of the potential uses of AI in this field. A lot of people fear “robots taking over jobs”, but with senior care, that won’t happen. However, there are a lot of cool ways that AI can help caregivers. For example, programming reminders for a parent to take meds, creating a meal plan for the week if someone has a health specific diet to follow (diabetic, heart health, etc), or translating steps for dealing with technology into simpler terms for someone without good tech skills (print directions for how to use the iPad, access FaceTime, etc). There’s a lot of potential!
How are you or your business using artificial intelligence? What do you think of it?