The BBC has outlined its plans for working with Generative AI (GenAI) through a series of pilots designed to explore the benefits of using the technology in three key areas.

A total of 12 internal pilots will assess the effectiveness of GenAI in maximising the value of existing content; new audience experiences; and making workflow processes quicker and easier.


The BBC has outlined plans for GenAI

Source: BBC/Jeff Overs

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In a statement, Rhodri Talfan Davies, the BBC’s Director of Nations, said, “In October 2023, we shared our approach to working with Gen AI technology and outlined three principles that will shape our approach in this area.

“We set out that we would: always act in the best interests of the public; always prioritise talent and creativity; and always be open and transparent with audiences when we use AI to support content-making.

“In October we said that we would start a number of projects that explore the use of Gen AI in both what we make and how we work - taking a targeted approach to better understand both the opportunities and risks.

“We’ve now chosen the first projects, which will help us explore different areas where we think that Gen AI could bring significant benefits for audiences and for staff.”

According to Davies, the majority of the pilot projects are internal-only and won’t be used to create content for audiences at this stage.

Pilots that maximise the value of existing content include:

Translating content to make it available to more people - BBC News is leading this project, looking at how the BBC can convert news articles into multiple languages.

Reformatting existing content in a way that widens its appeal, for example, taking a live sports radio commentary and changing it rapidly to text for BBC Sport’s live pages.

Pilots that aim to build new audience experiences include:

A new BBC Assistant – examining the potential for chatbots to provide interactive and tailored learning on BBC Bitesize.

More personalised marketing – using GenAI to help create more personalised text, images and video in the marketing of BBC content and services to audiences.

Pilots that aim to do things quicker and easier include:

Supporting journalists – using Gen AI tools that help BBC journalists to work faster. For example, a ‘headline helper’ could give journalists options of headlines to choose from, or the ability to summarise an article – to link to elsewhere.

Streamlining how to organise and label content - exploring how Gen AI can help teams find content within BBC programmes through things like better labelling – which will help them create new forms of content more quickly - e.g. A clip or collection of certain moments within a programme/programmes.

Davies added: “We will experiment in each of these areas over the next few months, testing and learning as we go. We’ll see what works, what doesn’t - and make a call on what we take forward. It’ll be exciting to see how this develops.”

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