ITU Report Explores the Future of AI in Broadcast

GENEVA, Switzerland—With the annual AI for Good Global Summit having taken place in Geneva, May 28-31, the ITU published a new report that lays out how Artificial Intelligence (AI) could be used during the process of making and distributing television and radio content.

The report, “Artificial Intelligence systems for program production and exchange,” discusses how AI is now being used to optimize workflows for broadcasting program making, to improve audio and visual quality evaluation, to efficiently utilize the frequency spectrum in television and radio distribution and recently even to create new programs by mining archives as well as automatically targeting content to specific audiences or individuals.

For example, AI is being used for extracting content from vast archives; automatically localizing content for international distribution; and generating access services such as captioning, audio description, text to speech and signing far faster and far more accurately than could be achieved in the past.

“ITU is collaborating with stakeholders to harness the power of AI to improve lives worldwide and seek solutions to the world's greatest challenges," said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao. “This helps us to identify practical applications of AI that can accelerate progress towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals, which is what we are doing this week at the AI for Good Global Summit."

The AI for Good Global Summit is a leading United Nations platform for global and inclusive dialogue on AI. The summit is hosted each year in Geneva by the ITU in partnership with UN sister agencies, XPRIZE Foundation and ACM.

The recent AI report is in response to Study Group 6 (Broadcasting Service) Question ITU-R 144/6 on Use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) for broadcasting, which was approved in January 2019. ITU study groups are venues for ITU members to work collaboratively in responding to the priorities of the ITU membership. The groups develop the technical basis for ITU agreements and associated activities.

Study groups of the ITU Radiocommunication Sector (ITU-R) address issues including the efficient management and use of the radio-frequency spectrum and orbit resources, radio systems' characteristics and performance, spectrum monitoring, emergency radiocommunications for public protection and disaster relief, interference-free radiocommunications, radio and TV broadcasting and new radio technologies.

“There is still an incredible amount of work needed to ensure that the use of AI in program making and content distribution is for the benefit of the audiences," said Mario Maniewicz, director of ITU's Radiocommunication Bureau. “We also need to make sure that the systems employed interact with each other. This and other reports and recommendations from ITU help to achieve that."

This story was first posted on TVT's sister publication, Pro Sound News.