BBC Has ‘Significant’ Ambitions for AI, Director General Tim Davie Says

In the same week that the BBC faced backlash from viewers for using artificial intelligence in promotional material for “Doctor Who,” the head of the public broadcaster has revealed that it has bold plans for the use of AI going forward.

In a major speech in London held by the Royal Television Society on Tuesday, director general Tim Davie outlined the “future direction of the BBC and its role for the U.K.,” which he revealed would include utilizing the new technology.

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“We will proactively deploy AI on our terms, always holding on to our published principles,” he said. “Never compromising human creative control, supporting rights holders and sustaining our editorial standards, but proactively launching tools that help us build relevance.”

Davie added that the BBC was now working “with a number of major tech companies” on “BBC-specific pilots,” the most promising of which would be deployed in the coming months.

The broadcaster’s ambition for AI is “significant”, claimed Davie, who said they wanted to use it to in the fact-checking of sources, translation and reformatting, while offering more tailored services.

“Supporting this, we are developing unique ethical algorithms that dramatically increase personalization but are not simply driven by the narrowing of an individual’s recommendations,” he said. “We want to keep other factors in play like serendipity; curiosity; and an interest in what our BBC editors may judge to be important stories.”

Elsewhere in the speech, Davie also doubled-down on the BBC’s plans to continue relocating “significant amounts” of content production, editorial leadership and decision-making outside of London. More than 60% of the BBC’s TV productions are set to be outside of the capital by 2026.

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