Published: 18:16, May 24, 2024 | Updated: 19:38, May 24, 2024
AI seen as a 'double-edged sword' for the publishing industry
By Zhou Mo in Shenzhen
Fan Deng, founder of Fanshu App, delivers a speech during a sub-forum of the Forum on Building up China's Cultural Strength 2024 in Shenzhen, China on May 24, 2024. (PARKER ZHENG / CHINA DAILY)

Artificial intelligence is a "double-edged sword" for the publishing industry in the digital age, and talents should sharpen their professional and digital skills to ride the wave, experts said on Friday.

They made the remarks at the Sub-Forum on Publishing Talent Cultivation in the Digital Age, which is one of the eight sub-forums of the Forum on Building up China's Cultural Strength 2024, held in Shenzhen, Guangdong province.

Compared with human editing, machine editing has no emotion, no moral sense and cannot make ethical judgments, he pointed out. "Human editors are the 'gatekeeper' of high-quality publishing whom machines can never replace"

Although artificial intelligence will bring revolutionary change to the publishing industry, it will not replace human editors, said Zhang Hongwei, general manager of Tongfang Knowledge Network Technology Co Ltd.

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Compared with human editing, machine editing has no emotion, no moral sense and cannot make ethical judgments, he pointed out. "Human editors are the 'gatekeeper' of high-quality publishing whom machines can never replace," he noted.

While AI will enable more people to access and make use of knowledge information in an equal and easy way, it will also amplify the gap in ability between those who have AI knowledge and those who haven't, making the latter on the brink of replacement by their counterparts, he added.

"In this sense, AI is a double-edged sword."

Zhang Jiuzhen, head of Peking University's publishing research institute, reckoned that demand for inter-disciplinary talent in the publishing industry will grow in the digital age.

"These talents not only possess professional knowledge and skills in the field of publishing but also have the ability to carry out inter-industry cooperation," she said.

Bai Bing (left), editor-in chief of Jieli publishing house, delivers a speech at a sub forum of the Forum on Building up China's Cultural Strength 2024 in Shenzhen, China on May 24, 2024. (PARKER ZHENG / CHINA DAILY)

Yang Lei, general manager of Chinese Laser Press, called for an optimized system and mechanism in the publishing industry to create a large space for talent development.

When the system and mechanism are perfected, editors will have more enthusiasm for their jobs, enabling them to make greater achievements in their careers

"We should get rid of the seniority-based system so that those with less experience can have more opportunities for promotion," she said.

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"Also, the rigid system in which editors deal with repetitive work day by day should also be broken."

When the system and mechanism are perfected, editors will have more enthusiasm for their jobs, enabling them to make greater achievements in their careers, she said.

According to a report released by the Chinese Academy of Press and Publication, the Chinese digital publishing industry generated 1.36 trillion yuan in revenue in 2022, increasing 6.46 percent yearly. Of the amount, online advertisement contributed 663.92 billion yuan, followed by internet games and online education, which posted 265.89 billion and 262 billion yuan, respectively.