The JECT-SENSE art-tech collaboration developed and applied different AI algorithms to visualise news content in novel ways for journalists and editors, and for the public. Two-dimensional (2D) visualisations of news content were integrated into the JECT.AI product, to support journalists and editors discover new angles and voices for stories. More complex three-dimensional (3D) visualisations of this content were then generated and used to create a new public artwork, called Fragile Perspectives.
The development of different new JECT.AI algorithms enabled the more effective visualisation of news content for news and media professionals. E.g., unsupervised machine-learning algorithms were added to enable news clusters related to journalist topics to be discovered, and JECT.AI’s creative news index was extended to enable real-time analysis of large volumes of news by different time periods, such as the last 6 months, or 7 days. These new algorithms were then integrated with new JECT.AI news visualisations.
Different types of interactive 2D visualisations were implemented into the current product for use by journalists exploring new angles on stories. These visualisations included, e.g., bar charts showing the frequencies of the more and less common angles on stories, line graphs depicting how the overall sentiment of stories on a topic varies over time, and pie charts depicting the ethnicities of different journalists writing these stories.
In addition, a new interactive 3D visualisation of news clusters generated for a week’s news was developed. Rather than integrate into the current product, JECT.AI plans to offer this new service as an extra to editors, e.g., to explore overall news topics in morning meetings. Based on the feedback of first workshops with potential users, this service is planned to integrate 3D visual clues and text-based indications.
In the course of the JECT-SENSE project the artwork Fragile Perspectives by Antoni Rayzhekov grew from a vision into a multi-sensory installation. Drawing from the joint development of the JECT.AI algorithms and data, the artist analysed certain themes in news articles in the database available to JECT.AI: pandemic, populism, censorship, climate crisis, and future. These keywords reflect on global challenges as well as challenges in news media production. Modulating the specificities of the news landscapes of these terms into tangible pieces: five glass objects were produced, each representing one of these themes. The distortions in the tangible objects manifest imbalances, over- and underreporting, and different sentiment of the news on these topics. The shapes of the glass, its fragility and the distortions created by the light bring the abstract understanding of the data into the physical space.
The glass is mounted on metal stands reminding of the aesthetics of telescopes, and it is positioned on top of loudspeakers. The soundscape produced by the sculptures is the result of the news landscapes undergoing a process of sonification by being scanned and thus exciting virtual strings. Experiencing the tension of the glass pieces on vibrating metal makes the audience aware of the fragility of the perspectives that are generated by the news consumed.
Here the artwork refers back to the core of JECT.AI: only limited news articles can be processed by a single person, the variety provided is huge and we need to learn to navigate the news landscape in a new way.
Fragile Perspectives, 2021, details, all photos by Antoni Rayzhekov