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HKBU partners tech firm on big data, AI and digital media research

Image Credits: HKBU, Press Release

The Department of Computer Science and the Department of Journalism at Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) announced the signing of a long-term strategic collaboration agreement with a Hong Kong-based AI lab.

The agreement will enable the partners to embark on research in the areas of big data, artificial intelligence (AI) and digital media, as well as the in-depth exploration of data integration and the innovative development of the journalism and media industry in the digital era.

HKBU is the first university partner of the tech in Hong Kong and mainland China. To examine news production and dissemination in the big data and AI era, HKBU and the firm are collaborating on a series of research projects which focus on the impact of news chatbots and personalised news recommendation systems on news reading habits.

The agreement was signed by the then Vice-President (Research and Development) of HKBU, the Chief Operating Officer of the tech firm.

Under the agreement, the tech firm will provide access to a sizable pool of data and relevant advanced technology to HKBU for research purposes.

This includes 85 billion data sets from more than 570,000 media sources, and the world’s largest Chinese semantic embedding model covering over 13 million Chinese words.

Research teams from HKBU’s Department of Computer Science and Department of Journalism will collaborate with the AI Lab to embark on research on different topics, such as the generation of a press criticism index; the relationship between the macro environment, geopolitical and social news on stock market performance; health-related discussions and information diffusion on social media; and the impact of the promulgation of online misinformation.

In addition, the two parties endeavour to nurture skilled talent and promote exchange, resulting in a win-win collaboration.

The partnership will help drive in-depth research projects with a data-driven approach and promote the use of novel ideas and approaches for nurturing journalists and AI-equipped data analysts for the new era, which will bring long-term benefits to the media industry at large.

Data Analytics and AI in applications are one of the key research clusters at HKBU. Through this collaboration, HKBU will be able to explore more possibilities in cross-disciplinary research.

In the digital era, technology is changing the way people communicate and interact with each other. The convenience of personalised recommendations and on-demand news consumption leads to side effects, such as the rapid proliferation of fake news and selective reading.

By combining the expertise of the two parties in media data, AI and journalism, the aim is to derive innovative solutions that benefit both news providers and recipients.

In 2018, HKBU’s Department of Computer Science and Department of Journalism jointly established an interdisciplinary Data and Media Communication Concentration in its undergraduate programme.

In 2019, the School of Communication and the Department of Journalism took a step forward with the launch of the Master of Science (MSc) in AI and Digital Media programme.

Both programmes are the first of their kind in Hong Kong, and they aim to respond to changes and challenges faced by the industry in this computational and digital age.

The AI lab is the world’s leading provider of Chinese media and business intelligence. Its advanced proprietary technologies cover the full spectrum of automated media intelligence, such as sentiment analysis, entity recognition, knowledge graphing, and critical event detection and tracking.

Its automatic document summarisation technology claimed the top spot at the International Conference on Natural Language Processing and Chinese Computing in 2018.

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