Gamification, understood as the use of ludic mechanisms in non-ludic contexts, is seen today as a practice ingrained in new medias. The shift of journalism onto social networks has laid the foundations for a ludic communicative paradigm that revolves specifically around gaming mechanisms. Nevertheless, recent developments in artificial intelligence call for a partial redefinition of the term "gamification", so as to situate it in its relations with machines and algorithms. For some time now, what are known as empathic media have signaled a turning point in the development of an emotional artificial intelligence, capable of eliciting and responding to the emotional states of consumers and users for commercial purposes. In recent years, this use of artificial emotional intelligence has also made its way into journalism on social networks. This communications channel builds on tools such as sensationalism, irony, and the creation of an empathetic connection with readers—centered on sharing a ludic, humorous paradigm of communication. In this instance, gamification is transformed into AI-gamification Echobox, a social media platform based on artificial intelligence, used by media to communicate more efficiently with readers on social platforms, will provide a case study by which to analyze this effort. I will also show the benefits and drawbacks of this shift from gamification to AI-gamification, examining in particular the capacities and limits of the algorithms in developing a ludic human language whose goal is to increase both users’ emotional involvement and the readership of the articles (and, consequently, the revenue) of the media outlets.
Luca Serafini, Lumsa University of Rome, Italy