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Video's vision of journalism's future looks a lot like buzzword hell

Technically Incorrect: Tronc, formerly known as the Tribune Group, scares its employees with a vision of the media future that is quite ugly and driven by artificial intelligence.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.

The machines have all the answer. The question is how long they will still need humans.

Tronc/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

I'm going to challenge you.

I want you to spend 30 minutes of your day composing an employee motivation video that includes the maximum number of nightmare scenarios and buzzwordy cliches.

Then I want you to present it to your bosses.

If any of them bite, we here at Technically Incorrect want to see if it beats the quite body-shivering, bloviatory effort of Tronc.

This company, formerly known as the Tribune Group, includes hallowed brands such as the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times.

And it sees the future of content. This is one in which we will all die in a hail of video.

Here we see Malcolm CasSelle, Tronc's chief technology officer, telling employees he knows how to "optimize" content.

Optimization is a polite word that means: "How we can make more money out of your work and not pay you more."

Currently, only 16 percent of Tronc's articles enjoy video content. This must rise to 50 percent or, well, else.

Tronc doesn't want employees to be scared. This is the courageous new world. After all, Tronc stands for "Tribune Online Content," not "Troncating Your Brains, So That We Turn You Into Robots."

Anne Vasquez, Tronc's chief digital officer, puts it hopefully. It's about having "a tech startup culture meet a legacy corporate culture."

It's an enormous relief that, yet again, we can blame tech startup culture for everything. Especially the fine graph in the middle of this video that shows how artificial intelligence can hypnotize readers into loving the Tronc brand more.

It's unclear how this video was received by the staff. Dennis Culloton, a spokesman for Tronc, told me: "The executive leaders at Tronc and the 2,000 journalists who work for the company's award-winning news brands are focused on preserving and growing high-quality journalism, increasing engagement and building valuable audiences. The news industry has 20 years of experience showing what doesn't work, now it is time to innovate."

It's a little more clear how many have reacted outside of Tronc HQ.

"Parody or hostage video? Hard to tell," offered editor Evan Sparks.

Rob Dubbin had a more subtle fear: "Do we think tronc's artificial intelligence-powered engagement-booster system told them to disable comments on this?"

Many in the past have laughed at darker portents of the future of everything -- never mind just, um, of content.

And then these things come to pass.

If you'd told someone, say, 15 years ago that people would happily allow faceless companies to follow them around all day and night, recording everything they were doing, you might have shivered.

Now you just say: "Google and Facebook are so cool!"