Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Will a computer replace you?

Algorithms are producing a growing number of articles for newspapers and websites, such as this one produced by Narrative Science:
"Wall Street is high on Wells Fargo, expecting it to report earnings that are up 15.7 percent from a year ago when it reports its second quarter earnings on Friday, July 13, 2012," said the article on Forbes.com.
While computers cannot parse the subtleties of each story, Phys.org reports, they can take vast amounts of raw data and turn it into what passes for news.
"This can work for anything that is basic and formulaic," says Ken Doctor, an analyst with the media research firm Outsell. And with media companies under intense financial pressure, the move to automate some news production "does speak directly to the rebuilding of the cost economics of journalism," said Doctor.
Scott Frederick, chief operating officer of Automated Insights, another firm in the sector, said he sees this as "the next generation of content creation."
The company generates news stories from raw feeds of play-by-play data from major sports events. The company generates advertising on its own website and is now beginning to sell its services to other organizations for sports and real estate news. 
To mimic the effect of the hometown newspaper, the company generates articles with a different "tonality" depending on the reader's preference or location. For the 2012 Super Bowl, the article for New York Giants' fans read like this: "Hakeem Nicks had a big night, paving the way to a victory for the Giants over the Patriots, 21-17 in Indianapolis. With the victory, New York is the champion of Super Bowl XLVI." 
For New England fans, the story was different: "Behind an average day from Tom Brady, the Patriots lost to the Giants, 21-17 at home. With the loss, New England falls short of a Super Bowl ring."
Not much different than human sports writers.

No comments:

Post a Comment