Friday, May 4, 2012

Shivers up my spine:

And yours?

A student just sent me a link to a story from Wired on a newly trained sports/finance reporter.  Said reporter is a computer algorithim. No human interaction required:

For now consider this: Every 30 seconds or so, the algorithmic bull pen of Narrative Science, a 30-person company occupying a large room on the fringes of the Chicago Loop, extrudes a story whose very byline is a question of philosophical inquiry. The computer-written product could be a pennant-waving second-half update of a Big Ten basketball contest, a sober preview of a corporate earnings statement, or a blithe summary of the presidential horse race drawn from Twitter posts. The articles run on the websites of respected publishers like Forbes, as well as other Internet media powers (many of which are keeping their identities private). Niche news services hire Narrative Science to write updates for their subscribers, be they sports fans, small-cap investors, or fast-food franchise owners.
Is this the end of the world as we know it?  I for one think that the beauty of sports writing -- and possibly all the nuances therein -- might get lost when the byline reads "by Robo Reporter."  But that's just me. What's next? 

Robo-journalism for everything from politics to public policy? 

An algorithim that grades papers?  Wait.  That one I can definitely get behind.

Your thoughts?  bk

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