Two US projects covered by the Guardian today point to a future where news stories are written by algorithms.
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StatSheet and Stats Monkey both plan to automate sports reporting by taking stats from games along with historical data about teams and players to create a news story that reads like it was written by a journalist.
StatSheet’s solution should be in service from this summer, even though the technology is still in the early stages of development. Just take a look at this text from Stats Monkey below ; it almost feels natural, but not quite:
“SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Tony Bucciferro put the Michigan State Spartans on his back Sunday and spurred them to a 3-0 win over the Notre Dame Fighting Irish (7-11) at Frank Eck Stadium.
Bucciferro kept the Fighting Irish off the board during his nine innings of work for Michigan State (12-4). He struck out five and allowed one walk and three hits.
Senior Matt Grosso was not able to take advantage of a big opportunity for the Irish in the ninth inning.”
While the technique is currently being used for sports reporting, it’s easy to imagine it being expanded in future to cover the financial markets and even more complex subjects like world politics. We’re still a long way off that but in the longterm, many news reporters could be out of a job.
Of course if journalists face the chop then so might professional bloggers. Or maybe we are already robots? No, surely not… Malfunction! Malfunction! Bzzzt…….
[Image credit: Arthur40A]