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This article was published on July 6, 2017


Google is funding a news site with robot writers

Google is funding a news site with robot writers
Rachel Kaser
Story by

Rachel Kaser

Internet Culture Writer

Rachel is a writer and former game critic from Central Texas. She enjoys gaming, writing mystery stories, streaming on Twitch, and horseback Rachel is a writer and former game critic from Central Texas. She enjoys gaming, writing mystery stories, streaming on Twitch, and horseback riding. Check her Twitter for curmudgeonly criticisms.

Scribes everywhere, look alive: Google is now funding a project which will use AI to write automated news stories,

The Press Association, a UK news agency, received about $807,000 from the third round of Google’s Digital News Initiative funding. Their project? Reporters and Data and Robots, or RADAR, an AI/human collaborative news site which will produce “a daily diet of compelling stories.”

RADAR is listed on the DNI site as a “large” project, with a goal towards providing a steady stream of ready-made content for smaller news sites:

Using a combination of editorial expertise and automation, applied to the burgeoning supply of open data and the increasing sophistication of distribution tools, RADAR will provide a major enhancement to the local digital news ecosystem … This will provide a significant boost to the local media industry at a time when budgets are under increasing pressure – but when the public’s interest in local news is as high as ever.

My journalist brothers and sisters shouldn’t worry, though, according to Press Association editor Pete Clifton. He reassured the BBC the AI will not make human journalists obsolete:

Skilled human journalists will still be vital in the process, but RADAR allows us to harness artificial intelligence to scale up to a volume of local stories that would be impossible to provide manually.

Other recipients of DNI funding are Al Jazeera’s AJ Labs app, the virtual newsroom WikiTribune, and Dennis Publishing’s digital advertising platform Project Arete.