Saturday, September 10, 2011

Will robots replace flesh-and-blood journalists?

The New York Times asks that question in a story today about Narrative Science, a start-up company developing software that takes data, like that from sports statistics and company financial reports, and turns it into newspaper articles.

Last summer, a Gannett Blogger wrote: "Corporate has told us it will be using Narrative Science to write prep sports stories for the new incarnation of highschoolsports.net."

Earlier: As he left Gannett in April 2010, Chief Digital Officer Chris Saridakis said: "There will be new, more efficient ways of producing content and Narrative Science is the first of many companies developing this platform."

10 comments:

  1. What they need now is an automated reader to save me the time of having to read the paper. What a damn silly idea. Machines can't handle color or texture in stories.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Interesting, I wonder if people even want newspaper articles if they can just look at the data. What would the value of this kind of translation be?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Don't they already do this sort of thing with the sports stats, etc.? I don't think these ever see a a human hand, and I doubt many human eyeballs. Not trying to provoke a reaction, but curious if anyone out there reads the stats?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hmmm. Let's see: Demand Media produces travel, Narative Science lined up for sports, Health Today for Your Life, etc., etc. Plus US Newswire for finance and general news. Do I spot a contracting out trend, and a vision of the USA Today of tomorrow? Are big cuts ahead at USA Today? Will anyone at all read a newspaper not produced by human hand, or is the evolution of a digital newspaper? Hmmm....just thinking....

    ReplyDelete
  5. I should have cross posted those two items to the other pages involving USA Today's digital strategy. I bet this has involved oodles of consultant reports, studies and meetings. Explains what Heather and her team have been up to. They are going to Heather us to death with this stuff.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Don't we already have robots in key positions?

    ReplyDelete
  7. Gack! I hate myself for saying this, but it probably does make sense to automate things like routine high school sports game coverage. Save the human reporters for things where their skills can make a difference.

    Now I'm going to have to go take a shower.

    ReplyDelete
  8. If Gannett can use the technology to further lay off workers, you can bet there is an Excel spreadsheet in somebody's office just waiting to be used.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Heather no longer has anyone fooled. No ads, no readers, no real content, no real plan to get any. She is not long for this place.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Robbie the robot9/12/2011 10:33 AM

    I know 5 positions in McLean that could be replaced with robots, CEO, CFO, COO.....and I'm talking the dumb 1950's-1960's clanking kind of robots, which would do a better job.

    ReplyDelete

Jim says: "Proceed with caution; this is a free-for-all comment zone. I try to correct or clarify incorrect information. But I can't catch everything. Please keep your posts focused on Gannett and media-related subjects. Note that I occasionally review comments in advance, to reject inappropriate ones. And I ignore hostile posters, and recommend you do, too."

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.