Monday, March 27, 2017

The Robos Are Coming: Journalist Edition - Science

On being advised of the idea of robots writing news, likely the first question will be, "Don't robots write the news already?"

There's every bit of a bad idea you can imagine in robotizing the writing of news and do feel free to hate it right down to the unctuous delivery.

Science Daily:  Can robots write meaningful news?

Robots and computers are replacing people everywhere; doctors, pilots, even journalists. Is this leading to a dystopian society, or could it be something positive?

- SD

Right off the top, you know this one is headed for Marvel comics.

"The angle of digitalization is very much in demand today, and companies are eager to get help to transform," says project director Mart Ots. "The general question is how can algorithms replace humans in repetitive professions? Journalism may not seem like a repetitive job, but when it comes to writing about finance and sports, it very well can be."

- SD

Robo algorithms can easily replace humans in repetitive professions and have been doing it for years.  The actual question is whether they can make the writing of news as repetitive as bolting fenders onto cars and we have high confidence this lot can do it.

In some areas, robots can be used to assist journalists by finding and analyzing data, but the journalist still writes the story. In other cases, robots could do the actual writing. The DPer News project wants to find creative methods for robotization that can help the news industry create more interesting news.

- SD

You were warned about them being unctuous.

"DPer News is about how we can make news stories that are not just cheap and convenient, but more meaningful and personal. It worries me that just because we can get robots to mine and condense data, that's all we'll do," says Professor Daved Barry. "Robots can target you and quickly give you the content you want, like the latest sports scores. But what about giving you content that would surprise you, that would help you think in out-of-the-box ways?"

- SD

Glory.  These robos will help you think, you unimaginative, flea-infested li'l monkey, you.

Conversely, we have The Problem.  (MediaMatters:  Veteran Journalist Ted Koppel To Sean Hannity: You Are Bad For America "In The Long Haul")

SEAN HANNITY: We have to give some credit to the American people that they are somewhat intelligent and that they know the difference between an opinion show and a news show. You’re cynical. Look at that.

TED KOPPEL: I am cynical.

HANNITY: You think we're bad for America? You think I'm bad for America?


HANNITY: You do.

KOPPEL: In the long haul, I think you and all these opinion shows--

HANNITY: Really? That’s sad, Ted. That’s sad.

KOPPEL: No, you know why? Because you’re very good at what you do, and because you have attracted a significantly more influential --

HANNITY: You're selling the American people short.

KOPPEL: Let me finish the sentence.

HANNITY: I’m listening. With all due respect. Take the floor.

KOPPEL: You have attracted people who are determined that ideology is more important than facts.

- MM

The general premise of the robo Swedes is their news robos would not do that and would instead give accurate news which is, gee, more interesting.

However, we're tired of those damn Pollyanna Swedes already.  All you need is a Propaganda Dial on your robo and turn it up to whatever you like.  The P.D. starts at zero for complete truth, goes up to Sean Hannity at about eighty percent and total raving bullshit is just a little bit higher.  Get that flexibility with your news-writing robo or demand your money back.

Instead of a simple news robo, we will sell you a propaganda robo and this baby will write some news people will pay to hear, especially Rupert Murdoch.  Don't let him get ahead of you in purchasing propaganda robos for Fox News since you need an edge in the competitive market of news propaganda.

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