January 16, 2013

Robots That Write Our News

News aggregators are used daily by people over the net to bring back relevant stories and news so they don't have to spend the time gong through countless webpages just to find what they are really looking for. Services like Google alerts is a good example of this. There is a program that i use to write articles for blogs that curates some of the content from multiple sources for me.

It got me wondering how far robotics might have penetrated the media world so i started looking around and found an article by wired on Narrative Science and how they program machines to write news stories.

As it turns out they are already being used by reputable companies like Forbes to write for their websites.

Narrative Science’s algorithms built this article using pitch-by-pitch game data that parents entered into an iPhone app called GameChanger. Last year the software produced nearly 400,000 accounts of Little League games. This year that number is expected to top 1.5 million.
   "Friona fell 10-8 to Boys Ranch in five innings on Monday at Friona despite racking up seven hits and eight runs. Friona was led by a flawless day at the dish by Hunter Sundre, who went 2-2 against Boys Ranch pitching. Sundre singled in the third inning and tripled in the fourth inning … Friona piled up the steals, swiping eight bags in all …"

Couldn't notice the difference could you. It may lack a little character but that could easily change. If you think that a computer could never really replace a human at writing stories think again. Robots have already replaced us at many things. Sports writers might have some cause for concern

Narrative Science's co founder Kristian Hammond was recently asked at a conference by wired reporter Steven Levy to predict what percentage of news would be written by computers in 15 years. At first he tried to duck the question, but with some prodding he sighed and gave in: “More than 90 percent.”

He also seems to be pretty optimistic that a computer could win a Pulitzer prize within five years

They can customize their software to act a certain way like purposely omit data like errors at a softball game.Articles that require lots of data and follow a predictable formula or framework like sports and finance are best suited for Narrative science's programs. They can customize the tone of the stories to sound like a breathless financial reporter screaming from a trading floor or a dry sell-side researcher pedantically walking you through it.

Recently they have been trying to tackle other areas outside sports and finance like:

1)writing reviews of the best restaurants.

2)writing a monthly report for its franchise operators that analyzes sales figures, compares them to regional peers, and suggests particular menu items to push.3

3) producing personalized 401(k) financial reports

4)synopses of World of Warcraft sessions—players could get a recap after a big raid that would read as if an embedded journalist had accompanied their guild.

Hammond"s bold vision is within 20 years as more data is available and the programs mature be in every area of writing from commodity news to explanatory journalism and, ultimately, detailed long-form articles.

Article by J5un for Emerging Tech Trends for Transhumanism
You can check out Narrative Science here

Post Update- Since I have written this article I have came across an app for websites that has update real time news. You can check it out at Nozzl.com.

No comments:

Post a Comment