This Week in the Mercury


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Robots Write the News Now—and I Couldn't Be Happier

Posted by Wm.™ Steven Humphrey on Wed, Mar 19, 2014 at 10:44 AM

The LA Times is one of the media organizatins leading the pack when it comes to making their own employees superfluous—because now they're using robots to write their breaking news stories. From the BBC:

The Los Angeles Times was the first newspaper to publish a story about an earthquake on Monday - thanks to a robot writer.

Journalist and programmer Ken Schwencke created an algorithm that automatically generates a short article when an earthquake occurs.

Mr Schwencke told Slate magazine that it took around three minutes for the story to appear online.

"Robo-journalism" is increasingly being used in newsrooms worldwide.

According to the story, the algorithm pulls the stats needed for the story from "trusted sources" (this time the US Geological Survey), plugs them into some pre-written text, and VOILA! They're first off the blocks with breaking news.

Does this make me nervous? HELL TO THE NO! Right after lunch I'm gonna walk down to the mall, and buy me one of these "robo-porters" (probably at the T-Mobile store?), stick it in my seat, and take the rest of my life OFF. Sayonara, suckers! (Hat tips to Blogtown consulting detective Graham.)

P.S. I'm happy to set up some "robo-commenters," too—then we could vacation together!

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