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AP Employs Robot Journalists

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Elizabeth M
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Robots writing financial stories
Elizabeth M   7/9/2014 7:34:10 AM
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I have to admit, I used to write financial stories when I worked for a wire service, and I absolutely despised it. That robots are now capable of this task is welcome news for me, even if I no longer have to do this loathsome chore. I think this is a really good use for automation, and will allow journalists to focus on more compelling and interesting stories rather than write ones that, obviously, a robot can do.

Cabe Atwell
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Re: Robots writing financial stories
Cabe Atwell   7/9/2014 4:15:43 PM
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All I can say is... hmmmm

Charles Murray
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Re: Robots writing financial stories
Charles Murray   7/9/2014 5:47:43 PM
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For the types of formulaic articles that your story refers to, Liz, this makes absolute sense. It's a lot like the cancer app that you wrote about a few days ago -- it frees people up to do the more important work. The only downside I can see is that it could take a job away from a summer journalism intern, and there are precious few of those positions available these days.

francisB
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Re: Robots writing financial stories
francisB   7/10/2014 1:02:25 AM
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That was interesting. This is really 21st century now and everything is possible. Robots are now there to make our work easier.

Elizabeth M
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Re: Robots writing financial stories
Elizabeth M   7/10/2014 5:18:38 AM
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Indeed, Cabe. For journalists, this is certainly an interesting development!

Elizabeth M
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Re: Robots writing financial stories
Elizabeth M   7/10/2014 5:30:36 AM
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Yes, I agree, Chuck. It does make sense for these kinds of articles. (By the way, Cabe wrote about the cancer app, not me--I just commented on it!) Like I said before, I really loathed doing financial stories and would've been gleeful at the prospect of turning them over to a robot. But yes, internships will likely suffer, which is a shame for young people who might want to become journalists (but do people really still want to be like us these days?? ;)).

Elizabeth M
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Re: Robots writing financial stories
Elizabeth M   7/10/2014 8:44:53 AM
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Yes, francisB, I think what you say rings true and is a good way to look at these robot journalists. They are here to make our lives easier, not replace us (or so we journalists hope!).

Measurementblues
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Gold
Re: Robots writing financial stories
Measurementblues   7/10/2014 9:03:08 AM
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That robots are now capable of this task is welcome news for me, even if I no longer have to do this loathsome chore.

Amen to that. Covering products is almost the same. I would love to have a robot write up products for me. That's always been the boring part of the job.

GTOlover
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Elimination of news bias?
GTOlover   7/10/2014 9:10:55 AM
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Can I assume that robots will eliminate bias reporting evident in all articles? Probably not as Elizabeth reported that the automation fills in a template report that could already be formed as either positive or negative.

Do not get me wrong here, bias is a way of life and all of us have it. I was just wondering if automation will make the news reporting dull and factoid with little entertainment value. But I have never been a fan of reading the financial reports. I would think sports reporting would be another area that automation could probably be used in.

Battar
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Re: Robots writing financial stories
Battar   7/10/2014 9:54:24 AM
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The copyright lawsuits that will arise out of this should be interesting. Perhaps someone could program robot lawyers to handle the cases - shoud be easier, because they won't have to parse the resulting text to see if it is comprehendable.

I don't see robots taking over your job anytime soon, though they could be programmed to unless they simply crawl the web looking for press releases and then tack on a cliches about paradigm shifts, consumer preferences, and future technologies.

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