yes, i made that joke.
yesterday, within 2 hours of each other, Whitney Collins Miller and Rex Sorgatz both sent me breaking news: robots will steal jobs from human journalists! forget the rise of the blogger and the death of print media, robots are coming for you!
it seemed strangely fitting, after attending last night’s twestival and listening to digital specialists and online journalists and bloggers talk about the never-ending rounds of job interviews, meet & greets and lay-offs (goodbye John Carney, hello John Carney!) to think about what will happen when our robot overlords learn the craft of journalism.
Researchers at the Intelligent Systems Informatics Lab (ISI) at Tokyo University have developed a journalist robot that can autonomously explore its environment and report what it finds. The robot detects changes in its surroundings, decides if they are relevant, and then takes pictures with its on board camera. It can query nearby people for information, and it uses internet searches to further round out its understanding. If something appears newsworthy, the robot will even write a short article and publish it to the web.
Now, I’m in the process of developing completely automated sports content, which will take the form of blogs. I’m not talking just a “stat of the day” or game recaps, but a lot more. I’ve identified 21 different types of sports stories that can be automated. You could say I’m trying to make the process of writing a sports blog so easy you don’t have to do anything at all. My goal for these blogs in version 1.0 is that at least 90% of the readers think the content was created by a human. One of the nice attributes of algorithmic content is that it can be improved over time. A blogger/writer’s internal script is pretty much set. They generally don’t change or improve the quality or comprehensiveness of their content over time in a significant way, but algorithms can be upgraded continuously. The “voice” of the content can be improved.