AP Using Robots For Journalism Starting In July
The Associated Press announced Monday that it will begin using automated technology to write company earnings reports next month.
A vast amount of reporters' time and resources is spent on producing approximately 300 earnings reports each quarter, AP Managing Editor Lou Ferrera said in a company blog post. Automated technology, on the other hand, could produce 4,400 short earnings stories (150-300 words) in the same time period.
“We believe technological automation will be a part of many businesses, including those in media,” Ferrara said.
Look and feel human
The AP will be teaming up with Automated Insights, a North Carolina-based tech company that uses algorithms to turn raw data into stories that look like human writing. Yahoo (NASDAQ: YHOO), Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) and AOL (NYSE: AOL) founder Steve Case have also invested in the company.
Automated Insights will use data from Zacks Investment Research to generate the content.
Automated Insights Vice President of Sales & Marketing Adam Smith told Benzinga that the algorithm takes data sets and mines it for patterns, trends and correlations. It also looks at the user and the user's history.
The algorithm then pulls those insights out and organizes them based on what's most important for the user.
“What makes Automated Insights different from other code-deciphering services is that it has the ability to tell a story like a human, using narrative prose,” Smith said.
— cb (@chrisbowerbank) June 30, 2014
Beyond baseball scores, know if you are reading a person or machine? RE:Associated Press Automates Earnings Stories http://t.co/EJMC6peT8Z
— Michael (@mstevensrev) June 30, 2014
This isn't the first time the AP will be using the automated technology from AI. Last football season, the media organization introduced an automated NFL player ranking that includes automated text descriptions of player performances.
This transition won't eliminate jobs, Ferrara said in the blog post, but rather free journalists from data processing and grant them more time to do in-depth reporting and analysis of the data.
“Instead, our journalists will focus on reporting and writing stories about what the numbers mean and what gets said in earnings calls on the day of the release, identifying trends and finding exclusive stories we can publish at the time of the earnings reports,” Ferrara said.
Smith said automated technology can augment traditional reporting of things like weather, travel, sports or finance by letting journalists focus on the investigative side of things.
“As humans, our expertise is to add color and context,” he said.
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