Information Systems Integration – Tony Messina

Do ‘robo hacks’ spell the end for human journalists?

A small team of journalists and software engineers are working on a computer system that can pick out interesting data trends and generate short stories based off the trends. From the article, Peter Clifton, a journalist on the team, stated “We’ve just been emailing [local newspapers] samples of stories we’ve produced and they’ve been using a reasonable number of them.” Clifton expects to distribute 30,000 news articles each month. Robo-Journalism is gaining popularity in the US, and machines are showing they can successfully generate new much faster than humans.

The article also mentions that tools are being worked on to conduct interviews. Machine Learning technology is displaying its capability to do a lot of things journalists do.  However, Joshua Benton of Harvard University’s Nieman Journalism Lab thinks that AI is very far from being able to completely replace journalists. He believes AI may become a powerful tool for journalists to quickly generate news based off of popular data trends, but good journalism is a craft that machines are not capable of yet.

Do you think AI could replace journalists? Would you care if your news was written by a robot?

Feel free to comment.

One Response to Do ‘robo hacks’ spell the end for human journalists?

  • I think it is feasible for AI to eventually replace human journalists, but I don’t think that will happen any time soon. The reasons I think robo-journalism could eventually are the speed at which they can generate new stories and their ability to analyze information without bias. As for whether this would bother me, I think it depends on what kind of stories are being written. For objective analytical information, I would be okay with reading articles written by robots. However, I think a lot of journalism is made interesting by varying human opinions and subjectivity that is developed through the individuals’ life experiences.

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