Taking The Journalists Out Of Journalism
from the replaced dept
Stories about different jobs being replaced by computers have been a favorite for journalists over the years — now it’s some of those journalists being replaced by computers. The Thomson Financial news service says that it will expand the use of computers to write automated stories, mainly on things like earnings reports, which it can churn out as quickly as 0.3 seconds. These sorts of stories are the stock and trade of financial newswires, with speed and accuracy the two most important elements, so there’s no reason a computer shouldn’t be used to quickly digest a company’s earnings report, compare the results to the previous year’s, then spit out a quick story — which typically follows a rigid format, even when written by a human. And, of course, it’s cheaper than employing a small army of human writers, but Thomson says speed is the only consideration here (though surely the cost savings don’t hurt), and that the system will free up reporters for more thought-intensive tasks, which is how these types of project should be approached: using technology to automate menial tasks to allow human resources to be allocated to other tasks computers can’t handle. Thomson says it’s been working on different types of software to write different types of stories, making us wonder how long before they release their summer rerun program, freeing up their writers for a nice mid-year break.