A company called Narrative Science has recently come up with an AI (artificial intelligence) program that can write free-standing articles.
Now for all you sci-fi fans out there, I know your initial response is to twitch at the term 'AI'. Yes, me too. If the real-world Japanese company Cyberdyne ever comes out with a global intelligence forum I'm building a bomb-shelter. But I digress...
Steve Floyd addressed this new robot-reporter idea in his article "Will The Future of Publishing Go To The Robots?" His answer ranged the possibilities but eventually came out with a resounding -- of course not. You can't replace human ingenuity, and that isn't the point of this new robotic technology.
Let's back up with how it started. Initially the idea was a brain-child between journalists and engineers (which is a feat in and of itself, like patting your head and rubbing your stomach at the same time) in an attempt to create
"artificial intelligence technology that effectively allows stories to be generated – on the fly, without the need for any input from a single human."It's very data-oriented, less creativity-oriented, so all fiction writers can take a breather and relax. This artificial intelligence program called Quill is not going to become the next Tolkien. Quillkien. Tollquill. Hmm.
Instead, sport reporting looks to be one of the areas where this technology will be used. Stats and scores are easily analyzed by the AI and thus relayed over into a written format, making it a more functional than fictional form of fabrication. Financial reporting, investment reporting, and real-estate reporting as well as other data-driven companies are the target 'audience' of this new innovation.
Floyd reports that this new development is to be a help to writers and publishers rather than a misdirection of the work force:
"the lowered value of the written word has put a lot of papers out of business and a lot journalists out of work, leaving a heavy load on the ones who are still chasing down stories everyday. This new technology can lighten the load by freeing up more time for journalists to cover more stories and get more creative with them. That’s exactly what the people at Narrative Science hope will happen."Well I for one am glad to hear that in the real world, creators of artificial intelligence have come up with the result that they actually wanted. Rather than, you know, genocide and apocalypse. It would only be insult to injury if the robots quoted baseball stats at us as they took over the world.