We have so many news outlets to choose, some are considered trustworthy, while others are questionable in the dependability of their content. At this time though, most of the content that is generated for us to read is written by human beings and not computers. In the future though? We could see computer algorithms crafting our daily newspaper articles and it’s hard to say whether we would even notice the difference.
Short updates you saw during the 2016 Presidential Election were most likely generated by artificial intelligence, not written by humans. It was first used during the Olympics in the summer of 2016 as a way to give viewers up to the minute coverage on such a large scale of races and events. The great thing about this type of automatic reporting is that it gives more information than a standard automated message. Heliograf can generate far more content than a person can, but the content that it creates can easily be modified or edited.
Southern California is known for being plagued with earthquakes throughout the year, and in 2014, an algorithm was able to report accurately on an earthquake before any other news story was published. The technology is called Quakebot, which is an algorithm that was created to monitor earthquake movement and report it immediately to the US Geological Survey. While it can’t report on the after effects of a quake, it can release the information it has to the public in an easy to read format that gives the readers information on the earthquake and a map that shows where it occurred. This technology is expected to be used in created corporate earnings stories in the future.
Robots are excellent tools for writing short, stats based articles like for the Olympics and earthquake in California, but could it also be used to write an article that is not based on quantifiable data?
In China, a robot was able to produce an article on a spring festival in the area, which readers were unable to distinguish from a human writer. A typical reporter might spend a couple of hours writing such an article that would be published in the paper, but the robot was able to spend a couple seconds in crafting the story.
Whether we’ll see entire news outlets relying on artificial intelligence to create stories remains to be seen. What we do know is that this technology will continue to grow and it will most likely become harder to tell whether a person or robot wrote the article you read in the paper this morning.