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  • Are We Nearing the End of Journalism?

    [caption id="attachment_3116" align="alignleft" width="274" caption="Are We Nearing the End of Journalism?"]typewriter[/caption]

     

    Well not the end of journalism...at least not yet. A new company has created machines that are capable of writing sports articles. Chris Gayomail of Time Techland discusses more in his article Goodbye Careers: Machines Can Now Write Like Journalists.

    They can already play soccer and beat us at Jeopardy—I just didn't think this day would come so soon.

    Narrative Sciences, a start-up in Evanston, Illinois, has developed a sophisticated program that can write articles—typically sports summaries—in under 60 seconds according to the New York Times. Previous iterations of the artificial intelligence used "fill in the blanks" that drew from statistics to automatically generate articles, but the prose felt stiff and reflectively robot-like.

    Now the technology's been refined to the point that it's able to write with a realistic human-like voice while generating story angles directly from the box score. For example, if a baseball team scores three runs in the ninth inning to steal the game 3-2, the software recognizes the pattern and deems it a "come from behind victory." It can discern when big victories are a "rout" instead of a "win," too.

    “The quality of the narrative prod

    uced was quite good,” says Oren Otzioni, a computer scientist from the University of Washington, speaking with the Times. The technology is already being used by the Big Ten Networks to quickly pen recaps for football and basketball games, which the company says has helped boost their standing on Google by 40% thanks to the A.I's algorithmically enhanced speed. It's cheap, too: Companies pay Narrative Sciences a meager $10 per 500 word article. For dwindling newsrooms, the technology presents a way to expand coverage for low costs and fast turnaround.

    The Times doesn't mention it, but a machine probably wouldn't need things like caffeine in the kitchen to keep it humming along, or donuts once a month to give itself something—anything—to look forward to, either.

    Read more at Time Techland

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