Technology is everywhere, but artificial intelligence is a different story. Artificial intelligence has taken over almost everything a human can do. The trend of “robo-journalism” started when the Associated Press tested an algorithm to write their news in 2014 which they officially started using in 2015.
Robo-journalism works by having a computer write a news story without human intervention. For Associated Press, they use Wordsmith which uses nominal and numeric data and turns them into templates for online news. They also use the software for financial reports and publishes 3,000 stories per quarter.
Robo-journalism is beneficial especially when writers face a heavy workload. Not all journalists could be at many places at a time, and sometimes, they could not even attend an event, though it is just nearby. Wordsmith works by doing coverage on several news topics without sending a human reporter. Contrary to belief, this technology did not affect those journalists who do their daily work in any way.
The technology behind Wordsmith and other software designed for the same purpose is natural language generation which falls under natural language processing (NLP). NLP enables a computer to understand human language while speaking. NLP is also used for interpreting text data such as medical records.
In a survey conducted early this year, 72 percent of 194 editors, CEOs, and digital leaders said that they plan on experimenting with artificial intelligence especially to drive higher production efficiency.
Like any other technology, there are also disadvantages. Last year, the Los Angeles Times reported a 6.8 magnitude earthquake ten miles away from Santa Barbara. The information processed, however, was related to a similar incident from 1925. The blunder caused embarrassment to the media outlet and they later explained what happened.
Another downfall is cultural resistance. Some journalists would instead stick to traditional news gathering and threatened with the rise of technology.
Innovations like robo-journalism show that AI is slowly making its way to people’s daily routine. Some people are still learning to embrace it while some have fully let AI integrate into their course of business. It also shows that journalism is starting to incorporate a higher form of technology without compromising those who work in the profession.