Sunday, November 28, 2010

Robot Journalists-A Case Of Structural Unemployment?

In macroeconomics, the definition of "structural unemployment" is usually something like "unemployment caused by a mismatch between the skills of job seekers and the requirements of available jobs." One example is when machines replace workers. Now there is a company that has created computer programs that will look at the statistics in the box score of college basketball games and then write a story about it. If any sports writers lose their jobs, they will be structurally unemployed.

See When the Software Is the Sportswriter by Randall Stross of The New York Times. It explains how StatSheet, the company involved, does it: "it just uses template sentences and a database of phrases that numbers about 5,000 for now." Here is one story written by the computer software based solely on the statistics of the game:

"Ohio State has already started living up to monumental expectations with a good first game. On November 12th on their home court, the Buckeyes waxed the Aggies, 102-61. The game lacked a lot of drama, with Ohio State up 52-25 at halftime and never letting up.

Ohio State was able to win by overpowering North Carolina A&T in rebounding and assists.

Ohio State used a big advantage on the boards to win the possession battle with 60 rebounds to 22 for North Carolina A&T. Ohio State spread the ball around and got 24 assists compared to 8 for North Carolina A&T.

Deshaun Thomas was the leading scorer for the Buckeyes with 24 points in 20 minutes. Jared Sullinger contributed 14 big rebounds.

Ohio State has incredible expectations for this season, and this victory over the Aggies was a good start.

When we look to our next game, we see a tenacious team in Florida on November 16th."

Some researchers at Northwestern University have been working on this, too. It was mentioned in a The Robots Are Coming! Oh, They’re Here
. by David Carr. Sportswriter King Kaufman had some interesting observations in the comments section.

This is okay as long as computer programs can't write blog entries:)

The Robots Are Coming! Oh, They’re Here


Anonymous said...

i find this interesting, perhaps its an idea to improve on for computer scientist like myself. Artificial Intelligence so to speak

Cyril Morong said...

Thanks for dropping by and commenting. Let me know of any developments in your field. I wonder if some day a program could write a short story or novel. You might type in certain story parameters (like time period, number of characters, occupations, basic conflict, etc) and then the program would write a story