Friday, March 20, 2015

Are Computer Programs Replacing Journalists?

See If an Algorithm Wrote This, How Would You Even Know? by SHELLEY PODOLNY of the NY Times.

In my macroeconomics class, we talk about the types of unemployment. Here is one of them:

Structural-unemployment caused by a mismatch between the skills of job seekers and the requirements of available jobs.

One example of this is when you are replaced by a machine. We don’t have as many bank tellers any more because people use ATMs. Another example is when there is a fall in demand for your product, so you get laid off, like with typewriters since people now use computers. A third example is geographical, when the jobs are not in your region of the country.

This article might be an example of this type of unemployment. Excerpts:
"these days, a shocking amount of what we’re reading is created not by humans, but by computer algorithms"

"Companies in this business aim to relieve humans from the burden of the writing process by using algorithms and natural language generators to create written content. Feed their platforms some data — financial earnings statistics, let’s say — and poof! In seconds, out comes a narrative that tells whatever story needs to be told."

"These robo-writers don’t just regurgitate data, either; they create human-sounding stories in whatever voice — from staid to sassy — befits the intended audience."

"when presented with sports stories [some written by humans, some by computers] ... study respondents couldn’t tell the difference."

"Then we have Quakebot, the algorithm The Los Angeles Times uses to analyze geological data. It was the “author” of the first news report of the 4.7 magnitude earthquake that hit Southern California last year, published on the newspaper’s website just moments after the event. The newspaper also uses algorithms to enhance its homicide reporting."

"90 percent of news could be algorithmically generated by the mid-2020s, much of it without human intervention."
The article even has a quiz you can take to see if you can tell the difference between a human written article and a computer written article. If journalists lose their jobs to computers, maybe professors are next. Are you even sure who or what wrote this blog post?

Here are two related posts:

Robot Journalists-A Case Of Structural Unemployment?

Structural Unemployment In The News-Computers Can Now Tell Jokes 

WHAT do you get when you cross a fragrance with an actor?

Answer: a smell Gibson.

Robot jockeys in camel races

No comments: