Automated Writng

I am a fan of automation. Allowing computers to do repetitive tasks has pretty much made my career possible and given me opportunities other than sitting in a room inverting matrices all day.

The number of jobs which can be automated continues to grow. A recent news story (probably written by a human) notes recent progress in the field of having computers aggregate data and manipulate words so that they can put together a coherent news story.

“We knew there were places in traditional journalism where raw data was used as the driver for telling stories, and we wanted to take that model and turn it into something a machine can do,” he told AFP.

While some articles are reviewed by editors, others are automatically delivered without human intervention because of client preference or because the task is too voluminous: Narrative Science, he said, produced stories on 370,000 Little League baseball games in the past year.

The computers cannot pick up on certain things, such as if an injury or weather affects the game.

“If it’s not in the data, we can’t say anything about it. We’re very aware of that, but more of what goes on is data-driven,” Hammond said.

The question remains, if your story is so formulaic that it can be explained by a computer, is it worth reading?

Is there something in the human mind that means data makes more sense when explained in language than as a raw data stream? Are we slaves to stories?

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