Consider this your warning:
What you’re reading right now may have been written by a robot.
Forget the days of idealistic and headstrong journalists, keen on becoming renowned in their field by penning Pulitzer Prize-winning articles. (Yes, I assume every journalist resembles Lois Lane.)
Like many other industries, robots will soon be taking the place of reporters. The Associated Press announced that it will be utilizing automated technology, as opposed to writers, to materialize content about earnings reports.
Employing a company called Automated Insights, these robo-reporters will gather data about corporations’ net benefits utilizing resources from Zacks Investment Research. In fact, instead of an author’s name, the byline of the articles will read “as being produced automatically with material from Zacks.”
Automated Insights CEO Robbie Allen aims for his company to revolutionize the way text is generated.
“We flipped the standard content creation model on its head,” Allen stated in an earlier interview with Poynter. “The standard way of creating content is, ‘I hope a million people read this.’ Our model is the inverse of that. We want to create a million pieces of content with one individual reading each copy.”
According to AP Managing Editor Lou Ferrara, with this automated technology, AP would be able to create 4,400 stories per quarter as opposed to their former average of 300 stories.
However, AP’s employment of Automated Insights doesn’t mean there’s going to be a bunch of homeless journalists sitting on the streets with their old-timey typewriters. According to a Q&A, Ferrara states that while the technology will compile and report on earnings reports, “our journalists will focus on reporting and writing stories about what the numbers mean and what gets said in earnings calls on the day of the release, identifying trends and finding exclusive stories we can publish at the time of the earnings reports.”
As groundbreaking as this technology is, the Associated Press is no stranger to employing automation. Ferrara states that AP has used automation in reporting sports data for a number of years.
Signing off, this has been B.E.C.K.Y. 3000.