Robo-journalism  |  Photo Credit: Getty Images
In November 2018, a text-generating “bot” named Tobi produced an incredible 40,000 news stories about Switzerland elections in just five minutes for Tamedia. According to a paper presented at the Computation + Journalism conference in Miami, Tobi wrote on vote results of Switzerland’s 2,222 municipalities in both French and German.
Just three months after the incredible feat was reported by world media, robo-journalism is now being touted to change media landscape in the coming years. Now, artificial intelligence programs, which have been available for more than a decade, are being used by in news organisations to produce stories, personalise new delivery and even anchor news bulletins, reported AFP.
“We’ve seen a greater acceptance of the potential for artificial intelligence, or robo-journalism, in newsrooms around the world,” Damian Radcliffe, a University of Oregon professor who follows business models for journalism, told the news agency.
“These systems can offer speed and accuracy and potentially support the realities of smaller newsrooms and the time pressures of journalists,” he added.
However, top news organisations around the world maintained that bots are not intended to displace human reporters and editors but rather help them in monotonous tasks.
“The (Washington) Post has an incredible team of reporters and editors and we didn’t want to replace them,” Jeremy Gilbert, director of strategic initiatives at The Washington Post, told the agency.
He was referring to Washington Post automated program Heliograf which was developed to help the newspaper’s editorial team.
Newsrooms around the world are using similar automated tools to churn out a large number of reports in a matter of minutes.
NTB, a Norwegian news agency, automated sports reports to get match results delivered within 30 seconds and Los Angeles Times developed a “quakebot” that has the ability to distribute news articles on weather and tremblors.
One of the most impressive bots in the media industry is called Cyborg and its owned by Bloomberg.
Cyborg “dissects a company’s earnings the moment they appear” and produces mini-wraps with numbers in a matter of minutes.
At the beginning of March, Chinese news organisation Xinhua announced that a female artificial intelligence news presenter will soon hit TV screens in the country.
Xinhua also released a photo of the female AI news anchor dressed in a pink and maroon dress.
While news professionals acknowledge the limitations of a robot, there are fears about Artificial Intelligence spinning out of control.