Bad News, Journalists: You're About To Be Replaced By Your Future Robot Overlords...Sort Of
Journalists and bloggers the world over (I include myself in this camp), I may have a spot of bad news for you. We're on the verge of being replaced. Not by any new blood or anything; no, it's nothing so simple. I'm talking about robots.
Robots which never incorrectly source a piece. Robots which never grow tired, demand better wages, or miss out on a big story. Robots which, let's face it, are probably better at reporting the news than most of us will ever be.
The Associated Press today announced that it's going to begin using an automated service capable of composing and publishing up to 4400 articles a day. The primary focus of this service - implemented with the help of an organization known as Automated Insights - is going to be on business stories, including pieces on quarterly earnings reports. In theory, says the publication, this will free up its human employees to focus on deeper stuff, such as why the numbers actually matter and what the executives might be hiding during their investment calls.
To be faiir, this sort of thing isn't entirely without precedent - particularly with the Associated Press. It's relied on automated content in the past, such as for fantasy sports material. Automation is the way of the future as far as content generation goes, after all; even when robots aren't writing their own articles, they're probably working to sort through the ones written by humans. As such, this announcement shouldn't come as a great shock to anyone who's been following the robotics world with any sort of regularity; it's just par for the course, really.
Of course, that doesn't change the fact that, as more and more publications begin relying on automation to cut costs, we're going to start seeing fewer and fewer human writers. Even though at the moment, the word is that this allows humans to focus on more meaningful content, what happens when the robots are able to do so, too?
Maybe I'm just fear-mongering.
You've gotta admit, though - if this technology gets any more advanced, a lot of writers are likely to find themselves out of a job. Granted, that might not happen for a decade or so, yet, but...no reason we can't keep our options open, right? As for me, maybe I'll finally write that novel I've been thinking abou-