Is Robo-Writing the Future?

Future Percentage of News Written by Robots? Over 90%

What percentage of news will be written by computers in 15 years? "More than 90%."
What percentage of news will be written by computers in 15 years? "More than 90%."
Robot: Author of Future Best Seller!
Robot: Author of Future Best Seller!

The Pulitzer Prize Won by a Computer Robot Writer!

Welcome to the Age of Robot Reporters

I aspire to be a successful writer. The process has multiple facets. Imagine my surprise when I read, in Wired magazine, May 12, 2012 an article with this headline, “The Rise of the Robot Reporter.”

What is a “Robot Reporter?” It is automated software designed to turn facts, or ideas into readable copy. The Robot computer driven process-utilize artificial intelligence with unlimited potential.Writing Robots can autonomously explore its environment and report what it finds. The writing robot detects changes in its surroundings, decides if they are relevant, and then takes pictures with its on board camera. Formulated algorithms can query nearby people for information, and then the Writing Robot uses internet searches to further round out its understanding. If something satisfies the given parameters, the Writing Robot will begin to write. The Writing Robots can produce news articles, sports analysis, and financial journalism. If needed the Writing Robot can decide to publish a short article to the web.

Writing a book is simply a matter of programming. An example of the state-of-the-art progress of Robot Writing is a company called Narrative Science, a 30-person company in Chicago. The company turns data into stories. The founder, Robbie Allen says, I used to put limitations on what we do, assuming our stories would be specific to data-rich industries. Now I think the sky is the limit.”

Real World Example of the Robot Writer

A Robot Writer used a computer program called a “robot scientist”. Its actual name is Eureqa. The Radio Lab story gave a compelling portrait of Eureqa’s capabilities. Simply looking at how a double pendulum moves Eureqa was able to deduce Newton’s famous law of motion “F=ma“. When the computer program, Eureqa was instructed to watch biological cells eat, breathe, and grow it was able to deduce the underlying mechanics of that too. Eureqa was able to determine an equation that remained constant throughout the cellular processes and provided the scientists with this equation. Not only did this equation explain the data the biologists gave to Eureqa, but it was also able to predict some new behaviors that Eureqa had never before seen. A stellar accomplishment.

Narrative Science’s CTO and cofounder, Kristian Hammond says,“a computer would win a Pulitzer Prize within 5 years.”

I have nothing against robots, I just don’t think they should write books. “Is that a real concern?” you ask. Probably not.

The Robot Writer using computer algorithms have their place, but I still prefer the real life observations and on-the-ground reporting of humans. Perhaps being subjective would provide shades of grey that a computer cannot…

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Comments 24 comments

Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 4 years ago from South Carolina

This is both fascinating and scary.

I recently heard (on PBS Radio) that a test study was done comparing the grades that computers gave to students who wrote essays, to the grades that teachers assigned to the same essays. Supposedly, the computers did just as well in most cases, but as would be expected, there were some essays that were technically well-written and judged as perfect even though the content didn't make much sense when proof-read by a human.

I think that humans writing in conjunction with robotic computers will definitely become routine one day.

This was a good thought provoking hub. Voted up, useful and interesting.


Deborah Brooks profile image

Deborah Brooks 4 years ago from Brownsville,TX

good grief.. this is awful.. we would all be without a job.

thank you for writing this and informing us about this..

voted up

debbie


FitnezzJim profile image

FitnezzJim 4 years ago from Fredericksburg, Virginia

This suggests an interesting experiment. Instruct a “robot scientist” to watch politics, and see if it writes a petition for robots to vote.


Michele Travis profile image

Michele Travis 4 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio

So the robot can find information, store information, then print information. But, it cannot feel anything. That is the difference. Thank God for that.


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 4 years ago from Bakersfield, CA Author

Happyboomernurse,

The unknown is often deemed "scary!" Perhaps the unintended consequences may determine the final impact of Robo writing...

Artificial intelligence has come a long way. I think eventually, we will not be able to discern the difference in writing from humans VS. computers. They have experimented by having the robo writers to slant to "emotional" responses and notwithstanding some instances of "gibberish" not exactly right emotional response, progress is being made...

The artificial intelligence is where the movie script of being replaced by robots/computers may be a real possibility... in specific areas... My hope the robo's activities stay withing the programmed areas... not in replicating themselves and doing things that are beneficial for them...


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 4 years ago from Bakersfield, CA Author

Deborah Brooks,

Awful, or not, it is a huge paradigm shift... This is the beginning of life as we know it changing. Hopefully we get to decide what the changes are...


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 4 years ago from Bakersfield, CA Author

FitnezzJim,

Interesting... Perhaps "made in China" does not eliminate the robos from voting...


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 4 years ago from Bakersfield, CA Author

Michele Travis,

Robots can be programmed to simulate "feelings." In the future, it may be able to create artificial intelligence that can "mimic" and create a seemingly "human" robot.... complete with emotions...


Michele Travis profile image

Michele Travis 4 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio

dallas that is very scary. It truly is.


diogenes profile image

diogenes 4 years ago from UK and Mexico

Why not: Can't be much worse than a lot of the rubbish humans write..

I've given up a long time ago

Bob


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 4 years ago from TEXAS

I've mixed emotions about it, Dallas. But, then, - there I go with one of the non-robotic responses. Even if computers were to be programmed to have 'emotions' - they probably wouldn't have mixed ones! haha! Oh, wait. The girl ones might!


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 4 years ago from Bakersfield, CA Author

Michele Travis,

Change may be scary for some people. We get to decide how to respond... Change may present opportunities...

The buggy whip was replaced by the automobile.. It was scary to some. My grandmother never did accomplish the art of driving. She kept yelling, "Gee, Haw" and the dumb car went straight into the ditch...


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 4 years ago from Bakersfield, CA Author

diogenes,

Never "give up!" ..rubbish in, rubbish out! Emotions are an infinite range of greys... Artificial intelligence may, or may not succeed in duplicating emotions... We get to decide how we react.

At present, there are many large companies that have signed up with Narrative Science, utilizing their "creative" robo writing skills. Many do not want their names disclosed. Who knows how the companies are applying their "secret" weapons... Business is warfare!

At present Narrative Science algorithms sort through billions of streams of data to piece together a designated paradigm output.


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 4 years ago from Bakersfield, CA Author

Nellieanna!

Glad to see you have visited. Your comments are treasured.

Perhaps "mixed emotions are good!" We do not know the impact, nor the unintended consequences of Robo Writing.

I am sure there will be both positive and negative impacts from Robo Writing. The automobile presents both good things and bad things in terms of environmental impacts and their contributions to our well-being...

My purpose in writing about Robo Writing is simply to inform. The applications thereof and impacts are yet to be determined.

"Mixed emotions" are predictable and can be duplicated. Even seemingly random actions have patterns if observed long enough...

A Robo Writer can be programmed to be a "girl" writer! A girl Robo Writer can never look into another person's eyes with love...

Old "Bessie," my grandfather's favorite plow-horse, was a good friend to work together 12 hours per day, yet she was replaced by the tractor to perform more efficient and cost effective work...

Gone are the days grandfather could talk to his horse, give her a good rub down after a hard days work with the satisfaction of being a team.


Alastar Packer profile image

Alastar Packer 4 years ago from North Carolina

Quite the article and so very interesting Dallas. As AI continues on it's evolutionary course something like what you've written on here comes as no surprise really. Lets hope they're always supervised by humans though! Also, the Robot writer may have a hard time with first person experience writing whereas an android biography might be a different story!


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 4 years ago from Bakersfield, CA Author

Alastar Packer,

Perhaps AI will evolve and experience unintended consequences that present opportunities.

Can you image wars fought with robots? Newspapers written by computers? Propaganda written by computers?

Our traffic signals, airplanes, cars, kitchens, our world as we know it is already controlled by computers...


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 4 years ago from TEXAS

I figured there would be the means to duplicate mixed emotions - once emotions are duplicated. But, then - why? Does a robot really NEED to need to deal with that - if it can simply be omitted? :-)

And gender is surely within the scope of this creation project, once it's in full swing.

Almost makes a person think - - - there is such a project far enough along to have run into built-in glitches. Wouldn't it seem sensible to endeavor to bypass those with this creation project? Oh well. After all, when the successive creation is in the hands of the first. . . .

Or is it hoped that leaving the love out of the girl robots may resolve some of the inevitable glitches, - and especially if the receptors for it are omitted from the boy robots? sigh

Even a more momentous question might be - we already have overcrowding of this planet with the original project. How are the new crowds to be assimilated- spacewise?


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 4 years ago from Bakersfield, CA Author

Nellieanna,

Thought provoking musings...

The unknown.. who knows how the ubiquitous computer is integrated into our lives and its unintended, and unknown impacts.

Perhaps a female robot will provide the Ying and Yang - The I Ching ... the balance of perspectives...


femmeflashpoint 4 years ago

Dallas,

Very interesting article.

The last three months, I spent so much time under the weather that a robo-writer "almost" sounds like something I'd invest in, but truthfully, I'm neverrrrr gonna feel sick enough to want to implement one, or even read what one has written, at least intentionally.

The thing I love the most about written content, whether I agree with the content or not, is that it was produced by a person.

femme


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 4 years ago from Bakersfield, CA Author

femmeflashpoint,

Missed you!

Hope all is well!

Perhaps "Robo Writer" will supplant/assist human writers...


RedElf profile image

RedElf 4 years ago from Canada

I certainly agree with Happyboomernurse - fascinating and scary. I brings to mind all manner of "robots replacing humans" scenarios. Still, it's compelling stuff.


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 4 years ago from Bakersfield, CA Author

RedElf,

Change is uncertainm if not "scary." How we react to it defines who/what we are...

The unintended consequences may create new opportunities for us! Or?


Rebecca E. profile image

Rebecca E. 4 years ago from Canada

I have to voice much the same as others, both fasinating and scary. I wonder about robots ( not to suggest that they can't) writing, but then I think there is a lot more humans-- writers- can offer to the world-- and that is emotional needs... still mixed feelings. excellent hub!


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 4 years ago from Bakersfield, CA Author

Rebecca E.

Appreciate your comments! The future is an opportunity and a challenge!

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    Dallas W Thompson (dallas93444)348 Followers
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    Dallas W Thompson was born in Bakersfield, California to "Grapes of Wrath" descendants. First born son of three siblings of a preacher



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