Is Robo-Writing the Future?
Future Percentage of News Written by Robots? Over 90%
The Pulitzer Prize Won by a Computer Robot Writer!
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.”
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…