Recent news that the Associated Press will begin using computers to generate stories on sporting events was received in the journalism community like a high-and-tight fastball.
This wasn’t just a courtesy brush back. It was meant to send a clear message — we are replacing you.
Count me among those unsuspecting (former) sportswriters who was knocked to the dirt only to get back up ready to defend my honor. Where’s the integrity in the news game?
AP has made it clear it doesn’t need humans for these basic jobs anymore. It’s hired Automated Insights, a company it invests in, that has given the wire service a sophisticated algorithm using the English language and statistics to fashion text. The company’s defense is that it can keep tabs on thousands of college and high school games without the burden of staffing.
AP also has let bots, using Wordsmith, write basic business stories, such as those announcing quarterly earnings. Meanwhile, Narrative Science writes business copy for a number of business publications and the Los Angeles Times.