Not all news stories are created equal.
Some are written by master wordsmiths who wield their pens with great skill and ease. Others are written by people who should take the advice given to an aspiring writer who had asked Somerset Maugham if she should put more fire into her stories. Mr Maughm replied, “No, vice versa”.
The latter (the writer) can feel happier and the former (the master wordsmiths) can quiver a bit because in the not too distant future, computers, driven by faster and smarter algorithms may start writing in their place.
Friona fell 10-8 to Boys Ranch in five innings on Monday at Friona despite racking up seven hits and eight runs. Friona was led by a flawless day at the dish by Hunter Sundre, who went 2-2 against Boys Ranch pitching. Sundre singled in the third inning and tripled in the fourth inning … Friona piled up the steals, swiping eight bags in all
As the article goes on to say, perhaps a Pulitzer Prize is still many years away, but for “routine” stories and reporting, given declining print subscribers and the attendant slump in ad revenue, this may make a lot of sense.
Say a company reports its quarterly earnings. Could an algorithm look at the results, compare them to the previous quarter and also to the same quarter from a year ago and use a series of simple “if-else” constructs to weave a standard news-wire type report within 60 seconds or so and push it out the door? Human analysis and additional reporting can always follow.
Brave new world? Yes. But is Narrative Science (and similar companies that leverage Artificial or Machine Intelligence will surely crop up, based on NS’s successes) merely responding to ever increasing cost pressures on newspapers and “stock” reporting services?
And who knows, as the algorithms get smarter, one day, Narrative Science may run its own Business Blog as well…