Watch Out, Journalists: Robots Are Coming For Your Jobs Too

The long arm of automation is reaching out into realms previously thought unconquerable by machines. The Associated Press is proving journalism to be another of those realms.

Here's a scary story for journalists, reporters, and (gulp) aggregating bloggers:


"Minutes after Apple released its record-breaking quarterly earnings this week, the Associated Press published (by way of CNBCYahoo, and others) "Apple tops Street 1Q forecasts." It's a story without a byline, or rather, without a human byline — a financial story written and published by an automated system well-versed in the AP Style Guide. The AP implemented the system six months ago and now publishes 3,000 such stories every quarter — and that number is poised to grow." [The Verge]

According to Ross Miller of The Verge, the AP partnered last year with a company called Automated Insights to compose all quarterly earnings reports. It seems simple—these stories are very formulaic, often just relaying information found in one document into an AP-approved format. So easy a robot can do it.

But just because these reports are getting automated doesn't mean journalists are out of work quite yet:

"Before this program was implemented, the AP estimates it was doing quarterly earnings coverage for about 300 companies. Now it automates 3,000 such reports each quarter. Of those, 120 will have an added human touch, either by updating the original story or doing a separate follow-up piece. One such company is Apple; as Patterson notes, that automated Apple story freed up reporter Brandon Bailey to focus on this angled, more nuanced report contextualizing the company's earnings along with quotes from Apple executives. Others include Google, Coca-Cola, and American Airlines. 180 more are monitored to see if a follow-up is needed."

These stories about automated jobs always end the same way. I say something like, "We're still quite a ways away from seeing this on a broader scale so [insert occupation here] can breathe a little easier... for now."

So, fittingly, I'll end with this: We're still quite a ways away from seeing automated journalism on a broader, more inquisitive scale, so journalists can breathe a little easier... for now.

Read more at The Verge.

Photo credit: kret87 / Shutterstock

Stand up against religious discrimination – even if it’s not your religion

As religious diversity increases in the United States, we must learn to channel religious identity into interfaith cooperation.

Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • Religious diversity is the norm in American life, and that diversity is only increasing, says Eboo Patel.
  • Using the most painful moment of his life as a lesson, Eboo Patel explains why it's crucial to be positive and proactive about engaging religious identity towards interfaith cooperation.
  • The opinions expressed in this video do not necessarily reflect the views of the Charles Koch Foundation, which encourages the expression of diverse viewpoints within a culture of civil discourse and mutual respect.
Keep reading Show less

Moon landing astronauts reveal they possibly infected Earth with space germs

Two Apollo 11 astronauts question NASA's planetary safety procedures.

Credit: Bettmann, Getty Images.
Surprising Science
  • Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins revealed that there were deficiencies in NASA's safety procedures following the Apollo 11 mission.
  • Moon landing astronauts were quarantined for 21 days.
  • Earth could be contaminated with lunar bacteria.
Keep reading Show less

NASA's idea for making food from thin air just became a reality — it could feed billions

Here's why you might eat greenhouse gases in the future.

Jordane Mathieu on Unsplash
Technology & Innovation
  • The company's protein powder, "Solein," is similar in form and taste to wheat flour.
  • Based on a concept developed by NASA, the product has wide potential as a carbon-neutral source of protein.
  • The man-made "meat" industry just got even more interesting.
Keep reading Show less

Where the evidence of fake news is really hiding

When it comes to sniffing out whether a source is credible or not, even journalists can sometimes take the wrong approach.

Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • We all think that we're competent consumers of news media, but the research shows that even journalists struggle with identifying fact from fiction.
  • When judging whether a piece of media is true or not, most of us focus too much on the source itself. Knowledge has a context, and it's important to look at that context when trying to validate a source.
  • The opinions expressed in this video do not necessarily reflect the views of the Charles Koch Foundation, which encourages the expression of diverse viewpoints within a culture of civil discourse and mutual respect.
Keep reading Show less