Should We Allow AI to Write the News?

Automation in manufacturing is nothing new. Industries must adopt automation to cut costs and stay competitive. If robots can do your job better than you do, then you’re out of luck.

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Sadly, the news industry is not exempted from automation. Automated journalism is a thing now. Instead of journalists, computer programs write all the news articles.

Is It OK for Robots to Write the News?

Using computer programs to extract and summarize content is an old practice. Get-rich-quick schemers often used scripts to create scrapper sites. All the content for such sites was stolen from other websites within the same niche. Sometimes the scripts spun the content by replacing certain words with their synonyms so the articles on the website were never exactly the same with the originals.

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You can think of current automated journalism as something similar to scrapping. Engineers plug some intelligence into a scrapper program to create a news aggregator site where each news piece is purely machine-generated. All the generated articles read like “normal” news too.

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“Is letting AI write the news beneficial?”

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Not for the journalist who lost their jobs, of course. The benefits fall onto the lap of the news aggregator company. Firstly, employing AI is a lot cheaper than hiring tens of journalists and editors. No need to pay for benefits or anything.

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AI also works faster than people do. With events popping up and changing so rapidly these days, having AI scrape, sort, and rehash news pieces will be so much quicker than letting humans do it. In addition to a more frequent publishing schedule, the articles will also have fewer typos and grammar mistakes.

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The next benefit is computer programs are easier to improve. Add analytics data as feedback for the AI, and it will start learning what kind of stories drives the most traffic and generate the most ad revenue. When the AI programs kick the revenues up along with the profits, you can be sure every news portal owner will unleash their own army of robots to create tons of money-grabbing stories.

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“So, should we let AI take care of the news now?”

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Frankly, it’s not up to us, the readers. It’s a business decision that media companies will need to make. And if the money is good, they will certainly let robots do all the work.

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“But letting AI write ALL the news sounds like a bad idea..”

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It does, doesn’t it? Thankfully, as the readers, we can make the choice to read or not to read the robot’s work. Judging from the pace AI technology is moving right now, it won’t be long before we need to make such a choice every time we want to read the news.

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