Feb 20, 2015

Robot Reporters

Quarterly business earnings reports are dull and boring to read. That makes them ripe for automation. The Associated Press has been using an automated system since last year to write its stories and few readers noticed. AP implemented the system six months ago. It now publishes 3,000 such stories every quarter and that number is poised to grow.

AP says the automated system is now logging in fewer errors than the human-produced equivalents from years past. Of the estimated 3,000 such reports each quarter, about one hundred will have an added human touch, either by updating the original story or doing a separate follow-up piece.

The giveaway is that there is no byline and at the end of the article we see, "This story was generated by Automated Insights." The Wordsmith platform also generates millions of articles per week for other companies, such as Allstate, Comcast, and Yahoo, whose fantasy football reports are automated.