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Google is funding an AI project that will help churn out local news stories
By Peter Chu - on 10 Jul 2017, 12:58pm

Google is funding an AI project that will help churn out local news stories

Image source: Digital Trends.

Google is contributing US$806,000 (~RM3.4 million) to the U.K.'s Press Association news agency to help foster the creation of RADAR (Reporters and Data and Robots) – a software that will use artificial intelligence to create more than 30,000 local news stories a month.

The Press Association will be enlisting the help of U.K.-based news startup, Urbs Media, to create RADAR.

Journalists and writers can rest easy knowing that RADAR won’t be rendering them obsolete just yet, as the software still needs human intervention to help create a 'detailed story template' for topics such as crime, health, and unemployment, which it would then complete by adding relevant information – be it data, photos, or videos.

Peter Clifton, Editor-in-Chief of Press Association, said in a statement that “skilled human journalists will still be vital in the process, but RADAR allows us to harness artificial intelligence to scale up to a volume of local stories that would be impossible to provide manually.”

RADAR is expected to launch early next year.

Source: TechCrunch via Press Association.

Footnote: Safe to say that the article above could have easily been produced by artificial intelligence, since the entire story was written in a fact-based and data-driven manner. Which means all that it needs to do, is fill the skeleton of the story with the necessary information and data, and bind everything together into a coherent story using a bunch of connectives and conjectures. Company A announces Product B that’s scheduled to be released in Timeframe C – simple, straightforward stuff.

But what artificial intelligence won’t be able to do – not for the time being, at least – is provide a thoughtful, critical analysis on a particular subject or topic, such as how the advent of artificial intelligence in the journalism industry affect the livelihood of writers and journalists, for example, or whether or not readers will finally have objective news since AIs are, after all, inherently impartial and unbiased.

This means you can forget about having reviews and opinion pieces being written by artificial intelligence. Annual reports are fair game, however, since they are, as we mentioned in the preceding paragraph, heavily data-driven – Company A posts a net profit of Amount B during Period C.