July 24, 2021

Robots already write news in the newspaper | Trends

Robots already write news in the newspaper | Trends


Stop the press! This time there has not been any last minute news bombing to the newsroom; The point is that paper lives its low hours and people use their phones and computers to be informed. In fact, many do not enter the web pages of newspapers; they prefer to be informed through social networks or content aggregation platforms. The digital transformation has hit the media hard, desperately seeking the sustainable business model to bet on in the future.

In the meantime, it seems necessary take advantage of the tools that enable the fourth industrial revolution to streamline journalistic work and reduce production costs. And artificial intelligence can play a remarkable role in this process, specifically in the writing of articles with a more local perspective. Digitization has been a blip for this type of information: the smaller the public to which the news is directed, the more difficult it is to monetize, which is why many media have dispensed with their regional collaborators with the loss of transparency in matters of public importance that this entails.

The Press Association of the United Kingdom (PA, for its acronym in English), In collaboration with the Urbs Media data company, They have developed Reporters, data and robots (RADAR), an initiative that allows building local stories for the media through automation thanks to the information they collect from open data sources of government departments and regional authorities. They estimate that they have saved 20% of the time their journalists dedicate to writing corporate information.

Automation to manage all types of networks

The role of artificial intelligence in process automation is not something that media can take advantage of exclusively. Huawei firmly believes that fewer people will be needed in the future to manage ever larger networks. In practice, it can be summarized in one example: a concert with tens of thousands of people making calls and sending videos without the network becoming saturated.

The company estimates that 90% of human work for networks and operators is susceptible to being automated, something we could see over the next decade. But the technological goes further: several corporate reports show that the networks of the future can only be managed automatically, given the increase they will experience in complexity, volume and taking into account the entry into the game of actors such as Internet of the things and the 5G.

Huawei's commitment to automated solutions in the sector is consistent and currently develops systems capable of adapting networks efficiently, taking into account their saturation state, thanks to the combination of artificial intelligence, machine learning and deep learning.

"RADAR seeks to take advantage of data open to the public to combine human work and automation, it is a level of journalism that we could never reach with the reporters we have," said Pete Clifton, PA's chief editor, during the presentation of the project. . RADAR has received 700,000 euros from the Digital News Initiative, a Google financing fund that seeks to support journalistic innovation projects. It is one of the largest donations offered by the search engine and, therefore, one of its strongest bets.

During its first month in operation, RADAR generated a dozen news stories that resulted in multiple local versions that were published by different regional media in the United Kingdom. The system is taking its first steps, but its promoters estimate that they will be able to create about 30,000 local stories each month.

Gary Rogers, editor of Urbs Media, recalls in an article in Medium the beginnings of the project: "I clicked on a button to execute a set of data on birth records through a history template that I had written in a natural language generation program. Seconds later, I had hundreds of stories ready, one for each area of ​​local authority in the United Kingdom. "

Coverage of a football match written by Heliograf.

The race to introduce artificial intelligence in the sector is not limited to Europe alone. The Washington Post, the newspaper that the founder of Amazon bought in 2013, has Heliograf, a robot that uses artificial intelligence to write news about politics and cover sporting events. One of his first coverages was that of the Olympic Games in Rio, in 2016, for which he issued brief alerts and reports. During its first year, the system produced 850 news, 60% of them on the US presidential elections.

"Heliograf is creating a new model for more local coverages", affirmed Jeremy Gilbert, director of strategic initiatives of the newspaper. "In the past, we could hardly have counted the most significant matches of the week. Now, we can cover any game for which we have data, giving teams and fans an almost instantaneous coverage to read and share. "

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