Believe It or Not? Robots Are Replac­ing Journos, Thanks to Google


If you’re a journalist, then you might soon end up having the same fate as the unlucky Microsoft sales employees soon. Worse rather, you might even end up losing some figures from your monthly paycheck. The mother of all websites is funding a news website that is going to be run by “robots”. Yes! You read that right.

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In 2015, Google had established the Digital News Initiative (DNI), which is a partnership between the company and newsrooms across Europe to support journalism through technology and innovation.

As a part of this initiative, Google had also launched the DNI Innovation Fund to ‘support and stimulate innovation in digital news journalism’ and in the 3rd round of funding, DNI fund received a whopping investment of €21 million.

The total investment has been distributed to several large, medium and prototype projects and the Press Association’s Reporters and Data and Robots (RADAR) scheme received $807,000.

“RADAR will deliver a daily diet of compelling stories for news outlets. Using a combination of editorial expertise and automation, applied to the burgeoning supply of open data and the increasing sophistication of distribution tools, RADAR will provide a major enhancement to the local digital news ecosystem,” RADAR’s description on DNI‘s website reads.

The project which is scheduled to launch in 2018 will produce over 30,000 stories will be pushed out monthly, created by a team of Urbs journalists and AI — distributed by the Press Association.

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While this might be seen by journalists as a threat, DNI’s website explains why and how this tech might be useful on its website.

“This will provide a significant boost to the local media industry at a time when budgets are under increasing pressure — but when the public’s interest in local news is as high as ever.”

The project won’t be entirely automated as a human intervention will still be needed to use open data sources to automate reports.

This project will not replace traditional reporting, but will simply be used to scale up the volume of local stories being produced, which will be impossible to produce otherwise.

Robots have been advancing from one stage to the other in this fast-paced world of tech, resulting in a lot of automation across different industries and now they’re also tapping into reporting and writing as earlier this year, a robot journalist made its debut with a 300-word long article in a Chinese daily.

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Bike enthusiast, traveller, ManUtd follower, army brat, word-smith; Delhi University, Asian College of Journalism, Cardiff University alumnus; a journalist breathing tech these days.