Robot Reporter to Cov­er Foot­ball Games Unveiled in South Korea


An automated reporting system by the name of ‘Soccerbot’ which is meant to report news on football games has been unveiled by South Korean news wire service Yonhap News Agency, on Monday.

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The robot reporter, which is powered by an algorithm imitating human writing style, will produce news on football games and improve overall coverage of the game as well as expand technology-based journalism.

The ‘Soccerbot’ will initially start by writing stories pertaining to the English Premier League (EPL) and will later expand to other leagues and FIFA tournaments worldwide.

The automated football reporter has been on a pilot programme for over a year and covered all the games for the 2016-17 EPL season, producing a total of 380 articles — each within a second or two after the match ended.

The South Korean news agency is said to be developing another similar algorithm which will cover the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in February 2018.

Soccerbot will also be covering all the 380 games of the current EPL season 2017-18 and has already started producing articles in Korean language starting with the Arsenal vs Leicester City match.

The algorithm constructs the report using a database of words and sentences that are used by Yonhap reporters — giving a humanistic touch to the finished article.

The programme works in three steps — collecting data, writing sentences and going through spelling and grammar checks. Through the editing process, the programme reorganises the structure depending on the results and whether the game included South Korean players.

In addition to the aforementioned process, the Soccerbot also gathers data from five additional sources to ascertain the veracity of the information.

This isn’t the first instance of an algorithm being used to file articles.

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.

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.

Earlier this year in January, a robot journalist made its debut with a 300-word long article in a Chinese daily.

(With inputs from IANS)

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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.