Much of the promise of artificial intelligence is yet to be realised, but in some areas it's already proving its worth. Meet the robot journalists that one day might steal my job.
Robo-journalism is the process of automatically writing complete and complex news stories without any human intervention. Here are two "robo"-written articles - the first, penned by a program called Wordsmith, created by US company Automated Insights.
News organisation the Associated Press plans to use Wordsmith to write thousands of sports reports, like the one below. But how does a robot journalist work? The short articles below have been chopped up, with key bits highlighted and annotations under each snippet to explain the workings.
The same game was also covered by human journalists. Compare the automated effort to their reports: ESPN , FOX10TV and CBS Sports .
While the facts in the articles are largely the same, ESPN's story opens lyrically: "Marcus Paige ignored the pain in his twice-injured right foot, put his head down and drove toward the rim." Storytelling like this may take computers a while to imitate.
The same article also includes the quote: "'I said jokingly to my teammates that I was back,' Paige said." There's still some way to go before we can expect computers to source and write quotes like this. Fully understanding natural language is one of the biggest challenges in artificial intelligence.
It's not all about sports though. Narrative Science, another company working on robo-journalism tools, can also write convincing articles automatically with their Quill system.
The excerpts below are taken from a Quill-written report on the performance of a stock portfolio.