90 per cent

The proportion of news that will be generated by computer within 15 years, according to Kris Hammond, pictured, the chief technology officer of Narrative Science, a company prominently name-checked by Pew’s Project for Excellence in Journalism in its annual State of the News Media report. It’s a terrifying prediction for anyone working in the news media today. Why bother trying if your job is going to be taken over by a robot, you might ask?
But there is a crucial distinction to be made: it appears that the companies more likely to use such algorithms (such as Forbes in the PEJ example) specialise in focused news such as business, or sport. I have great faith that there will be continue to be a place for human interest content that requires the input of a fine writer and a great subeditor to really grab the reader by the lapels – and that this will have to account for more than 10 per cent of ‘human’ news. It’s up to us as newsmen to sell that human content in new, more creative formats – and to stop watching business news publications such as Forbes or WSJ for leads.

Automated Storytelling: Kris Hammond for the Future of StoryTelling 2012 from Melcher Media on Vimeo

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