Nate got it right when he said journalists should spend less time worrying about robots and more time figuring out how to befriend the silicon. Human/bot collaborations, anyone?
He mentioned the use of robots to write up the basics when earthquakes struck L.A.—followed by in-depth reporting by human. And now here’s my own example.
The Marvin e-book reader, among TeleRead Editor-in-Chief Juli Monroe’s favorites, doesn’t churn out news stories. But it can help sum up the essence of a book. Same for Amazon’s X-ray feature. Now imagine newsbots that would do this in a more sophisticated way—not just with individual document but with whole batches of them. They could look for trends and write them up in plain English, supplying examples and infographics along the way. Attention, Juli! What a way to streamline the gathering of news briefs for the TeleRead blog and add automated analysis—subject, of course, to some human supervision!
On busy days, maybe our friendly TeleBot would churn out the actually published items for Morning Links, while the humans focused on in-depth posts on individual topics. Writers of the Morning Links could even tweak the bots’ algorithms to reflect personal viewpoints. Juli, for example, could program the TeleBot not to beat up as much on proprietary e-book formats as vehemently as I do. On a day when I was writing MLs, I of course could set the TeleBot straight.
Image credit: Aldebaran Robotics – the creator of NAO. Creative Commons license.