Monday, July 14, 2014

Automated Software Will Soon Replace Journalist and Professional writers

The “cookie cutter” writers who employ common formats need to be very concerned. But for a long time to come, maybe never, the Tolstoy’s, Hemingway’s, Shakespeare’s, Frost’s, and Poe’s of this world need not be concerned. Time will tell.


There is hardly a person, industry, or profession that has not experienced the impact of computer automation. Journalist and professional writers, too, have felt, or will soon feel its impact. In recent years, software development has created the potential to replace many genres of writing. A few enterprises, such as Narrative Science and Automated Insights, have developed systems to do just that.

on June 30, the Associated Press announced that it would use computer automation to write corporate quarterly earnings articles using Automated Insights software.

There are some limitations, however, at least for now. Automated writing software requires data-intensive information. Its output mirrors common reporting formats and definitions, which makes finance and sports articles conducive to the technology. Typical articles written by the computers of Narrative Science for Forbes.com, for example, are in short-form of less than 300 words.

But as the technology evolves, there will be options for customization. Sports articles will be able to include non-statistical information from a player’s personnel and professional history. The technology will also become capable of producing detailed long-form writing that is not only explanatory but can be creative storytelling as well. Edge Maven, who has an impressive list of clients such as ICON Group International, now automatically generates non-fiction books. But other enterprises will eventually produce nonfiction and fiction books as well.

So, the “cookie cutter” writers who employ common formats need to be very concerned. These jobs will certainly disappear. Writers who employ other styles of writing are not in immediate jeopardy. But for a long time to come, the Tolstoy’s, Hemingway’s, Shakespeare’s, Frost’s, and Poe’s of today have nothing to worry about. The art of classical, argumentative, and creative writing will never die, I hope, but Time will tell.

Copyright © 2014 Horatio Green





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