I Want This Technology for My Blog

I was scrolling through my phone this morning and I came across this short story about Twitter and its stock performance yesterday (Thursday):

Shares of Twitter Inc. slid 5.56% to $34.48 Thursday, on what proved to be an all-around rough trading session for the stock market, with the S&P 500 Index falling 2.44% to 4,477.44 and Dow Jones Industrial Average falling 1.45% to 35,111.16. This was the stock’s second consecutive day of losses. Twitter Inc. closed $46.27 below its 52-week high ($80.75), which the company achieved on February 25th.

The stock demonstrated a mixed performance when compared to some of its competitors Thursday, as Microsoft Corp. fell 3.90% to $301.25, Alphabet Inc. fell 3.32% to $2,861.80, and Meta Platforms Inc. fell 26.39% to $237.76. Trading volume (32.5 M) eclipsed its 50-day average volume of 18.5 M.

Short and sweet.

But what I found most interesting was found after the story in an Editor’s Note:

This story was auto-generated by Automated Insights, an automation technology provider, using data from Dow Jones and FactSet.

What!? No human intervention was involved in generating that story. This could be another example of a profession, like pinboys and doctors, being replaced by technology. What’s to become of journalists?

I don’t think anyone would be able to tell that the above blurb about Twitter was written by a machine and not a human.

So I had to check out the company Automated Insights; here are some interesting tidbits I learned.

The company has a product called Wordsmith (great name), which it describes as a self-service natural language generation platform. This NLG “gives companies complete control over transforming data into insightful narrative, all at an unprecedented speed and scale.”

And they seem to mean it when they say unprecedented speed and scale. Apparently, Wordsmith allows companies to “generate millions of narratives in a matter of milliseconds with the Wordsmith API”.

Many prominent companies are using Wordsmith:

  • The Associated Press used NLG to automate NCAA Division I men’s basketball previews during the 2018 season allowing their journalists to focus on writing critical, qualitative articles.
  • Yahoo! Sports uses NLG to produce over 70 million reports and match recaps—each one unique—that help engage, monetize, and delight its massive user base.
  • The Orlando Magic (a professional basketball team) uses Wordsmith to generate personalized in-app and email messages to each of their fans, boosting loyalty program engagement and season ticket renewals.

After reading about all that Wordsmith could do, I thought maybe I could find a use for it.

Perhaps I could share all my WP stats (views comments, likes, geographic, most popular time of day/week for posts, number of followers, etc.)  with Wordsmith, and every day it would autogenerate a story about my stats that I could post to my blog.

Now if you were to read such a post, you may not recognize if it’s me or Wordsmith. But if you see a straight month’s worth of posts about my stats, then you’ll know I’ve decided to let the robots take over for a while.

My only concern might be my reaction if my WP stats increased exponentially right after the robot took over my blog…

*image from the New York Times

P.S. I just realized after I posted this that I had written a blog post about robot journalism nearly six years ago: Is It Live, or Is It Memorex? and I featured the WordSmith program…


58 thoughts on “I Want This Technology for My Blog

  1. Either a machine or a very boring person because it certainly isn’t catching my attention. Just the facts. But then again it could be the subject matter. I could see how it could be used in sports summaries.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Sorry but I think your stats may fall significantly if you try letting a Wordsmith do your blog. You know how “exciting” I think numbers are, right? I may have mentioned my dislike for numbers and math, once or twice. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Not surprising that after writing your blog for as long as you have that you may not retrace a few steps now and again. But I assure you, I could pick out your writing from a bot with little effort. Plus, can Wordsmith juggle?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I’m sure it’s easy topick out my writing – the poor grammar, misspellings, poor word choice, etc.

      and I am sure there robots that can juggle much better than I ever could!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. it could never match my level of spelling and grammatical errors, lack of capital letters, things out of alignment, poor errors in judgement, putting odd parts together that look like they may not fit but kind of do into one piece, or attempts at humor. the bot would be exposed immediately. i believe the same for you, with all of your human style and quirks.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve been seeing ads about this technology for about a year now. So not only will I be replaced at work by an accounting program but at my hobby by an automated blog scribe. I guess this isn’t a new phenomena, programs have been able to generate better artwork than 99% of humans for years now. Here’s something I think: when reading creative writing, you are making a connection with another human being (even if that human doesn’t know it). If something is written by a machine, there’s no human connection. Is it worth reading. Would anyone go to a baseball homerun derby if machines were at bat? I think a lot of what goes on around us, we appreciate because someone else has has taken the time to do it. A stat heavy stock report? Sure. But an analysis of the human condition? I dunno.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. you make a lot of valid points; a robot homerun derby sounds terrible.

      and I sometimes worry about whether teaching students how to do accounting is teaching them a skill that won’t be in demand any longer.

      I’m glad I’m getting close to retirement…

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Journalism these days sounds like this: “This guy sucks and I don’t like him.” WHAT? Long gone are the days of true journalism, so I actually am not as opposed to this automation as I thought I would be. Plus, analyzing data is known for giving headaches, so – win-win.

    What I’m NOT looking forward to is the day when books written by robots push real authors off the shelves.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. yes. we need to bring back those smoke filled newsrooms with the sound of typewriters clicking away and every day has a bottle of scotch in its bottom drawer. perhaps that’s what it takes to have true journalism.

      and let’s hope that robots never replace real authors…

      Liked by 1 person

  7. The writings on the wall then but it has been for a long time…Would my bread recipe be better if a robot wrote it and made it…??…Mmmmmm if cut bread is anything to go by then the answer is in the negative…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree, Jennie. But I woder from the reader’s perspective if they would even know, or even care, if something was written by a human or robot, as long as they enjoyed what they read…

      Liked by 1 person

  8. ha, it’s like you’re only now running out of things to write about! I’m not sure how I feel about a bot writing my weekly posts but maybe if I were in a pinch? Like a simple post?? I’d be down for that! lol

    Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.