Who needs a journalist when you can program a computer to tell you all the baloney you need to know?
Here’s a story that’s being making the rounds: Chicago based outlet Narrative Science have come out with a system of taking raw data and re arranging it into some sort of legitimate score card. The hope now is that the same can be done with a presentation of various facts, events and characters and presto news that makes into your inbox- that is of course as the saying goes ‘fit to read.’
At the heart of the matter is whether readers would be able to discern any such attempts to create news this way (with the landscape littered with meandering pieces surely one more meandering piece would have little resistance in making its entry?) and to what extent journalism has changed that one can even consider a machine now arriving to do what until now was the job of a human?
Offers Kevin Smith, head of the Society of Professional Journalists Ethics committee:
“I can’t imagine that a machine is going to tell a story and present it in a way that other human beings are going to accept it. At least not at this time. I don’t see that happening. And the fact that we’re even attempting to do it — we shouldn’t be doing it.”
Shouldn’t be doing it? Then again whilst we are on the topic of shouldn’t be doing, what is that us journalists are now doing that on some level had eroded the veracity of journalism these days and perhaps more importantly what is it about the culture of the media that has now found itself morphed into a kind of sensationalistic dribble which has thwarted discussion of legitimate society concerns that aims to confine dialect and curiosity to pre confined concerns that augment well with social class divisions and the power elite who always know what you should be reading. Or rather not reading. Who knows maybe the computer can be used to augment more data and information for the benefit of the writer and thus the public at large or it can just be used to finesse the useless dribble that so often makes its way into the cultural terrain that ensures that you the public get the news that ‘is fit to be read.’
Not new. Way back in the day of floppies and mini disk, I remember a program that would convert bowling scores and basketball scores into a very readable story.
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