Automate Me (Information Overabundance – Part III)

We’ve been talking a lot about the wealth and overabundance of information at our digital fingertips.  Last week we discussed  the increase in academic plagiarism and paper mills as a possible result of the pressures of endless information.

Then I read this article on automated has fed sports fans scores, stats, and other data for years. Now they’re going a step further and creating a narrative recap of team games via automated software. While the  team sites are still in beta, it’s clear that these “robo-journalists,” spitting out stats and highlights, could soon compete with your local, run-of-the-mill sports reporter.  When founder Robbie Allen was asked about the future, he suggested the Holy Grail of data analysis: financial news.

While this type of information generation is reporting, it is not journalism. It provides readers with the data, sprinkles in an interesting adjective here and there, and raises some interesting questions:

Is there a place for fact-based, automated data reporting?  What subject areas would benefit most?

Does automated content creation mitigate or increase the overabundance of information?

Is robo-journalism the first step toward robo-ghostwriting?

Two outcomes are possible: readers tire of consuming auto-generated content and return to human generated reporting or robo-reporting becomes popular for data focused subjects areas.  I also wonder if (when?) we will see companies, in an effort to keep to reduce their costs and provide new content quickly, automating the creative portion (imagery, video, etc.) of content?

Automated reporting is a very interesting and cost-saving move that I appreciate from a business perspective.  However, I personally enjoy reading well written, thought provoking articles and somewhere along the way this method feels like something is lost.

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