The Associated Presswill soon have artificial intelligence churning out 4,400 earnings reports per quarter, a time-frame in which human reporters could could write up just 300.
“For many years, we have been spending a lot of time crunching numbers and rewriting information from companies to publish approximately 300 earnings reports each quarter,” said Lou Ferrera, the Managing Editor of the AP. “We discovered that automation technology, from a company called Automated Insights, paired with data from Zacks Investment Research, would allow us to automate short stories — 150 to 300 words — about the earnings of companies in roughly the same time that it took our reporters.”
In a Monday announcement, the AP said they will not be slashing jobs as a result, and added reporters who previously had to spend time crunching earnings reports will be freed up to write enterprise stories on what the numbers mean. The technology, which is a program from Automation Insights that is paired with data from Zacks Investment Research, will go live in July.
“This is about using technology to free journalists to do more journalism and less data processing, not about eliminating jobs,” Ferrera said. “Most of the staff has been receptive to the effort and involved for the past few months of discussion.”
The use of robots to perform journalistic tasks is nothing new, as the AP has automated sports statistics into its stories for years. However, this service will be the first to write complete stories.
“We flipped the standard content creation model on its head,” Automated Insights CEO Robbie Allen told Poynter’s Sam Kirkland earlier this year. “The standard way of creating content is, ‘I hope a million people read this.’ Our model is the inverse of that. We want to create a million pieces of content with one individual reading each copy.
Robots are increasingly making their presence felt in the news industry. Recently, Japan unveiled the world’s first robot newscaster, who can read through the teleprompter without stumbling. Also, in March, the Los Angeles Times used a robot to write the initial report on an earthquake
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