Posted in | Consumer Robotics

Researchers Study Whether Robots can Write News Just Like Journalists

Credit: Jönköping University

Pilots, doctors and even journalists are being replaced by computers and robots. This could be considered as something positive or it could also be leading to a dystopian society.

Bearing this in mind, researchers from the Media Management and Transformation Centre (MMTC) at Jönköping International Business School, Jönköping University together with support from the Knowledge Foundation have launched the project “Digital Personalization of the News” (DPer News).

Digitalization refers to the incorporation of digital technologies into everyday life. However, it is also referred to as the process of shifting into a digital business. The media industry, especially news, is considered to be starting point for the Dper News project, but practically all industries are experiencing this digitalization phase.

The angle of digitalization is very much in demand today, and companies are eager to get help to transform. The general question is how can algorithms replace humans in repetitive professions? Journalism may not seem like a repetitive job, but when it comes to writing about finance and sports, it very well can be.

Mart Ots, Project Director, Jönköping University

It is possible for robots to assist journalists in some areas like finding and analyzing data, but the story still has to be written by the journalist. In other cases, robots are actually capable of performing the actual writing task. The DPer News project aims at finding creative methods for robotization that can enable the news industry to produce more interesting news.

DPer News is about how we can make news stories that are not just cheap and convenient, but more meaningful and personal. It worries me that just because we can get robots to mine and condense data, that’s all we’ll do. Robots can target you and quickly give you the content you want, like the latest sports scores. But what about giving you content that would surprise you, that would help you think in out-of-the-box ways?

Professor Daved Barry, Jönköping University

Journalism, at its heart, is considered to be an extremely human enterprise. Can it be done by robots? The project, representing different views on this, involves experts on data mining, creativity and innovation, computer consultants PDB and Infomaker, and the news company Hallpressen.

It collaborates with two other research projects at MMTC: Digital Business Innovation Studio that has obtained a grant from Vinnova, and DATAMINE that has received Regional funding.

The project team is made up of Daved Barry, Karl Hammar, Anette Johansson, Ulf Johansson, Tuwe Löfström, Henry Lopez Vega, Mart Ots, Andrea Resmini, Ulf Seigerroth, and Håkan Sundell.

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