3 facts you need to know about Artificial Intelligence in journalism

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is everywhere, gradually hitting newsrooms and society as a whole. However, automated journalism still requires the right combination of skills, expertise and technology. At Reuters, we are exploring how to best incorporate AI while understanding its current limitations.

 

Testing and developing a machine learning software.

Thomson Reuters Research Scientist Charese Smiley and Senior Software Engineer Hiroko Bretz built a software capable of automatically generating a piece of poetry1 by pairing human intelligence and machine learning.

They took first prize at the annual Turing Tests competition that rewards computer-generated art works that are the most difficult to distinguish from humanly created works. The sonnet, that judges thought was written by a human, was in fact written by a computer.

I liked our winning poem and I also think it is possible for a computer to make a moving and meaningful piece of art, but I don’t think a computer can make an intentional effort the same way humans do, and it has to depend on coincidence

Hiroko Bretz, Senior Software Engineer

Where artificial intelligence stops is where human intelligence starts.

While machine-generated output won the dance, poetry and music categories, there was no winner in the literature category.

Artificial Intelligence might have the ability to write poetry, it currently cannot write short stories. Nothing to fear then, for the moment. As technologies continue to grow, it will certainly impact how journalists work in the future.

In the meantime, we can be confident about 3 key aspects...

 

3 essential facts to know about Artificial Intelligence in journalism:

1. Narratives are difficult to program. Trusted journalists are needed to understand and write meaningful stories.

2. Artificial Intelligence needs human inputs. Skilled journalists are required to double check results and interpret them.

3. Artificial Intelligence increases quantity, not quality. As it analyses massive data sets, AI will increase the amount of content produced, not necessarily its quality.

 

How do we make use of Artificial Intelligence?

Reuter’s News Tracer uses AI to determine whether trending topics are newsworthy and truthful. We use AI to facilitate workflows but we have trusted journalists to make it happen. Innovation is at the heart of what we do and so is trust. Innovative tools are essential to bring you the best content and expertise.

1. ---

And be very careful crossing the streets.
How fair an entrance breaks the way to love!
Left, doors leading into the apartments.
Just then a light flashed from the cliff above.
The fields near the house were invisible.
Objects of alarm were near and around.
The window had only stuck a little.
From the big apple tree down near the pond.
The large cabin was in total darkness.
Come marching up the eastern hill afar.
When is the clock on the stairs dangerous?
Everything seemed so near and yet so far.
Behind the wall silence alone replied.
Was, then, even the staircase occupied?

 

The original version of this article was published on Thomson Reuters Answers On

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