That headline is meant to be ironic. There’s definitely some ironic convergence going on here. Remember those computer nerds you used to scoff at while you were writing punchy ledes for the student newspaper? They are about to have their revenge.
Newspaper Reporter and Broadcaster were on the list of Ten Worst Jobs of 2012, compiled by CareerCast. Awesome, right?
Topping CareerCast’s list of the Ten Best Jobs of 2012: Software Engineer. Good for them! Now it turns out that some of those very same software engineers have been developing . . . . wait for it . . . . newswriting software!
From the company website:
Narrative Science helps companies leverage their data by creating easy to use, consistent narrative reporting – automatically through our proprietary artificial intelligence technology platform.
We also help publishers who are faced with the constant challenge of keeping up with the speed, scale and cost demands of content creation. We offer an innovative and cost-effective solution that allows publishers to cover topics that can’t otherwise be covered due to operational or cost constraints.
Okay then. Narrative Science CEO Kristian Hammond tried to assure Wired writer Steven Levy that he’s not after his job – but also predicts that “more than 90 percent” of news will be computer generated in 15 years. Oh, and he predicts a computer will win the Pulitzer Prize in five years.
Once the writing software is perfected, it ought to be easy enough to integrate it with a sophisticated voice generation program and voila – it’s your local radio newscast! Add some high-tech animation and you’ve got TV covered.
The future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades.