We’ve been tinkering with a new product that uses data collection and machine learning to redefine how we read news, and it got me thinking. Can we teach computers not just to find, index and filter stories, but to write them?
Will there come a moment when machines can create what we read? Would financial markets be more rational if computers reported on the data instead of humans? It’s a frequently proven fact that reporters are apt to provide color and skew a story one way or another (intentionally or not); or, as often the case, people simply make errors. Sure, the news might be less entertaining, but could computers make it more reliable? And even harder to imagine, could a computer become the next Dostoevsky or Joyce or Shakespeare?
For news, there are of course a number of challenges to solve, for example:
All monumental tasks, and all requiring an artful human touch to get computers thinking straight — which data sets to target, fact checking methodology, algorithms for language disambiguation etc. — but seemingly none insurmountable.
After a quick Google search (All Hail the Great Googs!) I found a couple of curious and amazing products that begin to suggest feasibility:
Methinks we are on our way.