We have all feared the day when robots would rise up and take over the world. It appears that day is at hand, at least in sports journalism. The Associated Press is working with Automated Insights to brings us robots which will write game stories and have them posted instantly following the completion of the contest, according to the Huffington Post.
The process is slated to begin with Divison I baseball this spring, followed by Division I women’s basketball, Division II and III men’s basketball and Division II and III football over the course of two years.
The notion of using robots is a play to write more stories across the country with usage of NCAA statistics. Currently, Division I men’s basketball and football games are all staffed by an AP writer. The game stories are pushed through within 15 minutes across the wire with a few paragraphs, followed by another version which is typically a full story without quotes. Later on, quotes are added to complete the process.
“Our goal is to be fully live with stories generated automatically when a game is over and onto AP wires and, in this case, NCAA sites,” AP’s Vice President and Managing Editor Lou Ferrara told The Huffington Post in an email.
While the question of unemployment for sports journalists arises, AP and Automated Insights have been adament in stating that no jobs will be lost because of this change. To this point, the relationship which began in July between the two companies has provided a boom in stories (to this point, the duo have only produced earnings reports for business stories). The Associated Press went from publishing 300 stories per quarter to 3,000, with many of the pieces written without any human help.
“At AP, we have been looking at automation with anything involving data, as we did with corporate earnings reports,” Ferrera said. “Sports have been in our DNA for a long time and automation for certain sports seems like a logical move, particularly for sports not receiving much widespread coverage yet in demand in certain markets.”
The robots are coming.