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Computers write news at Thomson (Dinosaur Media DeathWatch™)
Financial Times ^ | August 17, 2006 | Aline van Duyn

Posted on 08/22/2006 10:38:56 AM PDT by abb

First it was the typewriter, then the teleprinter. Now a US news service has found a way to replace human beings in the newsroom and is instead using computers to write some of its stories.

Thomson Financial, the business information group, has been using computers to generate some stories since March and is so pleased with the results that it plans to expand the practice.

The computers work so fast that an earnings story can be released within 0.3 seconds of the company making results public.

By using previous results in Thomson’s database, the computer stories say whether a company has done better or worse than expected.

“This is not about cost but about delivering information to our customers at a speed at which they can make an almost immediate trading decision,” said Matthew Burkley, senior vice-president of strategy at Thomson Financial.

“This means we can free up reporters so they have more time to think.”

Mr Burkley said the computer-generated stories had not made any mistakes. But he said they were very standardised. “We might try and write a few more adjectives into the program,” he said.

Thomson started writing computer programs for different types of stories, at a cost of $150,000-$200,000 (£79,623-£106,190) per project, to try to catch up with rivals such as Reuters and Bloomberg.

Thomson has also hired hundreds of specialist reporters to boost its news operations.

Reuters said it automatically generated some stories, while Bloomberg said it did not.

The desire for speed reflects the growth of automated trading. Many hedge funds want direct feeds that can be plugged into programs and used for trading.

Thomson’s automatic stories are being generated mostly in the US market.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: automation; dbm; jobs; msm; msmwoes; newspapers
I, Robot...
1 posted on 08/22/2006 10:38:57 AM PDT by abb
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To: abb
Raoul's First Law of Journalism
BIAS = LAYOFFS

2 posted on 08/22/2006 10:39:34 AM PDT by abb (The Dinosaur Media: A One-Way Medium in a Two-Way World)
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To: PajamaTruthMafia; knews_hound; Grampa Dave; martin_fierro; Liz; norwaypinesavage; Mo1; onyx; ...

Ping


3 posted on 08/22/2006 10:40:06 AM PDT by abb (The Dinosaur Media: A One-Way Medium in a Two-Way World)
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To: abb

It makes sense to have computers generate the stories, since it appears computers already generate the photos...


4 posted on 08/22/2006 10:40:17 AM PDT by linear (Nuance treats reality as a mere Rorschach test.)
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To: abb

SimCity (a computer game) has been doing this for years and years, with more variety.


5 posted on 08/22/2006 10:40:30 AM PDT by coconutt2000 (NO MORE PEACE FOR OIL!!! DOWN WITH TYRANTS, TERRORISTS, AND TIMIDCRATS!!!! (3-T's For World Peace))
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To: abb
“This means we can free up reporters so they have more time to think.”

He's just kidding.

6 posted on 08/22/2006 10:41:42 AM PDT by Spirochete
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To: abb
“This means we can free up reporters so they have more time to think.”

They will have to learn how first.

At least computers cannot make up stories from nothing.

7 posted on 08/22/2006 10:41:48 AM PDT by Only1choice____Freedom (I alone, am the chosen one. Because I alone, did the choosing.)
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To: abb
“This means we can free up reporters so they have more time to think.”

"Hmmmm.... Do I want to flip burgers or clean toilets?"

8 posted on 08/22/2006 10:42:53 AM PDT by coloradan (Failing to protect the liberties of your enemies establishes precedents that will reach to yourself.)
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To: abb
It's like "Mad Libs" for business news:

"Today, (Proper noun) announced that the earnings for its (noun) division were (adjective) for the (noun) quarter of the year. A company spokesman said 'This news reflects (adverb) on our ability to leverage our (adjective) product line going forward'"

9 posted on 08/22/2006 10:47:19 AM PDT by andy58-in-nh
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To: abb; Liz; weegee; an amused spectator; Grampa Dave
When computers write the Classifieds we'll miss all the good stuff:


10 posted on 08/22/2006 10:48:22 AM PDT by martin_fierro (< |:)~)
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To: Only1choice____Freedom
>At least computers cannot make up stories from nothing

------------------------------------------------

Cultural capitalism in the works of Burroughs *

H. Agnes Cameron
Department of English, Stanford University

Barbara B. Drucker
Department of English, University of California

1. Burroughs and realism

In the works of Burroughs, a predominant concept is the distinction between creation and destruction. Any number of desublimations concerning cultural capitalism exist. It could be said that Tilton[1] implies that we have to choose between realism and cultural deconstruction.

If one examines cultural capitalism, one is faced with a choice: either accept realism or conclude that consciousness is used to disempower minorities. Sartre promotes the use of neoconstructivist materialism to attack sexism. Thus, the characteristic theme of Parry’s[2] analysis of realism is the role of the artist as participant.

The main theme of the works of Burroughs is the paradigm, and eventually the futility, of subdialectic society. Debord suggests the use of the cultural paradigm of context to deconstruct and modify class. But Derrida uses the term ‘realism’ to denote a self-supporting paradox. ...

------------------------------------------------

* The essay you have just seen is completely meaningless and was randomly generated by the Postmodernism Generator. To generate another essay, follow this link. If you liked this particular essay and would like to return to it, follow this link for a bookmarkable page.

The Postmodernism Generator was written by Andrew C. Bulhak using the Dada Engine, a system for generating random text from recursive grammars, and modified very slightly by Josh Larios (this version, anyway. There are others out there).

11 posted on 08/22/2006 10:49:41 AM PDT by theFIRMbss
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To: abb

When they get a computer that can manipulate digital photos "automatically", the media talking heads will be able to claim that the image is unaltered by human hands.


12 posted on 08/22/2006 10:50:25 AM PDT by weegee (Remember "Remember the Maine"? Well in the current war "Remember the Baby Milk Factory")
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To: abb
“This means we can free up reporters so they have more time to think.”

They can sit at home thinking about how "fat, lazy and stupid is no way to go through life..."

13 posted on 08/22/2006 10:50:26 AM PDT by Onelifetogive (* Sarcasm tag ALWAYS required. For some Freepers, sarcasm can NEVER be obvious enough.)
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To: abb
MSM Computer rules as programed into the expert system:

...Iraq... => QUAQMIRE

.. Economic Grown < 10% => RECESSION

.. Unemplyment < 5% .. => RECESSION

.. republican .. => RIGHT WING FANATICS

...FreeRepublc .. => RIGHT WING FANATICS

.. democrat .. => INTELLIGENT PROGRESSIVE

.. DailyKOS .. => INTELLIGENT PROGRESSIVES

14 posted on 08/22/2006 10:51:07 AM PDT by Paradox (The "smarter" the individual, the greater his power of self-deception.)
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To: theFIRMbss

There used to be a flamewar generator. It would string together the necessary "response" (you could even insert the name of your target) and the requested length(a couple sentences, a couple paragraphs...).


15 posted on 08/22/2006 10:52:34 AM PDT by weegee (Remember "Remember the Maine"? Well in the current war "Remember the Baby Milk Factory")
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To: martin_fierro

I, Robot
http://www.irobotmovie.com/


16 posted on 08/22/2006 10:52:53 AM PDT by abb (The Dinosaur Media: A One-Way Medium in a Two-Way World)
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To: abb
Well... here is a problem with this approach.

The validity of the stories written by a computer can only be upheld if the code behind the program is made public. I mean, why would you trust what the program was writing unless you could look at it and test it yourself to make sure there was either no bias or errors in it (which with could be a huge problem). Thompson financial reports upon which these stories are based are pretty standardized in their format (the reports are fairly dry and mostly fill-in-the-form-with-numeric-values).

The problem is that if you release the program for scrutiny, then anyone can compile and run (or just run in the case of a script) the program on a newly released dataset - including a competitor or a consumer - so the value of creating the program disappears.

Contrast this with say... a news story and analysis by Britt Hume which is irreplacable and pretty unimitable.

17 posted on 08/22/2006 10:57:31 AM PDT by mbraynard (I don't even HAVE a mustache!)
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To: abb
Computers write news

Aw, this is nothing new.

Mad Magazine started the trend 50 years ago. They used to have a semi-regular feature where a person could generate a political speech, television commercial, movie script, etc. by taking a general story line and let the reader complete the tale by picking several items from a list.

Considering the consistent left wing bias of the MSM's reporting content, combined with their overuse of trite cliches and jargon, I naturally assumed they were emulating their mentors -- the "Usual Gang of Idiots."

18 posted on 08/22/2006 10:57:36 AM PDT by Zakeet (Save the whales ... collect the whole set)
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To: abb

probably less biased than Rooters


19 posted on 08/22/2006 11:12:02 AM PDT by GeronL (flogerloon.blogspot.com -------------> Rise of the Hate Party)
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To: martin_fierro

Hey, going back in time sounds like fun.... dinosaur hunting?


20 posted on 08/22/2006 11:13:25 AM PDT by GeronL (flogerloon.blogspot.com -------------> Rise of the Hate Party)
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To: GeronL
dinosaur hunting?

What fun would it be shooting dying animals mired up to their asses in tar pits? It's much more fun to sit on the bank and watch them suffer and bellow and wail and moan - and then sink in a great gassy final belch...

21 posted on 08/22/2006 11:20:17 AM PDT by abb (The Dinosaur Media: A One-Way Medium in a Two-Way World)
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To: abb

lol... future fossil fuels according to one dumb theory


22 posted on 08/22/2006 11:26:59 AM PDT by GeronL (flogerloon.blogspot.com -------------> Rise of the Hate Party)
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To: martin_fierro

LOL------laugh riot.


23 posted on 08/22/2006 12:34:05 PM PDT by Liz (The US Constitution is intended to protect the people from the government.)
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To: martin_fierro; Liz

My sides hurt! The "better be a reward" was hilarious! ;-)


24 posted on 08/22/2006 4:25:58 PM PDT by TommyDale (It's time to dismiss the Duke fake rape case, Mr. Nifong!)
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To: martin_fierro

Great ads!


25 posted on 08/22/2006 4:58:00 PM PDT by Grampa Dave (There's a dwindling market for Marxist Homosexual Lunatic lies/wet dreams posing as news.)
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To: potlatch; PhilDragoo; Grampa Dave; Interesting Times; pookie18; weegee
loading.gif-544x50 Click.gifGW2.gif
KODACHROME

Kodachrome-.jpg-544x380
WizStarz.gif-544x120
Drive-By.gif-544x380

26 posted on 08/22/2006 7:27:25 PM PDT by devolve (fx 9125_AMERICANS_KILLED_2003_BY_ILLEGALS MEX_ILLEGAL_GOT_911_TERRORISTS_ID NO_NUEVO_TEJAS)
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To: devolve

LOL, you took my advice and 'cut loose' alright. That is flamboyant!!


27 posted on 08/22/2006 7:31:14 PM PDT by potlatch (Does a clean house indicate that there is a broken computer in it?)
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To: potlatch


Too bad most FReepers don't have WebTV so they could hear audios right on the thread without "killing" the animated FX

A good sound card and quality speakers and perhaps a monster stereo amp like mine and they would be surprised with the results

--

Stange that PCs are actually limited in some many ways




28 posted on 08/22/2006 7:48:49 PM PDT by devolve (fx 9125_AMERICANS_KILLED_2003_BY_ILLEGALS MEX_ILLEGAL_GOT_911_TERRORISTS_ID NO_NUEVO_TEJAS)
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