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robojournalism

Contributor(s): Ivy Wigmore

Robojournalism is the use of software programs to generate articles, reports and other types of content. 

Sophisticated content generation programs rely upon a combination of artificial intelligence (AI), data analytics and machine learning to produce content that can be hard to differentiate from that written by a human.

When an earthquake struck Los Angeles in the early morning hours of February 1, 2014, a content generation algorithm created by programmer/journalist Ken Schwencke posted the story to the L.A. Times within eight minutes of the tremor, complete with a map pinpointing the epicenter. 

Schwencke's software is designed to receive structured data from the US Geological Survey (USGS) and to determine, based on an earthquake's magnitude and proximity to California, whether it is news. The content generation program assembles the details in a vocabulary specific to the subject matter, including typical journalistic terms and turns of phrase. 

Ben Walsh makes a presentation about what he calls "human-assisted journalism":

This was last updated in April 2014

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