AP to Use Robots to Write Business Stories

This is the beginning of the end. The robots have finally been able to break through. The Associated Press has announced that it’s going to start using “automation technology” to write many of its corporate earnings reports.

Lou Ferrara, managing editor of the AP, said the technology will allow the AP to crank out short articles much more efficiently:

We discovered that automation technology, from a company called Automated Insights, paired with data from Zacks Investment Research, would allow us to automate short stories – 150 to 300 words — about the earnings of companies in roughly the same time that it took our reporters. And instead of providing 300 stories manually, we can provide up to 4,400 automatically for companies throughout the United States each quarter.

If it seems innocuous, that’s because the machines wanted it to be this way.

No one will notice earnings reports. Soon though, the robots will be writing longer articles — maybe 600 words. If there’s no pushback to that, they’ll keep going. Their moves will blend seamlessly into the background until that one fateful day when Ferrara opens his office door to find a robot tapping away at his computer. Ferrara won’t try to protest. Mainly because it’s a robot and they’re notoriously grumpy in the morning. But also because Ferrara will understand that he and the AP set these wheels in motion.

The AP’s plan to allow robots to slowly take over the world begins in July. Good luck.

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