The Washington Post’s Newest Olympics Reporter Is Artificial Intelligence

Hello, Heliograf.

According to the Washington Post, Heliograf–an artificial intelligence technology that will be used to report Olympic results, standings and other metrics–is here to help the paper’s human reporters, not take over their jobs under a seemingly innocent early march toward our future robot dystopia.

“In 2014, the sports staff spent countless hours manually publishing event results. Heliograf will free up Post reporters and editors to add analysis, color from the scene and real insight to stories in ways only they can,” explained Jeremy Gilbert, director of strategic initiatives, in the announcement.

Putting aside for the moment any fears of displacement by robots with the capacity to learn and devoid of the need for things like sleep, food or procrastination, here’s what it will do: Heliograf will file updates on WaPo’s Olympics live blog, on twitter through its (currently protected) handle, @WPOlympicsbot, and on Alexa. The updates will combine Heliograf’s ability to access and process data with its ability to write sentences that can pass as human-generated.

The Olympics is a test run for the Post. Expect Heliograf to come to a beat near you, including the elections, where WaPo’s developers plan to utilize Heliograf to crunch and deliver November election results much faster than we mere mortals can.

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