Humans Still Top Computers In Content Curation (For Now)

A piece on MediaShift the other day should bring hope to the journalists who fear their jobs have been outsourced to algorithms and “robot writers:” people are still best at some things.

Dorian Benkoil argues that tech companies are turning to editorially-minded staff to help “identify and stoke conversations across the digisphere” rather than using algorithms because humans are still better. Examples: Say Media acquired ReadWriteWeb; Flipboard hired a magazine editor, and BuzzFeed has hired away staffers from Rolling Stone, Gawker and Politico.

“If that’s a trend, I hope it continues,” Tumblr Editor-in-Chief Chris Mohney told Benkoil. Mohney says that the value of an editorial person at a tech company is that they can “help them cohere a public-facing sensibility beyond simple functionality and service.”

In other words, humans are still smarter at the kinds of things that humans value. (Makes sense.) Steve Rosenbaum, author of “Curation Nation” and founder of the video network, told Benkoil that humans “can provide context and judgment that machines can’t.”Machines can only see literal connections. They’re solving math problems. So if your friend likes James Bond, and you like your friend, then you’ll like James Bond — or so the logic goes.”

Give it time, though.