Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Computers in reporting at Bloomberg – We only know what they tell us

The point is that the computer in both types of computer reporting can only report on what is on the internet already.

There are two types of computer reporting:

“One irony of automation is that it is only as good as humans make it. That applies to both the main types of automated journalism. In the first, the computer will generate the story or headline by itself. But it needs humans to tell it what to look for, where to look for it and to guarantee its independence and transparency to our readers. In the second sort, the computer spots a trend, delivers a portion of a story to you and in essence asks the question: Do you want to add or subtract something to this and then publish it? And it will only count as Bloomberg journalism if you sign off on it.”

Note in neither case can the computer go out on its own two legs and check out the situation and ask people questions.  It cannot pick up the phone and call people.  This is because people won’t talk to the computer.  Can you imagine a newsworthy person getting a phone call from a reporter and the reporter saying, “I am putting my computer on to talk to you because it is so much smarter than me”.

In the case of the headline being produced by the computer but the reporter telling it what to look for and where to, it sounds like to me the editor, not the journalist, will put into the computer his desires and the computer will scour the internet to find already existing stories.

In the second case the computer software is looking for trends.  That is trends on the internet.  Only.  It is a virtual world we live in.  If the left gets its desire to centralize the inputs into the algorithm and independent reporting is diminished, we can have on big consensus society.  Reality isn't necessary for the majority of people.  Think on the fact that there is virtually no reporting on actual global warming.  It is what the models say that is reported.

We only know what they tell us.

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