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Breaking news! Artificial intelligence-powered robo-reporters are coming to a newsroom near you. As AI continues to evolve at a rapid pace, savvy newsrooms are already using AI tools to enhance the production abilities of its human staff. But how long will it be until the AI is smart enough to just do all of the reporting itself? Not long, silly. Actually, automated journalism is already happening.
McClatchy Uses An Automated Journalism Tool To Generate Local Real Estate News From Bot Reporters
A McClatchy newspaper recently published a real estate story with a byline by a reporter named NANDOBOT.
Interesting name. NANDOBOT? Was that really the reporter’s name? Just in case anyone else was confused, at the end of the article was a paragraph that explained who/what NANDOBOT was:
|“This article was generated by the NandoBot, software that analyzes data, and applies it to articles based on templates created by humans in the newsroom. No human journalist was harmed in this experiment. You can report errors or bugs to [email protected].”|
NandoBot Didn’t Make Any Friends On Social Media
After NANDOBOT was discovered, several influential Twitter users, including Brian Powell, the communications director for the NC Conservation Network, took to Twitter to call out McClatchy.
Where McClatchy Went Wrong
McClatchy, like many corporate organizations, has its flaws. The most obvious problem it has right now is the bad press it’s generated from laying off hundreds of reporters. No one is happy about that.
OK, with the layoffs in mind, remember how exciting AI is right now. According to an article in the NY Post, AI tools like ChatGPT are so good they are making Google crap its pants. Some people even think AI could make Google Search obsolete in less than two years. That’s how smart AI is getting. And it’s happening fast.
Sophisticated AI platforms can do anything from finish your homework… to write a news article for McClatchy’s imaginary AI robot named NANDOBOT.
And just to clarify, “NandoBot” isn’t actually a computer or a sentient robot locked in the basement at McClatchy’s headquarters in Sacramento, CA. Someone at McClatchy probably just hired an AI company to automatically convert news feeds into written articles.
McClatchy is by no means the first publication to use AI to write a story, but they might be the dumbest.
Why not just publish the story without a byline? Or use a generic byline? Instead, the idiots at McClatchy actually created a lame name for the author of its AI-written stories. NandoBot?! What is that? A cross between Lando from Star Wars and the Borg Nanobots from Star Trek? So lame.
The company has been laying off hundreds of reporters for years, and then found another way to make everyone look at them and scowl even harder. Brilliant! Who knows what they will screw up next.
Frank Wilson is a retired teacher with over 30 years of combined experience in the education, small business technology, and real estate business. He now blogs as a hobby and spends most days tinkering with old computers. Wilson is passionate about tech, enjoys fishing, and loves drinking beer.