|Photo credit: Orbit Media|
Lou Ferrera, the AP Managing editor, maintains that jobs, as well as the sanctity and integrity of journalism, are not in danger; that robots and artificially intelligent writings are merely for quantitative purposes only; that in essence using robots to write and compose mundane reports and pieces that do not require substantial analysis and insight will actually be of tremendous benefit for journalists and writers, allowing them to focus on stories and topics that require deeper introspection, postulation, and analytics. This sounds wonderful in theory, but to me it reminds me of the Twilight Zone episode where robots take over every industry and job once available to mankind and thus man is rendered obsolete and ultimately becomes surpassed and oppressed by those same robots. Which makes me wonder: Do media companies and journalistic enterprises have a moral or ethical obligation to ensure that only human beings do journalism? Furthermore, is Journalism really journalism if it is done through artificial intelligence and not by actual humans? Is the Associated Press committing an ethical crime by allowing robots to write reports? At the very least are they guilty of setting a very dangerous precedent.
It should be noted that Wordsmith‘s programmers and developers actively work to ensure that Wordsmith’s sentence and paragraph structure are more humanlike and that Wordsmith is taught about things like tone and grammar. But if Wordsmith can resemble a human, will humans be needed less? The article even references a study that was done where readers were given a story to read, where one version was written by a human and another version that was written by a robot, and then they were asked to identify which version was written by who. The study concluded that half of the participants were unable to distinguish the true author of the written story. One could contend that this is exciting and that it really is just another example of how technological advances can help make industries more efficient and effective. However, I believe that journalism is not an industry, but is actually a child of literature, and literature is best regarded as a form of art. I think the creation of art is something best left to humans. Do you agree?
- William Korte