The Robot Journalist in the Age of Social Physics: The End of Human Journalism?
In the age of Big Data, extracting knowledge from unlimited data silos employing Artificial Intelligence algorithms is becoming fundamental for the survival of society. We are living in an age of exponential growth in the complexity of social systems. We are at the dawn of an emergence of a new science some term as “social physics” that will allow to automatically analyse the billions of micro social engagements done continuously through our mobile devices in all fields of human activity (similar to the study of atoms in physics). This analysis of the social dynamics will allow to identify new social trends, social theories, at the “budding” stage.
Traditional journalists, through the practice of intensive and at times, risky and expensive, investigative journalism, attempt to reveal new facts and social trends and with their narrative talent, experience, their values, creativity and intuition convert these facts into journalistic stories for their audiences.
In parallel to the emergence of the new field of “social physics”, narration, the art of telling stories, is also becoming a scientific endeavor employing artificial intelligence algorithms taking advantage of the vast body of knowledge of the field of linguistics and the study of natural language. AI algorithms are being composed that can convert facts into readable stories in a fraction of a second.
This is the birth of Robotic Journalism. Robotic Journalism is based on two pillars: The computer software that automatically extract new knowledge from huge data silos employing the new “social Physics” concept; algorithms that automatically convert this knowledge into readable stories without human involvement. Besides the great potential saving in labor costs, these robot journalists seldom miss facts, if programed correctly, are never tired and if programed objectively-are free of personal bias. Data silo managers of the media organizations and the AI narrative software engineers may become the key employees of the organizations. The human journalists, considering labor and other costs, may become obsolete. In this paper, this new form of robotic journalism and its possible implications will be discussed.
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