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About:Media — The First News Report on the L.A. Earthquake Was Written by a Robot

Will Oremus, Slate, March 17, 2014

It’s reasonable to expect that robo-journalism will improve over time as companies like Narrative Science refine their algorithms. And it’s remarkable that we’ve already reached a point where LAT readers can expect to encounter the phrase, “This post was written by an algorithm.” Just don’t expect the Quakebots of the world to provide human-level context or news judgment anytime soon, let alone a bon mot or a narrative yarn. It’s true that a lot of newspaper jobs are in danger, but that has nothing to do with news-writing robots. Blame that on a business model punctured by readers’ and advertisers’ move from print to the Internet.

If anything, helpers like Quakebot might save a few journalists’ jobs by freeing them to focus on the type of work that can only be done by a local reporter, on the ground, with a brain.

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