AI/ML

That’s Why We Are Building The AI That Writes News.


state of play, 2009.
Pic from State of Play, a 2009 thriller movie directed by Kevin Macdonald. It is a film that wants to talk about quality journalism, about courageous investigators, about journalism as art with strong ethical values.

The future is horrifying because the unexplained is always a little frightening. And we will be ever afraid of the novelty. It’s simpler to take refuge in the present (or in the past, sometimes), to keep the thing be that way. It’s safe.

These days I’m moving to another house, and I notice how even that old sofa, small and narrow, had something comfortable and special. Rationally it’s a sofa that I would never use, but the “certainty” and safety of the “present” and of “what I have now” have convinced me of its importance. I don’t even have memories up there, but, you know, it’s that sofa of mine.

And journalism is a bit like that, I think.

I know, what I’m going to say isn’t so popular, maybe dangerous, maybe it’ll sound disgusting — sorry about that. But, Journalism is an ancient art that needs to be revised.

Let’s think together.

As the whole world evolves and the information that circulates grows more and more, little confused between lies and truth, and while the Internet itself is changing — revolution after revolution — journalism has just remained the same as a couple of centuries ago.

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We are moving to another bigger home. But we want to keep the small sofa, and not because of nostalgia, but because we liked it once. But, hey, we have a new home now! Are you sure you really need to look for a new world with the old journalism?

First of all, in my opinion, journalism is the problem. Not the journalist — and I’ll explain it better later.

Journalism has lost its way by forgetting its values. It remains caught between old concepts/prejudices and the more unbridled capitalism that only cares about the newspaper, the publisher, and the editor, but it completely forgot the “reader”. It seems so anachronistic this term, doesn’t it?

Users vs Readers.

In fact, we don’t call him a “Reader” anymore. “User” — the visitor, the impression, the reach, and so on. We refer to him as a number, a percentage, a click.

We write clickbait news, we write lies to encourage traffic, to apologize right afterwards. And where’s the truth? Does journalism really need the clickbait?

In those concepts, what you can notice is that what is not working here is the business model.

More than journalists, we train monkeys to write and capture the attention of the common user. Does journalism really need the “user” that reads a headline, discovers an eye-catching image, and looks for boobs in a piece of gossip news?

Yes, because we need the traffic to sell more advertising. And this is the old sofa but in our new home.

It’s not only about boobs.

We are also experiencing the same effect on other types of news: politicization, conspiracy, mythification of the enemy and lies in general moves the obsessive-compulsive clicks of the user.

The answer is to be found here: we brought an old model to the new world, we thought it might be right to continue talking about “newspaper circulation” on the web, without understanding the context, bringing it as it is online and adding uncontrollable advertising. To keep the newspaper economy we chose the dark side: we need clicks, and we need them now.

It is something old, with some old concept that totally lost its mission in the new world.

That’s crazy.

But I know, we cannot be generic. The New York Times (and again, that’s just my opinion) is extraordinary excellence. Seriously, have you ever tried to navigate the New York Times? Feel its magic? That’s the quality, baby.

https://medium.com/media/8ab0c2fb2a821456aa9bedd3dc670479/href

So, why don’t we start talking about quality traffic, instead?

We think there is a way to subvert the status quo and start a small revolution: we need true quality content, verified, not tricky, and understandable. And we can do it by helping a new form of journalism, with the propulsion of Artificial Intelligence.

We need to attract a new reader by the quality, to bring to life a different business model. We don’t need billions of users; we think we only need readers.

We are working on it. And we are (almost) ready to deploy it. We’re stressed, tired, but happy.

In recent years, we have been working on this. Personally, I’ve lost a lot of nights on the project, I’ve given up a lot of outings and parties, sometimes skipped holidays.

And now, It’s almost here: a new form of AI that we can actually imagine as a set of different bits of intelligence, the editorial staff of different AI skills.

Our Artificial intelligence is capable of gathering the information needed to write a story from millions of sources around the world. The news is controlled with a rigorous fact-checking that we will monitor and try to improve more and more. The texts written by AI are easy to read because we want to simplify the information and bring the news to everyone.

And what about the journalist?

They are NOT part of the problem. I already explained that the main issue here is journalism when we look at it as a business model, not as a profession.

And so, yes, we want to bring the journalist back to his former mythological figure but with the superpowers of the future. The journalist, for example, will be able to retrieve all the information online faster than others, understand what the current trends are, and what just happened. She or he can analyze socials faster, and retrieve the history of some events even faster. He will write quicker and clearer than others because AI will assist the journalist.

How.

Our plan is, first of all, to bring online the beta version of our platform, where you will read all the stories written by several AI and where a small editorial staff will collaborate with it, monitoring and fixing the content — a group of human and artificial minds, beautiful, right?

During this first step, we will have time to talk to you, to bring to life new ideas, and to really understand your wishes in terms of journalism and information in general; to do that, we will also focus on the UX aspects, experimenting more and more.

Then, we will show you the new form of “the journalist with superpowers”, that’s a promise, who will write faster while he is looking for facts slowly and more accurately than ever before. Try to think about it: what can a journalist do with the power of Artificial Intelligence?

We will show you a new type of future. Surely we’ll do something wrong, and we will fix it. Then, we’ll probably take longer than we thought. Inevitably, we’ll stumble on something.

But we’re not going to break our promises, ever.

Because we’ll change the house, we’ll get a new sofa, and sinking into it, we’ll read new stories together.

Welcome to Storykube.
welcome-to.storykube.com/ready

If you have any questions, please write to me at ottavio.fogliata@storykube.com.

NOTES.

Hey, if you found any grammar mistakes, write to me. That is the first time I’ve ever written a post entirely in English.

See ya.

Don’t forget to give us your 👏 !

https://medium.com/media/7078d8ad19192c4c53d3bf199468e4ab/href


That’s Why We Are Building The AI That Writes News. was originally published in Chatbots Life on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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