'My Boss Is A Robot' Project Automates Journalism

The My Boss is a Robot project seeks to use a computer algorithm to coordinate crowdsourced journalism. The project is the brainchild of Jim Giles, MacGregor Campbell and a Carnegie Mellon research team led by Nii Kittur, an assistant professor in human-computer interaction.

The subject will be a newly-released scientific paper and the story length will be roughly 500 words. We’re aiming for a standard-issue piece of science journalism, not a long-form essay or in-depth investigation.

A regular journalist would start by reading the paper. They might then call up the authors, and follow up that conversation by contacting other researchers who work on the same topic. The notes from those chats form the basis for the story.

That’s the process we’re trying to automate. To do so, we need to break it down into simple tasks, each of which is suitable for the workers on Mechanical Turk. One task might be: “use the references from the paper to identify researchers who could comment on the results”. Another: “read the abstract and identify the most interesting aspect of this paper”.

(When I say “we”, I mean Niki Kittur and colleagues at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). They’re the ones doing the hard work).

We also need software to manage these jobs. For example, we might want to ask five workers to read the abstract of the paper and say what they find interesting about it. We’re basically asking the workers what the story should be about. Thanks to an interface built by the CMU team, the workers’ answers will be fed back to the software that controls the process, aka the robot boss. The robot boss might then combine the five answers and ask workers to vote on which they find the most interesting. When it’s done, the workers, overseen by the software, will have selected the angle that the story will take. (Mechanical Turk is fast. This might happen in minutes).

The rest of the process — writing, editing, fact-checking — will work in a similar way. So if it does actually work, the system will be totally automated. Meaning that we will feed a scientific paper into this human-powered machine and, a few days later, out will pop a piece of journalism.

Science fiction fans may recall Landru, the computer system that ran an entire planet, telling everyone what to do:


(Landru)

Fans of William Gibson recall Wintermute, the AI that was giving the orders in Neuromancer:

Case lowered the gun. `This is the matrix. You're Wintermute.'

`Yes. This is all coming to you courtesy of the simstim unit wired into your deck, of course. I'm glad I was able to cut you off before you'd managed to jack out.' Deane walked around the desk, straightened his chair, and sat down. `Sit, old son. We have a lot to talk about.'

From My Boss is a Robot via Technology Review blog.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 2/6/2011)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Artificial Intelligence ")

Venezuelans Teaching Your Self-Driving Car
‘She wouldn't stop until Antar had told her everything he knew...’ Amitav Ghosh, 1995.

Pun Generation Via Neural Nets
'You said you wanted him to be able to distinguish between laugh-power in different gags...' - William Tenn, 1951.

Can We Comprehend Deep Learning Systems?
'You’ve nothing remotely like it, so I can’t describe it to you.' - Lewis Padgett, 1943.

Datagrid Model Generation Perfect For Eternal Cities Of Science Fiction
'... there was enough flexibility to allow for wide variation. - Arthur C. Clarke, 1956.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Zephyr Solar-Electric Stratospheric Drone
'The planes flew continuously, twenty-four hours a day...'

Robot Hummingbird Hovers Biomimetically
'With a buzz... it started out on its journey.'

Harvest Water From Air With Sunlight
'The atmosphere yielded its moisture with reluctance.'

Capitalist Big Brother Co-Opts Regular Big Brother
'It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time.'

A Floating Cosmodrome
'...a single perfectly level platform, which rose so high above the water that it was not splashed by the waves.'

First Artificial Memory Formed In Animals
'Is an extra-factual memory that convincing?' Quail asked.

Maintain Your Megastructure
Megastructures have repair robots, which have repair robots, ad infinitum.

Venezuelans Teaching Your Self-Driving Car
‘She wouldn't stop until Antar had told her everything he knew...’

Robothread Robotic Worms Crawling Through Your Brain
Perfect for clot-busting in the human brain. No Raquel Welch and no lasers, though.

Vantablack BMW X6 Is Douglas Adams Approved
'It's so... black!' said Ford Prefect.

Humanoid Robot's Muscles Biomimic Ours
'It is remarkable that the long leverages of their machines are in most cases actuated by a sort of sham musculature...'

Animatronic Robotic Baby Exposed
'The birth of Machine, my robot child...'

Beijing HaiDiLao Robotic Hotpot Restaurant Now Flavored By Artificial Intelligence
'Kantos Kan led me to one of these gorgeous eating places where we were served entirely by mechanical apparatus.'

Plants of the Future - What Should They Be Like
'He almost choked in his astonishment. Mashed potatoes and brown gravy!'

China Deploys Robot Traffic Police
'The robot came up smooth and fast as a rocket...'

Better Than Dune Chromoplastic? This Guy Might Have Done It
'But when Old Father Sun departs, the chromoplastic reverts to transparency in the dark.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.