Can a robot do journalists’ job?

Can robots replace journalists in their work at some point in the future? Can they change it for the better?

Automation journalism techniques are not a threat – as it emerged at the panel “Can a robot do my job?” –  but a tool that helps journalists with tedious and highly repetitive tasks as well as with verification of user-generated content.

Although there is a wide variety in automation techniques, human participation will always be needed. “Robots will not replace journalists in the future. Robots will help journalists do their job better,” said Meredith Broussard, assistant professor at the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute.

“If we give the human reporters more chance to be creative, more time to be creative, then that automatically will work better for the news organisations and for the society,” said Justin Myers, news automation editor at the Associated Press. According to him, computers and humans are inherently different: computers are much better at what has happened but humans are much better at why this  has happened. Automation is a basic necessity because journalists have more time for the”why” since they are not worried by the “what”.

Automation can be useful when it comes to weather disasters, such as earthquakes, as articles can be automatically written and sometimes even automatically published. Further examples of automation in newsrooms are graphics, stock market charts, and elections result maps.

Being the fields of artificial intelligence and algorithmic accountability inherently creative, computational journalism has a bright future ahead. Yet, the human participation represented by the editorial opinion will always matter.