Signs of the Times: Robots Writing News

Robots Writing News 

robot_journalist_jpg_CROP_promo-mediumlarge“Software is writing news stories with increasing frequency. In a recent example, an LA Times writer-bot wrote and posted a snippet about an earthquake three minutes after the event. The LA Times claims it was first to publish anything on the quake.”

Narrative’s approach can be applied elsewhere too. The firm recently launched an app that works with Google Analytics to transform raw website metrics (traffic, sources, referrals, demographics) into accessible, natural language reports.

 

Awakening from the Neo-Liberal Dream

neolib“In 2008 poorly regulated financial markets yielded a world-historic financial collapse. One generation, weaned on reveries of home ownership as the coveted badge of economic independence and old-fashioned American striving, has been plunged into foreclosure, bankruptcy, and worse.”

“The only feints at resurrecting our nation’s crumbling civic life that have gained any traction are putatively market-based reforms in education, transportation, health care, and environmental policy, which have been, reliably as ever, riddled with corruption, fraud, incompetence, and (at best) inefficiency.”

“In the face of all this catastrophism, the placid certainties of neoliberal ideology rattle on as though nothing has happened. Remarkably, our governing elites have decided to greet a moment of existential reckoning for most of their guiding dogmas by incanting with redoubled force the basic catechism of the neoliberal faith: reduced government spending, full privatization of social goods formerly administered by the public sphere, and a socialization of risk for the upper class.”

“…the public legacy of these times appears to be a long series of metaphoric euphemisms for brain-locked policy inertia: the debt ceiling, the fiscal cliff, the sequestration, the shutdown, the grand bargain.”

 

Broadening Search for the Sparks of Revolution

revolutions-light“The stockpiling of so much careful silence among people who like to imagine themselves on the same page with Patrick Henry—“Give me liberty, or give me death”—raises the question as to what has become of the American spirit of rebellion. Where have all the flowers gone, and what, if anything, is anybody willing to risk in the struggle for “Freedom Now,” “Power to the People,” “Change We Can Believe In”?”

“The hallowed American notion of armed rebellion as a civic duty stems from the letter that Thomas Jefferson writes from Paris in 1787 as a further commentary on the new Constitution drawn up that year in Philadelphia, a document that he thinks invests the state with an unnecessary power to declare the citizenry out of order. A mistake, says Jefferson, because no country can preserve its political liberties unless its rulers know that their people preserve the spirit of resistance, and with it ready access to gunpowder.”

“It is the turning of the seasons and the cyclical motions of the stars that Jefferson has in mind when in his letter he goes on to say, “God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion”—i.e., one conceived not as a lawless upheaval but as a lawful recovery.”