The Death of the Author – could robots be taking over journalism?

Published: April 1, 2015 9:00 AM /


Robot Typing

It’s safe to say that none of us, TechRaptor included, thought that authors had the potential to die out – but it’s happening. That’s right, Authors are dying, and the robots are picking up the slack.

In a recent study conducted by Barnett University, it was found that of the 30 journalistic outlets that were studied, almost all of them had at least 40% of their articles being published by robots. When we spoke to Carol MacNamara of The Game Feed, she told TechRaptor, “We would fall behind without the use of our robotic staff members. There’s just so much news that needs to be written, and they’re significantly faster at publishing it compared to the humans on staff. It’s really the logical choice at this stage. Authors are dead and we don’t miss them.”

Authors tend to have issues producing large amounts of content over short periods of time, even when fed basic story ideas, and they also require editing on their work. In comparison, robots are able to produce work 3.43 times faster than humans due to their ability to read basic information and quickly transform it into well-written articles. Using basic and advanced syntax from studying what is already on the Internet, robots are also able to create writing that is 98.57% identical to that of humans in the form of word choices. There were initial bugs in the process where the robots would frequently describe subject matter as 'gayyyyyyy'; restrictions have since been put in place to stop the software learning via YouTube comments.

Photo Cred: Mirko Tobias Schäfer on Flickr
Photo Cred: Mirko Tobias Schäfer on Flickr

After reaching out to a few other press outlets in regards to their use of robotic staff members, the numbers were surprising. In fact, of the 10 other outlets we contacted, 9 of them had at least two robots working on news and press releases for the company, with 3 of those outlets having 75% of their content being created by multiple robots.

To put it in context, even TechRaptor has a few robotic colleagues. Our server admin, whom we’ve named Moscato-bot, is a sentient AI who both manages our security and server infrastructure as well as interacting with staff and helping with decisions. We also have a few others who pump out news and articles faster than any normal human possibly could. News Editor Don Parsons commented “Human Authors are fine and all, but these robots can churn out rumor articles faster than I’ve ever seen. Some humans just don’t grasp how important a vague statement followed by a question mark is to gaming journalism.”

It certainly seems like we could be viewing all of our news and information directly from robots and artificial intelligences in the very near future. With many outlets beginning to bring on this alternative work force to handle the ever-increasing volume of news and content that needs to be covered, it’s really no surprise that efficiency is key. Unfortunately, this puts human authors at risk to lose their jobs, ushering in the true, and not at all metaphorical, death of the human author.

What do you think? Are you okay with robots taking over journalism? Could they, in time, be able to do the same or better than their human counterparts?

Disclaimer – This is fun and lighthearted satire for April Fool’s Day, meant to poke fun at the fact that I didn’t know anything about Death of the Author a few months back (see here).

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Rutledge Daugette
| CEO and Founder

Rutledge Daugette is the Guides Editor & Founder of TechRaptor. Rutledge's degree in Game Programming ultimately led him to found the site in 2013, with… More about Rutledge