'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 ")

Biomind AI Doctor Mops Floor With Human Doctors
'My aim was just not to lose by too much.' - Human Physician participant.

MIT Boffins Create Psychopath AI On Purpose
There's a lesson in this for neural net AI engineers everywhere.

China Uses Artificial Intelligence To Grade Student Papers
Looks like the City Fathers are starting to take over China's education system.

Watch 'Do You Trust This Computer' For Free Today
Thanks for making this available, Elon.

 

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

Ontario Starts Guaranteed Minimum Income
'Earned by just being born.'

Is There Life In Outer Space? Will We Recognize It?
'The antennae of the Life Detector atop the OP swept back and forth...'

Space Traumapod For Surgery In Spacecraft
' It was a ... coffin, form-fitted to Nessus himself...'

Tesla Augmented Reality Hypercard
'The hypercard is an avatar of sorts.'

A Space Ship On My Back
''Darn clever, these suits,' he murmured.'

Biomind AI Doctor Mops Floor With Human Doctors
'My aim was just not to lose by too much.' - Human Physician participant.

Fuli Bad Dog Robot Is 'Auspicious Raccoon Dog' Bot
Bad dog, Fuli. Bad dog.

Las Vegas Humans Ready To Strike Over Robots
'A worker replaced by a nubot... had to be compensated.'

You'll Regrow That Limb, One Day
'... forcing the energy transfer which allowed him to regrow his lost fingers.'

Elon Musk Seeks To Create 1941 Heinlein Speedster
'The car surged and lifted, clearing its top by a negligible margin.'

Somnox Sleep Robot - Your Sleepytime Cuddlebot
Science fiction authors are serious about sleep, too.

Real-Life Macau or Ghost In The Shell
Art imitates life imitates art.

Has Climate Change Already Been Solved By Aliens?
'I had explained," said Nessus, "that our civilisation was dying in its own waste heat.'

First 3D Printed Human Corneas From Stem Cells
Just what we need! Lots of spare parts.

VirtualHome: Teaching Robots To Do Chores Around The House
'Just what did I want Flexible Frank to do? - any work a human being does around a house.'

Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence (METI) Workshop
SF writers have thought about this since the 19th century.

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.