Will electronic news reporters replace humans?

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

robot reporter
“Roli” is an example of a non-digital robot news reporter.

If you’re watching the news on TV, the facial expressions of the anchor (reporter) can really bring stories to life. The emotions in their voice, those brilliant smiles, and their verbal banter with fellow anchors can really bring current events to life. However, computer-generated news has begun creeping up all over the web. While there’s no robo reporter on CNN or FOX yet, research shows that humans are starting to have trouble telling the difference between a robot and a human reporter!

For the study, scientists took a computer-generated sports news story that used algorithms (step-by-step calculations) to report the facts in writing, and then compared it to one written by a human Los Angeles Times journalist. Next, they gave the stories to study participants to see if they could identify who wrote what, man or machine, but they couldn’t! According to the data, readers basically gave them the same rating in terms of how interesting, accurate, and clear the story was told.

Surprisingly, the robots received a much higher rating for how informative and trustworthy the article was! However, human writers did receive higher marks for entertainment value and how pleasant the story was to read.

Some computer-generated news is already making it’s way onto the Web, but it will probably be a long time before we see robot news anchors. That being said, there’s already plenty of YouTube videos with the voice of a charming reporter blabbing out the news, but if you listen really carefully… it’s an automated robo sound (that can even have a British accent)! Given advances in computer-generated images and 3D technology, it won’t be long before there’s a full-bodied digital reporter compiling the news into a story from data, then appearing in our living rooms…

Until then, you can entertain yourself with “Roli”, the non-digital robot news reporter:
Featured image courtesy of Guide App.