Description: A Sunday business column in The New York Times looked at the work of a start-up, Narrative Science, that combines computer science and journalism. Its software takes data and converts it into stories — short summary-style articles so far, but ones that don’t really read as if they were written by a machine.
Source: NYT .com.
Date: Sept 12, 2011
The technology Narrative Science is pushing raises Internet-era concerns. “The worry is for a company like Google,” said Oren Etzioni, a professor and artificial intelligence expert at the University of Washington. “If the production of increasingly diverse and high-quality text becomes automated, how will Google be able to detect search spam?”
Search spam typically refers to Web sites, usually with simple answers or lists, that seem to be tailored to try to get high rankings from Google’s search engine, and thus attract ads. Google periodically tweaks its algorithms to drop the rankings of such sites, but it is a never-ending arms race.
In that digital arms race, Mr. Etzoni added, Narrative Science could be a “nuclear weapon.”
Narrative Science says it has not sold its technology to such sites, often called “content farms.” Read rest of story
Questions for discussion:
- Do you think this story was written by a machine? Why? Or Why not??
- What do you see as the top four positive applications of this technology?
- What do you see as the top four negative applications of this technology?