Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Ex machina

News that the Press Association is interested in Danish software that turns bald financial data into "written reports" is entertaining.

The Autoflash system developed by the "Finans" wing of the Danish news agency Ritzau IS fallible. By September of this year, the computer had analysed data from 159 company reports, created 600 'flashes' sent almost instantly to the agency's subscribers - and made two mistakes. None of the eleven journalists working on Finans have lost their jobs.

In the States, AP already uses Wordsmith software to write financial briefs. It's also used to write portfolio reports for private individuals, and collate estate agent guff. In general, I think it's always easy to spot when something is stitched together with standard phrases - anyone disagree ?

By the way, Ritzau is an innovator in other ways - since 2012 it has been covering the news agency's nightshifts with four Danish subs based in Sydney.

Meanwhile, here's a more entertaining marriage of financial data and computer programming.

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