Google has announced that is going to be working with the Press Association and Urbs Media (an automated software startup specializing in combing through large open datasets) to build software capable of writing 30,000 local news stories a month.
The project will be funded by Google’s Digital News Initiative, which aims to invest over $170 million to support digital innovation in newsrooms across Europe.
The project, named Radar, which stands for Reporters And Data And Robots, aims to automate local reporting on events publicised or commented on by government agencies or local law enforcement — basically roboticizing the work of reporters.
“Skilled human journalists will still be vital in the process,” said Peter Clifton, the editor in chief of the Press Association in a statement. “But Radar allows us to harness artificial intelligence to scale up to a volume of local stories that would be impossible to provide manually.”
The Radar project is ambitious, as you might imagine, the software will trawl the net for relevant press releases and news statements that can be converted into articles, but it also aims to cover complex local issues that require a deep understanding of social, political and local contexts, which, up to now, only humans have been able to comprehend, reflect on and distill into finished articles.
RADAR is scheduled to launch in early 2018.