The algorithm based on artificial intelligence (AI) received the journalistic award for the first time. It publishes news and writes simple texts in two Canadian publications.
The organizers of the 2020 Online Journalism competition announced the winners. The editor of the Sophi Automation news sites, which is based on artificial intelligence (AI), received the award for “technical innovations in digital journalism. The researchers explain that this is further proof that technology will have an impact on all areas in the future.
Sophi uses technologies that belong to the Canadian national newspapers The Globe and Mail. It is responsible for examining and overseeing 99 percent of the content it publishes, analyzing how each piece of material can increase subscribers and advertising revenue.
Sophi has learned from texts already written in The Globe and Mail to understand how to build texts and which ones are most interesting to readers. The AI then set its own parameters and published simple materials without human intervention or additional data input.
“We had to build a system that our news department could easily understand. It had to work without flaws – so that living employees could trust it without problems. We developed this project in close collaboration with the newsroom, which tested it and ensured constant feedback in Slack and at regular meetings. The newsroom is still working in collaboration with Sophi and so far they have the ability to override offline decisions that the algorithm makes,” the researchers note.
At the same time, they note that journalists do not have to worry about their jobs – Sophi takes over the most routine work, so the authors can deal with less urgent and in-depth materials. The editors of the publications say that artificial intelligence is excellent for creating simple materials, but reports still require human participation. The creators of the algorithm are not ready to predict when the algorithm will begin to cope with such stories.