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Robot wrote LA Times earthquake article


The Los Angeles Times was the first publication to report the story of Monday’s earthquake thanks to a robot writer.

Journalist and programmer Ken Schwencke created an algorithm that automatically generates a short article when an earthquake occurs.

Ken Schwencke told Slate magazine that it took around three minutes for the story to appear online.

The Los Angeles Times was the first publication to report the story of Monday’s earthquake thanks to a robot writer

The Los Angeles Times was the first publication to report the story of Monday’s earthquake thanks to a robot writer

“Robo-journalism” is increasingly being used in newsrooms worldwide.

The LA Times is a pioneer in the technology which draws on trusted sources – such as the US Geological Survey (USGS) – and places data into a pre-written template.

As well as the earthquake report, it also uses another algorithm to generate stories about crime in the city – with human editors deciding which ones need greater attention.

Other news organizations have experimented with algorithm-based reporting methods in other areas, particularly sports.

The generated story does not replace the journalist, Ken Schwencke argued, but instead allows available data to be quickly gathered and disseminated.

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