I used to write full weekly recaps of the games in my fantasy football league as a way to a.) exercise my brain b.) have a little fun and c.) provide a one-stop shop to catch up on the league with some added dick-jokes and personalized insults. That is until CBS Sports starting using an automated recap robot to take my (fake) job and completely sucked the joy out of it.
Rick Paulas covered this yesterday over at The Awl and I found his take very interesting.
While sports—baseball, in particular, where an entire game can be condensed into the heralded space of the box score—certainly lend themselves to a certain kind of journalism-by-raw-number-crunching, they’re not exceptional in that regard; substitute dollars or drone strike casualties or political polls for RBIs and WHIP, and you essentially have many of the kind reports you’d find in Bloomberg, AP, or FiveThirtyEight.
This is a trend that goes well beyond fantasy sports. There are companies creating algorithms that will analyze data and spit out narrative reports that look like they were written by actual human beings. What are we going to do when no one can tell the difference between an automated, data-driven article from one written by a real, live, individual?
I could be a robot for all you know…am I?