Chinese gaming company Tencent (WeChat app) has designed a robot named Dreamwriter that has written a flawless 916-word article in just one minute. It was a business report which was published on the company’s QQ.com portal, an instant messaging service. Li Wei, a reporter in Shenzhen says of the article, “The piece is very readable. I can’t even tell it wasn’t written by a person.” Li followed that comment with despair, “I’m not ready to compete with them [the robots] yet.”
Robotic journalists are not unique to China. American companies including Narrative Science in Chicago have been producing data-driven sports stories and financial reports since 2012 for websites including Forbes and the Big Ten Network. Kris Hammond, Narrative Science co-founder and professor of computer science and journalism at Northwestern University, predicted that by 2027 “more than 90 per cent” of the news in the US would be written by computers.