PA to use robots to write market reports and election coverage

Natasha Clark
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Clifton also said it was using footage taken from drones and 360 degree cameras to generate content (Source: Getty)
ello Siri, can you write me a story please?

This could be the future of digital journalism after the Press Association said they are looking at using robots to report some stories in the next few months, Press Gazette reported today.

Speaking at the Society of Editor's conference this morning, the agency's editor-in-chief, Pete Clifton, said they would be using robots to cover some market reports, election results and football reporting.

Is it cause for panic as journalists get replaced by computers? Clifton doesn't think so. He added that "this won't be replacing any of our fantastic journalists, it will be more a case of offering an extra level". Many people have pointed out that with automated reporting of everyday announcements, it could mean that journalists are freed up to investigate other stories.

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Clifton also said that PA's counterpart in Denmark was already on the case, using so-called 'robot journalism' to produce hundreds of market reports a month. They were often more accurate than reporters trying to take on too many stories.

Associated Press uses a programme called Automated Insights to write simple corporate results stories, and The Washington Post announced it was using its own homegrown software to produce reports about the Olympics last summer. This means copy can be produced quickly and easily, but it requires a lot of data input before a story can emerge, and won't work for all stories.

Read more: Will robots take my job?

“Will it take over from proper journalists? Of course it won’t," Clifton added. "We won’t have a robot going to a big fire or covering a crown court case.”

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