The world is full of firsts, and this time around, the Los Angeles Times happens to be the first newspaper in the world to publish a story concerning an earthquake which did send some TV anchors scurrying away, courtesy of a robot writer. This is made possible thanks to journalist and programmer Ken Schwencke, who managed to come up with an algorithm that is capable of generating a short article automatically each time an earthquake strikes.
Mr Schwencke did mention that it took approximately 3 minutes thereabouts for the robot to compose and publish the story online. “Robo-journalism“, as it is called, is starting to see action in newsrooms all over the world. The LA Times happens to be one of the pioneers when it comes to such technology that will obtain its information and news from trusted sources including the likes of the US Geological Survey, where such data will then be placed into a pre-written template.
The article in question reads like this, “A shallow magnitude 4.7 earthquake was reported Monday morning five miles from Westwood, California, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The temblor occurred at 6:25 a.m. Pacific time at a depth of 5.0 miles. According to the USGS, the epicenter was six miles from Beverly Hills, California, seven miles from Universal City, California, seven miles from Santa Monica, California and 348 miles from Sacramento, California. In the past ten days, there have been no earthquakes magnitude 3.0 and greater centered nearby. This information comes from the USGS Earthquake Notification Service and this post was created by an algorithm written by the author.”