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Google funds automated journalism in the UK

Robots will be generating a giant volume of basic local news in Britain in the near future, thanks to Google.

The technology giant’s Digital News Initiative has awarded a grant of $805,000 to the Press Association to fund the creation of a new automatic local news generator. The Press Association will develop the software in collaboration with Urbs Media.

According to partners of the software project, known as “Reporters and Data and Robots” (Radar), it will allow local news publishers to crank out up to 30,000 stories per month, drawing on large, publicly available data collections from various government departments. That includes police and other official sources.

Another automated system will insert video and images into stories.

The Radar software won’t be able to operate autonomously, so the Press Association will hire five journalists who will pick promising datasets to work with, as well as organize and edit the articles created by the system.

Peter Clifton, The Press Association’s editor-in-chief, stated: “Skilled human journalists will still be vital in the process. But Radar allows us to harness artificial intelligence to scale up to a volume of local stories that would be impossible to provide manually.”

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