BEIJING: A Chinese internet company has developed a robot journalist, who has written its first news story. The company, Tencent, claims that the robot named “Dreamwriter” can write a 1,000 word news story in one minute.
The development comes after a restaurant in South China’s Hainan province introduced a robot waitress last month. A Chinese company has also introduced a robot banker, which can handle some routine chores, provide banking information and guide customers.
The first news item by the “robot journalist” used data from the National Statistics Bureau and quoted the bureau’s officials. Beijing Times, a local daily said the article, titled “August CPI a new high in the past 12 months” was no different in quality from reports by real journalists.
The machine uses high speed calculating and information searching capabilities to produce a 1,000 word news just in one minute. But its forte is hard news writing. It cannot do in depth, analytical and feature pieces. For instance, a journalist can explain intricate issues like the effect of an increase in inflation on the lives of people which the robot cannot.
The company, Tencent, has said that the robot will not take place of human journalists. They expressed the hope that the robot can free human journalists from some routine tasks and leave them free for more challenging and intelligent works. But observers said this task in itself can help employers reduce the number of journalists on hire.
An interesting use of robots was demonstrated by the Israeli army recently when it tested a four-wheeled robot called Eye Drive at a crossing point between Israel and the northern West Bank to inspect the flow of Palestinian cars and trucks.