M. Alex Johnson – Journalist at Large

An analog journalist in a digital world

Human editors matter

with one comment

Google News picks up a grisly story from Reuters and gets bitten by its computerized presentation:

Here’s the headline:
Body of missing Brooklyn boy found in freezer, trash

Here’s the caption Google News automatically generated, because Reuters includes a picture-of-the-day feature on its story pages:
A host of new surveys don’t paint a pretty picture for many small businesses. Uncertainty about the economy, slow retail sales and high commodity prices have small business owners in the dumps this summer.

There’s no one to blame for this, really. But it does illustrate, tastelessly and uncomfortably, that it will be a long time — perhaps not in my lifetime — before human editors are totally dispensable.

Agree or disagree? Will computers some day be able to completely replace us? Let me know in the comments.

Written by Alex

July 13, 2011 at 10:25 am

One Response

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  1. Some day? Who knows. I doubt they will in my lifetime – at least not to my satisfaction! – though they will gradually become better at language processing. But there’s a very long way to go.


    July 13, 2011 at 11:35 am

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