For all the writers out there, you know exactly how difficult it is to produce a piece of high-quality written story or news. But that may soon become a thing of the past as Google is funding an AI-based service called RADAR that is being developed to give it the capacity to create 30,000 stories and news every month. Google granted the Press Association and Urbs Media with a €706,000 or $1 million to work on the AI-based technology.
Using an AI news generator to write stories
The Google Digital News Initiative (DNI) Innovation Fund granted the Press Association (PA) and Urbs Media with a €706,000 fund to develop an AI-based service, known as RADAR, who will generate "a stream of compelling local stories for hundreds of media outlets". Google's DNI works with publishers in European countries to enhance the digital journalism platform by means of technology and innovation.
RADAR (Reporters And Data And Robot) is an AI service intended to generate up to 30,000 localized stories per month using open data sources. It is foreseen to supply accurate, fact-based news to various regional media outlets across the UK and also provide services to independent publishers, bloggers, and hyperlocal outlets. Different open data sources from government branches, local authorities, the NHS Trust, and more will be used by journalists to filter through relevant information that will become material for RADAR to write from. In order to reach out to various communities, the AI service will also use the Natural Language Generation (NGL) application to generate different versions of a story.
PA's editor-in-chief Peter Clifton expressed how the development of RADAR will greatly drive the multimedia industry to achieve a cost-effective way of delivering news and stories.
"This is a hugely exciting development for PA, and we believe our partnership with Urbs Media can be a genuine game-changer for media outlets across the UK and Ireland. At a time when many media outlets are experiencing commercial pressures, RADAR will provide the news ecosystem with a cost-effective way to provide incisive local stories, enabling audiences to hold democratic bodies to account".
However, RADAR is not foreseen to replace human writing skills. Instead, the AI-based news writer will simply compose the data gathered by human journalists and generate stories and news using journalism formats and structured reports.
"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", said Clifton. "It is a fantastic step forward for PA".
[Image Source: Urbs Media via Vimeo]
Alen Renwick, Urbs Media's CEO stated the importance of the RADAR fund in improving the freedom of media expression.
"Urbs exists to harness the power of data and automation to supply important stories across local markets. PA is our perfect partner, with the scale, skills, and platforms to develop our ideas. We’re delighted that the Google DNI Innovation Fund has selected our joint RADAR project to boost local media and democracy".
The Press Association is a British news agency that operates within the UK and Ireland, while Urbs Media is a "startup specializing in data-driven news".
Ultimately, RADAR serves as a solution to the typical journalism issue of not having enough time to write important news and stories. There are plenty of new data available on a daily basis and it's just impossible to produce articles from them in a timely manner. According to PA, RADAR is set to launch early next year and begin its quest to providing high-quality digital journalism on a large scale.