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Robotic Journalism?

In response to Chris W. Anderson’s talk at the Berlin Symposium, Lorenz Matzat now discusses the question of ‘robot journalism’ and its impact on newsroom jobs. There is a substantial increase in the amount of data being collected (and to some extent, made available) by all sorts of devices; these data would also be valuable for journalistic purposes, of course.

Sport is especially advanced in this area, in fact – in many football stadiums, for example, a number of additional cameras are now tracking player and ball movements, generating detailed datasets and visualising them in real time. Given the realistic real-time commentary in computer sports games, we’re close now to generating automated commentary for actual sports matches. The robot journalist is not far away; the iPhone’s new Siri ‘personal assistant’ functionality also shows this.

What does this mean for jobs in journalism? What kinds of new jobs are needed? What happens to the people whom such new developments make redundant? White collar workers are now facing what the working class faced in the previous century…