It seems there is not much emotion left in you as you are giving me the what-the-fuck look after reading the title. Read the title loudly, it says it is a sad story [and the saddest part of it is that I am a writer too] so stop giving the look. Ok let me narrate you the story that led to the dismissal of a great writer from a leading organization.
The story had its origin a year ago when writers like me were rejoicing because of the roll out of the Panda update by Google. The purpose of the Panda update as we all know is to weed out sites with thin or duplicate content or content mill sites. Yes, before the Panda update, writers like me were having a difficult time. We had to write for peanuts, in some worse cases even less than that. I still remember that I was forced to take up a project where the client was giving me 1$ for a fucking 500 word article. But I do not blame them since before Panda update Google’s SERP mainly contained websites with spun content or write-up that simply do not make any sense. As spin articles were helping them rank high in even the most competitive keywords, why on earth they would care to pay premium prices for a write-up written by a native writer? But thankfully Panda changed that and made people like me who write for a living take a deep breath of relief.
Sounds perfect? It does sound like a fairy tale with a happy ending. But then came “Narrative Science”, developing a vicious algo that is supposed to take over the profession of writing, and we are once again left wondering about our position on planet earth.
Meet the next generation Writer by Narrative Science
Yeah, it sounds like I am going to spill the beans about a secret mission of man setting up a base (the permanent one on Sun). Lol sorry for the hype but it is just a recent buzz surrounding a startup – “Narrative Science” that has developed an algorithm that can think and write like a real human being. However, you need to put some statistics, data and other things and it will flesh out a fresh piece of article that is readable and unique.
Ha ha. You just cannot buy this right. How can an algorithm be so powerful to churn out an article? Wanna have a look, ok here it goes:
Analysts have become increasingly bearish on Rockwell Automation(ROK) in the month leading up to the company’s third quarter earnings announcement scheduled for Wednesday, July 25, 2012. The consensus analyst estimate has moved from $1.33 a share to the current prediction of earnings of $1.31 a share
Ok, I know it does not appear to be written by Shakespeare but it says things clearly and general people are not going to have any trouble reading between the lines. There is a small disturbing part I accidentally discovered this – Forbes has designated it as a contributor (ahem, ahem) in its much popular blog – Forbes Narrative Science.
Forget about that small disturbing fact for a moment or two. Think this way – Since the algo still needs human intervention ( I am not sure how long this could be the case), it is almost next to impossible for it to write something creative. So that means, writers who are producing nothing but raw data with zero attention to users’ engagement, are going to face the music in near future. I still find it really hard to imagine that I am laughing or crying after reading an article written by an automated software or algo or whatever it is. There is a long way to go to make a robot or algo convey emotion like a normal human being does.
Gaining Traction: You may brand me as a science nerd, but the truth is that Narrative Science’s baby is gaining currency among publishers. Within a short span of just three months, this small start-up has amassed as much as $3 million in funding. Publishers are lining up to give this algo a try. However, I do not think this sophisticated algo will come for cheap. Nope, this has not been the case. It may work wonders for large corporate organizations like Forbes, but this is not an option for small publishers and bloggers. Not in 2012 at least.
Katy Crawford Slade is a passionate writer and her career is in jeopardy because of narrative science. She is currently associated with Site2you.