Key Questions and Implications
Human and automated journalism will likely become closely integrated and form a “man-machine marriage.”
Journalists are best advised to develop skills that algorithms cannot perform, such as in-depth analysis, interviewing, and investigative reporting.
Automated journalism will likely replace journalists who merely cover routine topics, but will also generate new jobs within the development of news-generating algorithms.
For news consumers
People rate automated news as more credible than human-written news but do not particularly enjoy reading automated content.
Automated news is currently most suited for topics where providing facts in a quick and efficient way is more important than sophisticated narration, or where news did not exist previously and consumers thus have low expectations regarding the quality of the writing.
Little is known about news consumers’ demand for algorithmic transparency, such as whether they need (or want) to understand how algorithms work.
For news organizations
Since algorithms cannot be held accountable for errors, liability for automated content will rest with a natural person (e.g., the journalist or the publisher).
Algorithmic transparency and accountability will become critical when errors occur, in particular when covering controversial topics and/or personalizing news.
Apart from basic guidelines that news organizations should follow when automatically generating news, little is known about which information should be made transparent regarding how the algorithms work.
Automated journalism will substantially increase the amount of available news, which will further increase people’s burden to find content that is most relevant to them.
An increase in automated—and, in particular, personalized—news is likely to reemphasize concerns about potential fragmentation of public opinion.
Little is known about potential implications for democracy if algorithms are to take over part of journalism’s role as a watchdog for government.