Human vs. machine in news-writing showdown

In this growing age of artificial intelligence, a good question might be whose jobs won’t be taken by a machine?

News writers? You’re in the crosshairs of your new overlords.

For its Robot Week, Financial Times pitted real-life human Sarah O’Connor against the artificial intelligence of “Emma” to see who could write a better story about the official UK unemployment data.

Emma was quicker, O’Connor admits in her human-written report today. “But to my relief, she lacked the most important journalistic skill of all: the ability to distinguish the newsworthy from the dull. While she correctly pointed out the jobless rate was unchanged, she overlooked that the number of jobseekers had risen for the first time in almost a year.”

O’Connor writes that artificial intelligence could take over the more mundane tasks from the creative person, thereby freeing the human up to be even more creative.

But what if machines can learn to be creative?

“Should you welcome or fear the rise of intelligent machines?” O’Connor asks. “That depends on whether they will be working for you, or you will be working for them.”

(h/t: Tom Scheck)