13 August 2010

Things that are being automated that probably shouldn't be

Computers can save a lot of time by automating reptitive and boring tasks, but there are some things that are being automated that probably shouldn't be.

Journalism is one of them, as this article notes -- hat-tip to A conservative blog for peace

5 Things That Are Being Automated That Probably Shouldn't Be | Cracked.com:
Statsheet wants to create a program to write entire sports blogs from basically scanning box scores, blogs that readers will think are written by a human. This article includes a sample. These automated blogs might someday be read by an algorithm like Infonic's or Reuters' which scans and analyzes hundreds of news articles a day to tell you what people think of different companies (in Infonic's case) or athletes, or political issues, or anything you don't want to read about yourself.

And just this morning I came across something that illustraded the downside of this. I have my blogs linked a a blog aggregator called Amatomu, and when I update them a message comes on the screen saying "Your feed has been updated". Google targets its ads according to the content of the post, and so down the right hand side of the page was a column of ads, all dutifully picking up the key word and telling me about the scientific feeding of farm animals.

On the other hand, I recently discovered something of the sort that seems to have a plus side. That is Twitter daily newspapers. It gathers the content from the Twitterers you are following, and presents them in the form of a daily newspaper. If there are URLs mentioned in the tweets, it often goes to them and displays the pictures. What it means is that I can go there once a day, and see the most important stuff about the people I am following on Twitter, quite nicely presented. And you can see the Steve Hayes dauily paper here: http://paper.li/hayesstw.

What's more, you can also create such "daily papers" based on hashtags. I've done that with one in my field of interest, which is missiology. You can see that here: http://paper.li/tag/missiology.

So automation seems to work quite well, as far as I can see, though I'm still not sure if it's picked up all the tweets of the people I'm following.

1 comment:

James Higham said...

Sounds like you're right up to speed there, Steve.


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