Wired occasionally carries good stories, but this ain't one of them. It sounds portentous and should play well to all the anti-journalism reactionaries and self-styled media pundits, but really this is just flying cars and robot butlers.
It's important to note here that NewsScope isn't a news service like Reuters; rather, it's a targeted data stream for the finance industry. Its output is not meant to replace the work of human journalists. Its output is not even meant to be read by humans.
But leave it to Wired to come up with an angle like "NewsScope has started carrying stories written by machines." A writer less enamored with breathless futurism might instead say that NewsScope parses corporate financial statements and extracts relevant data points, which it then summarizes in a machine-readable format, stripping out all the excess verbiage and historical statements that aren't useful to automated trading software. It's somewhat analogous to a search spider, one that builds an index of finance news as it crosses the wire, making the data easier for third-party software to query.
This isn't the Master Control AI writing news stories, people. It's a product -- and probably a pretty valuable one if you're in that industry.
Similarly, TFA says the program that generates news stories based on stats was "rigged up" by some college students. Is it useful? Potentially. Is its output capable of replacing human sports journalists? Is it even publishable? There's no evidence that anybody even suggested that. How many of your college projects changed the world?
TFA goes on to talk about how reporters have been forced to pick through information by hand -- for example, reading volumes of PDFs -- and how much nicer it would be to have machine-readable data to query. Well, no kidding! You're not alone there, brother; I like Google, too.
And then, like so many breathless Wired article, this one evaporates:
Further out toward the horizon lies the prospect of intelligent systems that filter vast quantities of unstructured content, drawing inferences that can be formatted according to journalistic norms.
Uh-huh. Where can we find that horizon, precisely? And "formatted according to journalistic norms" -- what does that even mean? And then:
Along the way, of course, intelligent systems will need to start coping with the complexities of human language have so far confounded them, including idiom, metaphor and sarcasm.
"Of course," indeed. As Han Solo once said, "Well that's the real trick, isn't it?"