CyberOSINT and the Associated Press

January 31, 2015

Remember the days when there were Associated Press stringers? Remember when the high value AP service was information gathered at state capitols? Remember when humans did this work?

Enter cyber information or as I dub this stuff Cyber OSINT.

Navigate to “AP’s Robot Journalists Are Writing Their Own Stories Now.” I would have added the subtitle “And the Obituaries of Stringers”. The idea is simple: Smart software assembles sentences that comprise a “news story.” Here’s the passage I noted:

Philana Patterson, an assistant business editor at the AP tasked with implementing the system, tells us there was some skepticism from the staff at first. “I wouldn’t expect a good journalist to not be skeptical,” she said. Patterson tells us that when the program first began in July, every automated story had a human touch, with errors logged and sent to Automated Insights to make the necessary tweaks. Full automation began in October, when stories “went out to the wire without human intervention.” Both the AP and Automated Insights tell us that no jobs have been lost due to the new service. We’re also told the automated system is now logging in fewer errors than the human-produced equivalents from years past.

The shift from humans to software is just beginning. To get a glimpse of how industrial strength systems perform far more sophisticated operations automatically, you will want to read CyberOSINT: Next Generation Information Access.

Forget traditional search and information gathering, the world has shifted. You know it when a stodgy, collectively owned outfit like the AP goes public with cyber tools.

When will the enterprise search vendors flogging consulting services and keyword systems figure it out? Perhaps search and indexing companies are the heirs to the cluelessness of news gathering organizations.

Stephen E Arnold, January 31, 2015


Comments are closed.

  • Archives

  • Recent Posts

  • Meta