Documenting the Coming Singularity

Thursday, June 06, 2013

CIA Will Use Robot Writers

All Things D - 6.5.13 by Peter Kafka

If you’d like to see an example of their stuff, you can head to Forbes, which is using Narrative Science to create automated earnings reports and previews, like this look-ahead at Smucker’s prospects for tomorrow.
Narrative Science has already proven that its robot writers can make sentences that are good enough for newspapers and internal company reports. Now they’re going to work for the CIA.
The Chicago-based startup, which uses computers to turn structured data sets into prose, has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from In-Q-Tel, the venture firm that invests on behalf of the Central Intelligence Agency.* The money comes along with a deal to put Narrative Science’s automated writers to work for the CIA and “the broader intelligence community.”

Narrative Science had previously raised $6 million. While it made its initial splash by figuring out how to create sports stories based on box scores, without the need for human intervention, it has been making most of its money creating prose most people won’t ever see: Daily reports for the likes of financial services firms, or a large fast-food chain, etc. But I still think the notion of automated stories for newspapers and other publishers is both fascinating and unsettling, so I like to keep in touch with the company, even as it focuses on enterprise sales.

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