America's leading news agency, the
Calling the move "a leap forward," AP's managing director,
"For many years, we have been spending a lot of time crunching numbers and rewriting information from companies to publish approximately 300 earnings reports each quarter.
We discovered that automation technology, from a company called Automated Insights, paired with data from
It will therefore free journalists to spend more time on reporting and talking to their sources. At the same time, AP believes it will increase "by a factor of more than 10" the volume of earnings reports for its customers.
According to the AP statement, instead of providing the current 300 stories, accomplished manually, it will be able provide up to 4,400 automatically each quarter.
The agency stresses that it will continue to provide editorial coverage of company financial results "in more enterprising ways" than at present. Its reporters will "do more journalism and less data processing."
They will "focus on reporting and writing stories about what the numbers mean and what gets said in earnings calls on the day of the release".
It is also exploring whether it can automate earnings from companies outside the US, which potentially may include
How will the 'robots' replace human beings?
Here is Ferrara's explanation on how it will work when the system kicks in this month:
The structure for the earnings reports stories was crafted by AP with Automated Insights. All conform to AP style... The stories will be labelled as being produced automatically with material from
As we begin using automation technology, we will check each automatically generated report and then publish to the AP wire. As we work out any problems, we hope to move to a model of more fully automating the reports and spot-checking the feed for quality control."
AP has been automating sports results for several years and is looking at extending its automated service in that sector too.
This kind of technological breakthrough has long been predicted, notably in a
Newsroom automation, they wrote, saves time and "dramatically reduces the need for editors to oversee every part of the process."
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