Opinion Journalism: AI’s Next Frontier?

While most AI-generated news stories are simple news reports about sports, business, crime and other data-rich musings, AI-generated opinion may be on its way.


Systems like IBM’s Project Debater already generate a pretty good simulation of opinion – and could be harnessed to crank-out opinion pieces for news outlets, according to Cait O’Riordan.

She’s chief product and information officer at the Financial Times.

“IBM-generated opinion could become significant,” O’Riordan says.

Adds Calum Chace, a writer for Forbes, regarding Debater’s impact on human writers: “There is a genuine question about whether new thought leaders will find it harder to get established.”

Chace offers a wide-ranging look at journalism fueled by AI-generated writing in this Forbes piece.

*In other AI-generated news:

*California-Style AI Journalism Gears for Growth: Crosstown, an automated journalism site serving Los Angeles, is gearing up for aggressive expansion, according to Gabriel Kahn.

He’s the editor of Crosstown and a professor of professional practice at University of Southern California.

“Soon, we’ll be rolling out 110 different neighborhood newsletters — each with automatically formatted stories and charts,” Kahn observes. “This will allow us to offer some level of coverage to every corner of the city with minimal extra costs,” he adds.

The news service generates multiple stories on the same subject – say home burglaries – by populating a fill-in-the-blank story template with info from a database – say a database on Los Angeles home break-ins.

Observes Kahn: “One story on home burglaries becomes 110 different stories about 110 different neighborhoods — each with specific info on the number of crimes in the community.

“The best part? The costs don’t rise.”

Currently, staff at Crosstown is spare: Kahn and two-part time reporters – along with some help from AI-generated writing – churn-out all of Crosstown’s articles.

“Our goal is to create a Crosstown-in-a-box model that can easily be set-up anywhere,” Kahn adds.

“With a reasonable upfront investment, we can deploy Crosstown’s software, mapping and data-sorting tools in a new city,” Kahn observes.

“Other newsrooms could use this to track the vital signs of their city, along with every neighborhood in it,” he adds.

*Getting Conversational With Your Slack Database: Analytics software company Knowi is offering Slack users the ability ask questions of their Slack databases – and get back answers in the form of charts and other graphic illustrations.

Sample queries include “What was our net new revenue last quarter?” and “Show me our most active app users by month.”

A popular online messaging and collaboration tool, Slack is used by thousands of businesses and organizations.