Robots are writing Forbes articles for humans to ‘polish up’

One might say much of the corporate dreck published on Forbes  is already written by soulless robots, but now we can mean it literally. Digiday:

Over the summer, the business publisher, which just had its most profitable year in more than a decade, rolled out a new CMS, called Bertie, which recommends article topics for contributors based on their previous output, headlines based on the sentiment of their pieces and images too. It’s also testing a tool that writes rough versions of articles that contributors can simply polish up, rather than having to write a full story from scratch.

Through obsessive monitoring stats, A/B headlines testing and tracking of social media, this process has long been in the works for all newsrooms. It was only a matter of time until someone automated the actual writing too.

The optimist in me says: get the low-hanging fruit done by a robot, and leave people to do real journalism – and there are certainly some excellent  reporters on the books at Forbes.

But the realist thinks: it’s the low-hanging fruit that often brings in the most traffic and makes the most money, so publishers might just rethink having those pesky expensive humans at all.