Writing is hard, something yours truly knows first hand as, prior to the wonderful Elements of Style, said blogger wrote egregiously bad prose even though I was an BA english major back in the day. With this notwithstanding, pardon the pun, the NY Times post If an Algorithm Wrote This, How Would You Even Know? poses some interesting questions regarding the ascent of the digital writer in the connected world of 2015.
“Things looked bleak for the Angels when they trailed by two runs in the ninth inning, but Los Angeles recovered thanks to a key single from Vladimir Guerrero to pull out a 7-6 victory over the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on Sunday.”
“The University of Michigan baseball team used a four-run fifth inning to salvage the final game in its three-game weekend series with Iowa, winning 7-5 on Saturday afternoon (April 24) at the Wilpon Baseball Complex, home of historic Ray Fisher Stadium.”
If you can’t tell which was written by a human, you’re not alone. According to a study conducted by Christer Clerwall of Karlstad University in Sweden and published in Journalism Practice, when presented with sports stories not unlike these, study respondents couldn’t tell the difference. (Machine first, human second, in our example, by the way.)
It’s mainly robo-journalism now, but it doesn’t stop there. As software stealthily replaces us as communicators, algorithmic content is rapidly permeating the nooks and crannies of our culture, from government affairs to fantasy football to reviews of your next pair of shoes.
Something to think about if you ask me but fear not ... this is a humble human writing this "wonderful" prose to you, my faithful readers. :)