Fully Automated Luxury Newsmaking
Some thoughts on robots writing the news.
One of the more benign side effects of working in the media industry (benign compared to the utter lack of job security and the nightmarish working conditions for everyone in general and BIPOC in particular, I mean) is that it makes you a lot more aware of who/where content comes from.
So when someone sent me a link to a news story published on MSN.com the other day, I took note. Turns out, not only is MSN.com still very much “a thing,” but it’s also a major player in the news distribution game. And as of this month, its homepage—a digital bazaar of hard news and bad clickbait, aggregated from actual publishers—is being curated by robots. What could possibly go wrong?!
A dial-up descendant
Microsoft Network came into being in 1995 as Bill Gates’ entry to the dial-up internet service wars then being fought by America Online, NetZero, and the like. The service’s online offerings were organized around MSN.com; users vi…