Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not a subscriber? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

  • Evening Standard | Getty
  • Business Impact

    This article was written by a human (the next one may not be)

    Job of the future: blending human journalists and robo-reporters.

    Justin Myers says he isn’t automating away any jobs: he’s augmenting them.

    Myers is the automation editor at the Associated Press, which is best known for its news coverage but has lately built software that can automatically generate and publish content. Created in collaboration with the firm Automated Insights, it pulls data from documents like financial earnings reports to quickly whip up stories.

    The natural fear for anyone would be that the AP has created a job-destroying monster. Today it’s quarterly reports; tomorrow everything on a newspaper’s front page will come from robo-reporters. But Myers thinks the future is more about human-machine collaboration. “Computers are great at telling you what happened, but they are not good at telling you why it happened,” he says. “And that part is the area where humans really excel. Putting it in context and giving it that broader relational story.”

    Courtesy of Justin Myers

    Instead, Myers is focused on streamlining processes for journalists by augmenting their daily routine.

    Some of his day is spent working on graphics and writing stories. The rest of the time, he is working behind the scenes. “I might help somebody who has an idea on how they might improve their own workflow or an idea for a new product offering for the AP,” says Myers. “The other side is getting my hands dirty and building some of this stuff.”

    His creations are primarily used for mundane tasks like scouting for news or writing repetitive stories, eliminating them from a reporter’s day. One program Myers helped develop monitors web pages and notifies reporters when they are altered—if the EPA website is edited, for example, or a company has released a statement. He has also worked on extending the AP’s automated story-writing software to cover new topic areas like the municipal bonds market.

    Ultimately, Myers thinks it will become commonplace for reporters to work alongside the tools he’s building. “You get the best of both worlds there,” he says. “The computer saying what happened and the human providing the context.”

    This article is part of a series on jobs of the future. Check out other futuristic job profiles here.

    Learn from the humans leading the way in the future of work at EmTech Next. Register Today!
    June 11-12, 2019
    Cambridge, MA

    Register now
    Courtesy of Justin Myers
    More from Business Impact

    How technology advances are changing the economy and providing new opportunities in many industries.

    Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to MIT Technology Review.
    • Print + All Access Digital {! insider.prices.print_digital !}* Best Value

      {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

      The best of MIT Technology Review in print and online, plus unlimited access to our online archive, an ad-free web experience, discounts to MIT Technology Review events, and The Download delivered to your email in-box each weekday.

      See details+

      12-month subscription

      Unlimited access to all our daily online news and feature stories

      6 bi-monthly issues of print + digital magazine

      10% discount to MIT Technology Review events

      Access to entire PDF magazine archive dating back to 1899

      Ad-free website experience

      The Download: newsletter delivery each weekday to your inbox

      The MIT Technology Review App

    • All Access Digital {! insider.prices.digital !}*

      {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

      The digital magazine, plus unlimited site access, our online archive, and The Download delivered to your email in-box each weekday.

      See details+

      12-month subscription

      Unlimited access to all our daily online news and feature stories

      Digital magazine (6 bi-monthly issues)

      Access to entire PDF magazine archive dating back to 1899

      The Download: newsletter delivery each weekday to your inbox

    • Print Subscription {! insider.prices.print_only !}*

      {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

      Six print issues per year plus The Download delivered to your email in-box each weekday.

      See details+

      12-month subscription

      Print magazine (6 bi-monthly issues)

      The Download: newsletter delivery each weekday to your inbox

    /3
    You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. This is your last free article this month. for unlimited online access. You've read all your free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for more, or for unlimited online access. for two more free articles, or for unlimited online access.