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The robots are coming! Ethical implications of robot journalism

Page history last edited by Paul Nicholas Santos 6 years, 6 months ago

Title of the Essay: 

     The robots are coming! Ethical implications of robot journalism, Paulina Haselhorst, June 12, 2015 


Title of the Reflection: 

     Machine Take Over 


First Impression: 

     After reading the title, the first thing that came into my mind would be a whole take-over of journalism on any type of media. 



     “It has always been about how we can best use the resources we have in a rapidly changing landscape and how we harness technology to run the best journalism company in the world.’’ – Lou Ferrara 


Reflection Proper: 

     We all know that we need to adapt to the changes in our current surroundings; however, for every change we take or adaptation to our surroundings, it will result to a couple of ethical issues that we need to tackle.   

     The same is true with the application of robots in the field of journalism. The first issue that pops-up would be the employment issue. If media companies integrate robot journalists as their main source of news output, the number of jobs applicable for traditional journalists will drastically drop down; thus, the number of unemployed people will rise. The second issue would be the stagnation in terms of the writing style. Robot journalists input information on templates. This leads to us seeing the same pattern of writing style on all the articles that the media outlets are producing. Yes, this may also apply to journalists; however, if a media outlet has multiple journalists, this would then create a differet writing style or pattern that is produced. This pattern would then give color or character to the said media outlet. The third issue would be the disconnection between the writer and the reader. Yes, a robot journalist may copy how a person sympathizes to another person; however, a person can also empathize to other people. Note that there is a difference between empathy and sympathy. Empathy is more about understanding what another person feels while sympathy is more about accepting that a person is going through. The fourth issue would be the difference in information gathering process between a robot journalist and a traditional journalist. Traditional journalists would verify their sources in order to make their work or report credible; On the other hand, a robot journalist would scour the internet for its sources or directly get the information from its source. The issue at hand is the fact that robot journalists are prone to errors, like getting an information that is actually erroneous and making a report out of it or getting information that is under the copyright law and using it as one of the information and sharing it with everyone else. This would result to the media company being sued by the copyright holder and this would potentially cause them, the media company, a lot of money.   

     Just like every problem, there is a solution for it. A good solution for the issues at hand would be to employ traditional journalists to double check the product produced by robot journalists, since it is prone to create errors every now and then. A second solution would be to employ traditional journalists to create templates that will be of use to the robot journalists. Thus, we will feel the said human empathy on the writings produced on reports. Finally, as a result of the first two solutions, traditional journalists wouldn’t worry that they would lose their jobs. They are simply reintegrated with a new objective that is somewhat similar to their old jobs; however, it is based on the checking and designing of the said output.  

To end my paper, I would like to make two statements: First, change is the only thing constant. If we want to survive in this world, we need to be competitive and to adapt to the situations at hand. Second, automation is not the best solution. We will need to weigh-in the pros and cons of automating a said procedure. 




5 Things I’ve learned: 

  1. There is a demand for fast, up-to-date, and content-rich reports that will come out after a few minutes after a certain event happened. 
  2. Big media companies like yahoo adopted the said content creator named robot journalism into their company to suffice the demand for up-to-the-minute news. 
  3. Robot journalists would simply input information on a template and show it to the rest of the world. 
  4. Robot journalists can mimic the sentiments of a human person, in a certain range that is. 
  5. Professional Journalists, like Lou Ferrara and Kevin Roose, believe that robot journalism wouldn’t take over their jobs. 


5 Integrative Questions: 

  1. Are we really that hungry to get the said information that fast? 
  2. Do we need to expect a stagnation in the quality of news we get from media-related companies? 
  3. Does the creation of templates managed or created by journalists or is it generated by the said robot journalist? 
  4. Will the mimicking of human sympathy be a good substitute for human empathy? 
  5. If robot journalists can do a better work in comparison to human journalists, then robot journalists are taking over the job of human journalists. What will happen to the human journalists if the big media companies implement the robot journalists as the main source of reporting news? 


There are 873 words in this paper. 


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