Algorithmic Journalism – a “deep trend”
Thought I’d muse today about a topic I’m going to call Algorithmic Journalism. I’ve noticed a fair bit of discussion lately on the use of algorithms (typically machine-learning algorithms) to make sense of, understand the relevance of, aggregate, and distribute news.
First off, the use of machine-learning algorithms and collective intelligence to determine relevance of search and content are very common place today. They form the basis of Google’s search algorithms, and are heavily used by Amazon, Netflix, etc. However, machine-learning in Newsrooms is another matter. And it’s the discussion of machine learning in the context of the News Media business whose waves are starting to wash up against the shorelines of my personal information space (i.e. Twitter and the real-time Web!)
Here’s some of the articles/blog posts in the past few months that speak to this topic:
- Content farms v. curating farmers – Jeff Jarvis, December 2009
- A Speculative Post on the Idea of Algorithmic Authority – Clay Shirky, November 2009
- The rise of machine-written journalism – Wired Mag, December 2009
- The End Of Hand Crafted Content – TechCrunch, December 2009
- Google’s vision of the future of journalism – The Guardian, October 2009
- The Answer Factory: Demand Media and the Fast, Disposable, and Profitable as Hell Media Model – Wired Mag, October 2009
Note these articles were all written in the past few months. So the topic appears to be only recently breaking into the broader consciousness of the Journalism community.
I’d also point out that the evolution of Algorithimic Journalism is highly dependent on Semantic Web technologies. So look for the influence of the Semantic Web to continue to penetrate the Journalism industry.
Anyway, a topic to keep an eye on in 2010.