How will AI products such as Quill impact content?

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Can robots really write?
By Darren Burton, contributor. 27 December, 2016
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Will AI robots soon be writing all our content? In a prediction from Gartner, by 2018, 20% of business content will be “authored by machines”.

Is this really a tangible possibility or mere science fiction?

Introducing Quill by Narrative Science

The answer may lie in the rapid development of computer algorithms that can analyse data and language nuances to create “human-like” copy. Advanced NLG is the official terminology used for a bot that uses artificial intelligence to craft written content. Up until recently AI could produce documents of data and statistics, but couldn’t actually write content. Well, that has all changed with the advent of Quill. The Narrative Science website states that “it creates perfectly written, meaningful narratives for any intended audience”.

Narrative Science’s main focus with Quill right now is the finance industry and tailoring their algorithm to improve employee productivity

What Quill is able to do is analyse and understand data, then convey that information in an easy to comprehend narrative that reads in a conversational tone. It’s very hard to pick the difference between content written by humans and by Quill. The New York Times is using Quill to relieve the burden of writing from humans, as the publication cannot expect their journalistic workforce to slave over laptops 24/7. Another well known publication that makes regular use of Quill’s talents is Forbes magazine. These are some of the articles Quill has written for the finance publication. Can you spot the difference? Probably not.

Quill is not alone

At least two more companies have created algorithmic software capable of compiling data and emulating the human mind when it comes to the written word. Automated Insights have produced Wordsmith, which Associated Press uses to generate more than 3000 financial reports each quarter, and the Los Angeles Times makes use of another AI writer called Quakebot, the algorithm that is employed to “analyse geological data”. Even online retailing giant, Amazon, is looking into creating its own robot writer to produce works of fiction and nonfiction to sell on the Kindle platform. If Amazon can effectively eradicate the human author (and publisher), the company gets to retain 100% of the profits generated by book sales.

What this means for business

Algorithmic platforms such as Quill are tailor-made for compiling and analysing information such as financial data and regurgitating that information into highly-readable content. In fact, Narrative Science’s main focus with Quill right now is the finance industry and tailoring their algorithm to improve employee productivity in the workplace. Compiling and analysing financial data and generating readable written reports is a time consuming task. Quill has predominantly been designed to alleviate that menial labour, freeing up staff to work on other projects. And rather than presenting clients with clunky financial data regarding the performance of their portfolios, Quill presents the information in a much more reader-friendly format that is easily understood.

The future

Kris Hammond, chief scientist at Narrative Science, predicts 90% of journalistic reporting will be written by AI bots such as Quill by the year 2030. What this means for this author and his ilk remains to be seen.

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Darren has been writing in one form or another for more than 30 years. He has worked as a feature writer, copywriter and content writer. Although his writing is mostly focused on content marketing these days, he also has a passion for writing fiction and has published several eBooks. Darren divides his time between writing, internet marketing and his latest passion; composing and producing music for music licensing and sync licensing.