Some publications have scaled back on their Olympics coverage the past few years, but there are still plenty of dependable journalists covering the Summer games. Bob Costas – sans pink eye – is there to update you on the results, Matt Lauer is giving his colorful commentary and the cavalcade of commercials is reminding you they are sponsored. But a new entry into the journalism field for coverage is robots.
The Washington Post is using homegrown software in order to produce hundreds of stories to update readers about what is going on in Rio de Janeiro. The goal of the software is to provide real time updates of game results, medal counts and any other data-centric related news. Jeremy Gilbert who is in charge of digital projects for the publication said the goal is to help reporters out, saying “we’re not trying to replace reporters. We’re trying to free them up.”
A number of engineers and even staff writers will be helping with the software and The Post has even started a Twitter handle – @wpolympicsbot – it will be using as the games go on. The publication isn’t promising anything too exciting from the software – just the barebones results and more feature type stories from actual reporters.
Skynet conspiracists may be thinking this is just another way for the machines to take over, but its kind of a smart idea. With 306 events in 28 sports, reporters will have their plates full while at the games. And not every publication has the access and resources like NBC in order to get things done.