Has Skynet become self-aware? It seems the 'robots' that run the US equity markets (HFT/algo trading dominates what little volume there is left) have decided to cut out the middle man in the market as Associated Press reports this morning that it will employ the story-writing software by start-up Automated Insights to automate the production of U.S. corporate earnings stories. To be frank, given the copy/paste nature of most mainstream media 'analysis' of earnings, we thought this had already occurred but AP notes, "We are going to use our brains and time in more enterprising ways during earnings season." Does that mean that anyone but Zero Hedge will be discussing cashflows or GAAP earnings?
As USA Today reports, The Associated Press is going robotic.
The news service revealed Monday it will employ the story-writing software by start-up Automated Insights to automate the production of U.S. corporate earnings stories, the quarterly bane of the existence of many business reporters.
The AP typically produces about 300 earnings stories per quarter, requiring reporters to crunch data in the heat of wire-service deadlines. Soon they will be producing many, many more.
Using the software would allow AP to automate short earnings stories, typically 150 to 300 words, "in roughly the same time that it took our reporters," says Lou Ferrara, the AP managing editor who oversees business news. The initiative will start in July.
Zacks Investment Research will comb through earnings statements and provide the data for the stories, which will conform to AP Style. Editors will read the articles before they are published, but the process will eventually be fully automated. By the end of the year, AP plans to provide up to 4,400 earnings stories per quarter, which its media clients can post quickly or use as templates to expand.
AP will continue to produce staff-written earnings stories for high-interest companies, such as Google and Apple.
Automation will free reporters to pursue more in-depth work, according to Ferrara. "We are going to use our brains and time in more enterprising ways during earnings season," he told staffers in a memo.
AP is not eliminating jobs, and Ferrara says "most of the reaction (among AP staffers) has been very positive." But the automated stories — as seen in an example copy provided by AP — are largely formulaic, and there are concerns about editorial quality. "There is a healthy dose of skepticism that the whole thing will work," Ferrara says. "They're journalists. I want them to be skeptical."
It seems the circle is complete, machines write the stories that machines trade on; why not just do everything in binary - it's not like humans have a chance to react anyway before the robots.