Narrative Science is at the forefront of computer automation. At Media Jobs we have brought you numerous stories discussing how data visualization is all the rage right now and will be into the foreseeable future, and for good reason. The vast amount of data being generated and collected every second of every day on every possible topic is almost useless without a good way to analyze it and present it in an understandable way. And they were all written by humans. But in certain situations, those charts, graphs, and other unique visualization tools still aren’t the best way to transfer information to people. Sometimes a concise and information-packed story is the most pleasing and understandable way to absorb information, and that’s where Narrative Science excels, no humans required.
Tell Me About The Narrative Science Game
If you ask Google or Siri or Cortana this question (which is actually a statement, I guess), you’ll probably get a final score — assuming that you specify the game you’re referring to, of course. But software developed by Chicago-based Narrative Science doesn’t wait for you to ask. Instead, it collects the relevant information about the game and writes a summary in paragraphs we’re used to reading from sports writer summaries, using a technology known as NLG, or natural language generation. Not just sports games, though — any story that can be told from collected data.
In fact, one of Narrative Science’s largest customers (if not the largest) is Forbes, the distinguished financial publication and website. They use Quill, the aforementioned software that Narrative Science provides, to write earnings summaries for companies on a regular basis. The software is even listed as one of the contributing authors in that section of the website. It also adapts the language used in similar articles written by real live humans, so if you’re only wanting the quick rundown on a ball game or a stock’s earnings information, you’d never know that the paragraph you just read had no human hands involved.
News Written by Robots For Robots
In the two examples already mentioned, and many others for that matter, this non-human storytelling makes nothing but sense. Why pay a human writer to essentially disseminate some numbers by throwing them into a few uninspiring sentences? It’s a cost saver, and it gets the point across with just enough narrative to be interesting — or more interesting than a simple score or set of numbers anyway. But there are also concerns about where this trend might lead in the future as the software advances.
Naturally and rightly so, writers have the most concerns about this. But a more in-depth analysis of what’s happening now and a likely scenario of the evolution in NLG writing shows how information could become so personalized that it actually becomes more harmful than helpful to intellectual pursuits. I won’t get into all that here, but this Slate article does a good job of expressing those concerns.
All Skynet-ish concerns aside, the technology that Narrative Science has developed is a step forward in the AI field and could lead to any number of interesting and lucrative developments down the road, which is why we think it’s a company that shows a lot of promise and would be a great career opportunity.