Associated Press Having Machines Write Corporate Earnings Reports

Company says automated corporate earnings stories will allow reporters more time for earnings analysis, reporting on earnings calls and seeking out related exclusive stories

Associated Press

The Associated Press is hiring robot writers to increase their output on corporate earnings reports from 300 per quarter to 4,400. The company announced it is partnering with Automated Insights, paired with data from Zacks Investment Research, to generate automated short stories about company earnings.

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The time it takes the computer to write the 150-300 word story is approximately the same as the time it takes a reporter to do it, according to the AP. But with the computer focused exclusively on these types of stories, AP estimates it will be able to generate 4,400 such stories per quarter for companies throughout the United States, as opposed to the 300 or so reporters were able to do. It’s also exploring expanding these capabilities to international companies.

The AP went on to assure that no jobs would be lost to these automated systems. Instead, the company anticipates that automating earnings reports will free up reporters to do more in-depth analysis, and pursue earnings stories from different perspectives. Reporters will have time to break down the numbers, identify trends and find relevant exclusive stories.

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The structure of the stories Automated Insight’s algorithms generate with Zacks’ data were crafted by AP in conjunction with Automated Insights, and conform to AP Style, the company assures. They will be clearly identified as having been produced automatically with data from Zacks.

“As we begin using automation technology in July, we will check each automatically generated report and then publish to the AP wire,” the company said in a statement. “As we work out any problems, we hope to move to a model of more fully automating the reports and spot-checking the feed for quality control.”

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The company further stated that this isn’t its first foray into automated reporting. The majority of AP’s sports reporting has been automated for years, utilizing data from sports statistics company STATS — though this data has not been presented as AP stories, but rather as data feeds. However, Automated Insights did help the AP automatically generate player performance descriptions each week during the last NFL season for an automated NFL player ranking that the site hosted for newspapers.

“As part of its business relationship with Automated Insights, AP participated in the company’s latest round of investment financing with other strategic partners,” the company announced.