Cyborg Author: Not Another Conspiracy Theory!

By: Kathleen Pickering

I can enjoy a good conspiracy theory, just like any other paranoid earth-dweller. Today, however, I discovered that an author’s worst nightmare has come to life: A Robot Writer.

thumbnail[3]The conspiracy? They say this new cyborg writer, just born in late 2010, was developed to turn statistics and sports writing into entertaining information, but I just know there is a Dr. Frankenstein out there building my double in robot form. I am seriously thinking about taking my writing arm underground before they invade the matrix and find me through my computer!

The company? Narrative Science, out of Chicago. (I hate to say their name out loud for fear they’ll hear me and discover my hide-out! After this point we shall call them, They who shall not be named. Or, for short: TWSNBN)

The reason for my dismay? The damned cyborg is good! It’s writing was put up in a contest against a rookie sports writer and won. Here was the robot’s take on a ball game:

“Tuesday was a great day for W. Roberts, as the junior pitcher threw a perfect game to carry Virginia to a 2-0 victory over George Washington at Davenport Field.

Twenty-seven Colonials came to the plate and the Virginia pitcher vanquished them all, pitching a perfect game. He struck out 10 batters while recording his momentous feat. Roberts got Ryan Thomas to ground out for the final out of the game.

Tom Gately came up short on the rubber for the Colonials, recording a loss. He went three innings, walked two, struck out one, and allowed two runs.

The Cavaliers went up for good in the fourth, scoring two runs on a fielder’s choice and a balk.”

See? I’d have to give ol’ Robo an A+. Not good! I visited TWSNBN’s website. This is what their creator says:

We tell the story behind the data. Our technology identifies trends and angles within large data sources and automatically creates compelling copy. We can build upon stories, providing deeper context around particular subjects over time. Every story is generated entirely from scratch and is always unique.

Sorry. That sounds like fiction writing to me. I just know they’re planning on hunting us authors down, will carve out our brains and make body doubles of all of us.

Beware, my author friends. Articles already written about TWSNBN state that their Cyborg’s talents will make some writing by humans obsolete. I can just hear my editor now: “Um, Kathleen, you know we just love you, um, but, we have to let you go. I’d like you to meet your replacement:

thumbnail[4] Kataborga Pickerbot. No hard feelings. Really.”

We’re doomed, I tell you! Sigh . . . and to think, I just got started in the writing world. Talk about bad timing!