February 17, 2019

In the Future, Robots Will Write the Jewish News

“The New York Times reports that The Associated Press, Bloomberg News and The Washington Post are all using artificial intelligence programs to write news stories. Such programs, with names like Cyborg, Heliograf and Bertie, can “spit out an immediate news story that includes the most pertinent facts and figures” on things like earnings reports, high school football games and earthquakes.

According to the article, news-writing robots are not a threat to human reporters, but free up reporters to do more valuable work.

Which is exactly what a news-writing robot would say, isn’t it?

At JTA, we are testing our own robot reporter, Bert Cyberg, to help us with the kinds of Jewish stories that essentially write themselves. We programmed him with dozens of story templates like those below. If he plays his memory cards right, Bert might one day be running this place.

Vandals spray-paint DISGUSTING ANTI-SEMITIC PHRASE at JEWISH INSTITUTION SOMEWHERE

(JTA) — Police in PLACE are investigating an attack on DATE, in which vandals scrawled “CURSEWORD Jews” on the walls of Congregation Beth HEBREW NAME. Police have so far refused to identify it as a hate crime.

British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn denies charges of anti-Semitism

(JTA) — British Jews called on Corbyn to resign after he said SOMETHING THAT WAS OSTENSIBLY ANTI-ISRAEL BUT SOUNDED A WHOLE LOT LIKE SOMETHING AN ANTI-SEMITE WOULD SAY.”

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JJ Editor's Daily Picks

"Have world leaders really got the will to bring peace to Yemen? We hear much about Yemen’s crisis, but far less about the hypocrisy of states fuelling the very conflict they condemn."

"No poll so far in our database has tested Trump against the relatively unknown Weld... Indeed, Weld seems like one of the weakest candidates that anti-Trump Republicans could put up in a national campaign. "

"An initiative by the mayor of Tiberias for the municipality to help provide public transportation on the Sabbath has caused the issue of the social status quo to the forefront of public discussion."

"Like “30 Rock,” “Kimmy Schmidt” obviously slanted leftward, but most always exhibited a similar eagerness to skewer politics more generally than just the GOP."

"Yes, we’re all overwhelmed with email. One recent survey suggested that the average American’s inbox has 199 unread messages. But volume isn’t an excuse for not replying."

"... platforms now have a stranglehold over publishers who, individually and even as a group, have little-to-no bargaining power when it comes to algorithmic changes, ad rates, and much else."

"[There's] a subgenre known as National Socialist black metal, which espouses neo-Nazi views and has been described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as aiming to recruit youth to white-supremacist causes."

"“The Ideas That Made America” by Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen is an anomaly in the genre. Its brevity is a point of pride, yet it aspires to do a little of everything."

"My wish is to die in my own bed, cared for by people I love—clean, comfortable and relatively free from pain. I hope to have time to say my goodbyes and give my final blessings."

"A diet for fast weight loss is a pipe dream. Many of us want to lose weight without making permanent changes, because we view thinness instead of health as a success."

"Opportunity casts a long shadow over all subsequent Mars rovers, setting a gold standard of JPL engineering. Customized versions of its mobility software are used on the rovers Curiosity and upcoming Mars 2020."

"Biblical scholarship has deepened our understanding of the Torah and at the same time challenges us to consider the implications of our declaring the Torah to be emet. What is emet and what does it mean to say that the Torah is emet?"