April 25, 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

"After five years of war with the Islamic State, the biggest problem for the winners is coping with the losers. The aftermath has produced one of the world’s most perplexing postwar challenges..."

"What do we mean when we say that the “soul of the city” is under threat? Often, it’s really about politics, nostalgia, and the fear of community change."

"...the pendulum of history never stops moving. Indeed, one of the few constants of history is unceasing change. While we seem to be heading in one direction, we must remember that there will surely be pauses, turns, and reversals."

""Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé," premiered early Wednesday and it was the fulfillment of all the ancestors' hopes and dreams. Beyoncé also dropped "Homecoming: The Live Album.""

"Seven in 10 adults ages 18 to 34 received financial support from their parents in the last year, including more than half of those in their early 30s. Almost three in five millennials said they couldn’t afford their lifestyles without the support."

"Social media influencers have helped turn public lands into tourist-infested swamps. And one cantankerous man is fighting back."

"One particular myth that attached itself to Ledger was that his death was somehow a result of immersing himself in the character of the Joker."

"In 2018, for the second year in a row, American publishers released fewer translated titles: 609 books were published, down from 650 in 2017 and the industry high in 2016 of 666."

"Egg freezing had become so routine among my single peers that when I hit 35, I never thought twice. Here’s what I wish I had known."

"When it comes to Passover cuisine, most home cooks know to avoid wheat, oats, rye, and other forbidden ingredients. But what consumers might not realize is just how much cotton they eat during the holiday."

"A masked figure looms over your recumbent body, wielding power tools and sharp metal instruments, doing things to your mouth you cannot see."

"Passover is a holiday that commemorates the Jewish people escaping slavery in Egypt. It is often referred to as the “festival of freedom.” My Passover in prison was at a place called the Wallkill Correctional Facility..."