Take humans out of the equation and let data drive news reporting. I imagine a user experience looking something like this: website/app takes you to geographical display with pegs in each of the locations with breaking news. All of the facts would be generated by a combination of algorithms, or whichever is the most efficient form of artificial intelligence trusted with the task. By removing human involvement in news reporting, we can remove bias and subjectivity. One might wonder, what about those who write the programs, might they inject their biases?
Here’s where some form of checks and balances come in. We’ll need to ensure that what is written only uses facts assembled by collections of data points from sensors and mechanisms which are inherently objective. A temperature sensor does one thing, it reads the ambient temperature. The company that created the sensor didn’t inject a +/- bias into the sensor to read what they want it to read, it’s just and fair with it’s results.
Use an assembly of methods which take data points from ground zero which get immediately presented to the public in real time. As an example, an arrival and result from a coroner’s case would inform the public on the basic fact that an investigation took place and these are the facts.
The benefit here would be continuous updating, so if I goto my local area within this imagined news tool and see that there have been 3 murders this year, and check back next week to see 4, then I know a murder took place. Why is it necessary to know the circumstances of the murder? Why do humans need to color the facts with information that is unnecessary to the reality besides making it interesting?
We need to stop attempting to make facts interesting. Facts are facts. Let people decide for themselves what they mean. If any extrapolations need to take place let the software do it to present more facts. “An increase of 200% of _somthing_ since this time last year.”
News is, for the most part, really boring. This is one reason why bias and sensationalism get injected. Trying to make uninteresting facts interesting. Well, we’ve reached a point where that is affecting our views of reality.
We as humans want to consume something interesting. By separating news, which should be based on facts alone, from opinion related offerings then we might head towards a more discerning public.
Anytime someone comes across an article generated by a human then they can easily know that it is going to be inherently biased. That’s okay, and arguably better. When conversing about facts, generated by software systems, then people know they’re talking about the same thing. Sure errors may surface, and then subsequent debugging would ensue.
Let the software report the news and let the humans tell the stories. In as much as someone might believe a fact presented in a fictional movie, someone might believe a fact presented in a human story. However, as a whole, we’ll begin to recognize the computationally generated reports are closest to the facts of the world rather than what’s being reported.
This is where I see the news reporting industry going. Many journalists will hold tight to old methods of reporting news, but tech will prevail. Sure, there will be periods of hacking and manipulation of data, but the larger arc will end with a secure system for collecting and reporting facts.
I may expand my thoughts later on this subject as I think more about it.