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Tuesday Watercooler


Tonight’s music video is “Motorbike” by The Blind Pets. They’re performing here live for Austin’s KUTX, but I enjoyed them live during SXSW. They created a really beautiful amount of pleasurable noise with their guitars,

An old-fashioned wind up robot

The future of journalism.

The Los Angeles Times was the first newspaper to report Monday’s Los Angeles-area earthquake — an article written by computer. BBC News reports on this new development in “robo-journalism:

The Los Angeles Times was the first newspaper to publish a story about an earthquake on Monday – thanks to a robot writer. Journalist and programmer Ken Schwencke created an algorithm that automatically generates a short article when an earthquake occurs. Mr Schwencke told Slate magazine that it took around three minutes for the story to appear online.

‘Robo-journalism’ is increasingly being used in newsrooms worldwide. The LA Times is a pioneer in the technology which draws on trusted sources – such as the US Geological Survey – and places data into a pre-written template.

As well as the earthquake report, it also uses another algorithm to generate stories about crime in the city — with human editors deciding which ones need greater attention. Other news organisations have experimented with algorithm-based reporting methods in other areas, particularly sports.

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This is our latest MyFDL open thread. Come chat with me about anything below!

Photo by Radio Saigón released under Creative Commons license.

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Kit OConnell

Kit OConnell

Kit O’Connell is a gonzo journalist and radical troublemaker from Austin, Texas. He is the Associate Editor and Community Manager of Shadowproof. Kit's investigative journalism has appeared in Truthout, MintPress News and