The Miami Herald’s newest real estate reporter is pounding out copy at a robotic pace — mainly because it is, well, a machine.
The Miami New Times reported this week that its Pulitzer-prize-winning competitor has enlisted the help of artificial intelligence — known as Miami Herald Bot — to take on the up-until-this-point very human job of covering the city’s booming real estate market.
Since mid-October, just after real estate reporter Rene Rodriquez’s final byline appeared, the bot has been informing readers of big deals going down across the region, posting more than 50 stories.
And some come in at speeds that are inhuman — shortly after its first article appeared on October 15, a second and third story were posted at the same time just two minutes later, according to the publication.
Each story contains basic information about the sale, including price, square footage, address, and date of sale, and are slapped together in a template featuring bullet points revealing other recent nearby sales.
The stories have a very technical note at the bottom explaining their digital derivation, while pointing out the stories aren’t completely created by a microchip that thinks in zeros and ones.
“This article was generated by the Miami Herald Bot, artificial intelligence software that analyzes structured information from prominent real estate data providers and applies it to templates created by journalists in the newsroom,” it states.
The boilerplate text also notes this type of reportage is experimental, and encourages readers to report errors — or bugs — by email.
That’s a good idea, because, as the publication points out, the system is far from foolproof. It has already produce head-scratching headlines such as “How much did it cost to by a home in Miami-Dade County, FL in the past week,” and has also misreported the names of neighborhoods in which sales went down.
[Miami New Times] — Vince DiMiceli