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Thomson Financial: Who needs human reporters?

Business news provider is breaking ground by turning to computers to write business stories. Thomson plans to expand PC's role as journalist.

A correction was made to this story. Read below for details.

Robo-reporters have answered Thomson Financial's need to churn out lightening-quick earnings stories.

Computers are writing some business stories for Thomson, a business-information provider, according to a company representative. Against a backdrop where consumers of financial news are always clamoring for speedy information to help them with stock deals, and corporations the world over are fixed on automation, Thomson says that computer scribes can spit out an earnings story in 0.3 seconds after the results have been made public.

Most human reporters can't create a blank Microsoft Word document that fast.

To determine how a company fared in a quarter, the computer takes the current financial figures and automatically compares them with the data of previous years. Moreover, computers make far fewer mistakes than humans, Thompson told the Financial Times.

What's unclear is how a PC will stand up to accusations of a liberal bias.

 

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly described what Thomson's automated reporting system can produce.