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Subject:Please tell me this is an April Fool's gag From:Steve Owens <uso01 -at- EAGLE -dot- UNIDATA -dot- COM> Date:Thu, 31 Mar 1994 11:02:31 +0700
> I just saw this in EDUPAGE, a general news list I get,
> and I am surprised, to put it mildly. The copy reads:
> SOFTWARE REPLACES SPORTSWRITERS
> A $100 software program called Sportswriter is capable
> of churning out reasonably good sports copy by
> intelligently stringing together words between facts.
> Some 80 small newspapers in the Midwest have purchased
> the program and are using it to cover high school
> sports events. (Wall Street Journal 3/29/94 A1)
> Snide comments about sports writing aside, this seems
> to push the bounds of automation tools. Have any of you
> seen such a thing?
I haven't seen it, but I'm not too impressed. I've done a
little small-newspaper writing, and on occasion wrote or edited basic
sports coverage for local high schools. At that level you're
basically converting a table of games/teams/scores/winner data to a
series of sentences, which would be quite easy to automate... Heck, I
could probably write such a program in a week, and add a lot of
variations (synonyms, substituting "slaughtered/massacred/demolished"
for "beat" and gauging the use according to the difference in the
scores, etc.) in a few more weeks.