This morning I read an interesting article in Dagens Nyheter (News of the Day). The author goes down memory lane of journalism to make a statement on auto generated journalism.
(Unfortunately the article is written in Swedish, but you can run it through Google translate to enjoy auto-translation to the lingo of your choice). The first newspaper/tabloid in Sweden is now replacing sport journalists with computer software. The author is negative to ‘computer journalism’, he argues real journalism is to publish what you as a journalist wants to write about and some others disapprove of, and that is something the media robots cannot do. This is what you can expect from a journalist and that is not what is interesting with his article. He argues freedom of speech, expression or press will not apply to robots or computer software.
I find this both a bit strange and intriguing. It’s a bit like claiming text produced by a typewriter cannot be a subject of freedom of expression. So far no robot or software has a free will and can do whatever it pleases, there is a human mind behind all these devices and there is an accountable human owner. That is today but in future? We see a new information technology revolution, more intellectual tasks are taken over by computer systems, e.g. human financial advisers are replaced by computers.
If many more intellectual tasks are done by computers I can see situations where the accountability is unclear, e.g. a team of software financial advisers after consulting robot solicitors on behalf of clients makes bad or even criminal investments via a computerized bank. Who is accountable? Or the surgeon robot amputating the wrong hand due to unclear advice from the software radiologist. You do not need to have a free will or true intelligence to do things you should be accountable for, computer or human, you only have to be stupid. I can think of far worse things done by software gone astray or wild in the not so distant future, than auto generated journalism.