The venerable National Public Radio network in the United Sates has a story about a robot journalist (actually, a computer programme designed to transform raw data into news stories) writing a better story than its human counterpart.

It was created by a chilling Orwellian entity calling itself Narrative Science and its website promises to fulfil the wettest dreams of the Sultans of Spin.

At Knocklofty we have had suspicions for a long time that this breakthrough was actually achieved some years ago, judging by the relentlessly banal, cliché-studded drivel that passes for so much contemporary journalism, especially because most media are now controlled by flinty-hearted accountants and supercharged office-boys with MBAs rather than by journalists.

Obviously, robot journalists can be programmed to follow whatever line of spin, bias or mendacity suits their masters, exactly like the people now staffing newspapers and other forms of mass communication.

Media owners are always disturbed by the very small but still measurable risk of a journalist developing anything like a conscience or a willingness to question the data served up by governments, corporations and politicians; this new technological triumph means that Rupert Murdoch can slumber more easily between his satin sheets and dream dreams of even more perfect control.

It’s obvious that News Limited and News International must have had such a system for quite a while — probably Windows-based, too. It’s the only explanation for their Gadarene descent into the whirlpool of drebbidge they serve up every day.

Image found at WorldMustBeCrazy