AI’s Increasing Dominance Beyond the Stock Market

The biggest stock-market point drop in U.S. history happened in February and everyone pointed fingers at machines. Algorithmic trading, where proprietary computer programs can perform thousands of trades per second, were largely to blame was the consensus across many of the financial outlets.

As we look over the news coverage in the biotech space, yes, surely some stocks suffered (and rebounded) but something else piqued our interest. Several longer-form articles, beyond the automated briefs produced by Thomson Reuters and Bloomberg, which mentioned our clients’ share movements appeared somehow incongruent – the titles may have seemed provocative but reading on, the articles became very general, reciting common known market facts and then veering back toward a specific company without an obvious segue or connection.  The tone was off too. Were these articles written by real people or should we be pointing the fingers at machines here too?

Interestingly, with just a few Google key strokes, we found a whole repository of information on artificial intelligence (AI) and journalism. Here are a couple of interesting links that provide a glimpse into how far AI in journalism has come and where it is headed:

  • A January 18, 2018 article in Techemergence outlines the applications of AI at major media outlets, such as the The New York Times or BBC. Most of the article refers to how AI is speeding up editorial research and can support data mining, but it also goes on to describe how the Washington Post is using “robot journalism” or “automated journalism” programs. During the 2016 US election, the program, Heliograf, was used to provide detailed coverage of the nearly 500 contests across the US using templates and pre-written previews to automatically update stories as election results came in. The paper has also been trialing Bandito, a headline testing software tool.
  • A January 15, 2018 report from the World Economic Forum in Davos with the main title “Can you tell if this was written by a robot? The report starts by explaining how Wordsmith from Automated Insights bills itself as a software that ‘automatically generates narratives on a massive scale that sound like a person crafted each one’. The Associated Press is referenced as being a user of Wordsmith “to transform raw earnings data into thousands of publishable stories, covering hundreds more quarterly earnings stories than previous manual efforts.” Further in the report, the co-founder of Narrative Science predicts up to 90% of articles will be written by AI within 15 years.

While reading just a couple of reports didn’t enlighten us as to whether the articles on our clients where machine or human created, there does seem to be a high likelihood, given the advances of creative AI in recent years, they probably where. And if written by machines, are they more or less worthy of consideration, especially if they hint at a stock recommendation? And are we moving towards a time when machines dominate the buying/selling of stocks influenced by news articles that were also written by machines?

Top Tips to Keep Your Healthcare PR Efforts On Track

Summer can be a challenging time to keep your healthcare PR initiatives on track. Media relations in particularly is likely to slow down, with so many reporters on holiday and fewer issues published.

With this in mind, here are some tips to utilise your time wisely during this quiet time:

Planning

  • News: Issuing news could mean additional planning. If you’re a public company, you don’t have much flexibility. As a private company, plan accordingly. Does the news have to be released or can it be saved until September? If you do need to release, prioritise media targets, find out reporter holiday schedules and approach your list in advance under embargo.
  • Calendar: Review your milestones for the rest of the year and plan accordingly.

Materials

  • Review existing materials including your website. Are they up to date? Do you need to revise content to reflect current and near-term new positioning?
  • Do you need new pieces to complete your tool-kit? Video and visual content such as infographics is always in high demand from the media.

Contact Lists

  • Those updates to your VIP, investor and media lists you’ve been putting off. With so many biotech and medical conferences in recent months, now would be a good time for an overhaul.

By-lined Articles and Mat Releases

  • Issue that mat release you prepared a few weeks earlier to ensure your visibility continues.
  • Draft by-lined articles to fit into magazine publishing schedules for the next several months.

Holidays

  • Ensure that you have a plan in place for your communications team for those periods that staff are on holiday. Should a reporter get in touch during that time someone needs to be available to respond in a timely manner.

Before you know it, the summer will be over and done. Using your time wisely will ensure that your communications plan will be in good shape for the rest of the year.