With less than a month left in the quarter, corporate earnings season is right around the corner. Chances are the next quarterly earnings article you read will not be written by a business reporter, but by software.
In 2014, the Associated Press began using a platform called Wordsmith to automate the writing of earnings reports. Wordsmith, which was developed by Automated Insights, uses natural language generation to turn raw earnings data from Zacks Investment Research into a story, in AP style no less.
Before Wordsmith, the AP estimated that it was producing quarterly earnings coverage for approximately 300 companies. For context, at the end of 2013 there were approximately 5,000 public companies traded on major U.S. stock exchanges, each required by the Securities and Exchange Commission to file their quarterly and annual corporate earnings reports.
With the new automated system, the AP has been able to produce 3,750 earnings reports every quarter, more than 10 times its usual capacity. Of those, only a fraction need a human touch, either by updating the original story or by writing a separate follow-up article.