Robo-Journalism Will Produce 1 Billion Web Stories in 2015 (This Isn’t One of Them); McJournalism Coming Up
by ilene - May 27th, 2015 4:29 am
Courtesy of Mish.
Replaced by a Robot
I sometimes get asked what I am going to do when I am replaced by a robot. On other occasions, I get emails from people hoping I get replaced by a robot.
Those in the second group typically accuse me of not knowing what it is like to not have a job.
Actually, I do know what it is like to be without a job for an extended period because I was jobless for several years between 2001 and 2004.
I started this blog hoping someone would hire me as writer. The Motley Fool had an opening for a writer and turned me down for the position.
With the exception of the bit about the Fool position that I wanted and needed, I have written about this before on several occasions, most recently on January 30, 2015, in Financial Blogger Profile of “Mish” on Equities.Com.
McJournalism Coming Up
With that journalism backdrop, please consider You’ll be Sorry When the Robot Journalists Take Over by Irish Times writer Jennifer O’Connell.
If you consume much of your daily news diet online, you’re probably already acquainted with the work of “robot journalists”, you just don’t know it yet.
AP relies on a content generation package called Wordsmith to produce some of its quarterly-earnings business stories and will soon be using it for sports coverage too. You’ve never heard of Wordsmith but you’re probably familiar with its work: it produced 300 million stories last year and is aiming for one billion this year. A rival company, Narrative Science, provides content to Forbes, Fortune and others.
“We sort of flip the traditional content creation model on its head,” Robbie Allen, creator of Wordsmith told the New York Times. “Instead of one story with a million page views, we’ll have a million stories with one page view each.”
The cheerleaders for this new technology – who includes some journalists (New York magazine declared that “the stories that today’s robots can write are, frankly, the kinds of stories that humans hate writing anyway”) – claim that it will free journalists up to do more meaningful pieces, while algorithms churn out rewrites of press releases, mine longer texts for insights, or produce entirely personalised packages of content tailored for individuals….
by Zero Hedge - May 27th, 2015 4:01 am
Submitted by Gold Standard Institute.
by Keith Weiner
“The top 25 hedge fund managers made more than all the kindergarten teachers in the country,” declared President Obama in a discussion of poverty at Georgetown University. Calling them “society’s lottery winners,” he proposed to hike their taxes.
Predictably, battle lines have been formed between two polarized sides. One side—let’s call them the Gauche for convenience’s sake—is unhappy with the pay disparity. CBS News, in an almost neutral tone, asks, “Which group provides more value to America?” The reader is supposed to somehow answer that question, presumably in favor of teachers. Gawker goes much farther, calling hedge fund managers the biggest gangsters of all. It asserts, “It is, as the myth goes, capitalism at its most pure…”
The other side—let’s call them the Adroit—defends hedge fund managers. PJ Media said, “That single comment [about winning the lottery] defines the president’s economic worldview. Success doesn’t come to those who act rationally in pursuit of their values. It doesn’t come from hard work performed intelligently.”
Both sides get it partly correct and partly in error. The Gauche correctly observe something monstrously unfair: ever-larger financial profits accruing to an ever-shrinking group. However, their basic assumption is false. We do not have capitalism today. And their policy is the same old cliché: soak the rich.
The Adroit are also correct about something. More taxes will not help anyone, and making money is not a lottery. However, in their desire to oppose the other team, they are missing the elephant in the room—rising assets, and falling yields. They too assume that we have capitalism. The reality is that all capital markets are massively distorted. Getting rich isn’t blind luck, but sometimes it’s not properly earned either.
Capitalism means free markets, the opposite of central planning. How could anyone look at our financial system and call it a free market? We have central planning of the most fundamental price in the economy: the rate of interest. Central banking is a key feature, not of capitalism, but of socialism. Indeed in The Communist Manifesto, Karl Marx states, “5. Centralization of credit in the hands of the State, by means of a national bank…”
“Graccident” Will Trigger The Demise Of The ECB And The World’s Toxic Regime Of Keynesian Central Banking
by Zero Hedge - May 27th, 2015 3:00 am
Submitted by Tyler Durden.
It is not surprising that in a few short months Yanis Varoufakis has proven himself to be a thoroughgoing Keynesian statist. After all, what would you expect from an economics PhD who co-authored books with Jamie Galbraith? The latter never saw an economic malady that could not be cured with bigger deficits, prodigious printing press “stimulus” and ever more intrusive state intervention and redistribution.
In what is apparently a last desperate game theory ploy, however, Varoufakis has done his countrymen, Europe and the world a favor. By informing his Brussels paymasters that they must continue to subsidize his bankrupt Greek state because it is the only way to preserve the European Project and vouchsafe the Euro, the Greek Finance minister blurted out the truth of the matter, albeit perhaps not intentionally:
“It would be a disaster for everyone involved, it would be a disaster primarily for the Greek social economy, but it would also be the beginning of the end for the common currency project in Europe,” he said.
“Whatever some analysts are saying about firewalls, these firewalls won’t last long once you put and infuse into people’s minds, into investors’ minds, that the eurozone is not indivisible,” he added.
He sure got that right. People who believe in democracy and economic liberty anywhere in the world should pray for a Graccident. During the next several weeks, when $1.8 billion in IMF loans come due that Greece cannot possibly pay, there will occur a glorious moment of irony for Syriza.
If it holds firm to its leftwing statist agenda and takes Greek democracy back from the clutches of the EU/IMF apparatchiks, Syriza will strike a blow for democracy and capitalism in one great historic volte-face. That is to say, defiance of the Germans and the troika would amount to a modern monetary Marathon; it would trigger a thundering collapse of the ECB and the cancerous superstate regime built upon it in Frankfurt and Brussels—–and, along with it, cast a mortal blow upon the worldwide Keynesian central banking regime, too.
The hour comes none to soon. In a few short years under Draghi and in the context of Europe’s fiscal and economic enfeeblement, the ECB has been transformed into a hideous reverse Robin Hood machine. So doing, it has gifted financial gamblers and front-runners with hundreds of billions of ill-gotten gains in the euro debt markets.
by Zero Hedge - May 27th, 2015 2:00 am
Submitted by Tyler Durden.
While some have argued that President Obama and his folly-prone foreign policy debacle is the laughing stock of the world, it seems, as DefenseNews reports, that the Iraqi military is directly mocking America. Just a day after Defense Secretary Ash Carter accused them of cowardice, an umbrella group for mostly Shiite militia and volunteer fighters, Hashed al-Shaabi, said it had dubbed a military campaign to cut off the Islamic State group in Anbar province as "Operation Labaik ya Hussein," which roughly translates as "We are at your service, Hussein."
Defense Secretary Ash Carter offered a withering critique of the will of Iraqi defense forces in the fall of Ramadi to Islamic State.
“The Iraqi forces just showed no will to fight,” he said. “They were not outnumbered. In fact they vastly outnumbered the opposing force and yet they failed to fight and withdrew from the site…We can give them training, we can give them equipment. We obviously can’t give them the will to fight.”
For their part, the Iraqis denied Carter’s assessment – which amounted to calling Ramadi’s defenders cowards – blaming poor strategy and, ironically, inadequate air support for the defeat. But, as DefenseNews reports, the Iraqi forces had more to say…
The Pentagon expressed disappointment on Tuesday over a decision by Iraqi militias to impose an explicitly Shiite name for a military operation in Iraq's Sunni heartland, saying it could aggravate sectarian tensions.
An umbrella group for mostly Shiite militia and volunteer fighters, Hashed al-Shaabi, said it had dubbed a military campaign to cut off the Islamic State group in Anbar province as "Operation Labaik ya Hussein," which roughly translates as "We are at your service, Hussein."
The name refers to one of the most revered imams in Shiite Islam.
"I think it's unhelpful," spokesman Col. Steven Warren said.
"We've long said . . . the key to victory, the key to expelling ISIL from Iraq is a unified Iraq," Warren said, using an alternative acronym for the IS group.
That required "a unified Iraq that separates itself from sectarian divides, coalesces around this common threat and works to expel ISIL from Iraq," he said.
"The solution is a unified Iraqi government," he added.
Iraqi officials said about 4,000 fighters from the militia group were heading to the northern
by Insider Scoop - May 27th, 2015 12:00 am
Courtesy of Benzinga.
Twitter Inc (NYSE: TWTR) shares went nowhere on a widely reported rumor it may seek to acquire the content aggregator Flipboard.
Acquisition talks were reported Monday by Re/code, which cited "multiple sources with knowledge of the situation."
Talks are currently "stalled" on the all-stock deal that would value Flipboard at more than $1 billion, according to the report.
Twitter shares are off about 28 percent in the past month and changed hands recently at $36.49, down $0.11 cents.
Much of Twitter's recent market meltdown followed its first-quarter earnings report last month when the company missed target numbers for monthly users and said prices it obtained for advertising were disappointing.
Twitter Chief Financial Officer Anthony Noto has been pushing a deal with Flipboard since the beginning of the year, according to Re/code, which noted increasing pressure from Wall Street on Twitter to grow its audience and innovate its products.
Billionaire Twitter investor Chris Sacca last week signaled he's likely to get more critical of Twitter and said the company should rapidly increase its monthly user base by 65 percent.
Flipboard calls itself a "personal magazine" in which readers collect stories, images and videos into their own magazines to express personal interests and perspectives.
Flipboard was started five years ago by former iPhone engineer, Evan Doll, and former Tellme Networks Inc. Chief Executive Michael McCue.
by Zero Hedge - May 26th, 2015 10:30 pm
Submitted by Tyler Durden.
“The ultimate goal of the NSA is total population control.”—William Binney, NSA whistleblower
We now have a fourth branch of government.
As I document in my new book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, this fourth branch came into being without any electoral mandate or constitutional referendum, and yet it possesses superpowers, above and beyond those of any other government agency save the military. It is all-knowing, all-seeing and all-powerful. It operates beyond the reach of the president, Congress and the courts, and it marches in lockstep with the corporate elite who really call the shots in Washington, DC.
You might know this branch of government as Surveillance, but I prefer “technotyranny,” a term coined by investigative journalist James Bamford to refer to an age of technological tyranny made possible by government secrets, government lies, government spies and their corporate ties.
Beware of what you say, what you read, what you write, where you go, and with whom you communicate, because it will all be recorded, stored and used against you eventually, at a time and place of the government’s choosing. Privacy, as we have known it, is dead.
The police state is about to pass off the baton to the surveillance state.
Having already transformed local police into extensions of the military, the Department of Homeland Security, the Justice Department and the FBI are preparing to turn the nation’s soldier cops into techno-warriors, complete with iris scanners, body scanners, thermal imaging Doppler radar devices, facial recognition programs, license plate readers, cell phone Stingray devices and so much more.
This is about to be the new face of policing in America.
The National Security Agency (NSA) has been a perfect red herring, distracting us from the government’s broader, technology-driven campaign to render us helpless in the face of its prying eyes. In fact, long before the NSA became the agency we loved to hate, the Justice Department, the FBI, and the Drug Enforcement Administration were carrying out their own secret mass surveillance on an unsuspecting populace.
Just about every branch of the government—from the Postal Service to the Treasury Department and every agency in between—now has its own surveillance sector, authorized to spy on the American people. Then…
by Zero Hedge - May 26th, 2015 10:00 pm
Submitted by Tyler Durden.
With the US spiraling quickly towards a maritime conflict with China over the latter’s “construction projects” in the disputed South China Sea and with NATO doing its best to match Moscow’s Eastern European sabre-rattling on the way to facilitating the most serious confrontation between Russia and the West in decades, we thought it as good a time as any to bring you the following graphic which shows the percentage of your life that the US has been at war.
Simply put, if you were born before in 1992 or later, America has been at war for at least two-thirds of your life and if you were born after 2001, well… you have never known life in the US without war.
Using somewhat subjective definitions of “at war” — Korea counts but Kosovo doesn’t in our analysis, for example — we endeavored to figure out how much of each person’s life has been spent with America at war. We used whole years for both the age and the war, so the brief Gulf War is given a full year, and World War II includes 1941. These are estimates.But the beginning of the conflict in Afghanistan in (late) 2001 means that anyone born in the past 13 years has never known an America that isn’t at war. Anyone born after 1984 has likely seen America at war for at least half of his or her life. And that’s a lot of Americans.
by Zero Hedge - May 26th, 2015 10:00 pm
Submitted by Tyler Durden.
A little over a month ago, China witnessed its first default by a state-owned enterprise when Baoding Tianwei Group, a subsidiary of state-run China South Industries Group, defaulted on a $14 million coupon payment. That event raised two important issues. First, it suggested that Beijing will not necessarily step in to rescue state-affiliated companies who find themselves in financial trouble and second, it underscored the degree to which China’s $14 trillion corporate debt pile presents a very real risk especially considering the rapidly increasing number of non-performing loans on the books of the country’s banking sector.
Today, we get still more evidence that China may be headed for a debt disaster as a third company has now defaulted on its onshore bonds.
This time it’s soft drink bottle maker Zhuhai Zhongfu Enterprise Co which, as Bloomberg reports, will come up nearly 450 million yuan short when a principal payment for paper issued in 2012 comes due on Thursday. Here’s more:
Zhuhai Zhongfu Enterprise Co., which supplies bottles for Coca-Cola Co. and PepsiCo Inc. in China, can only repay 148 million yuan ($23.9 million) of the 590 million yuan principal, according to a statement to the Shenzhen Stock Exchange Monday. It plans to pay all the 31.152 million yuan of interest. The manufacturer, which isn’t state-owned, sold the 5.28 percent securities in 2012…
Han Huiming, board secretary at Zhuhai Zhongfu, said when reached by phone Tuesday that the company will try to raise funds for the bond payment until the last moment.
The manufacturer, which is based in the southern city of Zhuhai and employees about 4,000 people, said in a May 21 statement that a bank consortium rejected its application for 500 million yuan of loans in May.
The Zhuhai branches of China Everbright Bank Co. and Bank of China Ltd. have limited its freedom to spend the 61 million yuan of capital on its accounts, it said.
Because Zhuhai Zhongfu is having a “liquidity crisis,” the company can’t collect enough money for the payment through its own business operations, according to the statement Monday.
Zhuhai Zhongfu’s orders have declined significantly since 2012 as its biggest clients increased their own production of bottles, according to a report from China International Capital Corp. on May 11. The company’s business with its three largest clients
by Zero Hedge - May 26th, 2015 9:00 pm
Submitted by Tyler Durden.
A little over two years ago, in the middle of April 2013, there was a gold crash that came seemingly out of nowhere. Worse, for gold investors anyway, that crash was repeated just a few months later. Where gold had stood just shy of $1,800 an ounce at the start of QE3, those cascades had brought the metal price down to just $1,200. For many, especially 'so-called' orthodox economists, it heralded the end of the “fear trade” and meant, unambiguously, that the recovery had finally at long last arrived.
As Felix Salmon wrote at Reuters in an article titled, The Fear Bubble Bursts:
As a result, the falling price of gold is more important than simply being an opportunity for schadenfreude around the likes of Glenn Beck or John Paulson or Zero Hedge…
The biggest problem in the markets right now is that they’re still far too risk-averse. Fear-based assets like gold, Treasury bonds, and cash are in high demand, while there isn’t enough money flowing through greed-based assets like stocks and bank loans and into the economy as a whole. Even if the stock market is expensive, the number of primary and secondary offerings remains low; similarly, banks are not expanding their loan books nearly fast enough…
My hope is that the price of gold will continue to fall, that goldbugs will look increasingly silly, and that as a result Americans with savings will conclude that the best thing to do with those savings is to put them to work in a productive manner, rather than self-defeatingly trying to protect what they have.
Gold has not continued that wished-for collapse, but hasn’t risen much either. In fact, the price of gold remained above $1,300 for only short periods and hasn’t been near that level outside of the January 2015 “Swiss problem.” Most gold analysis views it in terms of not just the “fear bubble” but also a proxy for interest rates and monetary policy. There is already a problem with that latter interpretation, as the price of gold began to its decline almost the moment QE3 started. Economists think of gold investors in only these terms, as emotional and irrational Fed-haters.
by Zero Hedge - May 26th, 2015 8:43 pm
Submitted by Tyler Durden.
Late last month we outlined an IBTimes report which showed that Goldman Sachs paid nearly a quarter of a million dollars to Bill Clinton for a speech before lobbying the State Department (then run by Hillary Clinton) on legislation tied to the Export-Import Bank which would eventually approved a loan to a Chinese company that subsequently placed a $75 million purchase order with a Goldman-owned aircraft manufacturer. The implication, of course, was that the speaking engagement fee ultimately influenced the State Department’s decision making, a suggestion Goldman called “preposterous.”
The Clintons have also come under scrutiny for possible conflicts of interest arising from contributions to Clinton Foundation charities while Hillary Clinton served as the nation’s top diplomat. More specifically, a Reuters investigation revealed that the Foundation failed to report “tens of millions” of donations from foreign governments on three years’ worth of 990s, prompting the organization’s acting CEO Maura Pally to pen a lengthy blog post explaining the “mistake.” Shortly thereafter, Reuters found inaccuracies in Pally’s explanation, noting that in fact, Clinton broke transparency promises made to the Obama administration.
Now, the IBTimes is out with a new investigative piece that looks at the relationship between foreign government and corporate donors to Clinton charities and weapons deals negotiated under Hillary Clinton’s State Department which, as it turns out, approved $165 billion in arms deals to nations who had previously given money to the Clinton Foundation.
In the years before Hillary Clinton became secretary of state, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia contributed at least $10 million to the Clinton Foundation, the philanthropic enterprise she has overseen with her husband, former president Bill Clinton. Just two months before the deal was finalized, Boeing — the defense contractor that manufactures one of the fighter jets the Saudis were especially keen to acquire, the F-15 — contributed $900,000 to the Clinton Foundation, according to a company press release.
The Saudi deal was one of dozens of arms sales approved by Hillary Clinton’s State Department that placed weapons in the hands of governments that had also donated money to the Clinton family philanthropic empire, an International Business Times investigation has found.
Under Clinton’s leadership, the State Department approved $165 billion worth of commercial arms sales to 20 nations whose governments have given money