Robots rule in Berlin expo's opening day

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A strong focus on AI and robot journalism is promised when the Ifra Expo DCX Digital Content Expo opens on Tuesday.

Companies - many of them new names such as Element AI, Klangoo, Norkon, Poool, textOmatic, Updatemi and Utopia Analytics - are among those billed for the trade show in Berlin, October 10-12.

Software tools and algorithms which seek to replicate human intelligence have reached news production and content management, and organisers say DCX exhibitors will have the latest solutions and offerings. "AI systems to assist journalists and marketing professions in their work - that is no longer science fiction," says a spokesperson.

textOmatic's automatic text generation programme - supported by Google's Digital News Initiative - produces weather, finance and sport reports, as well as product descriptions and business reports in "almost real time". Another player is Norkon Computing, with its Pulse automated content solution which produces financial news from stock exchange data, as well as a news blogging solution.

Backed by Microsoft, Canada's Element AI has tailored solutions and "ready-for-use tools" such as intelligent systems for ads and to create multimedia experiences, "voice to video".

French start-up Klangoo focuses on personalisation solutions with recommendations, personalised newsletters and user alerts. Another in this field is Finnish start-up Utopia Analytics with personal payment models based on how frequently users consume news.

The topic is being addressed in an opening day keynote, 'Media disruption by AI', being presented Michael Hirschbrich (pictured), chief executive and co-founder of start-up updatemi. Neil Thurman of Munich's LMU is also talking about robot journalism, with colleague Melanie Rossmann overviewing current applications.

Also on the first day: Steven Morell of ax semantics on the effects of technical applications on journalist training; self-confessed robot journalist Wolfgang Zehrt on practical approaches towards automation in the industry; and Hermann Bense, chairman of textOmatic on hyper-personalised newsfeeds generated by AI-based robot solutions.

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