Technologies like Quill invite speculation about all sorts of dystopian scenarios. Perhaps the program could ingest every document ever written by a particular journalist or stockbroker, analyze the idiosyncrasies of their style, and produce an automated facsimile of their work, a kind of digital doppelgänger. Hammond stresses that Quill does not have these capacities, and that it seeks only to augment and enhance the capacities of humans, not to replicate them wholesale and thus render them redundant.


Nate Silver had a great bit on Quill and its ilk in The Signal and the Noise. He pointed out that the stories being written by automation are also largely read by automation, and that largely for SEO. It's not like Quill put all the reporters who were writing little league stories out of business... those guys were already gone.

The best way to regard efforts like Quill isn't as a replacement for human writers, but as a piece of middleware that translates code into human-readable language. This is something Quill makes no bones about, as the article illustrates.

posted by graphictruth: 1468 days ago