Automated Content Development & Moral Dilemmas in Marketing

Fantomaster had a great comment about whether automated content generation is moral:

I don't really get the "moral dilemma". Would you say the same about press releases, product announcements, ads, commented statistical tables and other forms of corporate droidspeak? And if not - why not?

I mean, it's not as if the Web as a whole were particularly dominated by high end literary prose, deeply suggestive well crafted poetry or similar feats of human creativity.

And, when you think of it, what is Mahalo but a human compiled scraper? Why is it ok that the WSJ publishes auto-generated looking advertorials? Thompson, like search engines, already produces automated content.

Journalistic integrity matters most to those who need you to believe others are unethical for their business models to work.

Published: June 2, 2007

Comments

Edwin
June 4, 2007 - 11:51pm

Funny to read this at the time I am building an application to transform fresh affiliate datafeeds into rss which are pulled into a blog by cron...

Dave L
June 2, 2007 - 6:43am

There's a sliding scale of wonderful goodness and helping make the world a better place. Morality is one aspect of how some might define that.

But doesn't it really depend on the value it delivers to an audience? Low-quality or high-quality content can both deliver value. But if high-quality automated content only exists for, for example, bringing traffic to MFA pages, it's a lesser thing.

Just as the value of corporate droidspeak partly depends on the value of the product, value of the capitalist system, how it's used, etc.

It's not about automation, quality or morality---it's about value to the audience. Delivering value is good. Sucking value (such as if low-quality MFA pages dominated search results) is not so good.

umair
June 2, 2007 - 8:11am

i seldom comment ... but i am a fan of yours...
probably you are the ONLY blog of which i read all the posts ....

umair
June 2, 2007 - 8:29am

sh*t! i mean your blog not that you are a blog

(see! thats why i dont comment)

Dave Clarke
June 2, 2007 - 12:02pm

As long as the content is relevant to the readers it should not matter how it is derived. Programing software to identify content by keywords is no different than instructing a junior to source material with a brief. In the end the readers are the judge of what work and what doesn't surely, they will just move on if content is irrelevant.

After all nobody ever had a long term relationship with Eliza (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ELIZA) did they?

Dave Clarke.

Andrew
June 3, 2007 - 12:23am

Anyone got any good examples of automated content? Also, anyone got any pointers to good software that writes this stuff?

Cygnus
June 3, 2007 - 4:19am

You know my feelings Aaron; anything remotely repeatable is subject to automation. Mass scale content generation usually doesn't look too pretty, but it is not that difficult to train a custom content gen with hundreds or thousands of niche subject material that is then "trained" to deliver certain content metrics.

The same goes for templating, link gen, etc. There will be a market for both sides...how many "automation is evil" actually check their rankings by hand these days?

Cygnus

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