What’s Happening: The news website Quartz created an innovative studio last November that reports on the news using machine learning techniques. Quartz AI Studio’s first story published on March 2, 2019 as an intriguing peek into how advancements in artificial intelligence can provide journalists with new tools for researching public documents.

Digging Deeper:

Quartz reporters trained an algorithm to examine a section of rideshare company Lyft’s Initial Public Offering. The section lists risks anticipated by the app company, and the algorithm was trained to identify the most distinctive things that “rattle” Lyft executives.

The machine learning returned results of the most unusual concerns for the news report, ranging from the obvious to those that were more surprising. Company leaders showed concern about public perception as well as about how healthcare privacy laws will affect customers who use the Lyft app to get rides to medical appointments.

Why It Matters:

As Jon Christian wrote in Futurism, the Quartz AI story about Lyft might not be the most groundbreaking work of journalism in the world, but is an interesting proof of concept about how reporters can leverage new tools to pull interesting takeaways from otherwise dry public records.

The Bottom Line:

John Keefe, Quartz’s technical architect for bots and machine learning, told Digiday that the AI Studio was taking data journalism to the next level. “We’re trying to get journalists comfortable using computers to do some of this pattern matching, sorting, grouping, anomaly detection — really working with especially large data sets.”

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