“Robots”

“Microsoft ‘to replace journalists with robots'” from BBC News

Microsoft is to replace dozens of contract journalists on its MSN website and use automated systems to select news stories, US and UK media report.

I’d love to know why so many news organisations are using the term “robots” to describe algorithmic selection of content. Google has been doing this since 2002 with Google News, so I’m surprised that this is even news (though I’m of course sad for those who are now out of a job). I’ve always thought the term “robot” to be a pointless one. We don’t call our washing machines robots, so why would we call any other machine that isn’t anthropomorphised a robot?

I can’t help thinking this is also being used as an excuse to remind people MSN News still exists.