Jan 25Liked by Parker Molloy

Come for the cogent media business analysis, stay for the world-weary endnote

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I've been getting these recaps long enough that I don't really read them anymore. What first caught my eye about them was how easy it was to switch to they/them pronouns and how no one made a big deal about it or even talked about it.

It was also the detail that made me realize they had to be auto-generated. Real people have a really hard time not using gendered pronouns. I just went and looked at a recap from my league, my team name is Franks Team, so the they/them structure is appropriate, but my friend Craig's team name is just Craig, so you get an end like this "Frank's Team should take this week to celebrate their triumph. As for Craig, they should reflect on their performance and strategize for next season."

It would be an odd irony if AI writing is what led the English language to un-gender itself. It is a hard to determine variable that is unnecessary. Just an observation.

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My league has used CBS for twenty years, so I looked through old seasons and found that the first AI recap was in September 2013 (!) and that then, as now, "Fantasy Journalist stories are powered by infoSentience".

I don't hate it! It's pretty clearly still just combining actual data from its database with an increasingly complex set of templates. And sometimes the templates are pretty funny ("As for [team X], they will match up with [team Y] next week. Don't look for many shrewd coaching decisions, as the game will feature the worst gameday coaches in the league.").

For a fun comparison, ask ChatGPT a question like "What did Jim Eisenreich hit every year of his career?" Its answers are plausible, confident, and wrong — a definite example of Ted Chiang's "blurry JPEG of the Web".

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