The company's software, which takes data and turns it into a narrative, started as an academic project at Northwestern University. It recently landed $10 million in funding and insurer USAA as a customer.
Narrative Science's Quill platform provides financial reports to Forbes and a number of Wall Street firms. It also churns out more than a million accounts of Little League games every year.
A look at one of the more surprising human occupations to fall to the robot armies: sports and financial reporting.
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The machine is based on an off-the-shelf product called Quill from Narrative Science that generates narrative reports from feeds of the kinds of structured data that enterprises usually have on file, such as transaction data and performance data, explains Stuart Frankel, head of Narrative Science.
Computer reporting is simply a matter of teaching the program what data is interesting, and how to present it to the reader, explains Kris Hammond, chief scientist at Narrative Science.
“In much the same way a sportswriter can teach another writer how to become a sportswriter, or a financial writer can teach another writer how to become a financial writer, we can teach the machine to look for the kinds of patterns that are important, figure out what the audience needs to hear, and then turn that into impactful language," he says.
Algorithms and natural language generators have been around for a while, but they’re getting better and faster as the demand for them spurs investment and innovation. The sheer volume and complexity of the Big Data we generate, too much for mere mortals to tackle, calls for artificial rather than human intelligence to derive meaning from it all.
Narrative Science uses artificial intelligence to generate data-driven narratives in a conversational language. Quill, the company’s patented platform, analyzes data from disparate sources, understands what is important to the end user, and generates content to convey meaning from the data.
With this new tool, Narrative Science CEO Stuart Frankel says producing something like an investment strategy [pooled fund or SMA] report “goes from the job of a small army of people over weeks to just a few seconds.” As anyone familiar with the month-end and quarter-end rush periods knows, this represents a dramatic improvement over the status quo.
Narrative Science, a Chicago company set up in 2010 to commercialize technology developed at Northwestern University that crunches data into a narrative, markets its Quill software to television stations and to financial houses that generate earnings statements.