AOL’s Seed and “bionic journalism” explained

AOL has built a three legged stool to create content: part professional, part freelance, and part aggregated . . . but its model is far more hand-crafted than the other new players in the mass content creation space. “The essence of journalism has always been separating signal from noise,” says (Saul) Hansell. “It’s all judgment. It’s all selecting the best bits.” What AOL hopes to create with Seed is an editorial machine which automates the assignment process as much as possible, but keeps the final selection part in human hands.

“I call it Bionic Journalism,” says Hansell. “Left brain, right brain. We are trying to take the best of a machine, which does lots of things over and over again, and a person.” It’s a tall order, and will take a lot more than a couple thousand band interviews to prove it works.


Whew, Saul Hassell, the former New York Times writer Saul Hansell who is now the Programming Director of Seed, is intense in the video describing the “tough luck’ of content creators.

Seed is an interesting large-scale effort of combining computers, community and professional content creators to create news content. But somehow it me thinking of Digital Cities.

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