How Automated Insights Changed the Game of Fantasy Football - 1

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How Automated Insights Changed the Game of Fantasy Football - 1
Monday night I slapped shut the lid of my laptop having successfully completed the writing and editing process for millions of news articles.

I'm not kidding. My freaking fingers are killing me.

OK, I'm being just a little facetious.

So here's the deal: Yesterday morning, Automated Insights created and delivered recaps of Fantasy Football matchups for every single team in Yahoo! Fantasy Football, by far the largest provider on earth.

Each team gets a unique 500-1000 word recap of its weekend matchup, complete with overview, outcome analysis, historical impact, statistical insight, trends, and speculation. Click here for an actual recap from one of my leagues.

Did you destroy your best friend? Did you come back on your coworker? Did you upset your husband? We wrote it up for you. And that's just Week 1. Wait until we can start looking back at previous matchups as the season unfolds.

The architecture of these recaps was actually a collaborative effort with me, AI founder Robbie Allen, and a small team of data geeks and artificial intelligence freaks like myself plus developers, quality assurance, backend architecture, and visual design.

And we didn't write the articles. We wrote them. This isn't like any writing you've ever seen before. It's somewhere between writing code and writing prose, with everything from least-squares linear regression to rake task invocation to a sports-based lexicon that includes terms like "throat-punch." Plus a healthy dose of linguistics for good measure.

Still. It's millions of relevant articles. Billions of words. About stuff that's very important to the person reading it.

Yesterday, that claim could not have been made.

If this doesn't sound like the greatest thing since sliced bread, then I forgive you for never having played Fantasy Football.

By the way, we also do this for the stock market.

However, there is no bigger individual pursuit of geekdom on the planet than Fantasy Football. It's like all the cool parts about role-playing games without anyone having to wear a pointy hat. It burst into the mainstream 10 or so years ago -- and by mainstream, I mean your parents are probably in your league -- and now Fantasy Football dominates sports culture in a way that no other off-field pursuit ever has and, until sports betting is legal in all 50 states, ever will.

This is an area where automated content can excel and where Automated Insights stands out—a scenario that calls for millions of articles delivered immediately and frequently, something no amount of writers could ever accomplish, and one with a very niche audience, nowhere near large enough for a human writer to justify devoting time.

But, as a collective, that niche audience not only finds these custom articles informative and entertaining, but they're extremely passionate about what those articles say, as those articles are about things that are, and again trust me if you don't play, VERY IMPORTANT to them.

So God help us if the recaps are terrible. We'll hear it.

Actually, we are hearing it. Since the debut of the recaps about 24 hours ago, we've seen hundreds, if not thousands, of tweets praising how awesome/legit/funny these recaps are. 99.9% of the feedback is positive (I've actually seen nothing but positive, but haters are gonna hate). The players are sharing it, using it to talk smack, and it's my guess is that a very big chunk of them don't realize (or care) that it's automated.

That's a testament to the quality of the writing and the construction, which is crucial. But it's more than that.

This isn't just about machine writing sounding human. Automated Insights just changed the game, pun totally intended, for Fantasy Football, by providing highly relevant and super targeted content where it didn't and couldn't exist. In a few short years, this will be expected from Fantasy Football providers.

And like I mentioned, this isn't our only sports venture, nor is sports our only vertical. In the last few months, we've written about finance, real estate, and a number of other topics.

We're probably writing about it right now, as a matter of fact. And what we're writing is extremely important to someone.