Jan 11, 2013

Computer Generated Books

The first book completely written by computer was published in 2008, in Russia and was a love story.

Now, Philip M. Parker, Professor of Marketing at INSEAD Business School, has created a computer system that can write books about specific subjects in about 20 minutes. The patented algorithm has so far generated hundreds of thousands of books. Amazon lists over 100,000 books attributed to Parker, and over 700,000 works listed for his company, ICON Group International, Inc.

Although his work is more of a compiler rather than writer, the end result is written and published books. The book categories include specialized technical and business reports, language dictionaries, rare disease overviews, and crossword puzzle books for learning foreign languages. They are automatically generated by software.

The system automates this process by building databases of information to source from, providing an interface to customize a query about a topic, and creating templates for information to be packaged.

A US patent was issued in 2007. The invention provides for the automatic authoring, marketing, and or distributing of title material. A computer automatically authors material. The material is automatically formatted into a desired format, resulting in a title material. The title material may also be automatically distributed to a recipient. Meta material, marketing material, and control material are automatically authored and if desired, distributed to a recipient. Further, the title may be authored on demand, such that it may be in any desired language and with the latest version and content.

To avoid copyright infringement, the system is designed to avoid plagiarism, but the patent aims to create original, but not necessarily creative works. In other words, if any kind of content can be broken down into a formula, then the system could package related, but different content in that same formula.

I looked at a number of the (expensive) books and they follow the same formula of headline lists followed by scores of reference sites. The problem is, as with all printed material the content is static as the world moves on. Think of the books as Google searches as of a specific date and time.