How Long ’til Computers Start Buying Books?

By posted at 3:25 pm on September 14, 2011 2

Do “algorithms and online recommendations threaten to replace [publishers] as arbiters of quality”? This Economist riff on e-book publishing says so. Elsewhere, at least 20 companies are using computer software instead of human beings to write their articles.

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2 Responses to “How Long ’til Computers Start Buying Books?”

  1. Lisa
    at 6:27 pm on September 14, 2011

    From electric sheep to electric books…what is next electric life?

  2. alice
    at 7:29 pm on September 14, 2011

    Recommendation algorithms will have to improve mightily to be even halfway useful. I always play around with them at length–I work at an indie bookstore and since I can’t read everything I’m always searching for ways to give recommendations in genres I’m unfamiliar with–and am always disappointed. Just a few weeks ago I was testing out a new one. I put in A.S. Byatt; it simply suggested more A.S. Byatt and her sister Margaret Drabble–not at all helpful. I continued to test it, entering titles of books in my direct physical radius. When I got to F. Scott Fitzgerald the useless software recommended …. Nicholas Sparks. Why? Because they both write about relationships.

    Computers have a long way to go before they can even dream of replacing a human recommendation.

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