Computer System Author of Over 100,000 Books on Amazon
There have been rumours of this for ages, you know, the one about the guy computer generating books for sale on Amazon which rake in millions for minimal effort. Turns out the rumours are true.
Professor of Marketing at INSEAD Business School, Philip M. Parker has been working on a project for the last ten years using a computer to generate a book about a specific subject. The process takes about 20 minutes. His patented algorithm has created more than 700,000 titles to date, with more than 100,000 listed on Amazon alone. And that doesn’t include specially written reports or licensed users of the system.
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. Because digital eBooks and print-on-demand services have become commonplace, topics can be listed in Amazon without even being “written” yet.
Okay, it’s not just software, but a system designed to write works on a specific genre culled from information in a database. Copyright is an issue, of course, but the system actively works to avoid plagiarism, creating original − but not necessarily creative - works for the company. This means that if content can be reduced to a formula, the computer can generate a book with related, but still different content over and over. Parker's books tend to cover specific things like health issues (The Official Patient's Sourcebook on Smell and Taste Disorders) or crossword books for learning languages (Webster's English to Polish Crossword Puzzles).
Even from here I can tell the system is brilliant, designed by Parker to “mimic the thought process that an expert would necessarily go through in writing about a topic”. He apparently has some experience in this, having written three books the old fashioned way. He’s also exploring other applications, including video where avatars could “read” generated news or factional information. So the sky’s the limit!
Is this the end of authors? No, not really, as most of these books are fact-based. The system still can’t write creatively, so authors like me still have jobs (although the first novel written by a computer happened 4 years ago - gasp!). Now if only I could get it to write my books. No wait…
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