Curiosities

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.





Share this article

More from the Millions

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.

Post a Response

Comments with unrelated links will be deleted. If you'd like to reach our readers, consider buying an advertisement instead.

Anonymous and pseudonymous comments that do not add to the conversation will be deleted at our discretion.