What kind of books do you like? What if an algorithm knows better than you do?
This Wall Street Journal article captured my attention: Goodnight Ninja? Knuffle Blobfish? Children’s Books Get the Algorithm Treatment.
In short: there is a digital reading platform for kids called Epic (not the founders of Fortnite) that is now using its own data to create and publish books.
Want to write a kids book about book about crocodiles or bugs?
Go with bugs (that’s what more kids prefer).
How do you feel about kids readings habits, searches, and time spent on books being used to create bestsellers?
Some parents might not like this kind of tracking.
Some parents might love this kind of tracking (or: Whatever it takes to get the kids reading some more).
Kick this stone just a bit further down the road…
Will machine learning and artificial intelligence be able to take this data and – without the need of an author – be able to write the actual books as well?
From the article:
“A chaotic time-traveling owl named Hoot is at the center of the new children’s book, Time Buddies, which is now breaking records on the online reading platform Epic. The digital comic book passed one million reads in its first five days last week. Epic predicted as much. It engineered the book to become a hit with kids ages 6 to 10 by basing its new owl heroine partly on children’s preferences and reading habits on the site. When a kid’s sticky fingers search for something to read, Epic captures that activity and feeds the information into its book recommendation engine—a tool that also informs the creation of new titles in-house.”
Wasn’t Amazon doing something similar?
I do remember Amazon offering famed authors advances and publishing deals, because they had the data to support and out-bid traditional book publishers.
I do remember there being buzz that the same Amazon publishing division also knew which kind of books, titles, topics, and storylines most attracted readers as well.
This changes the book publishing business, doesn’t it?
What is Tech Tuesday?
If you ever find yourself wondering… What, exactly, is the point of TikTok? How can I make myself look better on a Zoom? Reddit? What’s that about? How do I help my kids be safer online? Who’s the latest creator and streamer that I should be checking out?
You are not alone.
Every Tuesday – for just a few minutes – I join Heather Backman (my old buddy from her days on CHOM FM) on the air at Jack 103 (Rogers Sports & Media) to give a quick blast about the current state of technology, media and Internet culture. We’re calling the segment Tech Tuesday (and we do it in just a few minutes).
Once the segment goes live on Jack 103, I will post it here for you to listen in, learn, share and engage….