200,000 Computer-Generated Books

Philip M. Parker has "written" 200,000 books, but Mr. Parker has a partner. Parker uses an elaborately-programmed computer to search for suitable material, create an index and table of contents, and then massage the content into a book format.


(Philip M. Parker generating books)

Parker's algorithms collect information in the public domain and then fold it into books averaging 150 pages in size. And that's just the start.

He also is working on algorithms to generate rudimentary poetry, and even romance novels.

J.G. Ballard wrote about this idea in his 1971 short story Studio 5, The Stars:

I was pasting down one of Xero's satirical pastiches of Rubert Brooke and was six lines short. I handed Tony the master tape and he played it into the IBM, set the meter, rhyme scheme, verbal pairs, and then switched on, waited for the tape to chunter out of the delivery head, tore off six lines and passed them back to me. I didn't even need to read them.

For the next two hours we worked hard, at dusk had completed over 1,000 lines and broke off for a well-earned drink.
(Read more about the verse-transcriber)

I don't understand why this guy doesn't take his idea to its logical conclusion. Just pay amazon.com for the rights to respond to sets of search words for which there are no exact matches (like "nauseating patent medicines 1875-1900." Then, have your computers generate a suitable title, like Nauseating Patent Medicines: 1875-1900. If they buy it, then you generate the contents of the book and then you print it.

Via He Wrote 200,000 Books (but Computers Did Some of the Work).

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 4/15/2008)

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