This story isn’t entirely new, but as computing power increases we’re likely to see such things happening more frequently: thanks to a system that algorithmically compiles data into book format, a professor from the INSEAD business school has created hundreds of thousands of ebooks that can be purchased from Amazon.
Philip M. Parker has been working on the project for a decade. As Singularity Hub notes, the patented algorithm can assemble data using templates. For a fuller description of how the whole thing works, check out Parker’s Patent US20060064631 – Method and apparatus for automated authoring and marketing, which was filed in 2005 and granted two years later. There’s also a video in which Parker explains the system.
The Singularity Hub articles suggests that Parker is interested in using the algorithm for fiction, specifically in the romance genre. Many will bristle at the idea that an algorithm could write satisfying, creative work, it’s an interesting endeavour. Like it or not, ‘real’ authors are probably going to face a lot more of this type of competition over the next few years. It’s all well and good to claim that readers won’t get the same kick from such work, but if those same readers start paying for algorithmically-generated books, the economics of being a professional author might become more difficult to justify.