Tech, including tools and developments in machine learning, have become more prevalent, leading to a lot of interesting experiments and projects.
One that caught my eye recently is a neural network that wrote a novel about its own cross-country road trip. Ross Goodwin took a road trip from Brooklyn to New Orleans, and hooked up a GPS, microphone, laptop, and printer to the car. According to The Atlantic:
Along the way, the four sensors—the camera, the GPS, the microphone, and the computer’s internal clock—would feed data into a system of neural networks Goodwin had trained on hundreds of books and Foursquare location data, and the printer would spit out the results one letter at a time. By the end of the four-day trip, receipts emblazoned with artificially intelligent prose would cover the floor of the car. They’re collected in 1 the Road, a book Goodwin’s publisher, Jean Boîte Éditions, is marketing as “the first novel written by a machine.”
Another cool project is Pepper, the robotic tour guide at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. According to Fast Company, Pepper makes ambient music based on images from the museum.
There’s also the data scientist who figured out how a book becomes a best seller (your best chance is right after the publication date, around February or March, and most titles sell between 10,000 and 100,000 copies).
Then there’s Wattpad, which is using their Story DNA Machine Learning technology to figure out which stories on their platform they should publish as books. According to Forbes:
Story DNA will help break down the stats and numbers behind the over half a billion stories on the platform. Other than the reads, comments and shares on a story, Gardner says, “Story DNA deconstructs stories into their elemental features, such as sentence structure, word use, and grammar,” to not only compare it to other stories on Wattpad, but also books in the public domain. Story DNA looks at multiple data points of audience engagement, and then a human team of Wattpad staffers will read each story to decide what gets published.
There’s a lot of tech and publishing going on lately (and tech in general, which is probably why WSJ published an article on how to not raise robot children). A group of tech entrepreneurs recently bought Dundurn Press, a Canadian publishing house, according to Publisher’s Weekly. There are tools to make publishing faster and easier, such as Civil—used by Popula and other sites, Editoria, PagedMedia, your browser, and InDesign, though they don’t always work out). Also, more people are working with tech. And they lead to some cool platforms, such as chat fiction and a screensharing chat app.
We’re definitely in interesting times.