Why Write Your Own Book When An Algorithm Can Do It For You?

first_imgTags:#Algorithm#artificial intelligence#books#play#writing adam popescu Phil Parker is unlike any writer you’ve ever met – or read for that matter. That’s because he doesn’t write most of his books. Instead, the trained economist uses sophisticated algorithms that can pen a whole book from start to finish in as little as a few minutes. The secret is sophisticated programming mimicking the thought process behind formulaic writing. It can take years to create these programs, but once completed, new books can be churned out in minutes. This method has led to Parker’s company – ICON Group International Inc – auto-writing more than a million titles, mostly nonfiction books on very specific subjects. But there’s poetry, too – see an example at right. (Parker says most poetry is governed by strict formulas.) He claims he’s basically applying 19th Century Taylorism to the publishing industry, emulating the famous auto manufacturer’s process.Parker’s work isn’t publishing’s first foray into auto-writing, but up until now, most, like companies like Chicago-based Narrative Science and North Carolina’s StatSheet, focused on short, formulaic sports and crime writing for newspapers, not full-length books.When ReadWrite spoke with Parker this week, he gushed about how much press he’s gotten of late – and how often they’d gotten his story wrong. Writing By The NumbersReadWrite: Tell me about the algorithm you created to auto-write books.  Phil Parker: The non-fiction algorithms and methodology are not original at all… The whole field is called econometrics. All the algorithms we did was mimic what economists have been doing for decades.In the 1990s I was working on reports where you had to do a lot of economic analyses and I realized that most of what an economist does is itself extremely formulaic in nature. With the advent of larger hard disks, Windows, RAM, a lot of that process could be reverse engineered and basically characterized by algorithms and be used in an automated fashion. The methodologies are extremely old, just like the methodologies of writing haiku poetry are very old. An Elizabethan sonnet is 14 lines – that is a line of code if you think of it that way. The code is constrained. So all genres, no matter what the genres are, are a form of constrained writing.ReadWrite: What kind of restraints?Phil Parker: There are constraints to the length of the book based on page formats and font sizes and the expectations of readers. There’s natural constraints that exist in all forms of writing. In the nonfiction area, the constraints are fairly understood by the people in that area. Small businesses doing import-export businesses, they do it for very narrowly defined products. They don’t do it for general products. That’s why for Amazon and elsewhere, all these titles we created, very arcane categories, and that’s because that’s what people actually do business in. Nobody does business in hardware parts, they do it in 6-inch copper screws. So for those businesses, to hire a consultant firm to say ‘Hey, can you give me a worldwide estimate of copper screws,’ the firm would go out and spend a month or two basically doing the job an economist and a couple of researchers do. Those people then pass off the editorial analysis to a group of people who do formatting and copy editing and graphic design, who then pass it off to another group of people who do metadata, covers, spines, all that. All we did is reverse engineer that. But the methodology to do that already existed before the books existed. ReadWrite: So it’s not a new form of writing?Phil Parker: I have not created any new way of writing. All I’m doing is writing computer programs that mimic the way people write. Going back to the Elizabethan sonnets, Shakespeare or one of his contemporaries created the 14-line iambic pentameter poem, where the rhyming pattern was ‘a-b, a-b, c-d, c-d, e-f, e-f g-g.’ G-g being a couplet at the end. By line 9 there has to be a turn in the poem, so there has to be a phrase like ‘yet’ or ‘but.’ The first line is typically a question, which acts as a title. All of them are 10 syllables in each line… they have to go in the rhythm of that pattern. If you do an analysis of sonnets, you’ll realize that about 10% of sonnets violate those rules. But they do it only in a very particular way. Even that formulation of violation is itself constrained… Once you have all of those rules you then write algorithms that mimic those rules. It’s a very different kind of philosophy from artificial intelligence.All About The AlgorithmReadWrite: Tell us about that algorithm.Phil Parker: We created a system which we think mimics the human mind… The truth is, if you step back far enough, all of literature is highly formulaic, not just romance novels. Some of the genres are so forumalic that the publishers of those genres tell the potential writers how to write the books themselves.ReadWrite: What do you mean by formulaic?Phil Parker: A genre is defined by formula. What’s interesting across genres, often you find the same formulas taking place in little twists, which throw them squarely in a different genre. But the twist is minute. A romance book can become a thriller by rearranging certain components of it. In essence, formulas of genres have patterns in them which overlap with each other. Think of a Venn diagram, and the intersection between them. The more genres intersect with each other, the more likely that recurring patterns can be observed. We started using this graph theoretic approach to write dictionary definitions. I have this thing called Webster’s Online Dictionary… I turned my algorithms on generating dictionaries… using cluster analysis and graph theory combined. It algorithmically mimicked what a lexicographer should do if they had access to such a large data base. The process involved first creating the linguistic graph that defines language and all of the relationships between words and the phonetics behind the language. ReadWrite: Does it really take 20 minutes to auto-write a book?Phil Parker: It could take 2-3 years to set up the algorithms, but once you’ve got it, the software has now been fully coded. Once you decide to write one on [a particular] topic, it only takes 20-30 minutes… I think the slowest one might take an hour or two, the fastest 4 to 10 minutes. ReadWrite: How much does it cost to produce?Phil Parker: The cost could be the equivalent of 2-3 man years of programmer time, and maybe an analyst or editors that might be required on that project… could be $200,000 to $500,000 to set up a genre. ReadWrite:  How many books have you written by hand versus with the algorithm? Phil Parker: The ones I wrote by hand were academic books – they were like MIT press – it wasn’t using algorithms. So 6 of them. And more than 1,000,050 titles using automation. It’s a moving target by the hour… we put a lot out of print because they’re dated after 2 or 3 years because they’re statistical analyses… You cull the catalogue so to speak.Humans Vs. MachinesReadWrite: What’s the big difference between human writing and machine writing?Phil Parker: There’s the classic turing test about a conversation with a robot: Can you tell the difference between a robot and a real human who’s conversing with you? Is there something different about these topics? I don’t think anybody would look at our crossword puzzle books and say, ‘Oh my gosh, a computer wrote this,’ because most crossword puzzles are so formulaic that you would expect it to be formulaic… If people find it useful to be in a formulaic format, so much the better. The goal isn’t to sound better than an author. The goal is to deliver something useful to people. That’s the end of it, no more. Otherwise, why bother doing it? ReadWrite: So are human authors replaceable?Phil Parker: Bloggers that we talked about earlier who read 3 different articles, read a Wikipedia page… those people can be replaced with computer algorithms, because they’re doing formulaic work. What you’re doing right now is not formulaic. Because you’re probing, you’re going to the depths of it.There’s been in the last 2 weeks about 10 articles written about what I’ve done and none of them talked to me about it. They’re all copy and pasting from each other. I think it’s very a interesting observation that they’re using a formulaic method to deliver content and put their name on a byline, when in fact they’ve done a formulaic cut-and-paste. I would call those kinds of articles low on the creativity front.  Lead image courtesy of Shutterstock. How to Write a Welcome Email to New Employees? 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The Audio Ramp-Up: The Best Transition You Should Be Using

first_imgInterested in the track we used to make this video: “Lifetime Travels” by CymatixLooking for more video tutorials? Check these out.Get Better Results Using LUTs with Lumetri Color in Premiere Pro5 Things Every Filmmaker Should Know Before Making a Feature FilmVideo Tutorial: How to Morph Graphics Using Adobe After EffectsVideo Editing 101: Using The J, K, and L Key Editing ShortcutsHow to Create an Animated Circle Burst in Adobe After Effects Sometimes, your project needs more than a simple cut, but a flashy transition is too much. Enter the audio ramp-up transition.This is by far one of my favorite transition processes, and it has nothing to do with the visuals. It’s super powerful, and the best part is that hardly anyone uses it in short-form content.So here’s one way to improve your transitions without using snappy video plugins — the audio ramp-up. How to Use the Audio Ramp-Up TransitionFirst, find the clip you want to transition from. Then layer either a sound effect, foley element, or song below it.Next, set your audio level to how you want it throughout your clip — not too loud, not too quiet. Make sure that audio track ends right at the tail of your transitioning clip.Finally (the most critical part) ramp up the volume in your selected audio track so it becomes more prominent than any ambient sound. Do this by selecting the Pen Tool and creating a keyframe marker about six seconds before the end of your shot. Create a second keyframe marker at the end of your audio track — only this time, raise it so that it becomes very noticeable. You don’t want it to be overpowering, but you do want it to be clear in the final cut.When your audience watches playback, this effect will create a sort of jarring cut, lending a unique feeling to both scenes.And if you’d like to try a slightly different approach, check this tutorial on transitioning with audio swells.last_img read more

Antetokounmpo says Kidd helped him grow into dominant player

first_imgView comments “He’s a big part of my success in the league,” Antetokounmpo said after Wednesday’s practice in his first public comments since the coaching change. “I’m loyal to the people I work with. I love him as a person. I care about him as a person.”Informed by Bucks’ management of the planned firing even before Kidd learned his fate, Antetokounmpo called his soon-to-be ex-coach to break the news.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutout“It was one of the toughest calls I had to make,” he said. “We are going to miss him.”Joe Prunty, a member of Kidd’s staff, has been named interim coach for the remainder of the season. He directed the team to a 109-105 win over Phoenix on Monday, just hours after taking over the team. LATEST STORIES Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Read Next Kidd became Milwaukee’s coach a few months after a group led by co-owners Wes Edens and Mark Lasry bought the team in April 2014. The Bucks traded two future second-round draft picks to the Brooklyn Nets, where Kidd had been coach, as compensation. He inherited a team that won 15 games in 2013-14. Under Kidd, the Bucks had a regular-season record of 139-152.Milwaukee is 9-12 since going a season-high five games over .500 on Dec. 9.Asked whether he believed Kidd should have been fired, Antetokounmpo, who reportedly offered to go to the team’s owners to try to save Kidd’s job, said: “It’s in the front office’s hands. Whatever they can do to make this team a championship level team, it can happen. If it’s me being traded, or the coach being fired.”Kidd is the second coach to be fired since the Bucks selected Antetokounmpo with the 15th overall pick in the 2013 draft. Antetokounpmo played one season under Larry Drew, who was dismissed in June 2014.“I was only 18,” Antetokoummpo said. “I didn’t even know how the NBA worked. (Kidd’s firing) hurts a little bit more because he was here for 3 1/2 years. He trusted me. He put the ball in my hands. He pushed me to be great.”ADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo reacts after a 24-second violation during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Miami Heat Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)MILWAUKEE — Giannis Antetokounmpo grew from a reed-thin, inexperienced teenager into one of the NBA’s dominant players under the tutelage of coach Jason Kidd, whom the Milwaukee Bucks fired earlier in the week with the team mired in mediocrity despite high expectations.Kidd’s abrupt and surprising dismissal Monday has taken an emotional toll on the All-Star forward, affectionately known as the “Greek Freak.”ADVERTISEMENT NEXT BLOCK ASIA 2.0 introduces GURUS AWARDS to recognize and reward industry influencers Globe Business launches leading cloud-enabled and hardware-agnostic conferencing platform in PH Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding MOST READ Slow and steady hope for near-extinct Bangladesh tortoises Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles02:29Giannis Antetokounmpo powers Bucks in bounce back win over Celtics00:59Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City Antetokounmpo is expected to return to action when the Bucks take on Brooklyn in Milwaukee on Friday. He sat out the past two games as he continues to manage chronic pain in his right knee.“I feel great. I’m ready to go,” he said. “I feel energized.”Prunty said his players “gave good energy” in the first full practice since he took the reins.“These are a tough few days,” Prunty said. “We need to focus on whether we are getting better.”The Bucks have said that Prunty will be considered for the permanent job after the season. The hire will be especially crucial as the Bucks prepare to move into a new arena.“It’s hard to talk about that aspect of it right now,” Prunty said. “This isn’t about me, especially under these circumstances.”Malcolm Brogdon, last season’s NBA Rookie of the Year, praised Prunty’s positive demeanor.“In times of struggle, we tend to pout and take our foot off the gas. We can’t do that,” Brogdon said. “He’s a good coach to have when we are going through those struggles.” Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa Madrid stunned by Leganes at home, eliminated from Copa 2 ‘newbie’ drug pushers fall in Lucena stinglast_img read more