Springer Nature released the first ever machine-generated book. It was compiled using a computer algorithm developed by Goethe University researchers in Frankfurt, Germany.
The first machine-generated book is here… and it’s not exactly a page turner.
Lithium-Ion Batteries: A Machine-Generated Summary of Current Research provides an overview of the latest trends of lithium-ion batteries research, summarizing more than 150 research articles published from 2016 to 2018. The book is available online as a free download.
The “writing process” of the book included analyzing text content, selecting and processing relevant peer-reviewed publications from content platform SpringerLink, and then undergoing a similarity-based clustering in order to arrange the documents thematically into coherent chapters and sections.
The algorithm, called Beta Writer, created automatically generated introductions, tables of contents and reference section, drawing mainly from the field of computational linguistics – a statistical or rule-based modeling of natural language. It also included hyperlinks to original research papers for anyone wishing to dive deeper on a particular subject.
The output of these bots, however, is still quite limited when it comes to written word. Indeed, while reading the machine generated book, unnatural-sounding and incoherent sentences are not hard to find. Phrases like “that might consequence in substantially high emphasizes and henceforth cracking or delamination” are not only overloaded with scientific terms; they are also completely incomprehensible.
When asked about the future of machine-generated books, Hening Schoenenberger, the Director Product Data & Metadata Management at Springer Nature, commented:
While research articles and books written by researchers and authors will continue to play a crucial role in scientific publishing, we foresee many different content types in academic publishing in the future: from yet entirely human-created content creation to a variety of blended man-machine text generation to entirely machine-generated text.
This prototype is a first important milestone we reached, and it will hopefully also initiate a public debate on the opportunities, implications, challenges and potential risks of machine-generated content in scholarly publishing.
Fascinated by how books influence culture and society, and especially keen on fiction. Still not fully convinced to ebooks, Kasia reads on a Kindle from time to time. But, whenever possible, she'll always pick print.
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A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win World War II
by Sonia Purnell
France was falling. Burned-out cars, once strapped high with treasured possessions, were nosed crazily into ditches. Their beloved cargoes of dolls, clocks, and mirrors lay smashed around them and along mile upon mile of unfriendly road. Their owners, young and old, sprawled across the hot dust, were groaning or already silent. Yet the hordes just kept streaming past them, a never-ending line of hunger and exhaustion too fearful to stop for days on end.
Ten million women, children, and old men were on the move, all fleeing Hitler’s tanks pouring across the border from the east and the north. Entire cities had uprooted themselves in a futile bid to escape the Nazi blitzkrieg that threatened to engulf them. The fevered talk was of German soldiers stripped to the waist in jubilation at the ease of their conquest. The air was thick with smoke and the stench of the dead. The babies had no milk, and the aged fell where they stood. The horses drawing overladen old farm carts sagged and snarled in their sweat-drenched agony. The French heat wave of May 1940 was witness to this, the largest refugee exodus of all time.
Day after day a solitary moving vehicle weaved its way through the crowd with a striking young woman at the wheel. Private Virginia Hall often ran low on fuel and medicines but still pressed on in her French army ambulance toward the advancing enemy. She persevered even when the German Stukas came screaming down to drop 110-pound bombs onto the convoys all around her, torching the cars and cratering the roads. Even when fighter planes swept over the treetops to machine-gun the ditches where women and children were trying to take cover from the carnage. Even though French soldiers were deserting their units, abandoning their weapons, and running away, some in their tanks. Even when her left hip was shot with pain from continually pressing down on the clutch with her prosthetic foot.
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