Tag Archives: NY Times

Ghost (Writer) in the machine

The NY Times ran an article about Philip Parker and his amazing technicolor technical writing computer program. Basically, his machine collects every factoid, statistic and number from the web, Parker then peppers a few introductions and transitional phrases in there, hits another button to format and index… and bam! You have a collection of 200,000 separate books “authored” by one man.

No doubt, the texts are dry and boring. But I bet some neat trends start to appear in what his program finds online. It’s a pretty interesting way to collect data and organize it for a book. Though I imagine, if you ever want anything beyond tables and graphs, you’ll always need that human element.

Of course, there is romance fiction which Parker said he has already targeted with new algorithms…

“I’ve already set it up,” he said. “There are only so many body parts.”

So we’ll have to wait and see if it ever goes any further!