Skip to content

OPLIN 4cast #489: AI is getting warmer

Posted in 4cast

romance novelOK, all you librarians, it’s time to be brutally honest: You don’t really have a very high opinion of romance novels, do you? At best, you think they’re good escapism material that does no harm. At worst, you shelve a few somewhere in your library where you think nobody will ever see them. And it’s true that no romance novel is likely to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. But regardless of what we may think about romance novels, Google has decided they’re great training material for artificial intelligence (AI) software.

  • Google is feeding romance novels to its artificial intelligence engine to make its products more conversational (BuzzFeedNews | Alex Kantrowitz)  “Romance novels make great training material for AI because they all essentially use the same plot to tell similar stories with different words. ‘Girl falls in love with boy, boy falls in love with a different girl. Romance tragedy,’ [Google software engineer Andrew] Dai said. By reading thousands of such books, the AI can detect which sentences contain similar meanings and gain a more nuanced understanding of language. Romance novels work better than children’s learn-to-read books, since they offer a broad range of linguistic examples for the AI to draw from.”
  • Google’s AI engine is reading 2,865 romance novels to be more conversational (The Verge | Lindsey J. Smith)  “Jason Freidenfelds, a senior communications manager at Google, told The Verge that currently the Google app only has the capability to learn and understand basic questions. If you ask it, ‘When was the Eiffel Tower built?’ it can tell you. And if you follow that with, ‘Who built it?’ the bot will understand that ‘it’ means ‘the Eiffel Tower.’ However, it lacks the ability to have more natural conversations. Dai noted in his email that ‘we’re getting good at understanding sentiment and understanding whether a person likes something by how they describe it,’ but that bots aren’t able to understand more subtle things, like sarcasm.”
  • Google is making its AI binge-read thousands of romance novels to get a little warmer (Science Alert | Peter Dockrill)  “They’ve reportedly trained the engine to write sentences that resemble the kind of language you’d find in romance novels, and the next step is to try to use its new diction in Google products. One such product could be the Google app – the mobile app version of Google Search on the desktop, but packed with assistant-like features and voice control – and another could be the company’s ‘Smart Reply’ feature for Google Inbox, which could deliver more intelligent automatic responses to messages thanks to its new and improved English skills.”
  • Google’s AI is learning conversation from romance novels (Social Songbird | Rosina Brooker)  “The next step for Google will be to take this language improvement to their Google app and Smart Reply feature. Their Smart Reply feature looks at blocks of text within emails and then suggests a reply. Most suggested replies or message templates tend to be quite bland or just straight to the point. With this AI the suggested responses can be more conversational, which is more practical for the 10% of users who use smart replies.”

Articles from Ohio Web Library: