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ECPA Wire: Industry Issues

There are many AI applications of interest to publishers

Wednesday, September 25, 2019  
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Don't think AI is for you?

Of all the Artificial Intelligence applications out there,
there are many that are uniquely interesting to publishers



It began in 1997 when IBM’s DeepBlue beat the world chess champion, Garry Kasparov, in the second of six games – the first ever defeat of a reigning chess champion by a computer under tournament conditions.  In 2016, Google’s DeepMind software (AlphaGo) won another abstract-strategy board game (called Go), against the world's best player at the time, Lee Sedol. AlphaGo went on to win the series 4-1. Right then, AI and Machine Learning moved from the ivory tower to the real world, and although minds as rich as Stephen Hawking’s predicted that AI “could spell the end of the human race,” we are doing just fine, so far.

Today, machines can independently acquire new knowledge, evaluate previous decisions, and recognize shapes and spoken languages.

This is a long way from algorithms and the command lines of yesterday’s computers.  Software can make “intelligent” decisions and is capable of learning, albeit supported by large volumes of data, cloud computing capacity and high-speed broadband networks. Now, Artificial Intelligence in business supports all kinds of process optimization.

Applications such as autonomous driving, intelligent speakers and chatbots have invaded our private and business lives. And what makes these use-cases different from previous solutions is the software's ability to learn, based on the constant evaluation of previous results.  In that sense, AI applications get ever better with each completed task.

Of all the countless AI-supported applications we see, there are many that are particularly interesting to the publishing sector. These include content creation and editing, advertising, personalized addressing, circulation calculation, and inquiry and complaint management -- to name just a few.  Publishers are increasingly curious about how AI can help them automate stubborn workflows, reduce cost and improve quality.

In a 2019 webinar presented by The Book Business, a well-known publisher gave qualitative and somewhat counter-intuitive evidence that the cost and speed of machine versus human editing produced higher levels of satisfaction among both authors and editors. In the example they presented, copy editing was no longer the bottleneck it most often is.  Not only that, well-written articles proceeded faster than before, and there was less waste and less dependence on expensive external editors.

Knk’s own EMIL software is a language recognition application in which business processes can be triggered and assigned from text, such as an email.  This shows how services and functions can be enabled by the integration of intelligent processes into and out of business systems in the cloud.

The clear conclusion is that AI does not endanger our jobs, it actually enhances them.  When we let machines evaluate the data, we humans can become more creative, more intuitive, and more focused on our own core competencies. Maybe Hawking got it wrong.

If you’re planning to go to the 2019 Frankfurt Book Fair on October 16-20, let us inspire you with examples of some of the projects we mention above at our booth F1 in Hall 4.0.  You can make an appointment in advance -- or contact us anytime about our services -- by e-mail to or

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