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The AI Wars

How Does Publishing Compare to Other Industries?

A report published last year noted that by 2023 the artificial intelligence market will be a $14.2 billion industry, up from $525 million in 2015, with most of the growth taking place in North America. “The reason behind the positive growth of AI markets in this region is the wide-scale adoption of AI technologies in various end-use industries such as manufacturing, media and e-commerce,” the report noted.

But how is AI currently being integrated into our lives? And can publishing learn anything from these other industries?


In online shopping, we see AI play a role in recommendations based on previous purchases, programmatic advertising based on behavior, and with chatbots helping to answer simple questions during a shopping experience. Today, almost every retail site features these tools, with Amazon and Apple’s iTunes leading on development in this field.


In the media space for example, machine learning is already being employed on both the editorial and advertising side of operations. In a previous blog post, we noted how The Washington Post used bots to help with their Olympic reporting. In addition, Associated Press partnered with Automated Insights to use AI technology to automate quarterly reports. Content producers from every segment of the media are beginning to use AI software to improve the speed and efficiency of their workflow, the production process, and their ability to organize and categorize content.


As with retail sites, advertisers are exploring a variety of ways to tailor messaging based on reader/user behavior. In addition, as mentioned in this AdWeek article, advertising agencies are using AI to discover new consumer targets and to customize information based on region or interests of individual users. What’s more, McCann Erickson Japan even hired an AI Creative Director to direct commercial design.


For music, film, and TV, today’s users require and expect curation and personalization. Netflix’s 104 million global users and Spotify’s 140 million global users go to each streaming site to be recommended films, television, and music that they will want to see. AI helps in creating that.


Though technology was to blame for the demise of the music industry a decade ago, AI seems to be helping to bring it back. AI-generated music can help reduce time and cost, saving record labels significant amounts of money in the process, while also allowing musicians who may not be able to afford a band to play behind them to create the music they want with Garageband and other programs. According to a Goldman Sachs report, streaming services, such as Spotify, will generate over $34 billion in revenue in the music industry by 2030. As noted in this Forbes article, user behavior and interests that come from using streaming services can help the music industry better understand the market, what types of music and artists to invest in, and how quickly to roll out new music.


In 2016 for the film “Morgan,” 20th Century Fox partnered with IBM Research to create the first ever cognitive movie trailer. As noted in IBM’s Think blog, “Traditionally, creating a movie trailer is a labor-intensive, completely manual process. Teams have to sort through hours of footage and manually select each and every potential candidate moment. This process is expensive and time consuming –taking anywhere between 10 and 30 days to complete. From a 90-minute movie, our system provided our filmmaker a total of six minutes of footage. From the moment our system watched ‘Morgan’ for the first time, to the moment our filmmaker finished the final editing, the entire process took about 24 hours.” It is streamlining these time-consuming processes throughout the industry where AI can be of best service.


For publishing, there are a lot of possibilities for where to use AI, but the need and use so far has outweighed the development. For example, technology and better direct connection to readers has provided publishers with an extraordinary amount of granular information about customers and products in the marketplace. Unfortunately, although they have this information, there is simply no way for a human to go through and easily process this information and develop ways to use it.

As previously mentioned in retail, recommendations on bookselling sites is probably the most prominent use of AI in the industry at this moment in time.

For academic publishers, AI can measure a student’s understanding of concepts and tailor a specific framework for that student’s learning.

For the PageMajik product suite, we are using AI to help speed up the workflow from author to the marketplace in order to save the publisher time and money. We hope to eliminate some of the redundant and time-consuming tasks throughout the publishing process by automating significant portions with AI.

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