Posts tagged newscientist

The Future of Books: Reactive?

How would you like to read a book that reacted to your emotions, and changed its storyline to give you exactly what you wanted? It sounds bizarre, impossible and faintly terrifying, but according to this article in NewScientist magazine, it’s coming soon, not just to books, but to movies, TV and other formats. Welcome to the world of “reactive media.” Here’s how it works. Strap yourself into a machine that monitors your brainwaves, heart rate and a host of other data, and start reading or watching. The computer senses when… Read More

The limits of automatic recommendation systems

I was reading an article in NewScientist the other day about a system devised by academics at Royal Holloway, University of London, which “could form the basis of a recommendation system that makes suggestions based solely on an automatic assessment of the text.” Unlike Amazon’s recommendations, which look at sales, and those on sites like Goodreads, which look at reader reviews and ratings, this one looks at writing style, e.g. the frequency of individual words. Well, I’m sceptical. You see, the very last thing I want to do after reading… Read More

The importance of staring out of the window

What does a writing day consist of?┬áThe image that comes to mind is of someone pounding away on a typewriter with a fixed, manic expression, surrounded by a mess of coffee and cigarettes and balled up sheets of paper. The reality, in my experience, is somewhat different. First, here’s what Martin Amis had to say about it in a recent interview on Goodreads: Being alone in my study is working, whatever I’m doing, even if I’m just throwing darts into the wall. It’s communing with your conscious mind and hoping… Read More