Applied Intelligence (ApIn), remember that phrase and we will come back to it.
Let’s talk about the kind of AI that everyone is accustomed to talking about it. AI as in ‘artificial intelligence’. For those of us who write about AI, we are often telling stories not about AI, but about ‘AS’ or Artificial Sentience.
Artificial Sentience is a plot device which heralds (usually) the end of the world. A dastardly computer program runs amok that our heroes must vanquish. In our stories, the incredible computing power continues to tweak itself until singularity occurs. Once that happens, the AS supersedes human intellect, and now there is a race to destroy humanity.
Fortunately, or unfortunately depending on your viewpoint, artificial sentience isn’t possible with today’s computer capabilities because sentience presumes an entity understands and can relate to emotional concepts such as ‘beautiful.' For example, an Artificially Sentient computer would be able to watch a sunrise come over the ocean and feel joy in its cybernetic mind as the dawn cracks through the gray with a wash of color.
So, we are back to Artificial Intelligence. Here, we are talking about using the massive amount of computing power so that a computer can choose the most likely human response. Furthermore, the answers would become more accurate as the capabilities of the computer increase. At the most basic level, Google has accomplished this with data, facts and figures.
We then move into a form of the inference engine. This is where the computer asks questions like a doctor would, seeking to narrow down the symptoms of a patient until a diagnosis is possible. Most would agree this is a fantastic use of AI. The ability of a computer to come to a significantly accurate decision would be very beneficial to many, and is a capability possible today also.
Now, we come to a form of AI, which is in the news. This is the ability to focus the vast amount of power under computer control to understand (and teach itself) what it is that humans like to read. The only problem with this is that humans have one aspect which never changes. This issue is permanently ingrained in our DNA, and we cannot modify this aspect of ourselves even if we wanted to.
The challenge is we are a fickle race.
Humanity Never Knows Itself
What we liked a year ago might be completely different than what we like in a few months, and certainly will be changing in a year or two. This is based on conditions not inherently in the book which was popular itself.
So this form of AI is going to be constantly striving to seek to understand the fickleness of humanity by teaching itself without all of the facts. The result of that effort will have the same trap that we as humans have right now. Which is our ability to become so immersed that the data that we 'know' where humanity is going?
Until they don’t know because we changed as a group or the supposed knowledge is based on a shaky factual foundation.
So, now we come to ApIn. The ability to sit, if you will, up in the cosmos and look down on everything at once. Not only at the concepts such as genre, story, plots, and characters, but also weather, geopolitical and geophysical situations, language modalities, and book sales.
Or even the day of the week or the month in the year when certain books in particular genres did very well. Then, using Chaos Math to associate these marketing and sales events with the actual story itself and the zeitgeist of humanity which was occurring in the macro-economic and micro-economic times.
The amazing thing which happens is that using Applied Intelligence at this level allows us to answer questions which we, as authors, have wanted to know for hundreds of years. That is, can our story sell? Is there something I can do to help this incomplete story sell better while I am still writing it?
Are these questions easy to answer? No!
It requires data like you would not believe.
In August of 2014, the Internet Archive (Wayback Machine, Books/Videos/Music collection, and Unique data) had a total of 50 Petabytes of information. At the time, this was comprised of 150 Billion web captures for the Wayback Machine alone (9.8 Petabytes).
One of the stated purposes of the Internet Archive is to support our right to remember. The reason this is so important is that we lose data all of the time. Databases available just fifteen years ago are gone, data erased, and we cannot retrieve it, ever.
For an Applied Intelligence effort to be ‘the best in the world,’ it would depend on one important foundational piece.
It would require the largest database of salient facts in the world. Not just sheer storage. We get exabytes of information from a universe focused telescope. Unfortunately, that doesn’t help us sell the next thriller.
No, we need something that has data across time to across subjects. We need, basically, data hoarders. More on who this might be in a moment.
That comment above about Petabytes of data? That would be amazing for an Enterprise to mine for analysis. The biggest companies in the world do this sort of computational efforts by hiring the best every single week. It takes computational power that boggles the mind of someone like myself, and I’m a technologist as well as an author.
You have to have not only the technology but also the ability to integrate the vast amount of data and understand what it is telling you in a form a client can comprehend.
For example, why did a particular thriller take off? Well, did you associate the fact that a major terrorist attack occurred just twenty-two days before, and the pent-up angst of readers everywhere had that on their mind?
That would be good to know as you write your thriller.
Out of Our Reach?
The problem Indie Authors have is it is not possible for us to know all of the facts, or put together the associations to allow us a chance at coming up with conclusions. Further, we cannot afford the power and expertise necessary to accomplish this sort of capability. Until now.
The data-hoarder comment I made above? It is time to answer it.
Solitaire Interglobal Ltd. (SIL) is a Chaos Math-focused Applied Intelligence company that has been hoarding data since 1978. Some of their information is unrivaled because it doesn’t exist anywhere else in the World.
Right now, they hold a little over 300 Petabytes of data. Now, that seems like a significant amount. It is six (6) times the size of the Internet Archives data above but here comes the ‘sit down so you can absorb this’ statement.
Their data compresses at over 11 to 1. That 300 Petabytes? It uncompresses to 3,300 Petabytes.
This database alone is a major reason why Enterprise companies hire SIL to handle multi-million dollar projects because there is no one you can hire who has a better database.
Today, we are announcing that SIL-USA is working with Independent Authors (Indie Authors) to help merge our creative stories with insights powered by the best backend infrastructure and analytics. Further, we are bringing out a product that is the FIRST of its kind in the publishing profession.
Never before for Independents, never before for small, medium or University presses and never before by large, traditional publishers has this product been available. Nor can it be matched.
So, which group is leading the charge on this?
That would be us, the small but nimble author-preneurs who write about the future and are now using the future to help us build better stories today.
Won’t you join us? The future of creative publishing is now!