To be honest, I'm just relieved Google seems to be doing something new with Google Books.
I've been fearing they'd take down Google Books (or severely hobble it) since it looks like it's been stagnant for years now (actually less than stagnant, since it seems like they took away Popular Passages? I really miss that!).
Oh that would be terrible. Google Books is extremely useful for academic work: not every library has good text search and I often found myself using Google Books to get reference material I could then look up in the library for full access.
Anyone know why this happened? It shouldn't have anything to do with lawsuits related to publishers since the books I'm talking about are centuries old and housed in places like the British Library, which one would think would be committed to making them publicly available. In some cases (like my weird little specialty, 17th century Portuguese apothecary and drug manuals) I'd say the decrease is on the order of 80-90% fewer texts available.
Luckily HathiTrust largely makes up the difference, but otherwise this shift would be kind of a catastrophe for me as a researcher. There are dozens of times when I my choices were either "access this rare book via Google Books, or fly to Europe and look at the closest physical copy, which happens to be in some obscure library in Belgium/Lisbon/Rome/Budapest/etc."
The first result says this
Similarly, programming a computer can prove fun because you might design a simple program that displays your boss’s ugly face on the computer
Does P=NP: Something about rare earths, then a couple books that mention the problem. https://books.google.com/talktobooks/query?q=Does%20P%3DNP%3...
Who are you: Looks like Books is shy. https://books.google.com/talktobooks/query?q=Who%20are%20you...
Why are fire trucks red? Apparently, there are different answers, and none mention the Monty Python one. https://books.google.com/talktobooks/query?q=Why%20are%20fir...
What is 1+1? 1, apparently. The same query without a question mark gives the right answer. https://books.google.com/talktobooks/query?q=What%20is%201%2...
Which company used to have the motto "don't be evil"? Not Google, it seems. https://books.google.com/talktobooks/query?q=Which%20company...
At the time of the Alphabetization, there was some shuffling of the code of conduct document, but everything lives on.
The Google code of conduct still begins with "Don't be evil."
The Alphabet code of conduct opens with "Employees of Alphabet and its subsidiaries and controlled affiliates (“Alphabet”) should do the right thing."
And yet I repeatedly read the claim that Google has secretly abandoned "don't be evil"—presumably on the down low so that they can now do all the evil they want.
Q: What is the sound of one hand clapping?
A: The sound of one hand clapping is the sound of that silent wave, the sound of an absence, the absence of the noise ordinarily made by the collision of two hands.
-from The Secret Parts of Fortune: Three Decades of Intense Investigations and Edgy …
I wonder why they are releasing this only against books? Does it not work against the internet at large, or is it a question of scale? Because they aren't even doing all books, it's only 100,000 of them.
I still think it's pretty cool. Some future natural language search will make keyword search seem primitive. As in how did we survive with only it for so long.
I'm glad Kurzweil ended up at Google and is able to work on cool projects like this. He's 70, I hope his vitamins work and he can't stay active in development a while longer.
- The number of dumb things the AI will be able to get away with has a direct relationship to what sort of intelligence the AI is supposed to represent.
- The AI will not underestimate the opponent’s military might.
An interesting idea anyway, but they could title it better.
Though Google doesn't seem to be monetizing this directly, the fact that they're training their models on this data does likely have some nebulous value. Given that most books are for sale, surely there's a good way to reconcile the fact that the authors would like payment and organizations like Google would like to scrape their text.
Google scans the book, then allows people to search the book and read snippets from it.
"which countries supported Iraq chemical attacks during Iran-Iraq war?"
"Saddam Hussein received chemical weapons from many countries, including the USA, West Germany, the Netherlands, the UK, France and China (Lafayette, 2002). In 1980 Iraq attacked Iran and employed mustard gas and tabun with 5% of all Iranian casualties directly attributable to the use of these agents"
from Handbook of Toxicology of Chemical Warfare Agents
by Ramesh C. Gupta
“Handbook of Toxicology of Chemical Warfare Agents” by Ramesh C. Gupta