5.12.2007

This therefore that, uh, no

Well, this is a clever way to see the limits of artificial intelligence.

Just type in Thomas Pynchon and see what comes up.
I mean David Sedaris is a wonderful writer and I love his work, but putting him closer to Pynchon than say Bill Vollmann...well...no, just no.

And Wayne Dyer on the same page as Laura Lippman? No, no, really no.

19 comments:

Ishmael said...

Yew type Richard Yates and it don't say Richard Ford - nowhere. Yew type Richard Ford and it don't say Richard Yates neither. This thing got a few bugs to work out.

Dan Leo said...

What crap.

Kathy said...

This thingie only tells that readers of Author X are likely to read these other authors -- kind of like Amazon's "People who ordered this book also..." deal. It doesn't tell you whether the other authors are comparable in stature, quality or even type of book.

Who knows where they got their data -- obviously a limited sample -- but even so, I thought it was interesting, and kind of nifty.

Kathy

Peni Griffin said...

But Diana Wynne Jones (world's greatest living fantasy writer for children, YA, and adults, I kid you not) was placed closer to Marguerite Henry (classic horse books) than to E. Nesbit (founding mother of modern children's fantasy).

And Rowling, who regardless of her faults has placed children's fantasy in the public consciousness and been the entry drug for many readers, is always way out on the fringes.

There's something profoundly wrong with the engine, or the data sample. The obvious solution is to ask for input from browsers, but I didn't see any place for that.

ck said...

Anyone else notice multiples of the same author? There are three Anne Lamotts on one map--the correctly spelled one near Rainer Maria Rilke (!), "Annie" Lamott near Lorrie Moore, and Anne Lammott halfway between two different Flannery O'Connors....

Andrew said...

I don't think this claims to be anything it's not. It's not saying that writers are similar, but that people who read A are likely to read B. You read both Pynchon and Sedaris, so you can't exactly claim that the site is incorrect to put them on the same page. I think it's more interesting to see these unexpected connections than to link writers of the same genre or school. That is, it's not at all surprising that Kerouac readers also read Burroughs, but I wonder why Bill Bryson would be so popular with them.

The Other Cathy said...

This can only be called "artificial intelligence" in the most inclusive possible definition of that term. Nobody who works in AI would consider this to be part of the field. It's just presenting the results from a survey of self-selected participants in a somewhat novel way.

If you want to see where the data comes from, click on Literature in the upper left corner, and then on Gnod's suggestions. They do the same for music and movies.

Anonymous said...

Try Quentin Crisp! Only two authors, the close one being Fay Weldon. Huh?

Carla said...

I typed in Dean Koontz and got Janet Evanovich. I like both writers, a lot, but to think their writings bear any similarities to one another is absurd.

Anonymous said...

The thing that got me is I typed in Lynn Flewelling - and found both Terry Pratchett and Diana Gabaldon's names misspelled.

But hey, it's a free amusement. Why get in a twist about it?

Kanani said...

The people I know who read Thomas Pynchon also read Thomas McGuane, Umberto Eco and a few others.

But I can't call them necessarily similiar. I mean... Michael Chabon had some memorable characters, but isn't as gritty as Pychon.

L.A. Howe said...

i am so glad you mentioned william vollmann. i have been following his writing with interest since the eighties and think he is one of this country's great writers on so many different levels. it was about time he got a major award these last couple of years.

kyle said...

Wow. What is particularly amazing is if you search for "Emily Bronte," one of the authors that appears is "Jane Eyre." Although...if I were saying this to my English class, they wouldn't understand why that is so hilarious, which is kind of sad.

crankynick said...

It certainly shows the limits of this kind of networkind site, at any rate.

The closest author to Tom Holt is Fyodor Dostoyevski (with Pratchett on the outside), which I find hard to believe under any circumstances.

That's probably just lack of data, though, becausew I'm pretty sure thaI remember thinking that the music version worked quite well.

Rei said...

fqsaLol. Enter "Paris Hilton". J.R.R. Tolkein comes up ;)

Anonymous said...

Enter John Barth and the closest to him is Charles Darwin, and not far away is Jesus.

Twill said...

Cool -

I enter my two current faves and get, in each case, a page full of people I've never heard of.

So many books, so little time.

Linda said...

When you enter in Arthur Conan Doyle, God hovers around quite close...I think works perfectly!

mata said...

It needs some data cleaning, too. I typed in "Robertson Davies" and found "Rovertson Davies" floating around there. Just to be sure, I googled "Rovertson Davies" and it appears several times, but each time it's clearly a mis-spelling of "Robertson Davies".