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Automatic reviewer – virtual bookseller

In Poland, a huge number of book titles are published every year. In 2017 alone, over 38,000 were issued. Librarians and bookstores sellers do not have time for us, and we buy books online more and more often and if we do not have well-read friends, we often do not know which book to reach for. Soon, an automatic reviewer called SZREK (short for Advanced Book Recommendations System), on which the Polish Literary startup is working, will help us make a decision.

A young team of specialists in machine learning and artificial intelligence has developed algorithms that “read” e-books and are able to combine their content with plot features that until now could only be captured by humans – is the book amusing, saddening, moving, scary or boring? or maybe it evokes extreme emotions.

The robot is fed by humans

The idea for a system recommending books with the use of AI, working completely different than the most commonly used – after the history of shopping, was born in a small bookstore in Olsztyn, where Ula Witkowska – a librarian and Małgosia Sieniewicz – a bookseller met. For five years we have been collecting information about the plot of books – among approx. 30 people who labeled books according to different characteristics were book bloggers, literary scholars, cultural scientists, librarians, booksellers, reviewers, journalists and even writers. This is how the base on which SZREK learns was created was created.
When machine learning and AI specialists joined the team – including two doctors: Krzysiek Sopyła and Przemek Górecki – the startup received support for research projects from the National Center for Research and Development and the Simpact Fund .

Nobody has ever done such research on such long texts as novels, and certainly not for the Polish language, which until recently, even for scientists, seemed too complicated for anyone (or something) other than humans to understand and create fictional content.
Now the Automatic Reviewer on most features achieves a result of over 90% coincidence with the human rating of a given book.

Book Bot – the future of recommendations

At the end of the year, SZREK will be joined by Fiona – StoryBot, with whom you will be able to talk about books on the internet messenger. When a Messenger user wants to read a book, he can call Fiona to choose the titles that suit his taste and mood, and check their availability in bookstores. The bot will communicate with the human in the form of a real-time chat. The user will be able to consciously reveal his reading preferences to Fiona, and then change them, adapt them to the occasion, the mood of the moment, emotions and interests.

SZREK is a solution dedicated to online bookstores and libraries as a tool facilitating the selection of the next book to read, and in the form of a bot – for an ordinary person. Fiona will be able to “talk” not only with the Messenger or other messenger user, but can also be a helpful virtual advisor in the bookstore.


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