Humans, AI and Decision Making - SSP UK Regional Event

Last week Inspired attended the Society for Scholarly Publishing’s 2018 UK Regional event, which was all about data and AI within Scholarly publishing. We heard from Isabel Thompson, Senior Strategy Analyst at Holtzbrinck, and winner of the SSP Emerging Leaders award 2018, and Mads Holmen, Co-founder and CEO of Bibblio.

Isabel started by outlining that AI is not the problem, the strategy is the problem; the industry does not know what to do with it. There are competing investment priorities, unclear uses, and a lack of scientists and tech talent.

So what is AI? It is an intuition machine, which learns and acts on experience without knowing why.

What does it do? It gives assisted, augmented and automated intelligence. A working example in publishing would be recommendations for further articles to read in a journal.

What should I do? Do not invest in AI – invest in a business problem. AI is a tool, with specific requirements and ongoing needs. It may or may not be the answer to a business problem and there are factors to consider

  • It has a competitive advantage by improving production and helping promoting. But what about when everyone is doing it? Then you need to differentiate by using unique and privileged data that competitors do not have access to.
  • Developing partnerships – as no one has access to all data, we need to make creative and openIsabel Thompson, Senior Strategy Analyst from Holtzbrinck (Humans, AI, and Decision MakingHumans, AI, and Decision MakingHumans, AI, and Decision MakingHumans, AI, and Decision Making partnerships.
  • Most AI talent sits with the vendors – there are not enough experts in the world, but software developers can be trained and consultants can be brought in.

It all comes down to one question – do you buy it, or do you build it?

Mads lead on from this nicely, by explaining the purpose of his company is to solve the discovery problem; publishing is about getting information in front of the right people, but nowadays when we have all the data in our pockets, the challenge for publishers is choosing what to show to maximise value.

For example, the vast majority of website hits are from search engines, not from the front page of the website. So the next step may be syndication – being able access websites from other websites rather than going back to the search engine. This is a way to invite people to work together to share traffic – seen in places such as YouTube, when vloggers will appear in each other’s videos to both get more followers. The possibility is there, for example Wordpress runs 30% of websites, so the data is available but not being used. In summary, Bibblio wants to help level the playing field so that publishers of all sizes have the data access they need to grow.

It was an intriguing and thought provoking event, and we are excited to see what the SSP will bring next!