Thursday, May 3, 2012

Book Marketers To Be Replaced By Robots

Would you read as many books as you do if you could get the end results of the book in some quicker, easier way?

I love books and millions of Americans do as well. But when I was in high school and even college, I often read the Cliff or Monarch Notes and not the assigned books.  And I was an English major!

Will the Internet become our shortcut to reading books?  After all, we look for information that is “pushed” to us, based on specific search criteria.  We put together feed readers that include certain types of content or we subscribe to certain blogs or sites based on a category.  Is it really beyond us to then have computers “read” a book and then summarize it for us or to point out witty passages or to list facts that fall under a specific category?

We will use software, apps, and websites to give us an edge, so why not use technology to help us consume, create, and even respond to the information, that comes our way?  Soon we’ll just have one computer talking to another.  Our online avatar will be our digital clone and it will do the work we wish we had time to do.  It’ll send out tweets we’d never written, network for us on FB, and act like a secretary for a famous person who signs letters as if she’s that celebrity.

Software robots already influence us with the way it locates and filters information for us.  It is influencing what flows our way and soon it will speak for us and send out e-mails, tweets, or respond for us as if we were typing away.

Computers are going to become our surrogates.  Soon you’ll see politicians or celebrities apologize for a technical glitch or gaffe when one of their robots makes a mistake in speaking on their behalf.   People won’t even know what happened.

Maybe robots will replace book marketers.  We already use template responses and mass reproductions of an email to handle customer service for major corporations.  What’s to stop society from replacing, or at least supplementing book marketers?

Computers can be trained to play chess so why not create a series of steps for a computer to handle responses to e-mails?  Why not have it use a program to strategically place tweets or blog posts online?

Everything about book marketing is formulaic.  We’d like to think we are creative when crafting a book marketing campaign, writing a press release, or strategizing with the media but the truth is most of what we do happens online, with research, social media, email, etc.  All of that can become the domain of the computer.

You think the iPad is cool?  Wait until it does your book marketing for you.

Computers are not exactly replacing humans.  They are enslaving us at worst, enhancing us—at a price—at best.  Really what we do is co-exist with computers and are forming a co-dependency with our digital life. 

Society is turning into a hybrid, part human, part technology.  We are joining forces to live in a world of techhumans.  What amazes me most about the fast transition to living online is that each day we subvert a little bit of humanity in hopes of making it better but in the process we forever lose a little skin for metal.

Humanity cannot shut out technology and machinery, and in fact we have a moral obligation to pursue all possible means to extend life, improve society, and save the planet from destruction.  But we need to do it in stages and to integrate technological advances into our lives, rather than force people to find ways to assimilate to technology.  We don’t want to marginalize life or rush to embrace every gadget and invention without understanding the possible repercussions that could result.     

For one day, robots will replace book marketers.

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, a leading book publicity firm. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person.

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