By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson
Training for Independent PublishersIn England, the Independent Publishers Guild (IPG) has announced that it’s putting together an “artificial intelligence” training program, for independent publishers, set for early October, ahead of Frankfurter Buchmesse (October 18 to 22).
There are to be workshops relative to the course at the organization’s autumn conference, which is set for September 20 in London.
Much of the program, it appears, is expected to revolve around “key AI tools to explore their strengths and weaknesses and develop best practices for their day-to-day use in publishing. All content will be tailored to the needs of independent publishers and will be relevant for anyone working with text-based AI solutions, including editorial, sales, marketing and publicity teams.”
There is, however, a component planned around what’s quickly developing as the more problematic side of AI and the debates around it, this vested in “an overview of the latest developments in the generative AI landscape and a summary of commercial, legal, ethical, and other principles that will help publishers decide how it can be used effectively and responsibly.”
Echoes of ‘Digital’
Such cultural and ethical controversies are the attention-grabbers in the debate around these technologies, of course, and in most instances, they so far have remained mired in “yes, but” debates and increasingly contentious concerns about such issues as the potential copyright infringement around large language model training.
And when it comes to planning conference events around the subject, of course, one of the challenges is determining in advance what elements of the developments are germane and needed in a field the news around which changes quickly and has so many “experts” working to influence thinking and profit from a still very unsettled body of discussion.
The near-term era is more than a little reminiscent of the days when the single term digital could trigger anxiety in many publishing players and prompt many others to join an army of vendors and start-ups ringing the industry with self-styled expertise, always promising that No. 1 favorite euphemistic panacea: “solutions.”
Salisbury-based consultant George Walkley is putting the program together for IPG, and is quoted in the announcement, saying, “Generative AI is a fast-moving area of technology that offers enormous potential for publishers, but also real risks.
“The business, technical, and ethical issues it raises have dominated discussion this year, and the IPG has been characteristically forward thinking in identifying the need for training in this area.
“I’m looking forward to delivering this course and giving independent publishers the skills they need to make the best possible use of AI.”
For the IPG, the organization’s CEO, Bridget Shine, says, “We’re always looking for ways to help our vibrant community stay at the cutting edge of technology in publishing.
“This is a great way to extend our professional development work, and George Walkley is perfectly placed to lead it and help publishers future-proof themselves.
“Like our members, we’re both excited by the potential of AI and conscious of its threats and pitfalls, and this new package will give publishers the know-how and tools to approach both with confidence.”
Industry personnel interested in the IPG programming are asked to register that interest by email at email@example.com.
More from Publishing Perspectives on the work of the Independent Publishers Guild is here, more on artificial intelligence and its debate relative to publishing is here, more on Frankfurter Buchmesse is here, and more on the UK publishing market is here.