The Fundación Germán Sánchez Ruipérez (FGSR) organised during the spring of 2024 a forum on artificial intelligence in the book industry, as part of the initiatives of its PARIX school. Topics were discussed such as the use of information, the formation of profiles of the book value chain in terms of AI, transparency and ethics: latest trends in audiences and digital content at a national and international level, challenges and opportunities.

Luis González, General Director of the FGSR, concluded a professional event on Artificial Intelligence for the Book Industry organized by FGSR, which also highlighted the PARIX school launched for the Spanish book industry. The closing conversation featured Karine Pansa, President of the International Publishers Association (IPA), and Pablo Sanguinetti, author of the book “Tecnohumanismo.”

This event provided a platform for stakeholders to explore AI’s transformative potential and its ethical and cultural implications, aiming to guide the future of AI adoption in the publishing sector responsibly.

Luis González mentioned some of the main issues of AI in publishing, such as:

  • Quality and creativity concerns
  • Data privacy and security
  • Technological and financial barriers
  • Ethical and copyright issues

Karine Pansa emphasized the critical role of publishers in ensuring copyright recognition and transparency in the publishing industry amidst the rise of AI tools. She expressed concerns about the origins of curated content and stressed the importance of knowing where content originates to uphold transparency and fair remuneration.

Pablo Sanguinetti defined is thesis in “Tecnohumanismo” as the inseparable relationship between technology and humanity. He highlighted that AI is fundamentally a product of human input and cautioned against sociotechnical blindness, urging recognition of the human effort behind AI developments.

The conversation turned to cultural influences on AI perceptions. Sanguinetti pointed out how cultural narratives shape our understanding and interaction with AI, contrasting Western individualistic views with Japan’s more animistic culture that fosters a different relationship with technology.


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Perceptions and narratives about AI

Sanguinetti argued that AI technology is not neutral; it carries implicit values and risks. He underscored the role of narratives in shaping AI development and usage, criticizing the current dominance of AI narratives by commercial interests.

He also critiqued the term “artificial intelligence,” noting its marketing origins and the potential distortions it creates in public perception. He emphasized that AI remains a promise rather than a fully realized entity, challenging current perceptions shaped by its name.

Sanguinetti emphasized that AI has been discussed since 1955 but has yet to fully materialize in ways initially anticipated. This gap between expectation and reality creates challenges. He used a metaphor to describe AI as a team of inexperienced but diligent workers who require oversight and clear instructions. While AI can automate and scale tasks, it lacks the nuanced understanding and experience of human professionals.

Karine Pansa discussed the potential of AI in education and literacy promotion but cautioned about the complexities of integrating AI responsibly into education systems. She highlighted the importance of understanding content meaningfully and ensuring appropriate educational inputs.


Skills and future directions

As the publishing industry continues to evolve with AI, the event emphasized the necessity for ongoing dialogues and frameworks that prioritize human values, cultural diversity, and ethical responsibilities in technology integration.

Pansa stressed the importance of traditional skills such as reading and writing, combined with a need for new skills to leverage AI effectively.

She advocated for industry-specific training and the creation of spaces like the PARIX school to foster understanding and application of AI. Karine Pansa highlighted too the need for the publishing industry to assert its value and negotiate fair terms with large platforms that profit from curated content.

Future initiatives should focus on promoting transparency in AI usage, fostering cultural diversity in AI narratives, and integrating AI responsibly into educational frameworks to maximize its benefits while mitigating risks.

At the end of the discussion Luis González asked about the practical applications of AI in the book industry and how it can assist in tasks like metadata management, enhancing visibility, and efficiency. He noted that AI should be seen as a tool to augment human creativity and streamline processes within the publishing industry and asked Sanguinetti if a clear strategy for the use of AI is there.

Sanguinetti elaborated on the concept of educating AI in beauty, describing beauty as a dynamic and interpretable language that AI can learn to enhance cultural production. He envisioned a future where AI contributes to new forms of electronic literature, creating a collaborative space for human and machine creativity.

Pansa and González discussed how AI could handle metadata more efficiently, an area with significant cost implications for publishers.

This conversation acknowledged that while all publishers can benefit from AI, smaller publishers might find AI tools particularly transformative due to their limited resources.

The conversation concluded with a consensus that the publishing industry must embrace AI as a valuable tool while maintaining a focus on the human elements of creativity and editorial expertise. The participants underscored the importance of training, industry-specific knowledge, and the ethical considerations of AI in publishing. The event highlighted the potential for AI to revolutionize various aspects of the book industry, from content edition to distribution, while also posing new challenges and opportunities.