Monday, April 16, 2018

Don't tell me you hate AI...check out Google's "Talk to Books"

Google, with the help of Ray Kurzweil just possibly changed the world of research. Navigate to the new artificial intelligence driven "Talk to Books" website that can be found at:

What I love about it?

  • It's artificial intelligence. It wants you to talk to it like you would talk to a person. Keywords aren't it's thing. It's not how it was developed; guess what, neither were we.  Elementary students definitely struggle with keyword searches. This can change the dynamics of research!
  • It doesn't ask one book what the answer might be, it asks thousands of books. And then it gives you answers written in quotes from the book with most of the needed info RIGHT THERE. Citing just became easier too. Now I'll be honest, often when I click "show in book" I don't have access to the book but this is a FREE search engine that now allows me to know where I need to go to look further.
  • It seems to look for answers creatively. It's looking through all genres of books to come up with the answer to your question. I like that. It challenges my analytical side to embrace my creative side simultaneously and think on subjects in a broader scope. 
What I don't love about it?
  • Did we just cheapen the act of research? How much are we being manipulated by Google right now as to what our research answers are? Is this a monetized site? How do they choose the books that are part of this search engine? All questions I want answered as an educator.
  • It doesn't replace peer-reviewed research sites but I fear some students might think it does. I think this website has the potential to being a game changer when doing research. The key and challenge for us, as educators, is to teach them good digital literacy skills when curating information. This site is a great getting started tool for research purposes but we need to be even more diligent in defining what good research looks like.
  • I'm not seeing parent controls. I did a search that lead me to some pretty descriptive information that every age level shouldn't have access to. 

I'm excited about this website and interested to hear other's thoughts on the potential and pitfalls of something so dynamic in answering our daily questions. 

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