Philip M. Parker (born June 20, 1960) holds the INSEAD Chair Professorship of Management Science at INSEAD (Fontainebleau, France). He has patented a method to automatically produce a set of similar books from a template which is filled with data from database and internet searches. He claims that his programs have written more than 200,000 books. Parker publishes the automated books through Icon Group International, using several Icon group subheadings. Via EdgeMaven Media, he also provides applications for firms from different business domains to create their own computer-authored content material.
Born dyslexic, Parker early on developed a passion for dictionaries. He gained undergraduate degrees in mathematics, biology, and economics. He received a Ph.D. in business economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and has master's degrees in finance and banking from Aix-Marseille University and managerial economics from Wharton.
Books on economics
As well as co-authoring some technical economic articles, Parker has written six books on national economic development and economic divergence. These insist that consumer utility and consumption functions must be bounded by physical laws, against economic axioms which violate laws of physics such as conservation of energy.[clarification needed]
- Climatic Effects on Individual, Social and Economic Behavior, Greenwood Press, 1995
- Cross-Cultural Statistical Encyclopedia of the World, Greenwood Press, 1997. A four-volume encyclopedia, which recasts international national economic statistics of the world into linguistic, religious, and ethnic groups.
- Physioeconomics: The Basis for Long-Run Economic Growth. MIT Press, 2000. This forecasts global economic and demographic trends to the year 2100: he concludes that long-run economic convergence between different cultural groups is unlikely. He provides an explanation of why distance from the equator matters in economic development. His explanation of the equatorial paradox is based on the following:
- humans are tropical mammals, most adapted to live in a climate with temperature around 25 °C (77 °F);
- as the distance from the equator increases, the angle of the sun is smaller and the average temperature goes down, and one's exposure to natural sunlight diminishes;
- to survive in places distant from the equator, people had to learn and master how to produce clothes, food, etc., to survive, not for luxury;
- from this point of view, GDP is heavily weighted as an indicator of natural misery of the environment one lives in;
- by mastering methods to survive over centuries humans in the higher latitudes accumulated more knowledge and physical technologies to produce goods;
- as populations increased, social technologies (institutions, law, etc.) developed as adaptive mechanisms;
- these social technologies and cultural traits enabled reproduction of social and physical technologies over centuries of increasing cumulative social, cultural, and physical capital.
Parker is also involved—as entrepreneur publisher and editor—in new media reference work projects. He is the instigator of Webster's Online Dictionary: The Rosetta Edition, a multilingual online dictionary created in 1999 and using the "Webster's" name, now in the public domain. This site compiles different online dictionaries and encyclopedia including the Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913), the Wiktionary, and Wikipedia.
Automatically generated books
Most of Parker's automatically generated books target niche markets (the "long tail" concept). Examples include:
- Books series on medical subjects published by Icon Health Publications and coauthored with James N. Parker. The Official Patient's Sourcebook series deals with classic diseases like spinal stenosis or autoimmune hepatitis. The 3-in-1 Medical Reference series deals with general medical topics like hemoglobin.
- A series on the future demand for certain products in certain regions in the world, largely consisting of tables and graphs, published by his company Icon Group International, Inc. One book, The 2009-2014 World Outlook for 60-milligram Containers of Fromage Frais, won the 2008 Bookseller/Diagram Prize for Oddest Title of the Year.
- A series on cross-language crossword puzzle books, e.g. Webster's English to Italian Crossword Puzzles: Level 1, and thesauri, e.g. Webster's Quechua – English Thesaurus Dictionary published by Icon Group International, Inc. Some of these titles raised concerns with linguists who claimed inaccuracies and ownership/citation rights in certain languages covered in these volumes. Parker removed the concerned titles from print stating that he had not known that anyone claimed intellectual property rights over languages.
- A series of quotation collections subtitled Webster's Quotations, Facts and Phrases, each volume assembling quotations which feature a specific English word. Excerpts are drawn from public domain literary sources and reference works, and from Wikipedia articles (identified as "WP" after a quotation). The English professor Nicholas Royle noted that Veering: Webster's Quotations, Facts and Phrases contained quotations unrelated to the word "veering" or using "Veer" only as a proper name; he described the book as "quite bizarre" and "absurdly expensive".
All books are self-published paperbacks. Ninety-five percent of the ordered books are sent out electronically; the rest are print on demand. Parker plans to extend the programs to produce romance novels.
Beginning in 1998, Parker launched literacy initiatives, based on his consultations with the World Bank, designed to create educational materials for under-served languages. These have included programs which can produce scripts for animated game shows intended to teach English to non-native speakers, some of which are available on YouTube. Recently he has collaborated with various projects sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In one project, Parker worked with Plant Resources of Tropical Africa (PROTA) by assisting researchers to more quickly synthesize the dispersed information on useful tropical plants. This resulted in the creation of a public access portal covering the biodiversity of plants in Africa. In another he is engaged in creating automated rural radio weather programs in collaboration with Farmer Voice Radio. Similar projects are underway with The Grameen Foundation, Farm Radio International, and the GSM Association, generating radio scripts, agricultural call center content, and SMS content platforms in Kenya, Uganda, Malawi, and India, among other developing counties.
Using a collection of automation programs called "Eve", Parker has applied his techniques within his dictionary project to digital poetry; he reports posting over 1.3 million poems, aspiring to reach one poem for each word found in the English language. He refers to these as "graph theoretic poems" since they are generated using graph theory, where "graph" refers to mathematical values that relate words to each other in a semantic web. He has posted in the thesaurus section of his online dictionary the values used in these algorithms. Genres produced include the following: acrostic, butterfly, cinquain, diamante, ekphrastic, fib or Fibonacci poetry, gnomic poetry, haiku, Kural, limerick, mirror cinquain, nonet, octosyllable, pi, quinzaine, Rondelet, sonnet, tanka, unitoum, waka, simple verse, and xenia epigram. Genres were created by Parker to allow one genre of poem for each letter of the English alphabet, including Yoda, for Y (poetry using the grammar structure of the famous Star Wars character), and Zedd for Z (poems shaped like the letter Z). His poems are didactic in nature, and either define the entry word in question, or highlight its antonyms. He has stated plans to expand these to many languages and is experimenting with other poetic forms.
- Method and apparatus for automated authoring and marketing', U.S. Patent 7,266,767, 4 September 2007
- Cohen, Noam (2008-04-14). "He Wrote 200,000 Books (but Computers Did Some of the Work)". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2010-08-03. Retrieved 2010-08-03.
- Ein Mann sieht Code, Financial Times Deutschland, 9 May 2008. (in German)
- "EdgeMaven Media: Automated Authoring and Content Creation". Edgemaven.com. San Diego: Icon Group International, Inc. 2010. Archived from the original on 2010-08-03. Retrieved 2010-08-03.
- Strauss, Victoria (2009-06-19). "The most published author in the history of the planet". Writer Beware. Archived from the original on 2010-08-03. Retrieved 2010-08-03.
- Parker's INSEAD web page.
- "The Editor – Philip M. Parker is the instigator behind Webster's Online Dictionary: The Rosetta Edition (www.websters-online-dictionary.org)". websters-online-dictionary.org. Icon Group International, Inc. Archived from the original on 2010-08-28. Retrieved 2010-08-29.
- "EdgeMaven Media – Case Studies – Web Site Creation – World's largest multilingual dictionary: Webster's Online Dictionary (www.websters-online-dictionary.org)". Edgemaven.com. San Diego: Icon Group International, Inc. 2010. Archived from the original on 2010-08-31. Retrieved 2010-08-31.
- "Fascinating facts about Philip Parker inventor of the W-O-D Project in 1999". Ideafinder.com. Vaunt Design Group. 2006-11-01. Archived from the original on 2010-08-31. Retrieved 2010-08-31.
- "Webster's Online Dictionary. Definition: dictionary". websters-online-dictionary.org. Icon Group International, Inc. Archived from the original on 2010-08-29. Retrieved 2010-08-29.
- James N. Parker; Philip M. Parker (eds.). The Official Patient's Sourcebook on Spinal Stenosis. ISBN 978-0597831942.
- Heneghan, Michael A.; McFarlane, Ian G. (March 2004). "Book review. The Official Patient's Sourcebook on autoimmune hepatitis: Edited by James N. Parker and Philip M. Parker. 192 pp. $28.95. Icon Health Publications, San Diego, California, 2002. ISBN 0-597-83418-0". Gastroenterology. 126 (3): 929. doi:10.1053/j.gastro.2004.01.050. ISSN 0016-5085. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-08-28. Retrieved 2010-08-28.
- Parker, James N.; Parker, Philip M., eds. (2004). Hemoglobin – A Medical Dictionary, Bibliography, and Annotated Research Guide to Internet References. The 3-in-1 Medical Reference. San Diego: Icon Health Publications. ISBN 0-597-83977-8. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-08-28.
- "Fromage Frais wins odd title prize". Thebookseller.com. London: The Bookseller Media Group. 2009-03-27. Archived from the original on 2010-09-23. Retrieved 2009-03-27.
- Gibson, Joel (2008-12-19). "Puzzled publisher at a loss for words". smh.com.au. The Sydney Morning Herald. Archived from the original on 2010-08-06. Retrieved 2010-08-06. And: "Publisher at a loss for words". Brisbane Times. 2008-12-19. Retrieved 2008-12-19.
- Icon Group International, Inc (2008-11-26). Ducking: Webster’s Quotations, Facts and Phrases. Icon Group International, Inc. p. ii. ISBN 0-546-69470-5. Retrieved 2009-11-27.
- Royle, Nicholas (2011). Veering: A Theory of Literature. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. p. 11. ISBN 978-0-7486-3654-9. Retrieved 2014-10-19.
- Gomba, Joash (2010). "Authoring and editing of articles made simple". Prota.co.ke. PROTA: Plant Resources of Tropical Africa. Archived from the original on 2011-01-25. Retrieved 2011-01-26.
- 'Introducing Farmer Voice Radio farmervoice.org.
- Web Profile – Philip M. Parker. insead.edu.
- An Introduction to "graph theoretic poetry". websters-online-dictionary.org. Icon Group International, Inc.
- "Graph theoretic" Poetic Forms. websters-online-dictionary.org. Icon Group International, Inc.
- Slocum, Mac (April 30, 2008). "Q&A: Philip Parker, Developer of Automated Authoring Platform". Radar.oreilly.com. Sebastopol, California: Tools of Change for Publishing; a division of O'Reilly Media, Inc. Archived from the original (web) on 2011-12-28. Retrieved 2011-12-28.
- Icon Group International, Inc (2008-11-26). Ducking: Webster’s Quotations, Facts and Phrases. Icon Group International, Inc. p. 87. ISBN 0-546-69470-5.
- Further reading
- Abrahams, Marc (January 29, 2008). "Speed Writing – Take a Leaf Out of Philip M Parker's Book", The Guardian. Retrieved February 24, 2012.
- Abrahams, Marc (February 4, 2008). "Automatic Writing – Further Volumes of Philip M Parker". The Guardian. Retrieved February 24, 2012.
- Faculty page at INSEAD
- Works by or about Philip M. Parker in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
- Works by or about Icon Group International, Inc in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
- Video of Phil Parker explaining his software
- Philip M. Parker's poetry site written using computer algorithms
- Philip M. Parker's anagram site with anagrams found in natural language strings