Posted: 03/12/18

If you are buying a gift for someone who loves books this Christmas then perhaps a new Twitter bot could provide some recommendations. @ReadMeLikeABook has been created by the ADAPT Centre, an SFI Research Centre, to give users who tweet #SCICOM18 personalised book recommendations based on their profiles. The bot, which was created by Dr Tony Veale of the ADAPT Centre, is an Artificial Intelligence powered automated system that makes book recommendations based on a topic choice or information in a Twitter feed for those who interact with it.

Responding to the hashtag #SCICOM18, the bot will cleverly use the content of the tweet to recommend a book on the topic of choice.  If no topic is included, the bot uses the account holder's Twitter bio as a personalised basis on which to recommend a book. If that yields nothing, it looks for suitable topics in the recent tweets of the user. It will remember its past recommendations so that repeated requests yield different book recommendations for the same user.

We often take recommendations from friends and family because we trust their opinion. Now people can also use the bot to get book recommendations for others on Twitter.  To do that a user can tweet, e.g. #ReadHerLikeABook @TwitterHandle, to get a recommendation based on a friends bio or recent tweets, and sent to the persons Twitter handle. Recommendation systems are data filtering tools that make use of algorithms and data to recommend the most relevant items to a particular user.

The bot has been built with a humour component that activates when the hashtag #ReadMeLikeABook is invoked, creating self-deprecating comments that adds character to the machine.

In addition, the bot can provide a personality analysis of a user's recent tweets if the user directly responds to #ReadMeLikeABook.  A visual representation is attached to the response tweet of the user with a breakdown of personality traits and a weighting attached.

SCI:COM is an annual conference for the people who shape the story of science in Ireland. The keynote this year is Hollywood and science communicator Alan Alda (The Aviator, ER, The West Wing, M*ASH).  This year the conference, which takes place on the 12th December in the Ballsbridge Hotel, will feature a session on ‘How to do Books’.  The practical session will provide guidance for attendees on how to produce all sorts of books, from authored science books, children’s books, popular science books and commissioned pullouts.

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