Richard G. Epstein






from the people who bring you


a new and exciting product:





How many times have you invested your precious time in a book, only to realize, half-way through, that the book just was not worth the effort? The traditional newspaper book review, while informative and useful to some extent, does not have that personal dimension that you really need in order to decide whether to invest your precious time in a reading project. How can some professor at Harvard or Stanford possibly know how YOU will react to a particular book? Reading is a very personal matter.

Now, the same talented people who bring you the world's foremost and most influential review of books, the people at the New York Times, are proud to announce a new product, The New York Times Personal Book Reviewer. The Personal Book Reviewer is a state of the art, artificial intelligence system, that reviews a book the way that you might, if you had actually read it. This Personal Book Reviewer creates a model of you, the user, and it uses that model to determine whether you will like a particular book, and to what extent.

That's right! The Personal Book Reviewer will tell you in advance whether you will like a particular book and to what degree, thus saving you from countless hours of less than gratifying reading experiences. It will recommend specific chapters to read and chapters to skip. It will summarize plot, location, time, characters, and character development for works of fiction and significant theoretical underpinnings and facts for works of non-fiction. In fact, it is impossible for us, in the brief space of this advertisement, to give a complete accounting of the capabilities of this system and its incredible flexibility. With the Personal Book Reviewer you literally set the parameters on the kind of information that you desire since only you know what your interests and priorities are.

People who have experimented with the beta version of this product were astounded at is robustness. The version that we are announcing with this advertisement is even more exciting. Users of the beta version report that the Personal Book Reviewer frequently exhibits new and unexpected skills. The key to this robust behavior is that the Personal Book Reviewer is a learning system. It takes several hours for the Personal Book Reviewer to build its kernel of knowledge about you, the reader. When you tell the Personal Book Reviewer which book you would like the system to review, it uses its sophisticated model of your preferences and biases, and creates a remarkable document: a clearly written and highly personal and eminently useful review of that book. As you react to the reviews that you receive, the Personal Book Reviewer continuously updates its model of your preferences and biases, so that the next review you receive will be even more prescient than the previous.

The New York Times Personal Book Reviewer is built around a huge database of book knowledge. The New York Times generates a knowledge base for each significant book that crosses our desk. This knowledge base is essentially the original book in digested form, with the contents of the book ingeniously summarized using our own unique KNOWLEDGE REPRESENTATION SYSTEM. When you ask for a book review, the Personal Book Reviewer takes the model it has of you, the reader, and the digested information it has about the book that you want the system to review, and it generates a personalized book review in less than a minute.

The Personal Book Reviewer's huge database includes biographies for all authors and comprehensive background information on all of their earlier works. It is perhaps the world's most sophisticated expert system in the domain of publishing, literature, and literary criticism. The Personal Book Reviewer knows, for example, when providing a review for a murder mystery, not to give away the surprise ending. If you ask for a review of a biography, say on George Washington, the Personal Book Reviewer will always cite several of the standard biographies on Washington and will provide additional reviews for cited books, if requested.

We know that you, as a lover of books, will be pleased with this product. Thus, we offer a money back guarantee. If you are not completely satisfied with the first ten book reviews that you generate with the Personal Book Reviewer, then you can terminate your license agreement with us, for a complete refund.

The Personal Book Reviewer costs just $500.00 US. In addition, there is an annual fee of $50.00 US for unrestricted access to the New York Times literary database. We are waiving that access fee for the first year for new subscribers who take advantage of this offer. You can order now by visiting the New York Times Shop on the Global Landscape or you can contact us at our Global Landscape address:

attn: Personal Book Reviewer
Global Landscape Box NYT-8907
Virtual New York 87-35655

statement by the publisher of the New York Times:

The New York Times Personal Book Reviewer is intended for use by serious lovers of books. It is specifically not intended for high school and college students who are looking for an easy way to generate book reports. The publisher of the New York Times and the staff of the New York Times Book Review consider such behavior immature and irresponsible. In addition, under existing federal statutes and international agreements, it is illegal to take the output of the New York Times Personal Book Reviewer and to pass that off as the fruit of one's own intellectual efforts. Although the New York Times realizes that it cannot prevent the misuse of this product, we feel duty-bound to publish this statement as a warning to those who might be tempted to make illegal use of this new and exciting technology.




1997, 1999 Richard Gary Epstein

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