While nothing announces that Mr. Parkerâ€™s books are computer generated, one reader, David Pascoe, seemed close to figuring it out himself, based on his comments to Amazon in 2004. Reviewing a guide to rosacea, a skin disorder, Mr. Pascoe, who is from Perth, Australia, complained: â€œThe book is more of a template for â€˜generic health researchingâ€™ than anything specific to rosacea. The information is of such a generic level that a sourcebook on the next medical topic is just a search and replace away.â€
When told via e-mail that his suspicion was correct, Mr. Pascoe wrote back, â€œI guess it makes sense now as to why the book was so awful and frustrating.â€Mr. Parker was willing to concede much of what Mr. Pascoe argued. â€œIf you are good at the Internet, this book is useless,â€ he said, adding that Mr. Pascoe simply should not have bought it. But, Mr. Parker said, there are people who arenâ€™t Internet savvy who have found these guides useful.
It is the idea of automating difficult or boring work that led Mr. Parker to become involved. Comparing himself to a distant disciple of Henry Ford, he said he was â€œdeconstructing the process of getting books into peopleâ€™s hands; every single step we could think of, we automated.â€
â€œUsing a little bit of artificial intelligence, a computer program has been created that mimics the thought process of someone who would be responsible for doing such a study,â€ Mr. Parker says. â€œBut rather than taking many months to do the study. the computer accomplishes this in about 13 minutes.â€