Machine Learning—The Complete Guide is a weighty tome. At more than 6,000 pages, this book is a comprehensive introduction to machine learning, with up-to-date chapters on artificial neural networks, genetic algorithms, and machine vision.
But this is no ordinary publication. It is a Wikibook, a textbook that anyone can access or edit, made up from articles on Wikipedia, the vast online encyclopedia.
That is a strength. Crowdsourced information is constantly updated with all the latest advances and consistently edited to correct errors and ambiguities.
Enter Shahar Admati and colleagues at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel. These guys have developed a way to automatically generate Wikibooks using machine learning. They call their machine the Wikibook-bot. “The novelty of our technique is that it is aimed at generating an entire Wikibook, without human involvement,” they say.
The approach is relatively straightforward. The researchers began by identifying a set of existing Wikibooks that can act as a training data set. They started with 6,700 Wikibooks included in a data set made available by Wikipedia for this kind of academic study.