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AI-Generated Amazon Book Review Summaries Have Arrived

The inevitable has happened.
May | 27 | 2024
  May | 27 | 2024
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BY Phil Simon
  Phil Simon

AI-Generated Amazon Book Review Summaries Have Arrived

The inevitable has happened.
Phil Simon
May | 27 | 2024

AI-Generated Amazon Book Review Summaries Have Arrived

TL;DR: The inevitable has happened.
Phil Simon
May | 27 | 2024

As promised, Amazon has rolled out AI-generated summaries of product reviews. If they appear on a product page (more on that below), you’ll find them above the human-generated reviews. Just look for the words Customers say. Here’s the summary for my 2013 book Too Big to Ignore: The Business Case for Big Data:

And the one for Message Not Received: Why Business Communication Is Broken and How to Fix It:

First Impressions and Astonishing Errors

A few things strike me. A 2003 Microsoft Word spellcheck would catch the two grammatical gaffes in the first summary. It’s absurd that only one sentence in such a short recap is error-free, but I understand it. Amazon no doubt trained its large language models on existing customer reviews, many of which would make a sixth-grade English teacher die a little inside. I’m sure that similar issues exist in non-English review summaries.

This begs the questions:

  • How can you trust the recommendations of an AI trained on questionable data?
  • How does its grammatical limitations affect how you view its AI synopses?

The meta-review of Message Not Received lacks these rudimentary mistakes, but it doesn’t exactly wow me with penetrating insights. (I like to think that it’s accurate, but I’m clearly biased.)

Beyond Books

Amazon is rolling out these meta-reviews for all products—not just books. Here’s an AI review synopsis for an Anker Screen Protector (iPhone 15):

Note the different product attributes compared to books. This is expected; I’ve never seen anyone comment on a book’s durability or bubbles.

Finally, you won’t find these overviews everywhere on Amazon. In the extreme, a book or product sporting a single review doesn’t benefit all that much from any type of summary—human or otherwise. Curious, I perused the Amazon pages for my other books. I noticed that AI-generated review recaps don’t appear for all titles. I’m not sure if there’s a numerical cutoff for human reviews or not. Of course, user reviews and ratings are bogus.

A 2024 Amazon Prediction

What You Need to Know

Amazon is rolling out these meta-reviews for all products—not just books.

AI has arrived in earnest. Every day, we will now encounter the good, the bad, and the ugly. All authors and wannabe scribes today must pay attention to the subject. Those who ignore AI-related matters do so at their own peril.


Props to my friend Alan Simon for letting me know that book AI summaries had finally arrived.

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