My social network keeps sharing links to Spritz—by one account, an “insane new app [that] will allow you to read a novels in under 90 minutes.” You can see how it works by clicking on the image below. I confess my initial reaction was: I don’t want to read a novel in 90 minutes. As a member of the occasional program committee, however, it would be very useful to speed-read submissions from time to time. I imagine that student editors, in particular, would love to be able to read introductions in mere minutes right around now.
Still, I think Spritz may be just a stepping stone to greater reliance on low-level artificial intelligence in digesting content. Today, AI (like search) is good at finding content. Tomorrow’s AI will increasingly be able to summarize that content as well. See, for example, Summly, which Yahoo! just purchased to supports its news feed. We won’t need to speed read because apps will squeeze everything into a paragraph.
Well, not everything, I hope. I don’t want to speed into the turn of A Widow’s Yard or navigate A Hundred Years of Solitude in a hundred minutes. But maybe that stack of articles will look just a little less daunting?