Technology * Innovation * Publishing Newsletter #293

Kathy Sandler
8 min readMay 13, 2024


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While I focus on Technology, Innovation, and Publishing, because I have a platform, I also flag items that I think are important, which you might have missed, and try to include a bunch of resources & opportunities. I’d love to hear what you think of this newsletter!


Google DeepMind’s new AI can model DNA, RNA, and ‘all life’s molecules’

AlphaFold 3 will help researchers in medicine, agriculture, materials science, + drug development test potential discoveries.Previous versions only predicted the structures of proteins


OpenAI strikes licensing deal with the magazine giant behind People

Dotdash Meredith, publisher of People, Better Homes & Gardens, Investopedia, Food & Wine, and InStyle, signed a deal w OpenAI to use AI models for its ad-targeting product, D/Cipher. In turn, Dotdash Meredith will license its content to ChatGPT.

Meet AdVon, the AI-Powered Content Monster Infecting the Media Industry

Remember that AI company behind Sports Illustrated’s fake writers? It’s got tendrils into other surprisingly prominent publications.

Leaked Deck Reveals How OpenAI Is Pitching Publisher Partnerships

The AI firm has courted publishers, like Dotdash Meredith, to partner by promising payment and greater visibility in search results.

How One Author Pushed the Limits of AI Copyright

HT @JaneFriedman Elisa Shupe, a retired US Army vet who self-published her novel w extensive help from ChatGPT, got limited protection by the US Copyright Office. No one can copy the book without permission, but specific sentences/paras are not protected

Randy Travis gets his voice back in a new Warner AI music experiment

For the first time since a 2013 stroke left country singer Randy Travis unable to speak or sing properly, he has released a new song. He didn’t sing it, though; instead, the vocals were created with AI software and a surrogate singer. The producers created it by training an unnamed AI model, starting with 42 of his vocal-isolated recordings. Then, under the supervision of Travis and his career-long producer Kyle Lehning, fellow country singer James DuPre laid down the vocals to be transformed into Travis’ by AI.

After AI beat them, professional Go players got better and more creative

For many decades, it seemed professional Go players had reached a hard limit on how well it is possible to play. They were not getting better. Decision quality was largely plateaued from 1950 to the mid-2010s. Then, in May 2016, DeepMind demonstrated AlphaGo, an AI that could beat the best human Go players. Were the moves getting better because some players cheated by using the AI? №1 They really were getting better. And it wasn’t simply that they imitated the AI, in a mechanical way. They got more creative, too. There was an uptick in historically novel moves and sequences.

OpenAI working on new AI image detection tools

OpenAI has a tool to detect if an image was made w DALL-E, as well as new watermarking methods to more clearly flag content it generates, incl if image is cropped, compressed, or the saturation is changed

TikTok is adding an ‘AI-generated’ label to watermarked 3rd-party content

TikTok already automatically applies an “AI-generated” tag to content on its platform made using TikTok’s AI tools, & now will apply to content created on other platforms.

OpenAI’s New Tool Will Give Artists Control Over Their Data — but It’s Unclear How

ChatGPT developer OpenAI says that artists & content owners will be able to request that their work be excluded from use in AI development. Many details of this remain unclear

Burnout is pushing workers to use AI — Even if their boss doesn’t know

75% of people in desk jobs are already using AI at work, + the amount of people using AI has doubled over the past 6 months. The vast majority of workers using AI are “bringing their own AI tools” rather than waiting for their companies to guide them.

101 real-world gen AI use cases from the world’s leading organizations

I thought this was an interesting set of AI Use Cases from Google.

Met Gala Deepfakes Are Flooding Social Media

AI-generated images of Katy Perry, Rihanna, and more celebrities in Met Gala refinement took over X and other platforms Monday night.

Publishing & Media

The Book You’re Reading Might Be Wrong

HT @KathMSchmidt Most nonfiction isn’t fact-checked. The Kristi Noem saga could change that — but it probably won’t.

Check these 16 Freelance Rate Databases for a more transparent look into setting freelance rates

RT @kaitarford Wondering what to charge clients? I rounded up a few freelance rate databases, surveys, and resources to consult as a freelancer. Give it a read, and if you like it, please share.

Book Business AI Showcase: Hypnovels and Maven

MT @PublishersWkly In the first of an ongoing series of articles spotlighting book business–related AI startups, we take a look at Hypnovels, a book trailers and video generator, and Maven, a publisher that allows you to ask questions of books through WhatsApp.

Checking facts with players who are still in the game

Some insight from ⁦⁦@MikeShatzkin

Amazon Launches Massive Six-Day Book Sale

RT @PublishersWkly The inaugural Amazon Book Sale will run from May 15–20 and feature deep discounts on thousands of books. The e-retailer is touting the event as “The Book Sale of Your Dreams” — a characterization sure to draw the attention of all segments of the industry.

Vice Media partners with Savage Ventures to relaunch digital brands

Vice Media will create a joint venture to relaunch its digital properties, including, Munchies, Motherboard, and Noisey. Savage Ventures will invest “tens of millions of dollars” into it. Vice is officially a B2B biz now — it’s focusing efforts on making content for others (Vice Studios for distributors, Vice Virtue

for marketers). It sold its 2 consumer brands (ID, Refinery29) & now this joint venture will manage day-to-day operations for its remaining consumer sites, except Vice News.

Lineup Publishing says it plans to relaunch Deadspin next week

The site’s new owners based in Malta have offered few details on the plans for the website. G/O Media sold ‘Deadspin’ and laid off its entire staff in March. It appears the new Deadspin will focus on sports betting.

Refinery29 will take over Beautycon

MT @sarafischer Refinery29 sold to Vice Media at a $400M valuation in 2019. It sold to Sundial last month for around $30M. It wasn’t profitable then but it is now.

Book Banners Take the Fight to Public Libraries

MT @PENamerica Not just school libraries: public libraries are also facing attacks over LGBTQ+ literature and books about sexual health.

Huntsville (AL) librarian speaks out on a bill that could criminalize librarians

MT @EveryLibrary Alabama is proposing two bills that remove obscenity exemptions for libraries. This means extremist groups and the Attorney General could sue libraries for books they deem inappropriate, and librarians could face criminal charges.

Cy-Fair (TX) ISD board votes to remove controversial topics from several textbooks

HT @kishizuka The Cypress-Fairbanks, TX, Independent School District school board voted to remove textbook chapters that reference climate change, vaccines, diversity and human growth.

Resources & Opportunities

TEDx Talks: How to Pitch One & Nail the Booking

5/15 from 6–7pm ET. Free for WMG members, $15 for non-members.

A Power Hour Conversation with NPR’s Ayesha Rascoe

Includes her book “HBCU Made!” 6/6 6–7pm ET. Virtual. $25 for members, $30 for non-members.

Legal Vetting of Media Content: What You Need to Know Before You Publish

6/12 12–1pm ET. Virtual. Free for members, $15 for non-members.

Using Social Media to Grow Your Brand

With Lisa Durden from ABC News. 6/20 12–1pm ET. Virtual. Free for members, $15 for non-members.

Publishing Bootcamp 101

6/17 9–5 in-person in NYC via @nybookforum.

May Pitch Calls & Writing Jobs

Via @job_writers

Writing Contests, Grants & Awards

Announcing the 2024 NYC Media Lab & Bertelsmann Challenge


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Kathy Sandler

Sr Mgr, Content Applications, Penguin Random House * Innovation * Technology * Publishing * Opinions expressed are my own