AI and Reading
With the rapid development of AI technology, its applications and advantages in reading assistance have become increasingly apparent. By combining various functions, AI allows us to read more efficiently and enjoyably. AI can automatically classify and organize information, analyze large amounts of text quickly, and help us find content that truly interests us, saving us a lot of time searching and reading irrelevant information. For example, news applications can automatically recommend related news based on users’ reading habits, providing a more personalized reading experience. In addition, text summarization and key information extraction are important applications of AI in reading. These technologies can quickly identify key information from a large number of articles and generate concise summaries, allowing us to quickly understand the main content of the article and save valuable time. In academic research and business analysis, this technology is significant in improving work efficiency. Furthermore, advances in language translation and speech synthesis by AI have also made reading more convenient. Language translation technology can translate foreign language texts into our native language in real time, allowing us to easily read information from all over the world and expand our knowledge horizons. Speech synthesis technology can convert text into speech, enabling us to continue learning by listening to articles during busy times such as commuting, exercising, or doing household chores. Finally, reading aids and personalized recommendations are another important aspect of AI that improves the reading experience. These tools can recommend relevant articles and books based on our reading habits, interests, and needs. By analyzing our past reading behavior, these tools can more accurately find content that suits our tastes, making our reading more enjoyable.
Although the application of AI technology in reading has brought us many conveniences and advantages, making reading more efficient and providing us with more personalized and diverse reading choices, there are also many issues that we need to pay attention to. Firstly, when AI understands and analyzes articles, it may not have the same level of deep understanding and background knowledge as humans. It may overlook some important information or oversimplify certain content. Therefore, compared to human reading, AI reading may generate a certain degree of misunderstanding and bias. Secondly, AI may not have the critical thinking skills that humans possess when reading. It is difficult for AI to question the views in the article and put forward its own opinions. This can lead to excessive reliance on AI reading, which may weaken people’s critical thinking and independent judgment. In addition, AI reading tools may not be able to understand and appreciate the depth and connotation of literary works when dealing with articles containing multiple meanings or metaphors. This means that completely relying on AI reading may affect people’s perception and experience of artistic and humanistic values.
On the other hand, the effort that humans put into reading has irreplaceable value. Firstly, human reading can cultivate our thinking and analytical skills. Thinking and questioning during the reading process helps us better understand the content of the article and improve our critical thinking skills. In addition, through reading, we can expand our knowledge, learn professional knowledge from different fields, and improve our academic and professional skills. Secondly, the effort put into human reading also helps to cultivate emotional resonance and aesthetic ability. Through in-depth reading of literary works, we can feel the author’s emotions and creativity, enriching our spiritual world. This emotional and aesthetic experience is difficult to replace by AI reading. Finally, human reading can promote interdisciplinary and cross-cultural communication. By reading articles from different fields and cultural backgrounds, we can broaden our horizons, learn new perspectives and methods, and stimulate innovative thinking. This interdisciplinary and cross-cultural communication contributes to the development and progress of human society, which is difficult for AI reading to achieve.
We can achieve this goal through several steps.
Therefore, to fully leverage the advantages of AI reading tools while maintaining the value and meaning of human reading, we need to integrate the two and achieve a positive balance. We can achieve this goal through several steps.
- First, use AI reading tools to organize and classify a large amount of data to improve reading efficiency. By automatically identifying and analyzing key information in texts, AI tools can help us quickly find topics and content of interest, shorten the time for data searching and filtering. At the same time, these tools can also provide personalized reading recommendations based on our needs and interests, which can help broaden our horizons and improve our academic research level.
- Then, during the reading process, humans should actively raise questions, challenge and critically analyze the views and information in the text. Although AI reading tools can provide us with a wealth of valuable data, we should not blindly accept this information, but should conduct independent thinking and critical analysis. Through questioning and reflection, we can better understand the content and meaning of the text, and on this basis, extract and integrate our own viewpoints and ideas.
The specific process and tools are as follows:
- Use AI to organize and read the target reading materials: services such as ChatDOC or ChatPDF can be used.
- Actively ask questions and engage in critical thinking: instead of letting the machine simply produce summaries or overall ideas, use a question-and-answer format to gradually implement the thinking process, while also thinking while reading. This process is different from using powerful automatic summarization software such as Genei or Scholarcy. Using ChatDOC or ChatPDF instead requires a lot of manual steps to achieve similar results. However, because of these manual steps, we can conduct thinking and further questioning in the process to achieve closed-loop thinking.
- Copy and paste meaningful summaries or question-and-answer segments: Finally, keep the entire thinking process, and it is recommended to use a manual process and conduct thinking and editing during the cutting and pasting process. This process is similar to the process of cutting and organizing newspaper clippings in the past. Often, this seemingly cumbersome process is the key step in extracting the essence. Personally, I use DEVONthink to save my files and can create linked annotations.
AI reading assistance technology will continue to improve and upgrade, better meeting people’s reading needs. Possible trend directions include:
- AI reading tools will become more intelligent and personalized, better understanding users’ needs and interests, and providing more accurate reading recommendations and resource integration.
- Artificial intelligence will combine with other emerging technologies (such as virtual reality and augmented reality) to provide users with more immersive and diverse reading experiences.
- AI reading tools will continue to improve the accuracy and naturalness of language translation and speech synthesis, making cross-language and cross-cultural reading communication more convenient and efficient.
- Artificial intelligence will play a greater role in reading education, improving students’ reading abilities and interests through personalized teaching and intelligent counseling. For example, AI reading tools can provide students with suitable reading materials and learning strategies based on their reading level and preferences, promoting their growth and progress.
- Future AI reading tools will pay more attention to human-machine collaboration and interaction, enabling human readers and AI tools to learn and grow together. This not only helps improve reading efficiency but also promotes human creativity and critical thinking.
- I just finished writing two articles, “Integrating ChatGPT and Genei for Efficient Academic Reading and Summarizing” and “[Beyond Knowledge Management: Integrating DEVONthink and Genei for Efficient Information Retrieval and Summarizing“, a few days ago. Today, I wrote this article to contradict myself. Indeed, after trying that efficient workflow for a few days, I found that I was not really reading, but only “using tools”. Although I “felt” like I had “read” the articles, I actually didn’t understand them. Rapid reading is not the real goal, the goal of reading should be to “understand”. Therefore, I am contradicting myself again and providing everyone with some food for thou
- You may have noticed that I rely heavily on ChatGPT to write my articles. I don’t deny it, it’s true. However, I have no objection to AI helping me write articles. It saves me a lot of time in proofreading, and I can use that time to generate outlines and confirm the direction of the article. This has also significantly increased my article output, so I am quite happy with it. Perhaps one day I will write another article saying “stop using AI to write articles”. At that time, I will enjoy the pleasure of contradicting myself!