One way artificial intelligence can help authors with their research – for free

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Image credit: Julien Tromeur

You are an author in the planning stage of your latest magnus opus – what are you looking for?

Inspiration.

Ideas.

You might need a setting for key events in your story that is out of the ordinary.

Perhaps it is ideas for the appearance of major or minor characters in your story.

You think you might have some idea of what the setting or character might look like, but wouldn’t it be great if you could find some pictures to help solidify your thoughts?

Your character is a woman who plays the electric guitar – how will you find pictures of her?

Your setting is a coastline with rock stacks or maybe a disused petrochemicals plant?

Maybe you need some reference pictures to send to your cover designer – say a detective wearing a deerstalker hat.

How can artificial intelligence help you here and for free?

There is a good chance you have already benefited from artificial intelligence but might not have been aware of it.  If you haven’t, you’re missing a trick.

Google image search.

Let’s try it for something of those examples above, google.co.uk for me and note that I had “safe search” enabled for this test. The setting is in the top right area of the Google image search page:

The disused petrochemicals plant: Click to open

Detective wearing a deerstalker hat: Click to open

Here is one I am using for my next book – coastline with rock stacks: Click to open

Let’s go for a really challenging and specific example – purple haired woman who plays the electric guitar: Click to open

A mixture of purple haired women and women playing electric guitars in there.  The colour purple often features even though it is not the hair colour. Now try “red head woman playing electric guitar” for yourself.

How in the world does Google image search do this since there is no way so many people are tagging their pictures with titles that allow a keyword search to produce this result?

There is an artificial intelligence query processing “engine” between your search keywords and the world of pictures online that is actually able to analyse the picture itself to understand the subject – fast.  If the image is on a web page with more text around it that can help too.

Have a play with some very specific searches and see what you get.

I’m going to get back to my own research now.  I wonder if I will find an ancient ruined city in a red desert?

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