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The Rosetta Edition

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The Rosetta Edition

"Philip Parker" redirects here. For the English politician, died 1675, see Philip Parker (of Erwarton). For the English politician, c. 1625–1690, see Sir Philip Parker, 1st Baronet.

Philip M. Parker (born June 20, 1960) holds the INSEAD Chair Professorship of Management Science at INSEAD (Fontainebleau, France). He has patented a method to automatically produce a set of similar books from a template which is filled with data from database and internet searches.[1] He claims that his programs have written over 200,000 books.[2][3] Parker publishes the automated books through Icon Group International, using several Icon group subheadings. Via EdgeMaven Media, he also provides applications for firms from different business domains to create their own computer-authored content material.[4][5]


Born dyslexic, Parker early on developed a passion for dictionaries.[3] He gained undergraduate degrees in mathematics, biology, and economics. He received a Ph.D. in business economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and has master's degrees in finance and banking from Aix-Marseille University and managerial economics from Wharton.

He was a senior consultant at EMCI, and an economist for Nathan Associates in Washington, D.C., before moving to graduate business school and research institution INSEAD.[6]


Books on economics

As well as co-authoring some technical economic articles, Parker has written six books on national economic development and economic divergence. These insist that consumer utility and consumption functions must be bounded by physical laws, against economic axioms which violate laws of physics such as conservation of energy.

  • Climatic Effects on Individual, Social and Economic Behavior, Greenwood Press, 1995
  • Cross-Cultural Statistical Encyclopedia of the World, Greenwood Press, 1997. A four-volume encyclopedia, which recasts international national economic statistics of the world into linguistic, religious, and ethnic groups.
  • Physioeconomics: The Basis for Long-Run Economic Growth. MIT Press, 2000. This forecasts global economic and demographic trends to the year 2100: he concludes that long-run economic convergence between different cultural groups is unlikely. He provides an explanation of why distance from the equator matters in economic development. His explanation of the equatorial paradox is based on the following:
    1. humans are tropical mammals, most adapted to live in a climate with temperature around 25 °C (77 °F);
    2. as the distance from the equator increases, the angle of the sun is smaller and the average temperature goes down, and one's exposure to natural sunlight diminishes;
    3. to survive in places distant from the equator, people had to learn and master how to produce clothes, food, etc., to survive, not for luxury;
    4. from this point of view, GDP is heavily weighted as an indicator of natural misery of the environment one lives in;
    5. by mastering methods to survive over centuries humans in the higher latitudes accumulated more knowledge and physical technologies to produce goods;
    6. as populations increased, social technologies (institutions, law, etc.) developed as adaptive mechanisms;
    7. these social technologies and cultural traits enabled reproduction of social and physical technologies over centuries of increasing cumulative social, cultural and physical capital.

Online dictionary

Parker is also involved—as entrepreneur publisher and editor—in new media reference work projects. He is the instigator of Webster's Online Dictionary: The Rosetta Edition, a multilingual online dictionary created in 1999 and using the "Webster's" name, now in the public domain.[7][8][9] This site compiles different online dictionaries and encyclopedia including the Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913), the , and World Heritage Encyclopedia.[10]

Automatically generated books

Most of Parker's automatically generated books target niche markets (the "long tail" concept). Examples include:

  • Books series on medical subjects published by Icon Health Publications and coauthored with James N. Parker. The Official Patient's Sourcebook series deals with classic diseases like spinal stenosis or autoimmune hepatitis.[11][12] The 3-in-1 Medical Reference series deals with general medical topics like hemoglobin.[13]
  • A series on the future demand for certain products in certain regions in the world, largely consisting of tables and graphs, published by his company Icon Group International, Inc. One book, The 2009-2014 World Outlook for 60-milligram Containers of Fromage Frais, won the 2008 Bookseller/Diagram Prize for Oddest Title of the Year.[14]
  • A series on cross-language crossword puzzle books, e.g. Webster's English to Italian Crossword Puzzles: Level 1, and thesauri, e.g. Webster's Quechua – English Thesaurus Dictionary published by Icon Group International, Inc. Some of these titles raised concerns with linguists who claimed inaccuracies and ownership/citation rights in certain languages covered in these volumes. Parker removed the concerned titles from print stating that he had not known that anyone claimed intellectual property rights over languages.[15]
  • A series of quotation collections subtitled Webster's Quotations, Facts and Phrases, each volume assembling quotations which feature a specific English word. Excerpts are drawn from public domain literary sources and reference works, and from World Heritage Encyclopedia articles (identified as "WP" after a quotation).[16]

All books are self-published paperbacks. Ninety-five percent of the ordered books are sent out electronically; the rest are print on demand.[3] He plans to extend the programs to produce romance novels.[2]

Economic-development initiatives

Beginning in 1998, Parker launched literacy initiatives, based on his consultations with the World Bank, designed to create educational materials for under-served languages. These have included programs which can produce scripts for animated game shows intended to teach English to non-native speakers, some of which are available on YouTube. Recently he has collaborated with various projects sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In one project, Parker worked with Plant Resources of Tropical Africa (PROTA) by assisting researchers to more quickly synthesize the dispersed information on useful tropical plants. This resulted in the creation of a public access portal covering the biodiversity of plants in Africa.[17] In another he is engaged in creating automated rural radio weather programs in collaboration with Farmer Voice Radio.[18] Similar projects are underway with The Grameen Foundation, Farm Radio International, and the GSM Association, generating radio scripts, agricultural call center content, and SMS content platforms in Kenya, Uganda, Malawi, and India, among other developing counties.[19]

Digital poetry

Using a collection of automation programs called "Eve," Parker has applied his techniques within his dictionary project to digital poetry; he reports posting over 1.3 million poems, aspiring to reach one poem for each of words found in the English language.[20] He refers to these as "graph theoretic poems" since they are generated using graph theory, where "graph" refers to mathematical values that relate words to each other in a semantic web. He has posted in the thesaurus section of his online dictionary the values used in these algorithms. Genres produced include the following: acrostic, butterfly, cinquain, diamante, ekphrastic, fib or Fibonacci poetry, gnomic poetry, haiku, Kural, limerick, mirror cinquain, nonet, octosyllable, pi, quinzaine, Rondelet, sonnet, tanka, unitoum, waka, simple verse, and xenia epigram. Genres were created by Parker to allow one genre of poem for each letter of the English alphabet, including Yoda, for Y (poetry using the grammar structure of the famous Star Wars character), and Zedd for Z (poems shaped like the letter Z). His poems are didactic in nature, and either define the entry word in question, or highlight its antonyms. He has stated plans to expand these to many languages and is experimenting with other poetic forms.[21]


Sources for the content of some books are electronic databases. These sources are cited in the published works.[22][23]

See also

Biography portal
Books portal
Economics portal


Further reading
  • The Guardian. Retrieved February 24, 2012.
  • The Guardian. Retrieved February 24, 2012.

External links

  • Faculty page at INSEAD
  • WorldCat catalog)
  • WorldCat catalog)
  • Video of Phil Parker explaining his software
  • Philip M. Parker's poetry site written using computer algorithms
  • Philip M. Parker's anagram site with anagrams found in natural language strings

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