“I very much see generative AI as being a net positive for Pearson” – CEO Andy Bird.

Pearson CEO Andy Bird waxes lyrical about Pearson’s H1 performance this week.

Cumulative paid subscription to Pearson+ increased 200% to 938,000 for the full academic year, compared to 329,000 year-on-year, and the report, summarised neatly over at The Bookseller, has lots of financials to get excited about. Do check out Lauren Brown‘s post if accountancy talk rocks your boat.

But what caught my eye especially was Pearson’s doubling down on its AI engagement, and especially generative AI engagement, at a time when so many publishing operators are running scared.

New generative AI study tools will launch in Pearson+ and Mastering in autumn 2023, the report says, with Pearson explaining:

“These study tools combine Pearson’s trusted content and structured pedagogy with conversational AI capabilities to provide personalised real-time support for students in a secure Pearson product environment, which is free from the noise and corruption of web-based AI models”.

That’s an important distinction publishers might want to consider, as it effectively derails the popular publishing argument against generative AI as being untrustworthy and beyond control.

Put simply, the problem is not the AI itself but the party that controls it.

Bird concluded: “I very much see generative AI as being a net positive for Pearson.”

#AIpublishing #GenerativeAIpublishing #AInetpositive