Recommender System Transparency

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Scribd’s & Everand’s AI Principles: Integrating AI into Your Reading Experience

At Scribd, we're dedicated to enriching your reading journey through the responsible use of AI technology in recommendation systems. Our AI Principles guide every aspect of our AI development, ensuring that our digital library remains a trusted, diverse, and innovative space for readers, storytellers, and publishing partners. Note: because our Terms of Use prohibit use of our products by users under the age of 13, the recommendation systems described here do not apply to minors.

Models, Systems and Approaches 

Understanding User Interests: Understanding your unique preferences is key to our approach to recommendations. We analyze your interactions with our content. Whether you're engaging with a book, audiobook, or document, this model interprets your interests based on these reading patterns, searches, ratings, and saves and uses this as an input into recommendation systems.

Reordering Rows for Relevance: The insights from our User Interest Model feed into our ranking algorithms. These algorithms intelligently reorder the recommendation rows you see, ensuring that the content at the top of your home page is what you're most likely to enjoy. This personalized reordering means that the Scribd universe is aligned with your tastes, making every scroll through our platform a journey of discovery tailored just for you.

Ranking Systems: At Scribd, our approach to content ranking is as diverse and dynamic as the range of content we offer. Our ranking systems vary across different product surfaces, each tailored to optimally present content in its context. From basic ranking algorithms that efficiently organize content based on popularity or relevance, to personalized content rankings based on user interest, our systems are designed to adapt to the varied nature of user interactions and preferences. This variability ensures that each aspect of your Scribd experience, whether you're deep-diving into a specific topic or casually browsing our library, is supported by a ranking system that's best suited for the task.

Editorially Curated: At Scribd, the synergy of human expertise and advanced algorithms is pivotal in crafting a diverse and enriching reading experience. Our editorial team plays a critical role in this, curating recommendation rows for specific launches and notable events. Their insights ensure that our content curation transcends algorithmic suggestions, effectively preventing the 'filter bubble' effect and promoting a breadth of perspectives. This human element is key to our commitment to diversity, allowing us to highlight a wide array of voices and stories, and inviting our users to explore beyond their usual interests.

Semantic Content Model: One of the core models at the heart of our recommendation system is the Semantic Content Model, powered by advanced language learning models (LLMs) to produce semantic embeddings of all our content. This model analyzes the semantic content of documents to understand their context and meaning, making it possible to recommend similar content across our various brands and content types. This not only enhances content discovery but also ensures that recommendations are relevant and engaging.

Interaction Based User Model: Our second core model is the Interaction User Model which employs user and content embeddings to represent the unique preferences of each user. It's a system that learns from your interactions with our content—e.g. what you read and save—to continually refine and personalize the recommendations you receive. This model plays a crucial role in powering various recommendation surfaces, including the "For You" feature, ensuring that what you see is tailored to your reading behavior and interests.

Principled Recommendations 

Our Pledge to AI Transparency and Improvement: At Scribd, our AI Principles are the cornerstone of our commitment to you. We continually strive to innovate responsibly, ensuring our AI features are trustworthy, understandable, diverse, and authentically aligned with our mission. Our aim is to leverage AI not just to recommend content, but to inspire, engage, and respect your journey of reading and discovery.

Encouraging New Discoveries: While we prioritize content that aligns with your established interests, our system is also designed to introduce you to a broader spectrum of ideas and stories. This balance ensures that you're not just confined to your existing preferences but are also presented with opportunities to explore new genres, authors, and topics. It's a delicate equilibrium between the familiar and the novel, aiming to broaden your horizons while keeping you anchored in what you love.

Dynamic and Evolving: Our algorithms are dynamic, learning and evolving with each interaction. As your interests grow and change, so does the content we present to you. This evolution is a core part of our commitment to providing you with a reading experience that is both satisfying and enlightening.

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