The TL;DR Era
I have made this letter longer than usual, because I lack the time to make it short — Blaise Pascal
We live in the age of “TL;DR“s and 140 character long texts: bite-sized content that is easy to consume and quick to digest. We’re so used to skimming through feeds of TL;DRs for acquiring information and knowledge about our friends and surroundings, that we barely sit through reading a whole article unless we find it extremely interesting.
It’s not necessarily a “bad” thing though – we are getting an option to exchange breadth for depth, which gives us more control over how we acquire new information with a higher overall efficiency.
This is an option we previously did not have, as most of the content was produced in long form and often without considering reader’s time constraints. But in the age of Internet, textual content must compete with other types of media such as images and videos, that are inherently easier to consume.
Vision: The Brevity Knob
In an ideal world, every piece of content should come with a knob attached to it that lets you adjust its length and depth by just turning the knob in either direction, towards brevity or verbosity:
- If it’s a movie, you would start with a trailer and based on how interesting you find it, you could turn the knob to watch the whole movie, or a 60 or 30-minute version of it.
- For a Wikipedia article, you would start with the gist, and then gradually turn the knob to learn more and gain deeper knowledge about the subject.
- When reading news, you would read one or two sentences that describe the event in short and if needed, you’d turn the knob to add a couple more paragraphs and some context to the story.
This is our simplistic vision for how summarization technology should work.
At AYLIEN we’ve been working on a Text Summarization technology that works just like the knob we described above: you give it some text, a news article perhaps, specify the target length of your summary, and our Summarization API automatically summarizes your text for you. Using it you can turn an article like this:
Into a handful of key sentences:
- Designed to promote a healthier balance between our real lives and those lived through the small screens of our digital devices, Moment tracks how much you use your phone each day, helps you create daily limits on that usage, and offers “occasional nudges” when you’re approaching those limits.
- The app’s creator, Kevin Holesh, says he built Moment for himself after realizing how much his digital addictions were affecting his real-world relationships.
- My main goal with Moment was make me aware of how many minutes I’m burning on my phone each day, and it’s helped my testers do that, too.”
- The overall goal with Moment is not about getting you to “put down your phone forever and go live in the woods,” Holesh notes on the app’s website.
- There’s also a bonus function in the app related to whether or not we’re putting our phone down in favor of going out on the town, so to speak – Moment can also optionally track where you’ve been throughout the day.
A New Version
Today we’re happy to announce a new version of our Summarization API that has numerous advantages over the previous versions and gives you more control over the length of the generated summary.
Two new parameters
sentences_percentage allow you to control the length of your summary. So to get a summary that is 10% of the original text in length, you would make the following request:
curl --get --include "https://aylien-text.p.mashape.com/summarize?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.bbc.com%2Fsport%2F0%2Ffootball%2F25912393&sentences_percentage=10" -H "X-Mashape-Key: YOUR_MASHAPE_KEY"