from the report
ff04: Summarization

In this report we show how summarization, and algorithms that make text quantifiable, can unlock the value of unstructured text data.

Learn more.

Mars Terraform Expansion S-217

Fatima wakes to a simulated bedroom sunrise and the smell of coffee.

She stretches into her robe as the bed retracts behind her and walks over to inspect her houseplants. She likes the challenge of the heirloom varieties, even if she is on her fourth basil plant this cycle.

She walks over to the kitchen and takes her coffee from the dispenser. After a moment of consideration she instructs it, “Breakfast: yogurt and oatmeal.” Taking her first sip of coffee, she approaches the transparent wall screen that subdivides her studio apartment, swiping up to clear the ambient generative artwork and bring up her morning news brief.

The top item reads “Vote on Mars Terraform Expansion S-217 Today,” followed by headlines on the safety concerns about a new synth-meat hybrid and a fashion piece on the new biomod trend of decorative “dragon scale” skin grafts. An animated reminder to do her morning calisthenics bounces in the lower-right corner.

Fatima blinks at the terraforming headline, opening a one-paragraph summary of the basic issues surrounded by a shifting network graph of opinion writing and video on the issue. She gives an upward nod, dismissing the summary and zooming out to get a feel of the graph. Grouped by similarity of word use and sentiment, the pieces are separated into two main clusters, the pro-terraforming expansionists on the left and eco-conservative anti-expansionists on the right. Smaller clusters appear on the extreme side of each group, tugging them apart, while the moderates hold -- for now -- at the center. Influential opinions appear larger, weighted by shares and recommendations across the social graph. The network web pulses as gravitational forces are adjusted to reflect shifts in public opinion.

A network graph representation of different opinions on the Mars Terraform
Expansion. Eco-conservative views are towards the left and expansionists toward
the right.

Fatima eyes the filter mechanism and directs it to show only sources she's read and recommended before. The display fades out the majority of the nodes, leaving only her trusted sources. She blinks at the display mode toggle and a personalized summary of these sources appears, breaking down the agreements and disagreements between each and putting them in the context of pieces she has previously viewed. The summary indicates that one article, by a source she has found especially influential in the past, has been extremely controversial. She sends that piece to her e-paper. She'll read it in full over breakfast.

A personalized summary of the debate surrounding terraform expansion. Nodes
from the network graph are on the left. An informal summary is on the right,
with different positions highlighted according to their political orientation.

Feeling like she has a reasonable handle on the issue, she zooms back out to the full graph, and switches to the trending view. It's dominated by two impassioned pleas, on the pro-expansion side from a Mars colonist famous for his heroic rescue of a fellow citizen a couple of years back, and on the con side from the authoritative-yet-affable scientist host of a popular space-experience program. The popularity of those pieces is not a surprise, but there is a less familiar presence — an eco-art activist group has created experience-art simulating a haunted post-development Mars, using historical imagery from Earth's eco-crisis. Intrigued, she saves the experience for after breakfast, swipes down to return the screen to its resting animation, and sits down to read and eat.

Cloudera Fast Forward Labs does applied machine learning research and consulting.
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