Today, a start-up called Algorithmia officially launched to the public. It's a marketplace for bots, essentially—a place where researchers and academics can post all manner of algorithms that other people can use, either for free or for a per-use fee.
So far, one of the most popular algorithms on the site is called "Summarizer," which "takes in blocks of text, and extracts key topic sentences." It's been used 429,000 times. This kind of algorithm has been used in apps like Summly for years, but now, it's open-source and free.
We decided to test out Summarizer by running some classic blocks of text through the algorithm, and seeing what it thought were the most important sentences.
1. Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice:
Summarizer's Pride and Prejudice:
However little known the feelings or views of such a man may be on his first entering a neighbourhood, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of the surrounding families, that he is considered the rightful property of some one or other of their daughters. "My dear Mr. Bennet," said his lady to him one day, "have you heard that Netherfield Park is let at last?”
2. The lyrics to Beyoncé's "Drunk in Love"
The lyrics to Summarizer's "Drunk in Love":
I've been drinking, I've been drinking. Why can't I keep my fingers off it, baby. I want you, na na.
3. Langston Hughes' "Harlem":
What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun? Maybe it just sags like a heavy load.
4. Genesis 1, The King James Bible
Genesis 1, The Summarizer Bible (sorry, Adam and Eve!)
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
5. Dr. Seuss's One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish:
Summarizer's One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish
One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish. Black fish, blue fish, old fish, new fish. Some are red.
6. Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address
Summarizer's Gettysburg Address:
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live.
7. Herman Melville's Moby Dick
Summarizer's Moby Dick:
Some years ago—never mind how long precisely—having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world. It is a way I have of driving off the spleen and regulating the circulation. Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people's hats off—then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can.
8. Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn
Summarizer's Huckleberry Finn
YOU don't know about me without you have read a book by the name of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer; but that ain't no matter. Mark Twain, and he told the truth, mainly. I never seen anybody but lied one time or another, without it was Aunt Polly, or the widow, or maybe Mary.
9. Brian McKnight's "Back at One"
Summarizer's "Back at One"
One, you're like a dream come true.
Three, girl it's plain to see, that you're the only one for me.
Five, make you fall in love with me.
10. The first kinky sex scene from E.L. James's 50 Shades of Grey:
The first (much less kinky) sex scene from Summarizer's 50 Shades of Grey:
Suddenly he grabs me, tipping me across his lap. With one smooth movement, he angles his body so my torso is resting on the bed beside him. He places his hand on my naked behind, softly fondling me, stroking around and around with his flat palm.
11. The lyrics to Iggy Azalea's "Fancy"
The lyrics to Summarizer's "Fancy"
First things first, I'm the realest. I can hold you down, like I'm givin' lessons in physics. Cup of Ace, cup of Goose, cup of Cris.