Wordtune launches commercial AI tool for summarising walls of text

Wordtune launches commercial AI tool for summarising walls of text Ryan is a senior editor at TechForge Media with over a decade of experience covering the latest technology and interviewing leading industry figures. He can often be sighted at tech conferences with a strong coffee in one hand and a laptop in the other. If it's geeky, he’s probably into it. Find him on Twitter (@Gadget_Ry) or Mastodon (@gadgetry@techhub.social)

A number of AI tools are cropping up to summarise text and Wordtune is throwing its hat in the ring.

Faced with a wall of text, many of us are guilty of closing the page and moving on with our busy lives. Research suggests that UK employees and students are spending almost an hour a day on average reading for work-related purposes and over a third (37%) are suffering work-related “reading fatigue”.

Wordtune Read is a new AI reading tool claiming to help people read long, complex documents up to 75 percent faster. The tool can be fed with a URL or a PDF file.

“The knowledge that can be obtained from reading is powerful, but most of us don’t have time to consume all the information we need,” said Yoav Shoham, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Wordtune developer AI21 Labs.

“The fundamental way we read has barely changed since the invention of the Gutenberg printing press and we wanted to challenge this through innovation.”

Here’s what Wordtune Read looks like when used on one of my longer recent articles:

On the left is the original text, while on the right is the summarised version.

For the most part, Wordtune Read provides a decent high-level summary and it’s easy to see how it could prove a powerful tool for anyone wanting to get the information they need more quickly.

“Wordtune Read is not looking to replace people, instead we want to augment the process of reading for them across a number of practical scenarios,” Shoham tells AI News.

“We believe that being able to consume documents such as business reports, articles, and academic papers quickly is a more helpful tool than summarising fiction that is being read for pleasure.”

However, Wordtune Read is not yet completely flawless. Here’s an example of where it trips up on some of the finer details:

In the screenshot, you can see how the two new engines mentioned in the original text are supposed to be DRIVE Sim and Isaac Sim. The tool incorrectly said that CloudXR was one of the two new engines before then calling all of the following announcements “new engines”.

The error in this case isn’t going to cause any major problems, but far more embarrassing – or even dangerous – summaries could be presented. Such tools need to come with clear warnings not to be used for, say, summarising a manual for machinery.

Other text-summarising AIs

While it’s among the first to launch a commercial product, Wordtune isn’t the only company exploring the use of AI to summarise text. 

In December last year, it was unveiled that Meta is developing a tool for Facebook called TL;DR that will use AI to summarise long articles into bullet points.

Such a tool could help to counter the issue of people sharing and commenting on articles without actually reading them. On the other hand, any errors from the AI could see platforms like Facebook officially automating the spreading of misinformation.

In September 2021, OpenAI also demonstrated an impressive model that tests scalable alignment techniques by summarising books. It can summarise as much as needed—going from an entire book, down to a chapter, all the way to a single page.

“The concepts behind Wordtune Read and OpenAI’s recent book-summarising model are fundamentally different and, as a result, the models themselves are trained for different tasks,” Shoham told us, when asked how the models behind Wordtune Read and OpenAI compare.

“With Wordtune Read we’ve taken a product-driven approach to launch a consumer-friendly solution built with real-life scenarios in mind.”

While OpenAI’s model was mostly successful, the AI giant conceded in a paper that it did generate some inaccurate statements. That seems to be fairly par for the course at this point given the aforementioned occasional hiccups with Wordtune’s new tool.

Wordtune Read remains an interesting and potentially powerful tool for summarising long text, but it’s clear that it shouldn’t yet be fully relied on for anything that could be mission-critical or has the potential to cause injury.

(Image Credit: Wordtune)

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