Not The Nine A.M. News

I realise I’ve not put anything up regarding ANGELINA’s progress lately, and our research group had a very successful first ‘virtual meeting’ today via Google Plus, so I feel it’s time to update everyone, not just the other CCG researchers, on where ANGELINA is going.

Below is an image taken from the paper Automated Collage Generation – With Intent, written by my supervisor Simon Colton and a then-Masters student Anna Krzeczkowska (as well as contributions from Cambridge researchers Jad El-Hage and Stephen Clark). The collage was made by software that read a Guardian news article about the Afghanistan war, analysed the text for the most relevant words, and arranged Google Image results onto a canvas. This is a favourite example of the group because the images chosen are so apt – bombers, war graves, Afghani children.

It’s not the most elegant arrangement of images, but it’s powerful and entirely novel to the authors of the software. There was no way of telling what Guardian article the software would read (it chose whatever was being written about the day it ran) or the images retrieved. That, to me, is a really exciting bit of AI, producing something interesting to look at. I want some of that in ANGELINA.

Over the past week or two I’ve put into ANGELINA a number of tools for extraction of interesting media sources, including most prominently the same Guardian news sources used by Anna’s software. I’ve added a few tweaks here or there, and made the content retrieval richer using a few techniques. I’ve just run the software (as I’m writing this post!) and it’s chosen an article off the Guardian titled:

François Hollande on top but far right scores record result in French election

ANGELINA managed to deduce that President Sarkozy was a living person (although amusingly, the current techniques I’m using did not detect the same for Francois Hollande!) and even concluded a negative emotional response towards Sarkozy from the public. Here’s some images the software pulled back as a result, first generally about the news story:

That’s everyone’s favourite French extremist-with-a-PR-budget, Marine Le Pen. As a bonus, because ANGELINA knows Sarkozy is a person, it can go and get us some extra material, so it retrieved this too:

The question remains how to use this media most effectively (and some of the retrieval algorithms need more work to get them to bring back more interesting/important results) but the basics are there, and hopefully this will build into something worth publishing over the next few weeks. I’ll keep you posted as to how that goes.

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