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Podmine: a platform for podcast summaries

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Subash Chapagain
Subash Chapagain Oct 02, 2020
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Do you love knowledge-laden audio contents but lack the time to listen to all of it?

After 2010, there has been an unprecedented rise in the number of podcasts and similar audio contents on the internet. Podcasts and long-form conversational audio contents have gained popularity not only because the internet has re-invented storytelling (and hence listening), but these contents are full of knowledge and practical wisdom.

No matter what the domain is -from relationships to psychology, politics and law- podcasts are popular because they are the source of expert knowledge, presented first hand ( mainly as guest-interviews). Podcasts make the content more palatable because they are less energy and attention-demanding than reading a book. We can go about cooking, cleaning the house or exercising while we plug in our best podcasts. This is particularly useful when we have busy schedules and a hurried lifestyle.

However, due to the ease of production and widespread access to internet, there is an overwhelming amount of podcasts and audio contents. Given that the average podcast sessions tend to be at least one hour long, it sometimes becomes too tough to choose from a large number of identical podcasts. Moreover, though the wisdom and knowledge garnered by podcasts is amassing, it sometimes becomes too much to handle. As such, how can we manage to not invest too much time on the internet, yet acquire the insights given by the contents like podcasts?
A podcast-summarising platform can be one possible solution to this. Using this platform, people can find the best-suited audio contents without having to invest much time lisetning to a number of contents before finding what they are searching for. Such summaries for the podcast would save the time of users and help them select the audio contents according to their taste and needs. For example, if I am genuinely interested in the history of science, I can generate summaries of all the podcasts that I have listened to on that domain. If someone else is as much interested as I am, he/she will see my summary and decide whether or not to listen to the podcast. Similarly, I can benefit from someone else's summary in a different domain, say, for instance, politics. The person with more interest in politics will create summaries for all political podcasts he/she has listened to, from which I can choose to listen to the ones that seriously interest me.

The platform can make use of categorization and relevant tagging to ease up the selectivity. Also, the summaries can serve as a general take-home messages from each podcast enlisted, hence only those who are genuinely interested can give a full listen. Ones who just want to skim through can do away with the summaries themselves. Do you think this idea is executionable? How can we improve it?

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General comments

Marq Malek
Marq Malek4 years ago
Ive looked into starting something like this up, Checkout podclips. Its not automated. Has other issues, tell me how i could do it better :)
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Anja M
Anja M4 years ago
Definitely supporting the idea.
Although I am still waging the pros and cons of human vs automated summaries. The latter is better for the reasons Juran said, and it is probably faster, but the former is better if there would be a team of people already in a couple of topics and into podcasts. This would mean that not only they would make better summaries, but also they would need less time and would know on what to focus their attention on. Additionally, if it's a job that pays, it is good for a small financial bliss of those people, as well. :)
However, for whichever option we decide, I think it's also good to make certain sections of the audio/video with a short explanation of the part and a division well-done, so that if someone is: not as interested/does not have time/can follow that particular part withouth needing much of the previous information in the video, can skip and listen to that. Additionally, it is good if you need a reminder of something particular from the podcast.
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jnikola4 years ago
I fully support the idea, because I often listen to really long and unuseful podcasts. What I see as the problem could be the platform practicality. It would be a bit clumsy to use one platform to search and listen to full podcasts (assuming all podcasts are under some sort of protection), and the other one to search for podcast summaries. It could work out with summaries containing direct links to the original podcasts, but it would still be much easier if you have it in one place. That is why maybe it would be easier to develop an amazing podcast summarizing tool and sell it to Google Podcasts or Apple. Considering the process of summarizing itself, I think it should be AI-powered, with speech-to-text translation, keywords recognition, and listening statistics - all automatic. Statistics would contain information on whether people listen to some podcasts and podcast parts more than once (also distinguishing if it is very interesting or just badly taped). It would then collect terms and contexts used in podcasts and maybe also suggest to multiple anonymous experts a set of podcast transcripts to make a review podcast (like in science). It would also be very useful to add a function to tag certain parts of the podcast (maybe even the simplest tags like useful, boring, exciting, questionable, fake-news, etc.), like Darko mentioned. It would help to generate podcast statistics and improve the search and summarizing algorithms. The reasons why I think the mostly automated summaries would be better than manual ones are the same as Shubhankar introduced - subjectivity and long-lasting.
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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni4 years ago
Multiple people may extract multiple meanings and construct diverse useful bits of interpretation from a single podcast. A podcast can, therefore, be able to be summarized by multiple people. The summaries can then be rated/ voted and sorted accordingly.
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Darko Savic
Darko Savic4 years ago
It sounds very useful. Many would surely need it. An additional element to incorporate is dividing the podcasts by timestamps. So that people can easily know where their part of interest begins. I often see this done in the comments section of long youtube videos. Some good person summarizes and timestamps the video.
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