Shashua’s AI21 Labs launches tool to help read documents 75% faster

‘Wordtune Read’ uses AI and machine learning to understand large amounts of written text and instantly summarize key information.

 WE WERE intoxicated with technological innovation. (photo credit: Marvin Meyer/Unsplash)
WE WERE intoxicated with technological innovation.
(photo credit: Marvin Meyer/Unsplash)

Amnon Shashua’s AI21 Labs wants to help you read information faster. The company on Monday launched “Wordtune Read,” an artificial intelligence-based reading companion designed to summarize documents and allow readers to get the information 75% faster.

“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 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.”

Wordtune Read uses AI and machine learning to understand large amounts of written text and instantly summarize the key information, helping users get to the point of long documents straight away. Users simply upload a PDF or copy and paste a link of the text they want to read into the tool.

Within seconds, short snippets appear alongside the text that identify and summarize the main themes of the document and help users rapidly decipher complex language. Its Spotlight feature can re-summarize the text from different points of view, putting the emphasis on the information the user is most interested in.

“With Wordtune Read, we’ve gone beyond key sentence extraction to abstraction, creating a true thought companion,” continued Shoham. “Unlike other reading assistants which pull out key sentences, we’ve built a tool that is able to summarize text – a capability that is a lot more complex than rephrasing a sentence, as it requires a deeper understanding of broader context. This way, the tool is able to help people cut a long story short quickly and accurately.” 

 Screenshot of Wordtune Read's interface. (credit: screenshot) Screenshot of Wordtune Read's interface. (credit: screenshot)

According to new research conducted in the UK, employees and students spend almost an hour (56 minutes) a day reading for work-related purposes, which includes articles and reports. Over a third (37%) have admitted to suffering work-related “reading fatigue” and about one in 10 (9%) say they no longer read for pleasure due to this. Wordtune Read addresses this pain point and saves workers and students approximately 42 minutes a day, the company said.  

AI21 Labs is working to open up new technology uses for language and text. In August, the company released the world’s largest and most sophisticated language model, “Jurassic-1 Jumbo,” which can be used in text-based AI applications to read and understand text and learn to generate new text explaining it in multiple languages.

The launch of Wordtune Read follows on from the success of Wordtune, the first AI-based writing companion that understands context and meaning.

AI21 founder Shashua is also the entrepreneur behind autonomous driving company Mobileye, acquired in 2017 for $15.3 billion, the largest-ever acquisition of an Israeli company; OrCam, which develops devices to assist the blind and visually impaired; and the First Digital Bank, which intends to open Israel’s first new bank in 43 years online by the end of this year.