Okoai.TECH: Making Intelligent News Feed a Reality

 In Interviews


Artificial Intelligence is redefining human lives at various levels. Now, it has found its way into your daily news. We speak with Pedro Vilhena, co-founder at okoAI.TECH, to understand how they are using artificial intelligence to make newsrooms smarter and news more intelligent.

pedro-vilhena_ai-oko intelligent news feed
Pedro Vilhena, co-founder at okoAI.TECH

What is an AI-powered intelligent news feed? How does it work?

An AI-powered web application is designed to assist journalists and newsrooms in the process of news discovery. In our case, the Intelligent News Feed can ingest information and news from various sources such as websites, RSS feeds, emails, newsletters, and so on, and is not restricted to any specific format. It can match the same story from text, video and audio sources; thereby enabling newsrooms to centralize all the information in one place and study the broader view of each story.

After this process, it summarizes the incoming articles and verifies if a story is relevant or not. Finally, these summaries are displayed on a web interface where journalists and editors can view them all and subsequently collaborate with their colleagues and teams.

How does the automatic summarization work?

Automatic summarization is done using Natural Language Processing (NLP). There are two main types of automatic summarization:

  • Abstractive summarization: This is very similar to human-summarization and involves ‘understanding’ the main ideas of a text and then writing the summary using new sentences.
  • Extractive summarization: This involves ranking the relevance of each sentence of the text and then linking the most relevant source sentences into a summary.

At oko, we use extractive summarization to ensure that journalists and editors have a neutral summary of the story; one that is precise. Also, the main goal of our summaries is not to provide ‘ready to publish’ texts but to help journalists and editors swiftly evaluate the relevance of a story.

oko at UPTEC’s School of Startups demo day

What is your take on the concept of Al? What does the future hold for it?

Artificial Intelligence can be classified into two categories; Narrow AI and Broad AI.

Narrow AI refers to systems of specific tasks (like our Intelligent News Feed) and Broad AI refers to systems that can be intelligent enough to multitask and reproduce and exceed the capacities of human intelligence.

In the near future, we believe Narrow AI will be more prevalent as there will be a major focus on human-machine interaction. The tools that will emerge will be to automate and optimize processes, so humans can perform their activities faster, more efficiently and on a larger scale.

Who would be your biggest customers? How will Oko add value to them?

Our customers will primarily include newspapers, news magazines, TV channels and news agencies. Our goal is to provide the news industry access to cutting-edge technology and build powerful, scalable and flexible solutions to help them boost their productivity and efficiency.

After iterating and training our algorithms with experienced journalists and editors, our Intelligent News Feed is now saving 80% of the spends on the news discovery process. Also, oko’s Intelligent News Feed has enabled our clients to experience a quicker response to the latest stories and keep track on what/how other key players are publishing.

Tell us about your experience of being part of the Portuguese startup ecosystem.

Oko has been part of the Portuguese ecosystem since the very first day. Back in the day, we attended the school of startups program at the Science and Technology Park of University of Porto (UPTEC), one of the biggest Portuguese incubators. There we won the ‘Best Tech Award’, that gave us access to 6 months of incubation. At UPTEC, we had the chance to build a strong network and have access to mentors from the news industry and the startup world.

Renowned companies, such as Microsoft, have been supporting the Portuguese startup ecosystem and this year they highlighted oko in Portugal Startups Spotlight 2017. Since then, we’ve participated in  Ativar Portugal Startups, and most recently, Microsoft Innovation Challenge 2017.

What are you looking forward to the most at Web Summit? How are you preparing for your exhibit at the event?

At Web Summit, we are eagerly looking forward to meeting with journalists and editors, not for media coverage but to get a feedback on oko’s solutions. We are also looking to meet potential international clients to grow our business outside of Portugal and we have already started contacting them to schedule meetings.

OkoAI.TECH is a member of the Startup League and has received a 100% sponsorship for the ALPHA package at WebSummit this year. Are you a startup looking for marketing support? Visit www.startupleague.online to know more.

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