In the 2012 US Presidential election, only 38% of 18 - 24 year olds voted compared to 76% of 45 - 64 year olds. What does that mean for us? People who are much older than our generation have a lot more influence on the policies that will affect us the most. We wanted to bridge this gap by empowering youth in understanding presidential candidate platforms. Instead of blindly voting for the candidate with the most media noise, we wanted to elucidate each candidate's stance for a variety of common issues. By making this information clear and easy to monitor, we hope that the younger generation will start to participate more in politics since it determines so much of our future!

What it does

Using text processing algorithms from Indico and transcripts of speeches and interviews on YouTube, Glas4 assembles a collection of video snippets of candidates organized by topic. You can organize the snippets to get a clear, bite-size view of each candidate’s thoughts on the issues, in their own words.

How I built it

  • Parse was used for data storage, provided the domain, and AWS provided the hosting
  • For the backend, we used the Indico text processing API and applied it to text captions extracted from a set of YouTube videos, implementing our code in Python.
  • The frontend was built in React, using the Flux design pattern to apply changes in UI state
  • Webpack for frontend build tools

Challenges I ran into

  • Figuring out what the hell to do
  • Getting captions from YouTube videos (surprisingly finicky)
  • Staying awake

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

  • Finishing
  • Learning to use Parse and building a sexy website
  • Kasra: managing to contribute at my first hackathon (despite leaving my laptop behind on the bus!)
  • Debugging mysterious JavaScript bugs all through the night

What's next for Glas4

  • Better authentication that a candidate is really the one speaking (via voice recognition)
  • Fine-tuning video timing (e.g. get an entire argument into a segment rather than just most obviously topical sentences)
  • Automatically finding quality videos of candidates speaking
  • Providing this service for more countries since the rise of a intertwining global economy means that we are invested in the politics of those countries as well
  • Including a short description of what the different issues mean and what legislation pertains to it
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