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NeuralBlock (NB) is a neural network built using Keras/Tensorflow that detects in-video YouTube sponsorships. There is support for both predicting (1) whether or not a text excerpt is a sponsorship (spot) or (2) whether or not this word in the sequence is part of a sponsorship.

NB is loosely based on and inspired by this project. Unlike the aforementioned project, this project leverages the crowd-sourced labels provided by SponsorBlock.

Some examples of NB's predictions are provided in the examples/ directory. The code for the web application is also provided and can be run locally.

High Level Summary

  1. NeuralBlock extracts transcripts from YouTube with YouTubeTranscriptApi.
  2. The SponsorBlock community has already pre-labeled sponsors.
  3. The timestamps from (2) are used to find the sections in the transcript that are sponsorships, thereby creating a training set.
  4. The sequence of text is tokenized using the top 10,000 words found in sponsorships. Note, using a pre-trained word embedding by fastText does not yield better performance.
  5. A bidirectional LSTM RNN is trained.

Using the Web App

Somewhat outdated. To be updated later. Dockerfile can be used

The app/ directory contains a simple flask application that performs the primary functions of and, and presents the results in the browser.

  1. Install flask and other necessary libraries.
  2. Move the models from the data folder into app/models. There should be no subfolders.
  3. Run python app/ from a terminal.
  4. Go to localhost:5000 in a browser.
  5. Submit a valid video ID and click Submit

The results should return in a few seconds. Note, if a good transcript cannot be extracted by YouTubeTranscriptApi, the app will fail.

Predicting On New Data

Somewhat outdated. To be updated later.

  1. Install the python libraries TensorFlow and YouTubeTranscriptApi
  2. Update paths if necessary
  3. Provide a video id (vid). The network was trained on the database as of 3/3/20. Use a video that was created after that date to ensure that the video hasn't already been seen.
  4. Run
  5. Manually inspect the output stored in the variable df or results.

Note, overusing YouTubeTranscriptApi can get your IP banned.

Future Work

  1. Better transcripts: NeuralBlock depends on being able to download the full closed captioning. Some creators disallow auto-generated English captions, making it impossible for NB to predict on. The latter could be resolved through existing speech-to-text projects such as Mozilla's DeepSpeech.
  2. More accurate labels: The labels is imperfect because we don't know the moment a word is spoken, only an approximate time. For example, silence (visual only ad) or really short ad segments are hard to account for.
  3. Incorporate video: Visual cues, such as scene cuts, are also valuable in determining ads and can help with (2).
  4. Support for other languages: Only English is supported at this moment.