Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Extracting core concepts with ChatGPT 4 from OCR of scanned sample examination PDF - Feb 2024

I think this is an interesting example of what works and doesn't work on the personal AI front in early 2024.

My son was given a printed practice exam in microeconomics. I wanted ChatGPT 4 to extract and summarize the core concepts. This turned out to require two steps, one of which only worked with Google.

Step One: OCR and download text file

I scanned the document in ScanSnap and produced a scan PDF. I tried getting ChatGPT to do the OCR but it abandoned that task. I then tried Gemini and it told me it didn't do OCR. Next I tried Microsoft Lens, but it seemed to only do OCR from a local image, I couldn't see how to use it with a OneDrive PDF. ChatGPT claimed that I could open a OneDrive PDF in Office 365 Word but that did not work with the web version (perhaps it works with full Word?). ChatGPT did not know of a way to do PDF OCR on Sonoma.

The only thing that worked was Google Drive. It allowed me to open the PDF in Google Docs and then export a .txt version.

Step Two: ChatGPT 4 analysis

I asked ChatGPT 4 to extract the key concepts from the .txt file. It provided a plausible set and then proceeded to answer some of the exam questions. Concepts captured were:
... equilibrium price, consumer's surplus, producer's surplus, total surplus, efficient output levels, negative externalities, deadweight loss (DWL), price ceilings, and the impact of taxes on market outcomes ...

I don't think it added much to the textbook chapter topic loss but it did provide a plausible set of topics to emphasize in my son's studying. I was primarily interested in the workflow today. It will be interesting to look back on this in a year and see what's different.

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