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An Interlay for Food Sustainability

Question answering for food sustainability

Published onJan 22, 2021
An Interlay for Food Sustainability
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Question Answering for Food Sustainability

This example outlines a collection of resources that could be used to answer complex questions about sustainability, while providing context, and tracing the sources of different data, and suggesting possible opportunities for synthesis.

  • "you don't always know what question you're trying to ask until you see some answers"

    • an overlay should expose multiple possible routes to answering a question, allowing the asker to narrow down the query if necessary. An example of this is google translate:

    • one interlay might support and enumerate a diversity of overlays, and draw together the locations of the required resources (or identify where they don’t exist)

1. Context:

  • An example overlay is voice interface for an automated assistant: part of a broader suite that acts as a cooking aid

    • this tool will work alongside + potentially interface to question-answering interfaces that provide information about:

      • ingredient substitutions

      • recipes

      • cooking processes

      • flavour combinations

    • What queries might this overlay require?

    • What kind of interlay might support this and other sources?

  • Question-answering about food sustainability requires a complex set of intersecting datasets, as questions themselves are open to a number of interpretations.

    • The sustainability of different foods is strongly determined by your location, budget, and local food options.

    • 'Sustainability' could apply to greenhouse gas emissions, the seasonality of ingredients, water consumption, animal welfare, the likelihood of pesticide use, the effects on local ecosystems, the logistical practices of food distributors, the maintenance of soil quality and the sustainment of agricultural communities through fair trade and food sovereignty.

2. Data Sources:

3. Flow + Filtering:

  • What are some expected queries -> what should they return? How are they interpreted at each layer?

  • (one) Overlay:

    • Receives a voice input. Needs to interpret as a text string as a query and process into keywords etc.

    • Sends processed query to the interlay ->

    • Interprets and outputs the results of the query

  • Interlay:

    • Needs to read the context of the data

    • Takes form of an api endpoint/middleware

  • Underlay (s):

    • Sources available as part of a schematised graph. Data has been preprocessed into collections.

4. Nexus:

  • Who maintains this system?

    • multiple separate datasets maintained by sustainability orgs:

  • Who maintains the interlay? depends on the specificity needed. some kind of search interface, wikidata?

5. Similar efforts

  • For other types of sustainability, see: Food deserts, Food pantries, food cooperatives

  • For other parts of the food supply chain, see: Farming sustainability and community networks, global shipping routes

  • For other information about food, see: recipes, nutrition data, ingredient substitutions, lists of related dishes, flavour data

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