Our capacity for language is one of the things that makes humans unique as a species. With language, we’re able to reason, develop complex ideas, and tell stories that can spread across geographies and generations.
But what if we could also build machines that can understand and use language just like we do? Recent discoveries of new ways to apply AI in the realm of language include smart chatbots and assistants.
Google’s CEO, Sundar Pichai once said that “AI is one of the most important things humanity is working on. It is more profound than electricity or fire.” What do you think?
Keeping it real,
A wave of billion-dollar language AI startups is coming [Forbes]
The field of language AI—also known as natural language processing, or NLP—has undergone breathtaking, unprecedented advances over the past few years. Many companies have begun to apply cutting-edge NLP across sectors with a wide range of different product visions and business models. Here are a few areas of technology that could have far-reaching impact in the years ahead.
Search - Searching for information online is how virtually everyone finds information in the internet age. And while we might think Googe dominates the search space, startups like You.com and ZIR AI are reinventing the way we search, with features like creating content summaries and smarter ways of retrieving search results.
Sales intelligence - Sales might be more of an art than a science, but with language AI companies like Gong and Chorus.ai, actionable insights for how salespeople can improve can be extracted from the vast troves of calls and email exchanges salespeople make.
Language translation - Imagine a world where language is no longer a barrier. NeuralSpace was founded on a simple but powerful insight: the vast majority of cutting-edge research in NLP is conducted in English, yet 95% of the world does not speak English. NeuralSpace provides a no-code NLP platform that enables users around the world to build NLP models in “low-resource languages”, from Armenian to Punjabi to Zulu.
💡 Learn more
The voice of customer service, powered by AI [CXO Today]
Say “hello” to the conversation between humans and machines. With the help of voice AI, you can do financial transactions, schedule a meeting or even order your favourite pizza with a few spoken commands.
COVID-19 changed the game for voice AI - The pandemic has changed how we do customer service. The primary concern for businesses is to ensure that their customers remain engaged. As physical stores remain inaccessible, one way businesses can engage their consumers is through ongoing conversations using voice AI technology.
Benefits of voice AI - Virtual assistants are already disrupting the customer experience space and have a lot of advantages. For example, brands that offer more personalization to their services win their customer’s hearts more readily. Adding voice AI into the mix, these conversations bring a personal touch that often provides a better customer experience.
Remaining challenges - Considering the many accents we can have even if we speak the same language, one of the key problems is the inability of voice AI tools to understand what we’re saying despite these audible differences. We also have to ensure we build and use these tools ethically and responsibly, and avoid unintentionally creating an AI-powered product that could be sexist or racist.
💡 Learn more
- 6 voice AI startups to watch in 2022
- Why CMOs should turn to voice AI for advertising
- Ending the chatbot’s ‘spiral of misery’
Meet Ai-Da, the world’s first robot artist [El Pais]
Almost human - “The biggest change in human history will take place in the next decade,” warns Aidan Meller, a Briton who ran an art gallery for 20 years until he became a pioneer by launching the world’s first creative robot, Ai-Da.
Introduced in 2019 as “the first humanoid artist,” Ai-Da not only creates poems, paintings and sculptures, but also draws inspiration from the highest cultural references. Her name is not random either; it is a tribute to Ada Lovelace, a British mathematician considered the first computer programmer, also known for being the only legitimate daughter of the poet Lord Byron.
Robo poetry - Expectations of seeing Ai-Da are growing, after she began 2022 by giving a poetry recital responding in her own language to Dante’s The Divine Comedy, to which she had been exposed. “I don’t have feelings and emotions, but it is emotions and feelings that drive my art,” the humanoid responded in an interview, revealing the great paradox.
“We looked up from our verses like blindfolded captives, / Sent out to seek the light; but it never came,” is an example of Ai-Da’s verses. “There will come a time when what is written by AI will be completely indistinguishable from human text,” says her creator.
💡 Learn more
- So we can make artistic robots, what does this tell us about creativity?
Offbeat stories worth sharing
- Fact check: Chris Rock wasn’t wearing a cheek pad when he got slapped
- Tick tock: What are atomic clocks anyway?
- You snooze, you live: Why do we die without sleep?
- Food for thought: How we lost our sensory connection to food—and how to restore it
#Extracurricular: Embrace the slow movement
“Much better to do fewer things and have time to make the most of them.” — Carl Honoré
🐢 In praise of slowness - In this TED talk, journalist Carl Honoré believes the Western world's emphasis on speed erodes health, productivity and quality of life. But there's a backlash brewing, as everyday people start putting the brakes on their all-too-modern lives.
🧵 How to go slow - Knitting a scarf during your train commute could help you savour a sliver of time in your day that would otherwise be a chore. But crafts and cooking aren’t the only ways to access slow living—you can begin today with these tips to turn down the chaos.
💯 Less is more - Written by Greg McKeown, Essentialism is a book that makes a case for doing less, but doing it better with more focus. It’s not about getting more done faster, but about doing the right things to make the highest impact.