02 September 2016

The Verge: “Exclusive: Why Microsoft is betting its future on AI”

Microsoft can now translate conversations between eight different languages — 56 different combinations. And the underlying technology has implications that go beyond translation. You want to hear about a bot that's incredibly, even magically useful? Microsoft is beta-testing software that records business meetings and produces transcripts in real time. The same software can also, say, take an audio recording of an interview between two people and produce a transcript that distinguishes between the speakers — perhaps the single most desired piece of technology for any journalist who ever lived.

Casey Newton

That does sound really useful! (although on the surface not all that different from YouTube’s automatic captioning system) Having text transcripts of meetings generated automatically would eliminate the need for minutes and the usual back-and-forth of emails to confirm decisions reached during meetings, not to mention being able to archive and search the contents later.

Not sure why the headline is all about Google though; Facebook has invested pretty heavily in machine learning and similar techniques as well, with intriguing results.

A Chinese morning news show is using Microsoft’s XiaoIce, a deep learning A.I. software that uses smart cloud and big data to report weather forecasts.

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