Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Where will AI show up next?

The only time I've attended SLA I was smart enough to sit in on a session led by Mary Ellen Bates, an independent information professional, on super searching tips. Since then I've been following her blog, "The Reluctant Entrepreneur". This week she wrote a short, but eye-opening post about artificial intelligence and Google's use of voice recognition. What I found especially interesting, and a little disturbing, was that since 2007  Google found a way to leverage "volunteers" (including perhaps you and me) to help tweak its speech-recognition software. 

In Mary Ellen's words...

  • "So here’s why I’m going to be watching Google carefully. Back in 2007, Google launched a speech-recognition project – Google Voice Local Search, a.k.a. GOOG-411. You could call a toll-free number, speak the name of a local business, and Google would respond with the address and phone number of that business. Google wasn’t doing this just to be a good citizen but to fine-tune its speech-recognition software on willing test subjects. Now, speech recognition is an embedded feature of Google Maps, Google Assistant, and Google Keyboard. Google even offers a free speech-to-text API for developers figuring out new uses for speech-enabled technology."
  • "So when I see Google trying out ways to automate human interactions, I pay attention. As we become accustomed to voice dictation and predictive typing when we send text and email messages, will AI do away with routine human interactions? Or, just as Google Translate has made my travel in non-anglophone countries so much easier, will AI overcome a problem that I didn’t imagine possible to automate?"

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