Natural Language Processing

Cortana Enhances Predictive Capabilities

cortana304x200Jason Mick recently blogged, “While iOS 8 should make Apple, Inc.’s (AAPL) Siri substantially smarter, Microsoft Corp.’s (MSFT) Windows Phone voice-controlled assistant Cortana currently enjoys a nice lead in natural language processing and the ability to interface with multiple apps to perform useful functions.

Cortana is a commercial product, but it’s also a bit of lab experiment for the folks at Microsoft.  During the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Microsoft showed off its increasingly sophisticated prediction algorithms, which correctly guessed 15 out of 16 winners in the knockout round stage.  Its sole mistake was picking Brazil to beat the Netherlands (whoops) for third place in the consolation match.”

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The Future of Intelligent Virtual Assistants? Consolidation

Photo of Nova SpivackSerial entrepreneur and thought leader Nova Spivack recently wrote for Gigaom, “When we talk about the future of artificial intelligence (AI), the discussion often focuses on the advancements and capabilities of the technology, or even the risks and opportunities inherent in the potential cultural implications. What we frequently overlook, however, is the future of AI as a business. IBM Watson’s recent acquisition and deployment of Cognea signals an important shift in the AI and intelligent virtual assistant (IVA) market, and offers an indication of both of the potentials of AI as a business and the areas where the market still needs development. The AI business is about to be transformed by consolidation. Consolidation carries real risks, but it is generally a sign of technological maturation. And it’s about time, as AI is no longer simply a side project, or an R&D euphemism. AI is finally center stage.”

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Contify Relies on NLP, AI, and Machine Learning for new Competitive Intelligence Platform

contifySugandh Dhawan of iamwire.com reports, “New Delhi based SaaS startup, Contify, has launched an enterprise grade competitive intelligence (CI) platform to cater to the large organisations dealing with the job of identifying, sourcing, curating, and disseminating critical business information, across several functions. Founded in 2009 as a content syndication business, Contify is a product company focused in the areas of machine learning, artificial intelligence, and natural language processing.  It offers an intelligence platform to enable businesses to monitor their competitors, customers and industries along with critical market variables that impact ones business.” Read more

Natural Language Processing Market Booms

Reports-n-Reports logoA recent press release indicates that, “The Natural Language Processing (NLP) market is estimated to grow from $ 3,787.3 million in 2013 to $9,858.4 million in 2018. This represents a Compounded Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 21.1% from 2013 to 2018. In the current scenario, web and e-commerce, healthcare, IT and Telecommunication vertical continues to grow and are the largest contributor for Natural Language Processing (NLP) software market. In terms of regional growth, North America is expected to be the biggest market in terms of revenue contribution. European and APAC region is expected to experience increased market traction, due to increasing adoption across various verticals and investment support in research projects from the regional government ”.

The release also states, “The major forces driving natural language processing market (NLP) are the growing demand for enhanced customer experience, increase in adoption of smartphone, leveraging big data and growth in machine to machine (M2M) technologies. Furthermore, in industries such as healthcare, BFSI, social websites and e-commerce channels have witnessed exponential rise in real time customer data and transaction information. NLP technology can leverage this unstructured data for analyzing customer needs, expectations and enhancing customer experience by optimizing cost effective lingual response system in organizational processes. By using NLP software solutions, organization can have better insights on customer’s perception, optimize business processes and reduce operational cost.”

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GetSet Hopes to Reduce Drop-Out Rates with Natural Language Processing

getsetNatasha Lomas of Tech Crunch reports, “GetSet, a new stealthy US edtech startup that’s aiming to reduce the high college drop-out rate is uncloaking today and revealing its first rollout at Arizona State University, with its 10,000+ freshmen. First up, in case you’re feeling a spot of deja vu, last week TechCrunch covered a UK startup called Wambiz that’s taking aim at the same problem. Yes, yes, you wait ages for college drop-out reduction startups and then two come along at once. So it goes. That said, they’re not identical. Wambiz is building an engagement platform cum social network as a better way to reach/engage with students, rather than sending comms via more traditional channels like email and SMS.” Read more

Medallia Raises $50M to Decode Customer Sentiment

medGeorge Anders of Forbes reports, “Medallia is $50 million richer, thanks to a new infusion from one of Silicon Valley’s top venture firms: Sequoia Capital. The new money will help the Palo Alto, Calif., customer-insights company expand geographically and tackle one of software’s trickiest challenges: decoding the noisy rumbles of public sentiment. Medallia helps big companies such as  Nordstrom, Best Western, Lego and Telstra figure out what customers really think about various products and services. A generation ago, direct feedback was scarce. Now, if anything, there’s too much of it. Add up everything being expressed on Twitter, Yelp, TripAdvisor, e-mail surveys and old-fashioned comment cards — and company executives can feel as if they’re drowning in too much information that keeps arriving hourly in haphazard form.” Read more

Yahoo Acquires Local Search App Zofari

zofariMenchie Mendoza of TechTimes recently wrote, “Affectionately described as a ‘Pandora for places,’ Zofari’s acquisition seemed to have attracted less attention when the deal was announced last week. Zofari uses natural language processing, machine learning, and third party data to collect information that matches up the user with places which the user may find interesting. The financial terms of the acquisition have not been revealed. On Zofari’s official site, the company confirmed that four of its employees are joining Yahoo. They are identified as Oliver Su, Shahzad Aziz, Jason Kobilka and Nate Weinstein. ‘After meeting some of the amazing folks on the Yahoo Search team and hearing about their vision, the decision for our team to join Yahoo was an easy one,’ said in the announcement. ‘We can’t talk about what we’re working on yet, but needless to say we are very, very excited’.” Read more

How SwiftKey is Using NLP and AI to Revolutionize the Keyboard

swiftSteve Ranger of Tech Republic reports, “Qwerty [the standard keyboard layout] was a compromise from the start. And as such you’d expect it to be swept away as the technology changed. And yet this odd layout became the standard, used since on billions of devices from typewriters to tablets and PCs. Even as the cold steel of the typewriter was replaced by the cool glass of a touchscreen smartphone, Qwerty has continued to dominate. That is, until now. A number of companies are rethinking the keyboard for the digital age, led by a small UK startup called SwiftKey, so that a mere 150 years after it was first created, the keyboard could finally be made to behave just how the user wants it to.” Read more

Move Over Siri: Make Way for Viv

vivKatherine Noyes of Tech News World reports, “The inventors of Apple’s Siri personal assistant have launched an independent effort that could make their first offspring look kind of dumb. Billed by its creators as ‘the global brain,’ Viv aims to radically simplify the world by providing an intelligent interface to everything. ‘They are trying to abstract Siri’s [natural-language processing] interface so you could apply it into other applications and domains,’ Raj Singh, CEO and founder of Tempo AI, told TechNewsWorld. ‘For example, what if I wanted to integrate a Siri-like interface into the Yelp app or the Expedia app?’ Currently, ‘there isn’t a good facility to do this,’ he said. Read more

A Deeper Look at Common Sense Reasoning

Siri LogoCatherine Havasi, CEO of Luminoso recently wrote for Tech Crunch, “Everyone knows that ‘water is wet,’ and ‘people want to be happy,’ and we assume everyone we meet shares this knowledge. It forms the basis of how we interact and allows us to communicate quickly, efficiently, and with deep meaning. As advanced as technology is today, its main shortcoming as it becomes a large part of daily life in society is that it does not share these assumptions. We find ourselves talking more and more to our devices — to our mobile phones and even our televisions. But when we talk to Siri, we often find that the rules that underlie her can’t comprehend exactly what we want if we stray far from simple commands. For this vision to be fulfilled, we’ll need computers to understand us as we talk to each other in a natural environment. For that, we’ll need to continue to develop the field of common-sense reasoning — without it, we’re never going to be able to have an intelligent conversation with Siri, Google Glass or our Xbox.” Read more

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