November 27, 2017
AISense, a company that offers a voice transcription service, is partnering with videoconferencing service Zoom to bring a product to market in 2018 that will provide automatic transcriptions for Zoom’s customers. AISense’s technology uses machine learning to provide a full text record of what is said, and Zoom’s videoconferencing is its first practical use. AISense also just raised $10 million in Series A funding led by Horizons Ventures, with Draper Associates, Draper Dragon, David Cheriton, and Bridgewater Associates.
VentureBeat reports that Amazon, Google and Microsoft also have machine-learning based speech recognition systems for turning speech into text, but AISense focuses on long conversations, and relies on “conversations posted publicly to the web” to improve accuracy.
Chief executive Sam Liang says his company “has an edge because of its focus on long-form conversations” and that “the company’s overall goal is to provide ambient transcription of every moment of users’ lives.”
“Conversations can happen at any time, unplanned and unscheduled,” Liang said. “If I run into somebody in the hallway and I talk for ten minutes, there’s a huge amount of information there being exchanged. I don’t want to lose that, actually.”
Privacy advocates have already sounded the alarm with regard to smart speakers like Amazon Echo and Google Home, so that fact that AISense “wants to be always listening” is likely to be met by scrutiny. In fact, says VentureBeat, AISense’s ability “raises a host of potential problems when it comes to matters like wiretapping laws that prohibit recording without the consent of all parties involved.”
Liang states that his company will “comply with all of the legal obligations related to its work.”
AISense is currently in beta “with a small number of users,” and currently is working on integrating its technology with Zoom “as well as a consumer application that would allow anyone to get conversations transcribed.” Although ambient transcription is the goal, AISense’s immediate focus is “use cases like business meetings and classroom lectures.”