Artificial intelligence (AI) systems are getting better and better every day, and perhaps the area where this is most apparent is in search. By search, we are specifically talking about how people look for and find information. Typically we associate this with the internet, such as when we turn to Google to look something up. However, search can also apply to private, indexed databases, such as a library’s filing system, a database of academic research, or even a private company’s collection of manuals, documents, etc. that enable employees to get the information they need in order to do their jobs.
When you think of these search services, you might be thinking of someone sitting at a computer or even on a mobile device, manually typing in their search parameters on a website or application. However, with the introduction of search is taking on new forms of input all while also providing better insights into users’ behavior around search. Let’s take a closer look at some of the exciting breakthroughs Artificial Intelligence driven search offers and how they can benefit business.
Voice Recognition and Speech to Text
These are all phrases you’ve probably heard, either through the media or even in your own home. They’re all associated with technologies that use what’s called speech to text in search. That is, a user speaks their query into a device, and that device converts it to text in order to perform a search. Artificial Intelligence is used to process what a person says and translate that into something that can then be acted upon. This type of voice recognition systems have actually been around for over a decade, but it’s only in recent years with the infusion of Artificial Intelligence that their capabilities have expanded far beyond simple speech to text. And while this functionality is interesting in and of itself, the next step is even more impressive.
The goal of any Artificial Intelligence driven search engine is to create an experience similar to when a person asks another person a question. To achieve this, Artificial Intelligence systems use what’s called “cognitive search.” This is basically when a search engine learns from both the queries it receives and how users react to that information. This helps it understand what people are looking for, and using analysis, can deliver better quality search results over time. If you’ve ever started typing something into a search engine, like “how to…” and have the search engine fill in the rest for you, you’ve experience cognitive search. Now, couple that with voice recognition and additional data around user behavior and you have a really smart, voice-activated search engine.
Artificial Intelligence isn’t only good for enabling people to interact with computers through speaking. It is also enabling something relatively new called audio search. Our favorite example of this is using Microsoft Azure Search AI, where startup Audioburst used Microsoft’s services to build a searchable index of spoken audio. So, let’s say you’re in the car, commuting to work and listening to your favorite podcast. Someone on the show says something that you want to know more about, but since you’re driving you make a mental note to look it up later. However, by the time you actually get to looking it up, you only remember a snippet of the conversation. While in the past that might have been difficult to find the context, with Audioburst’s technology, users can deliver “audio clips from newscasts, interviews, and podcast segments” and all the user has to do is speak into their device. Pretty cool, right?
Artificial Intelligence and the Customer Experience
All of this adds up to creating an advance, but also seamless customer experience. In a few years, it’s likely that users will rarely use their keyboards to conduct searches and get the info they want. They’ll be speaking into their devices to do, well, just about everything. And businesses need to be ready. By developing AI-driven search platforms today, businesses can get a leg up on competition and position themselves to meet customers’ hi-tech expectations of tomorrow.
If you’d like to learn more about how AI-driven search works, and how it can work for you, contact us. We’re happy to show you how AI can transform you business to create exceptional customer experiences.