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There’s a new machine learning company on the block, with big ambitions to help people remember every conversation they’ve ever had. Called AISense, the company operates a voice transcription system that’s designed to work through long conversations using machine learning and provide users with a full text record of what was said.
At first, the company is tackling meeting notes through a partnership through videoconferencing service Zoom. The two parties will bring a commercial product to market next year that will allow Zoom customers to get automatic transcriptions of their conversations.
Voice transcription isn’t anything new in the machine learning field, with companies like Google, Microsoft, and Amazon all providing their own prebuilt systems for recognizing speech and turning that into text. But AISense CEO Sam Liang said in an interview that he believes his company has an edge because of its focus on long-form conversations.
AISense isn’t planning to stop with meeting transcription, however. Liang said 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,” he 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.”
It remains to be seen if that’s something people are actually keen on using, however. One of the key concerns from consumers about smart home speakers like the Amazon Echo and Google Home — which only record and respond to users’ utterances after the use of a trigger word — is that they’re always listening.
AISense actually wants to be always listening, which 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 said that the company plans to comply with all of the legal obligations related to its work.
Interestingly, AISense doesn’t use the conversations it records to improve the accuracy of its speech system. The company employs other sources of training data, like conversations posted publicly to the web.
The company announced today that it raised a $10 million round of series A funding led by Horizons Ventures. Other participants in the round included Draper Associates, Draper Dragon, David Cheriton, and Bridgewater Associates.
Right now, AISense’s transcription system is in beta with a small number of users, but the company is working towards both its completed integration with Zoom as well as a consumer application that would allow anyone to get conversations transcribed.
While Liang thinks that the company’s future lies with ambient transcription, at the moment it’s focused on more task-oriented use cases like business meetings and classroom lectures.
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