Imagine a World Powered by the Spoken Word

Technology and Digital


September 5, 2018

Screens are getting smaller. While it’s difficult to imagine today, one might argue that they’re disappearing entirely. Voice is increasingly powering the way that customers engage—and it’s driving the progression of technology. In fact, according to Gartner, about 30 percent of all internet search will be voice-powered by 2020.

Voice recognition tools are abundant today, but understanding meaning behind voice is inherently challenging. Beyond colloquialisms and accents, fully understanding the spoken word requires clarity around context and emotion—an inherently human capability. Using artificial intelligence (AI) to help technology understand as humans do is a difficult nut to crack, but we’re building a revolutionary tool that does just that.

The prototype will be a TV news voice scanner and fact-checker called Voyc.

Why did we choose to focus on TV news fact-checking? In an age when 62 percent of U.S. adults get their news on social media, the fear that technology is outpacing democracy is real, so we’re trying to help it catch up. Only 42 percent of Americans trust the media, down from 47 percent just one year ago—and much of this inherently stems from the belief that many feel that news organizations would compromise the accuracy of reporting to be the first to break a story. In addition to waning public trust, Gartner research indicates that, by 2022, “the majority of individuals in mature economies will consume more false information than true information.”

If there’s a tension greater than current levels of trust in the media, it’s the sentiment that artificial intelligence (AI) will replace human work. Voyc is also here to prove that AI can be applied for the common good, supplementing and kick-starting human work by applying it to powerful software that equips producers and journalists to engage, enlighten, and win back trust with the public. Voyc’s core technology empowers presenters and producers to challenge interviewees with facts in real-time, and also alerts journalists to opportunities to create new content by fact-checking all speeches broadcast on TV or online: a win for the public and for the bottom-line.

But TV media fact-checking is only the start.

We envision a future where Voyc not only empowers a more honest, informed, and efficient world, but helps non-media organizations’ bottom line with novel abilities to drive positive disruption. Just about any organization that uses voice in its day-to-day operations can benefit. By scanning voice and returning relevant insight, its value stretches far beyond media fact-checking:

  • TV media monitoring – Voyc has the capacity to offer insightful reporting to brands on how they’re discussed on TV shows, helping to inform new strategies to build consumer engagement and brand loyalty. Subscribed brands get reports with quotes and sentiment analysis.
  • Product placement audit reports – It can provide organizations across industries with reporting on where and how products are referenced on TV, helping broadcasters reassure their sponsoring partners of placements without manual efforts.
  • Contact center service facilitation – When customers dial-in to a contact center, Voyc could scan the customer’s request and automate the retrieval of the most relevant, helpful, and value-added support material, more quickly enabling a contact center rep to serve the customer.

While Voyc feels novel today, it’s ultimately a reflection of the progression towards cognitive technologies that push the boundaries of voice recognition by understanding context and emotion. It will be so embedded you won’t need to push a button or say “Alexa” to start talking. At some point, I believe everyone will have voice-scanning companion that’s continuously listening, but contextually knows when to step in and when not to.

As we approach a world where voice recognition is embedded, there are undoubtedly ethical implications at play. Organizations have a responsibility to design solutions that can listen, while simultaneously protecting consumers’ data in a way that also harnesses its insight to better serve and connect to the end user and his or her lifestyle.

Through Voyc, we’re beginning to blaze this trail, and we invite you to join us in this optimistic future.

To learn more about Voyc, North Highland’s Return on Voice Generator, click here.