In China, over 500 million people use iFlytek Input to overcome obstacles in communication. Some also use it to send text messages through voice commands while driving, or to communicate with a speaker of another Chinese dialect. The app was developed by iFlytek, a Chinese AI company that applies deep learning in a range of fields such as speech recognition, natural-language processing, machine translation, and data mining.
Court systems use its voice-recognition technology to transcribe lengthy proceedings; business call centers use its voice synthesis technology to generate automated replies; and Didi, a popular Chinese ride-hailing app, also uses iFlytek’s technology to broadcast orders to drivers.
In August, iFlytek launched a voice assistant for drivers called Xiaofeiyu (Little Flying Fish). To ensure safe driving, it has no screen and no buttons. Once connected to the Internet and the driver’s smartphone, it can place calls, play music, look for directions, and search for restaurants through voice commands. Unlike voice assistants intended for homes, Xiaofeiyu was designed to recognize voices in a noisy environment.
At the Anhui Provincial Hospital, which is testing a number of trials using AI, voice-based technologies are transforming many aspects of its service. Ten voice assistants in the shape of a robot girl use iFlytek’s technology to greet visitors in the lobby of the outpatient department and offer relief for overworked receptionists. Patients can tell the voice assistant what their symptoms are, and then find out which department can help. Doctors at the hospital are also using iFlytek to dictate a patient’s vital signs, medications taken, and other bits of information into a mobile app, which then turns everything into written records. The app uses voice print technology as a signature system that cannot be falsified. The app is collecting data that will improve its algorithms over time.
iFlytek’s developer platform, called iFlytek Open Platform, provides voice-based AI technologies to over 400,000 developers in various industries such as smart home and mobile Internet. The company is valued at 80 billion yuan ($12 billion), and has international ambitions, including a subsidiary in the U.S. and an effort to expand into languages other than Chinese.
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