A lot of people use the terms “machine learning” and “artificial intelligence” interchangeably, and while they are closely related, this perspective is acknowledging just one small part of a much larger story.
Machine learning is actually a very particular subset of AI in which statistical techniques are employed to give computers the ability to “learn” on their own. Essentially, the more data you feed a computer related to the task you’re trying to get it to perform, the better it’s able to do just that – all without being literally programed to do so.
We’ve already seen the effects of machine learning across nearly every aspect of business that you can think of. When you make a product purchase on an eCommerce website like Amazon.com, you’re immediately greeted with recommendations for other products you might enjoy. As you make more purchases, those recommendations become more specific – and accurate. This is because the machine learning model has more data from your purchase history to draw from and, as a result, is in a better position to recommend inventory items you might be interested in over time.
The larger benefits are equally important. Machine learning creates an opportunity for better customer segmentation and accurate lifetime value prediction in terms of marketing, can create better and more holistic SPAM detection when it comes to email operation and can even increase the efficiency of predictive maintenance in the manufacturing industry as well.
But just as artificial intelligence gave way to machine learning, machine learning is also giving birth to new advancements of its own. One of those takes the form of intelligent character recognition, otherwise known as ICR for short. Though this may seem like a simple concept, the potential implications are anything but – particularly when it comes to how we run our businesses and the decisions we’re able to make as a result.
Intelligent Character Recognition: Breaking Things Down
In the field of computer science, intelligent character recognition is actually an advanced form of optical character recognition, or OCR. On the surface level, it’s a technique that automatically digitizes handwriting – regardless of the fonts that may be used or even the different styles of handwriting that may be present.
The important part of this – and the part that ties back into machine learning – is the fact that most ICR solutions have self-learning systems called neural network that automatically update the “recognition” database as new handwriting patterns are identified. So the more content you feed into the system – and the more types of content you can provide – the more accurate that neural network (and thus your results) become.
In the world of business, this is potentially a huge benefit. Companies that deal with a wide range of different vendors, for example, often deal with massive amounts of handwritten paperwork. If they don’t get around to manually entering that information into their digital systems (or if they do it incorrectly), this could lead to double payments, billing errors and more.
Property management companies usually have prospective tenants fill out rental applications by hand. With the right ICR solution, those forms would no longer have to be processed by hand and could instead be instantly entered into a database that is then searchable and compatible with other solutions.
But the running theme throughout all of this is that ICR is a perfect opportunity for most businesses to automate (and often outright eliminate) the redundant administrative work that is typically required of employees, allowing those valuable people to focus more of their attention and energy on forward-thinking initiatives within the organization.
The Filestack Approach
At Filestack, we believe in the power that only intelligent character recognition can bring to the table – but we also believe it is our duty to take things one step further, too. Our ICR solutions put you in a better position to automate data entry for critical documents, give you a chance to translate complete physical books into electronic versions, extra information from important documents like business cards and more, but we’re also able to create a custom model built from the ground up with only your organization in mind.
The best part is that this requires absolutely no work on your part. You sit back, we learn your business and we create the custom model that is right for you – making it easier than ever to generate the results you need when you need them the most.
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