The next as-a-service offering? Artificial intelligence, or AIaaS

If you regularly follow developments in information technology, particularly in the cloud, you’ll be familiar with terms like PaaS (platform as a service) or IaaS (infrastructure as a service), but what about AIaaS?

Artificial intelligence as a service might not yet be a widely available cloud offering, but it’s doubtless coming. Facebook’s Messenger bots, intelligent service agents introduced by the company this past spring, could arguably fall into that category, with automated and intelligent personas like the weather-forecasting cat Poncho.

A China-based startup called Lingban Technology, however, is billing its new voice-recognition service specifically as an AIaaS offering. And it’s aiming at a market that’s growing rapidly across parts of Asia: support and assistance for senior citizens.

Chen Bo, Lingban’s CEO recently told media outlets in China that he believes his company’s technology could help reduce customer service costs by as much as 80 percent. That could help small- and medium-sized businesses — Lingban’s target market — more easily and inexpensively serve their customers with automated and intelligent support.

Lingban’s intelligent voice-recognition technology, Bo said, “can vividly imitate the human voice and have a natural man-machine conversation.”

China Daily reported that Lingban, established in 2014, has recently raised an investment of nearly 100 million yuan (around $15 million U.S.). That’s just a sliver of the $14.9 billion that the global AI market is expected to be worth by 2020, it added.


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