Interview with Walt Mayo, Chief Executive Officer, Expert System

The technology has the enormous capacity to redefine the global lifestyle factors. Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Expert System is emanating successful strategies on powering varied sectors through their NLU platform. This first part of the interview with Walt Mayo from Expert System has focused on the detailed aspects of AI NLU and enlightens the readers on the technological advancements in the Expert System amidst the global COVID-19 pandemic. Walt Mayo tells us about the product and its cool plug-and-play features for the users. Read the complete article to encompass the technological capabilities of Expert System. Happy Reading.

Expert System || AI-based NLU

Jagan: Natural Language Processing is a well-known AI algorithm. But Natural Language Processing is a fascinating aspect of Expert System. Mr. Walt, can you take us to a journey of what exactly Expert System does, especially in Natural Language Understanding.

Walt Mayo: Well, happy to do that, Jagan, and thank you very much for taking the time to speak with me today. So when you think about Natural Language Understanding, NLU, and Natural Language Processing, you’re talking about a subset of the broad application of Artificial Intelligence. And so with AI, in the context of NLU and NLP, it is how do you get machines to comprehend language in a way that approximates the way human beings understand language. NLU speaks very specifically to that capability. And when you think about Expert System, our entire company was born and has lived this journey of doing it. So, NLU is applied typically in the context of the language in the enterprise.

So, think about one of the outgrowths of this explosion of technology. It is particularly driven by the internet over the last 20 years and has a massive increase in the amount of language that surrounds us, and that powers the enterprise. Language is how we communicate. Language is how customers engage with the enterprise. Language powers processes across the enterprise in verticals like insurance, in publishing, information, media, finance, et cetera. So we’re surrounded by the language and it captures meaningful elements that enable us to make better decisions.

Our software is all built around the idea of how do you make NLU easier to take that language that surrounds us, that powers the enterprise, and turn it into knowledge that human beings possess, and then insight to make faster, better decisions. That’s the core of natural language understanding.

Walt Mayo

And that’s the core of what Experts System does. What we do is we combine what we consider best-in-class technologies to achieve that objective.

Jagan: Yeah, I would take a moment to congratulate the Expert System on raising the $30 million amid COVID-19. What exactly was the driving force behind it?

Walt Mayo: Well, that’s a fact, that we did raise $30 million of growth capital, and we completed that raise at the end of July. Of course, we are all still living with the uncertainty and the challenges of the global COVID-19 pandemic. I want to be sensitive to that though. I don’t want anyone to misunderstand the point that we’re making and confuse the two. COVID-19 has been an incredible challenge worldwide. Now, we recognized, however, that we have the potential to accelerate our leadership in a part of the technology market, natural language understanding and natural language processing powered by artificial intelligence, and that we had what we consider a compelling point of view for the resources to the power that growth. And that’s why we went forward into the market. And I would kind of say that the driving force behind that is that we see now as a market moment in which AI has become widespread in terms of awareness, but in terms of utilization, enterprises are still struggling with realizing its potential.

So, they know about the potential, they’re aware of the power that AI offers. Increasingly they understand the value of the language in their enterprise, but the complexity remains a very real challenge. What we essentially brought to bear is more real-world experience, over the last 10 years in particular, in making AI natural language understanding work. So that it helps businesses make more money or save money. Real-world, not theoretical. We’re not a startup that has an idea. We’ve gone out with over 300 solutions. We have over 100 active customers. And we’re at the point where we can essentially bring that experience into our technology to simplify the complexity of AI in the enterprise. And it’s our growth thesis that if we can simplify that complexity, if we contain the complexity, then we will offer enterprises all around the world, across a whole range of different use cases, some very meaningful value.

And we took that story to the marketplace. Starting in June as a publicly-traded company, we were very transparent around our goals. And we had a series of conversations over June and into early July. And what we found was the market was very receptive. They understood the unique capabilities that we bring to bear with our technology. They understood the insight that we have from the years that we’ve been doing it. And they understood the moment that we’re in the market. And all of those together meant that we were very successful in raising the growth capital that will enable us to accelerate our execution over the course of the coming years. NL API

Jagan: There is a good buzz on the launch of NL API. Could you please explain it?

Walt Mayo:So, natural language API is a cloud-hosted capability that we brought out to the market at the end of July that is currently free. So you can register for it by going to our website. It’s very simple. And then essentially you can take language captured in text form and use our natural language API to have greater insight and understanding about the elements in that language. So there’s a variety of services that are out there now that are somewhat similar.

We see that over the course of the coming weeks and months, we’re going to continue to enhance that capability. Building on all of the projects that we’ve done across all the major verticals in so many different use cases so that it is the richest and most useful natural language engine that is accessible to anyone who wants to realize some value from it. So it’s a proof point around two things. One, our scalability. That is the ability for us to make it easier for people to realize the value in language. And then the second is simplicity. So, to make it simple. Simple and scalable capabilities with best-in-class insight into the language that’s submitted.

I encourage you to go onto our website and register and play around with it. It’s pretty straightforward. It’s not very intimidating.

Jagan: Got it. Sure. I’ll do that. And I’ll drop feedback on the website page.

Jagan: What are the business opportunities that you foresee in the artificial intelligence field during this COVID-19?

Walt Mayo: Well, I think COVID-19, broadly accelerated the recognition across the enterprise that we are a knowledge-driven world. And the conversation we’re having right now is proof of that. Technology has enabled us to communicate halfway across the world to share knowledge and insights. And increasingly all of what we do around the world is built on this idea of how do you move knowledge and insight? So, there are various terms that are coming out now, which is kind of like it is the great accelerator for the adoption of the tools that enable us to share and extract knowledge more readily. So I think you’re seeing that broadly in some of the technology businesses, including Expert System, which enhances that capability. You’re also seeing it in terms of how do you accelerate human-driven processes. The COVID-19 is a moment in evolution. It has sharpened the focus on the potential of artificial intelligence to accelerate and improve the tools that we use as knowledge workers.

So, a lot of what we do is we combine the knowledge and insights that we extract from the language in the enterprise, and we accelerate it with automated processes. So, there you’re talking about that whole idea of intelligent process automation.

The COVID-19 is a moment in evolution. It has sharpened the focus on the potential of artificial intelligence to accelerate and improve the tools that we use as knowledge workers.

Walt Mayo

Success Story

Jagan: Could you please share one of your recent customer success stories of the Expert System?

Walt Mayo: Yeah. Rather than talking about the most recent customer win, and fortunately, there have been quite a few. [A] vertical where we’ve enjoyed particular success [is] in the insurance world, and in particular in property and casualty. So, when you think about insurance, that’s a vertical that’s powered by language. Almost everything that they do has, at its core, some form of language. So, policies, claims. They all involve a fair amount of complex text. And what you have to do is try to understand the important elements within that text.

Again, converting language into knowledge and then insight so that you can make better decisions. Both in terms of the policies that you’re assessing, and then in terms of the claims that you are executing. So, we recognize that insurance as a vertical offered a particular promise for our technology. So, starting about three or four years ago, this is before my arrival, but starting about three or four years ago, we began to focus solutions in particular for the insurance vertical. And since then we have won some of the most important insurance companies in the world. So, Swiss Re, Zurich, AXA, Lloyd’s of London, are all powering many of their processes on our technology. We think that will then extend into other verticals, whether finance, pharma, and other life sciences, and so on.

Jagan: Okay. With a strong presence in the insurance industry, I would like to know your eminence in the banking sector as well.

Walt Mayo: Well, we’ve registered some important relationships in the banking segment, in particular in Italy and across Europe. And we think that there’s a tremendous amount of opportunity there, and we intend to focus on that as one of our core verticals, particularly in the United States. So ING bank recently adopted our solution. Crédit Agricole, also in France. Generali in Italy. And we’re in conversations with any number of other banks. Rabobank in the Netherlands is using our technology. And we intend to bring the experience that we gained through all of those relationships and the value that we offered into the North American market in particular.

To be continued…

We sincerely extend our gratitude to Mr. Walt Mayo for providing us an opportunity to gain insights on the Natural Language Understanding. The continuation of this interview will be followed in the next article.

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