This interview is part of our new AI in Education series, where we interview the world's top thought leaders on the front lines of the intersections between AI and education.
In this interview, we speak with Tom Livne, co-founder CEO of Verbit, to understand how his company is using AI to transform education, and what the future of the education industry holds.
1. What’s the story behind Verbit? Why and how did you begin?
TL: Before I found myself in the world of tech startups, I actually began my career in law, where transcripts are, of course, essential. I was often unsatisfied with the slow turnaround time and insufficient accuracy of the legal transcripts I received. This remained in the back of my mind as I moved on in my career.
I had always been an entrepreneur at heart, and I decided to take the leap and start my own company. Drawing on my prior experience with legal transcription, I felt that this was an important need in the market and that a solution could be found in artificial intelligence to expedite turnaround time, cut costs and boost accuracy.
2. Please describe your use case and how Verbit uses AI:
TL: Verbit is a transcription and captioning solution that combines artificial and human intelligence to help education organizations seamlessly open their doors to deaf and hard of hearing students, creating knowledge and career opportunities for people who were traditionally left behind. Verbit has also developed an AI-driven legal transcription solution for court reporters, offering a faster turnaround and scalability. Here's how it works:
Industry-specific information such as academic and legal terminology, research papers, book titles, and professional names are embedded into the artificial intelligence software, alongside relevant contextual information, such as current events. The software studies the data and transcribes audio to text instantaneously. Then, two human transcribers review every single automated transcription and make any necessary corrections before the file is sent to the customer. Their feedback is also embedded in the software, allowing it to learn from its mistakes and improve over time. The more an organization uses the solution, the more the software adapts to its needs, and the faster an accurate transcription is ready to go, leading to significant cost reduction.
3. Could you share a specific customer/user that benefits from what you offer? What has Verbit done for them?
TL: The University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) has earned distinction as a Public Ivy and is considered one of the best public colleges in the United States. Part of what sets UCSB apart is its focus on investing resources to make academic content accessible and to fit with the framework of Universal Design for Learning that ensures the inclusivity of all students, including those who are deaf and hard of hearing.
The solution UCSB had been using for transcribing and captioning its abundant audio and video library was slow, inefficient and expensive. Therefore, they turned to Verbit and, by doing so, they were able to receive transcripts within less than 24 hours. The AI greatly simplified the process, which led to reduced costs without compromising on quality. We're proud to say that feedback from UCSB indicates that transcriptions have been consistently accurate, even when files have included complex subjects, difficult audio, or heavy accents.
4. What other AI use cases in education are you excited about?
TL: We're particularly excited about granting easier access to education for people with hearing disabilities. Beyond the deaf and hard of hearing community, the data shows that transcription and captioning positively contribute to the student community as a whole. We've seen a wide range of studies that show that students often retain information more efficiently and achieve better academic results when they are able to learn material using more than one medium. It turns out that combining audio and video with text supports all students by engaging multiple senses in the act of learning. It's been very rewarding to see the positive results that universities and education platforms achieve once they make one small shift.
5. Where will Verbit be in five years?
TL: We focus on developing state-of-the-art features and AI capabilities that surpass the expectations and needs of both the higher education and court reporting industries in the realm of transcription and captioning.
Going forward, I envision Verbit to be the leading player in the AI transcription and captioning space for the higher education and court reporting industries that we currently serve. Our mission is to allow our customers to get the maximum value from their verbal assets and, ultimately, unleash the usability of an organization’s verbal data. Our potential for growth is endless, as we plan on developing AI solutions for a variety of other sectors. We will continue to focus on enhancing our technology, including supporting more languages other than English and Spanish. Ultimately, my goal is for Verbit to be publicly traded on the Nasdaq.