Semantic search will help find hidden knowledge in education and more

Ramona Pierson, co-founder and CEO of Declara, at Structure Data 2014

After a car accident and subsequent coma ended up leaving her in a senior citizen’s home having to relearn how to do everything, Ramona Pierson, co-founder and CEO and Declara, had an epiphany that led to her to found and build a semantic search company. The technology behind Declara helps people discover esoteric and hard-to-find information.

In a conversation at Structure Data in New York on why the future of search is semantic, Pierson explained that so far Declara has been used in education, pharmaceuticals and manufacturing industries, where a lack of knowledge transfer between employees could result in death. Places like oil rigs or in cement manufacturing plants, for example.

Pierson also mentioned that Declara is being used for judicial reform in Latin America to help retrain an entire police force and judiciary by conveying new concepts across disparate regions and via methods that are tailored to each particular person. For example, the country of Australia is using the system in its educational system where teachers and students use it to find information and experts relevant to their studies.

The details of how the system works are complicated, but involves a hodgepodge of artificial intelligence technologies from natural language processing to building what Pierson calls a “cognitive graph” for each individual who is using the system. The idea of applying semantic search to help connect people to information in a directed manner may seem easy and obvious, but the computing happening under the covers is intense.

Going forward, that’s likely to be the story of our never-ending quest to make computing more human friendly.

Check out a video embed of the session:

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Photo courtesy Jakub Mosur.

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