Patent published on August 29, 2023

New Microsoft Patent Could Make Reading Easier

At times, whether it is a captivating novel, an insightful article, or an important work email, our day-to-day life is filled with reading materials. But how often do we find ourselves re-reading a sentence or a paragraph, failing to wrap our heads around its meaning? Enter a new tool developed by Microsoft Technology Licensing, as outlined in patent number US11741302B1, which aims to make these reading instances more enjoyable and simpler for the reader.

The frustration faced by readers due to difficult-to-understand pieces of writing brings forth the necessity for this invention. Complicated writings often lead to misunderstanding, miscommunication, or simply a loss of interest in the content. In the realm of education, for instance, this has huge implications affecting both the learning abilities of students and the teaching methods of instructors.

The crux of the problem lies in the absence of an objective, automated means to gauge the readability of a piece of writing. Testing for readability has usually been the job of language experts, done manually. However, this technique has proven to be expensive and time-consuming, significantly disrupting the workflow of the user. These issues are amplified in the context of performance evaluation of Natural Language Processing (NLP) models, whose output's readability played a vital role in its ultimate effectiveness.

The patent introduces a solution powered by Artificial Intelligence, aimed to automatically deconstruct a piece of writing into manageable parts. After carrying out this process, the tool uses an AI-model to determine the perceived difficulty in comprehending each segment. Aggregating these scores provides a cumulative measure of readability for the entire piece. End users of this tool can be made privy to these scores, or some other action may be taken based on the scores.

Visualize a world where this proficiency is universally adopted. Students find their textbooks more interesting because they're able to comprehend the content more easily. Language experts save their time, which is otherwise wasted on the labor-intensive process of evaluating text. Companies can ensure that their marketing literature, user manuals or any other customer-facing text is easily understandable, leading to a smoother customer journey and increased satisfaction. All of this underpinned by the objectivity of AI-driven scoring measures, promising consistent, repeatable results unlike subjective human evaluations.

However, while the potential of this invention is tangible, it's worth mentioning that it is currently just a patent. There's no guarantee that it will make its way into the market – but it definitely provides an exciting glimpse into what future innovations could hold for the world of reading. Even if it remains just an idea, it's the type of thinking and innovation that drives improvements in countless facets of our daily lives.

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