Can AI meeting assistants take decent notes?
Tools to provide meeting transcription aren’t a new concept but the SAAS market for tools that integrate with zoom, teams, google hangouts etc designed to capture a written transcript of your meeting has really exploded recently.
This blog is about transcription tools and doesn’t cover live caption at all.
Yesterday I facilitated a hui and unable to join every breakout group I arranged for Otter.ai to capture notes of the other groups for me. The output gave me a good idea of what was discussed, it didn’t cope with Te Reo Māori at all and struggled with consistent speaker identification (which makes the transcript a little confusing for me as I wasn’t there). But for me to gauge key themes discussed it provided a great tool.
On other occasions where AI assistants are used to transcribe meeting in my world they have already proven their worth when the exact wording of a decision minuted was questioned by a member of a meeting - the raw transcribed notes in this instance proved to be invaluable. They aren’t the cheapest tools and it will be great when they are integrated with Board Management software products so they become a one stop shop. They are good for that scenario when nobody wants to take notes or the person tasked with taking notes needs a hand keeping up with dynamic fast paced conversation.
TLDR: I Think the tools are a great asset but they don’t replace the person responsible for writing minutes or notes completely (yet). They are a little pricey and don’t integrate with other software as much as they could yet. They also struggle in an Aotearoa NZ context with our use of Te Reo Māori.
Tips if you plan to use a meeting assistant to transcribe your notes
If you are thinking of using one of these tools here are my tips.
- Always, always, advise participants before the meeting that you are recording the meeting using an AI assistant. I’ve been in awkward situations where someone did not disclose their intention to use a tool and when participants joined it was obvious a recording was in progress and some members felt their permission should have been sought prior.
- If you plan to use the transcription to produce a permanent record - such as Board Minutes, or Project Meeting Minutes - then I recommend the person responsible for shaping the output into those minutes is in attendance at the meeting, it will just make the process so much easier with the technology not quite perfect yet.
- I haven’t found an AI transcription tool that natively supports Te Reo Māori yet (if there is one please let me know), so you will need to update the transcript to resolve the tools interpretation when Te Reo Māori is used in a meeting.
- Keep both the meeting transcript from the tool and the shaped up result for future reference - or to my recent experience so that there is evidence of something agreed.
How to find the right tool for you
There are loads of comparison blog posts out there. Here are a few written in the last 6 months that will give you insight into specific tools and their pros / cons / cost etc.
- 15 best Otter.ai alternatives for transcription in 2023
- 8 handy tools to get AI-generated meeting notes
- Top 13 AI transcription tools to check out in 2023
If you would prefer to just dive in, here are links to tools - in no particular order. Got to love some of these names.
- Notes by Dubber
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It's not just Te Reo that trips up AI translation, our accent leads to some hilarious results.
I'll give it credit though, Otter.AI is about 80% perfect for Kiwi.
The low-tide mark for voice to text would have to be Sparks voicemail app. That thing is way off the mark 80% of the time