Lucidworks: Buzzwording in the Pandemic

May 19, 2020

Lucid Imagination (the outfit which contributed some Lucene/Solr talent to Amazon search) renamed itself Lucidworks. The company then embarked on becoming a West Coast version of Fast Search & Transfer, a Splunk like outfit, and now a customer support provider.

That’s a remarkable trajectory for a company built on open source software with more than $200 million in funding since 2007.

One of the DarkCyber researchers spotted “Lucidworks Develops Deep Learning Solution to Make Chatbots Smarter.” The story appeared in a New Zealand online publication. That’s interesting, but more intriguing is that Lucidworks is following in the marketing footsteps of Attivio, Coveo, and other vendors of search and retrieval. The destination customer service. Who doesn’t love automated customer support chat robots, self serve Web sites with smart software, and the general extinction of individuals who actually know a company’s software or hardware products?

The write up states:

Deep learning is essential for automated chatbots to understand natural language questions and to provide the right answers, which is something that AI-powered search firm Lucidworks has taken on board.

And why?

According to Lucidworks, companies rely on digital portals to provide information to users, whether digital commerce customers looking for product information before purchase, employees hunting for an HR document, or someone looking for an airline’s updated cancellation policies. Information is often scattered across disparate silos and is impossible for a user to locate using natural language questions.

But smart software is available from Amazon with a credit card and some free training courses. Outfits from Algolia to Voyager Search offer the service.

What is interesting is the buzzword salad tossed into this reheated plastic container of mapo tofu:

  • AI (artificial intelligence)
  • Automated
  • Chatbots
  • Conversational
  • Deep learning
  • Digital portals
  • Engagement
  • Experiences
  • Fusion
  • Natural language
  • Satisfaction
  • User intent
  • Virtual assistants

Quite vocabulary and what seems an exercise in content marketing. Plus, eager customers in New Zealand will have an opportunity to help the company repay its investors the $200 million plus interest. That works out to 13 years in the enterprise search wilderness before arriving at chatbots.

Options abound and many of them are open source and well documented.

Stephen E Arnold, May 19, 2020


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