On the path to the singularity

3 min readApr 12
Robot and and human hand, touching index fingers
Photo by cottonbro studio: https://www.pexels.com/photo/bionic-hand-and-human-hand-finger-pointing-6153354/

Yesterday I learned an interesting lesson about the emerging power of artificial intelligence.

I am a consultant, and I among other things I facilitate meetings with large groups of people to gather their insights and opinions on behalf of clients. Often these are consultations to ensure that stakeholder voices are heard in planning processes.

Until now, I’ve employed human beings to take notes, transcribe recordings, and summarize the main themes expressed by participants over the course of the consultation.

Until now.

Last night, I used a free plug in with Zoom. The tool is called Fathom (and no, they haven’t paid me to write this). For now, every user is training the AI, and I’m sure at some point Fathom won’t be free any more. IMHO, it’s just too good to give away.

Here are some reasons why.

The recording starts with one click, and the Fathom Zoom AI avatar shows up in the meeting participants list so everyone knows it’s recording. (If you’re not the host, you have to have their permission to record.)

When the meeting is done, the following is available IMMEDIATELY in the cloud:

1. A complete transcription, with hyperlinks to the video/audio recording for each speaker. Like any voice recognition software, there are some funny errors. But mostly it’s pretty accurate, powerful and close enough to correct that fixing mistakes doesn’t take long. (If you’re really on top of things, you can annotate the recording as it is laid down — add flags or highlights to note places or comments where you want to go back and focus your analysis later on.)

2. A transcript of the Zoom chat — once again hyperlinked to the video so you can see what is being said at the same time.

Both of these are readily exportable to the word processing software of your choice.

So far, this is familiar software, perhaps a bit higher quality than I’m used to. But then, the game changer:

Fathom also spits out a succinct, bulleted summary of the discussion.


Without spelling or punctuation…


Recreational writer, collector of antique corkscrews, urban gardener and management consultant to social profit organizations. Proudly Canadian.