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RAG: a transformative approach that overcomes the limitations of traditional LLM systems

In the evolving landscape of AI, the rapid strides made by Large Language Models (LLMs) bring forth the promise of enhanced efficiency and effectiveness. However, a critical query arises: can these models, despite their impressive advancements, truly excel in business settings without tailored training for business-domain specific tasks?

The quandary lies in the limitations faced by these generic models, particularly in highly specialized domains like finance or healthcare, where expert knowledge and nuanced understanding of organizational intricacies are paramount. Utilizing LLMs in these environments pose some challenges regarding their functionality, particularly in their generation of text responses to user queries. These models, while impressive, encounter certain undesired behaviours that pose significant issues.

One prevalent issue arises when the answer provided by the LLM lacks credibility or stems from outdated sources, ultimately hindering the end-user’s ability to discern the accuracy of the response. In fact, conventional LLMs are trained to swiftly produce a response to a user query, based on its internal knowledge, even if its reference sources are unreputable or out of date.

Another problem stems from their lack of transparency, which makes it more difficult for end users to verify the answers. This could lead a propagation of misinformation or unreliable content, potentially eroding trust, and credibility of the generative AI application. 

In the fast-evolving landscape of natural language processing (NLP), Retrieval-Augmented Generation (RAG) has emerged as a groundbreaking paradigm, redefining the capabilities of Large Language Models. Within many sectors where data-driven insights are critical for decision-making, RAG presents a transformative approach, surpassing the limitations of traditional Large Language Model (LLM) systems. 

RAG represents a hybrid architecture that marries the strengths of both retrieval and generative models. Departing from the conventional approach of relying solely on pre-trained patterns, RAG incorporates an explicit retrieval mechanism, enabling the model to access and leverage information from external knowledge repositories.

In a business setting, personalized responses to queries are often essential. RAG allows LLMs to pull personalized information from specific sources pertinent to individual queries. For instance, in HR-related questions, RAG can extract and synthesize information from an employee’s records, company policies, or other relevant documents to provide tailored and accurate responses. This way any company can easily index its own documents into RAG and get answers that come directly from its own indexed documents. In essence, the key to the RAG effectiveness lies precisely in the fact that it eases the use of LLMs for company-specific documents and data.

Key Components of RAG

Retrieval Component

The Retrieval Component in RAG is a fundamental aspect of the model’s architecture, responsible for accessing and incorporating information from external knowledge sources. This component distinguishes RAG from traditional LLMs by allowing the model to dynamically retrieve relevant data during the generation process. The Retrieval Component is designed to access diverse external knowledge sources, that can include databases, knowledge bases, text corpora, or any repository of information that is relevant to the task at hand.

Retrieval Component is initiated by an input query or context provided to the model. This query serves as the basis for retrieving information relevant to the specific task or user prompt. Advanced algorithms are employed to determine the most pertinent information related to the input query, thus enabling a more contextually aware retrieval process.

Generation Component

The Generation Component in RAG is responsible for synthesizing responses based on the information retrieved by the Retrieval Component and the model’s internal knowledge. This component utilizes advanced language generation techniques to produce coherent, contextually relevant, and task-specific outputs.

The Generation Component is capable of producing creative and diverse language outputs, going beyond mere regurgitation of retrieved information. This capability is particularly beneficial in generating nuanced and informative responses in various applications. In situations where the input query is ambiguous or requires clarification, the Generation Component can leverage its language generation capabilities to provide informative responses, seeking further clarification if needed.

Key Benefits of RAG

RAG offers several key benefits that make it a powerful and versatile tool in many industries. Here are some of the key advantages of using RAG:

Contextual Relevance

RAG excels at providing contextually relevant responses by integrating information retrieved from external sources. This contextual awareness is crucial in understanding and addressing specific queries, making RAG highly effective in tasks that require a deep understanding of context.

Enhanced Knowledge Integration

RAG seamlessly integrates external knowledge sources into the generation process. This feature is especially valuable in industries where regulations, policies, and market trends are dynamic. By incorporating up-to-date information, RAG enhances decision-making processes and ensures a more accurate and comprehensive understanding of complex scenarios.

Improved Accuracy in Responses

The retrieval mechanism in RAG enables the model to access precise and relevant information from external databases or knowledge bases. This results in more accurate and reliable responses compared to traditional LLMs that rely solely on pre-existing patterns learned during training.

Efficient Data Processing

RAG optimizes data processing by efficiently retrieving relevant information. This not only accelerates response times but also reduces the computational resources required for exhaustive searches within large datasets. In tasks where timely decision-making is critical, this efficiency is a significant advantage.

Tailored Responses to Specific Queries

RAG’s ability to retrieve and incorporate information specific to a given query allows it to generate responses that are highly tailored to the user’s requirements. This, for example, is particularly beneficial in insurance-related tasks such as policy inquiries, claims assessments and customer interactions, where precision is paramount.

Improved Decision Support

By combining information retrieval with language generation, RAG provides enhanced decision support. You can leverage the model’s capabilities to access relevant data, analyze complex scenarios and make more informed decisions. This contributes to the overall effectiveness of decision-making processes within an organization.

Facilitation of Complex Workflows

RAG’s integration of retrieval and generation components streamlines complex workflows by providing a more seamless transition between accessing external knowledge and generating responses. This facilitates smoother interactions in tasks such as document analysis, legal compliance and risk evaluation.

Competitive Edge

Organizations adopting RAG gain a competitive edge by harnessing advanced natural language processing capabilities. The model’s ability to deliver more contextually relevant and accurate information positions companies to make data-driven decisions with greater confidence, ultimately enhancing their market competitiveness.

Customer Engagement and Satisfaction

In customer-facing applications, such as virtual assistants or chatbots, RAG can provide more accurate and helpful responses to customer queries. This contributes to improved customer satisfaction and a more positive user experience.

How Altilia leverages RAG to enhance its IDP capabilities

Altilia has been pioneering the use of LLMs for IDP applications, to read and understand documents automatically, with the ultimate goal of automating processes that require manual information extraction from unstructured data and documents (discriminative AI), and to allow customers to “talk” with their internal document knowledge base, through an easy-to-use conversational UI that answers natural language questions (generative AI).

With the limitations of LLMs already highlighted in the article, the next step for Altilia is integrating RAG technology to extend its current IDP capabilities and provide a state-of-the-art IDP platform.
RAG allows us to obtain more accurate results and up-to-date answers, based on external knowledge sources rather than just on the LLM’s own internal knowledge (in our context an external knowledge source is the customer’s own document knowledge base).
This minimizes the “hallucination” problems that are typical of generative AI applications, based on LLM algorithms, leading to a substantial set of benefits to the client, as already highlighted in the article.

We are implementing RAG with a plug’n’play and accurate approach in Altilia Intelligent Automation (AIA), our next-generation AI assistant and automator, to improve results and extend the capabilities of Discriminative AI algorithms, retrieve pertinent passages where to find relevant data, let users to talk with documents by prompts and allow users to generate new documents on the base of extracted data and document contents. Novel RAG capabilities extend current Intelligent Document Processing (IDP) features of the AIA Platform and make Altilia a new challenger player in the Generative AI market.

For more information on how Altilia can support your business, schedule a demo here.

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How can Intelligent Document Processing serve your organization?

Intelligent Document Processing (IDP) refers to the use of advanced technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), to automate the extraction, understanding, and processing of information from various types of documents. IDP aims to streamline and enhance document-centric workflows by leveraging cognitive capabilities to interpret unstructured data found in documents such as invoices, contracts, and forms.

Through the application of natural language processing (NLP), advanced computer vision and other intelligent algorithms, IDP systems can recognize patterns, extract relevant data, and even comprehend the context of information within documents. This enables organizations to automate tedious and error-prone manual document processing tasks, improving efficiency, accuracy and overall productivity.

The more advanced Intelligent Document Processing (IDP) solutions, utilise a combination of AI technologies, including Computer Vision and Natural Language Processing (NLP).

In document capture, computer vision digitizes physical documents and employs Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to extract text from images or scans. Computer vision algorithms also recognize patterns and structures within documents, aiding in context understanding and data extraction from unstructured formats.

Natural Language Processing (NLP), on the other hand, breaks down texts for identifying key information and relationships. It enables IDP systems to comprehend natural language, ensuring context-aware interpretation. Additionally, NLP techniques facilitate document summarization, extracting key insights. When combined with rule-based processing, NLP enhances IDP systems’ adaptability to various document types and formats.

What makes Altilia different from other players in the IDP space?

Altilia Intelligent Automation (AIA) is an IDP platform that utilizes cutting-edge technologies to take IDP to the next level, including:

  • Large Language Models (LLMs) with RAG (Retreival Augmmented Generation) to enhance its natural language processing capabilities
  • Models fine-tuning adapt language model to suit specific use case tailored and customer tailored applications
  • Knowledge graphs to represent data and information alongside with the interrelations between them, making the models better understand the documents and simplifying the access to informations
  • Advanced Computer Vision technology, including OCR, HTR (Handwritten Text Recognition) and patented DAR (Document Analysis and Recognition), to better interpret the layout and the spatial information of the documents

What can your organization achieve with IDP?

  • Reduce the manual workload and associated costs
  • Speed up operational and decision-making processes (shorter lead time / time to answer)
  • Increase the capability of processes that require documents analysis and data retrieval (more operations managed in a given time-frame)
  • Higher accuracy of extracted data by eliminating human errors in the process
  • Improved accessibility to information contained in large documents datasets / knowledge bases utilized by the organization

Real world application examples of Altilia Intelligent Automation

Although with a focus in banking and finance industry, AIA is a general-purpose platform that can process any kind of documents for any industry. Here are some examples:

Banking and insurance sectors

  • Increase the ability and speed of reading and analyzing financial statements for profiling the bank’s corporate customers and selling derivative products
  • Analyze Non-Performing Loans (NPL) file documents to support the evaluation of NPL portfolios and to estimate the likelihood of credit recovery
  • Increase capacity and speed data extraction from documents related to claims and/or court documents for insurance companies.
  • Increase the ability to search for information found within pension regulations and documents related to products offered to clients; the ultimate goal is to provide an AI assistant (similar to ChatGPT) that can respond to personal pension advisors

Manufacturing and utilities sectors

  • Automatic reading of documents sent by suppliers to simplify supplier evaluation and selection for the procurement office
  • Reading and analyzing CVs with automatic matching of sought skills to expedite the HR department’s recruitment activities
  • Automatic reading and classification of action reports (activations, modifications and plant decommissioning) to simplify asset management operations for companies in the utilities sector
  • Automatic reading of bills, invoices and photos of meter self-readings to simplify the administrative management of energy and gas distribution companies
  • Training of conversational AI assistant (similar to ChatGPT) to provide real-time support regarding technical intervention procedures to support asset management operations for companies in the utilities sector

Thanks to its capabilities in 2022 Altilia has been recognized by Gartner a Representative Vendor in Market Guide on Iintelligent Document Processing. In 2023, IDC MarketScape hase recognized Altilia as a “Major Player” in its Worldwide IDP Vendor Assessment.

Why not schedule a demo with Altilia to learn more about how we can help transform your organization? Click here to register.