Later in the article: "The trick is to tackle one squiggle at a time." Tangentially, see Google has given its open-source machine learning software a big upgrade (The Verge)
"While winning a game of Go might be impressive, machine intelligence is also evolving to the point where it can be used by more people to do more things. That's how four engineers with almost zero knowledge of Japanese were able to create software, in just a few months, that can decipher handwriting in the language.Artificial Intelligence for Everyday Use: Coming Soon - Bloomberg
The programmers at Reactive Inc. came up with an application that recognizes scrawled-out Japanese with 98.66 percent accuracy. The 18-month-old startup in Tokyo is part of a growing global community of coders and investors who are harnessing the power of neural networks to put AI to far more practical purposes than answering trivia or winning board games.
"Just a few years ago, you had to be a genius to do this," said David Malkin, who has a Ph.D. in machine learning but can barely string two Japanese sentences together. "Now you can be a reasonably smart guy and make useful stuff. Going forward, it will be more about using imagination to apply this to real business situations.""