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Artificial Intelligence Opens Opportunities

Updated: Oct 21, 2019

| AI + T |


The potential for artificial intelligence has for decades been mostly relegated to the larger than life imaginations of Hollywood producers. Yet, if there’s one thing to learn from Google’s recent acquisition of the artificial intelligence startup DeepMind for a reported $400 million, it’s that the peak for this type of technology is not a decades or centuries away. It is here, now.


The global market for artificial intelligence was valued at $900 million in 2013, according to the market research firm Research and Markets. In the meantime, a research out of Oxford University last year found that in the near future artificially intelligent technology could take over nearly half of all U.S. jobs. It’s scary news for some, but it’s also a huge opportunity for entrepreneurs innovating in this space. Here are a few emerging applications of artificial intelligence for the real world:


UNDERSTANDING BIG DATA


The big data market has been maturing for years now. There’s plenty of technology out there that can crunch the numbers and spit them out in a spreadsheet or chart. The problem is, there’s a difference between having the data on hand and truly understanding it. Now, entrepreneurs are beginning to fill that gap with technology that not only synthesizes the data but interprets it as well. Such company, Chicago-based Narrative Science, has developed a program called Quill that goes so far as to provide users with a written report of the data in story form. In addition to an $11.5 million Series C round it raised last year, Narrative Science is also backed by the CIA’s investment arm In-Q-Tel.


UNDERSTANDING EMOTION


Artificial intelligence is not just for processing requests and synthesizing data anymore. Now, some startups are even developing technology that can understand sentiment, a trend known as 'affective computing'. Beyond Verbal, a Tel Aviv-based startup, uses technology that analyzes vocal intonations to determine a person’s mood. Affectiva’s software accomplishes a similar mission, but by instead monitoring a person’s face. The idea is, that by understanding emotions, artificially intelligent technology could predict a person’s needs in drastically more human ways.


MAKING SMARTER ASSISTANTS


Universal and cherished as Siri might be, she’s far from "perfect". That’s why some ambitious entrepreneurs are seeking to build an artificially intelligent assistant that’s even better than Siri. Incredible Labs, a Khosla Ventures-backed startup, has already developed Donna, a personal assistant app that not only reminds you when you have an appointment, but tells you when to leave, how to get there, and memorizes your preferences. Taking that a phase farther is Jarvis Corp, a startup, which so far is still in the conceptual phases of building a virtual assistant that can access the internet and answer questions, but can also act as a control for all the connected devices in a house, and act as an internet server. Whether Jarvis’s creators can deliver on this bold potential, still remains to be seen.


MAKING SMARTER ROBOTS


The days of robots performing simple manufacturing tasks manually controlled by humans are far from over, and yet there’s a land rush going on among startups vying to build a better robot brain which would allow machines to operate autonomously. There’s Baxter, Rethink Robotics’ famously friendly looking research robot, which is already on the market, and can be trained. Others, like Hanson Robotics, have invented remarkably human-like robots, capable of carrying a conversation and recalling personal history.


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