MetaMind Wins $8M To Bring Artificial Intel to Business Users
Just days after Stephen Hawking, a preeminent British physicist, warned artificial intelligence (AI) could end mankind, MetaMind announced its new AI platform and an initial $8 million in funding from Khosla Ventures and
Chairman and CEO Marc Benioff.
MetaMind has developed what it calls “deep learning” software that combines natural language processing and computer vision to solve complex problems. The technology’s goal is to pave the way for automated predictions and smarter decision-making for businesses -- faster and with more accuracy than existing solutions.
"Textual and image data is growing exponentially and is already at a scale where human beings are no longer capable of processing it effectively. Recent and rapid advances in machine learning -- deep learning in particular -- are making solutions possible for problems that previously couldn't be addressed," said Sven Strohband, MetaMind CEO and CTO at Khosla Ventures. "We are pushing beyond established benchmarks in vision and language understanding and making this leading-edge technology broadly available to business users via our AI platform."
Benioff Is Impressed
MetaMind CTO Richard Socher’s deep learning research is the baseline of the company’s technology. MetaMind is winning plenty of accolades for its computer vision system that targets both Fortune 500 companies and smaller organizations across a range of industries. Benioff called it “some of the most impressive technology I have ever seen.”
The practical applications include: classifying cancer in mammograms in a healthcare setting; identifying sentiment in financial reports to assist in algorithmic trading in financial services; automating customer support responses for companies that get large volumes of inquiries; automating social media analyses; and calculating the fair price of a car by processing images of the vehicle and more.
Yoshua Bengio, one of most well-known deep learning researchers, said MetaMind is one of the few deep learning startups with recognized and strong academic credentials in the deep learning research community. Bengio said the company is “committed in advancing the research in difficult and exciting challenges for deep learning ahead of us."
Additionally, Chris Manning, professor of computer science and linguistics at Stanford University, said, “MetaMind can successfully bridge exciting new deep learning research in language and vision with easy-to-use applications."
Intel Helps Hawking
Despite these and other AI advances, Hawking is concerned. He told the BBC that, “The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race. . . . It would take off on its own, and re-design itself at an ever-increasing rate. Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn't compete, and would be superseded."
Still, Hawking is not against technology. Hawking has a motor neurone disease related to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a condition that has progressed over the years. He is almost entirely paralyzed and communicates through technology. Earlier this week, Intel demonstrated a new communications platform to replace Hawking’s decades-old system that dramatically improved his ability to communicate with the world. The customizable platform will be available to research and technology communities by January 2015.
Somewhat like the way in which the parts of an engine interact to run a car, the Intel ACAT (Assistive Context Aware Toolkit) platform makes it possible for existing and new technologies to efficiently work with each other. That lets Hawking type twice as fast, and allow him to complete common tasks like browsing, editing, managing and navigating the Web, e-mails and documents and more 10 times faster than usual.
Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT, told us Intel’s ACAT also has the potential to become the backbone of a modern, customizable system other researchers and technologists can use to benefit those who have a motor neurone disease and quadriplegia, conditions that affect over 3 million people worldwide.
“The Intel-created system is a software interface for researchers and technologists to create customized solutions enabled by touch, eye blinks, eyebrow movements or other user inputs for communication, and can be customized and changed to suit different users,” he said. “With the platform being open, accessible and free, Intel and Hawking envision that research and technology communities -- such as those focused on sensing, text prediction, context awareness and user interface design -- will build upon and bring new and improved solutions to market.”
Posted: 2014-12-06 @ 12:21am PT
Applied Math, Statistics and Quantum Physics/Chemistry/Biology may seem like AI to those who did not graduate from Bronx High School of Science, but they are only human application of concepts like quaternions mastered by those putting in their 10,000 hours with the physics club.