News on ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE and MACHINE LEARNING with views, perspectives and context. Demystifying AI, so that everyone can understand the unfolding 4th INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION and participate in it.

5 Indian AI startups of global impact

A quarterly analysis (Jan 2019) sans any jazz, except the relevance to global equation.

Artificial Intelligence is getting more and more pervasive in our daily lives. Some of these tools have become so ingrained, which was alien to even wonder and think about, even a few years back. Smart speakers and digital voice assistants are those AI tools.

In last couple of years, AI powered Chatbots and customer representative calls have changed the way we interact with most of the business.

Even educational control systems, which revise and upgrade their syllabi and teaching methodology not early than every two decades have woken up. Even in India, it has been at least announced that even high school students would be taught AI.

Research work and majority of AI startups still dominate from China, US and Europe, there are few handful of Indian Startups who have embarked on a journey which could over a period of time could have global impact.

Here we present those 5 Indian AI Startups of global impact:

1. Education - Embibe - Personalized Learning Outcomes for everyone through the world's best Artificial Intelligence platform in Education

The bane of education is that it treats everyone with the same yardstick. Some are early risers and some are late bloomers, but the rigid syllabi and schooling system means that both these kinds are treated the same. Teachers saddled with both academic and official work are hard burdened to provide individual feedback. Here AI can revolutionise the current education system. By transforming the pedagogy based on every individual pupil's ability, adaptability and progress.

Embibe is aiming to build a learning outcome AI stack, which could help each individual student realise her potential. After all, education should work for all. Behavioural traits which are genetic and environment oriented play the biggest role in a pupil's performance. And are the most neglected one in current pedagogy system, due to inherent big student:teacher ratio. Embibe aims to make a difference through deploying artificial intelligence and machine learning .

  1. Service - Haptik - Welcome to the world’s largest Conversational AI Platform

The biggest in-the-face everyday AI related encounter we have are the chatbots. If you ask for help on any leading business website or app, the agent which you are encountering is a virtual one, more often than not an AI powered. While in it's infancy, Chatbots were built in a much traditional manner (binary) one can say and touted as AI. Now, slowly the real AI coming into place. Chatbots are single biggest AI tool which could touch every potential business. A virtual AI agent present 24X7 which could solve customer's grievance has the power to increase customer loyalty many times over. No loyalty program can match the joy of customer satisfaction.

Haptik builds chatbots over the entire customer engagement string. From acquisition to engagement, service and finally understanding customer needs. It is a full stack platform for business. Right from bot builder, dashboards, analytics, training and CRM integrations. It is being used by more than 50 Fortune 500 companies.

3. Health - Sigtuple - AI + Medical Data = Smart Screening

How big an impact which AI and ML could have on healthcare domain could be gauged by the Amazon's foray into healthcare with the partnership of Berkshire Hathaway. The venture which is a non-profit is being led by renowned surgeon and author, Atul Gawande. Like Hippocratic oath, standards are limited to textbooks in healthcare domain. Every single medical entity be it a small clinic or large hospital each have their own standards and operating procedure, leaving the patient at the mercy of almighty, if she decides to work with many healthcare service providers.Each entity has it's own data silos, which apart from patient's inconvenience, also increases the healthcare costs dramatically.

Diagnostics and Screening which is the largest allied healthcare service is the domain which SigTuple has chosen. A sector which has seen hardly any innovation other than the mushrooming of large chains in organised retail format and a greater customer service quotient is ripe and apt for disruption. SigTuple builds intelligent screening solutions to aid diagnosis through AI-powered analysis of visual medical data. They have termed their platform Manthana. In a world where screening and diagnosis generally happens only when the patient is admitted as an in-patient or in diagnostics clinics which take almost 8 to 10 hours to generate a report, SigTuple can do it in a manner of 5 minutes. What could be termed as "Proactive Diagnostics".

4. Commerce - - Making online transactions as simple as talking to a friend.

The biggest casualty in the online world of AI would be websites. There would not be any more surfing, when a voice assistant powered by AI could figure you out intelligently and performs your instructions just as you would have wanted, both literally and figuratively. And like a true friend, the relationship gets better only over a period of time. why would then someone surf websites, when one can cruise. Hyperlocal is the holy grail which thousands tried and everyone failed, may be AI would correct that.

Niki.AI is an AI driven commerce platform which takes care of almost all the daily commerce related activities like recharge, booking movies tickets, cabs and hotels along with bill payments. While the dominant voice assistants would always be there, as the fourth industrial revolution blooms, localised AI driven commerce platforms would rule the roost, which could deliver the offline experience online. Its like having the best of both worlds.

5. Robotics - GreyOrange - Intelligent robotics for warehouse and supply chain automation.

The first thing which comes to our mind whenever someone utters artificial intelligence are the robots. Robots are already being deployed in all means and ways possible, including by giants like Amazon and Walmart and hence the fear that they would displace million of jobs in coming future is not an ominous warning any more but hard truth, smack in the face. And its not only the low-skilled jobs at risk but also the semi-skilled ones. There are now robotic bar-tenders and waiters already in action.

GreyOrange Robotics which is an Indian company, no more since it got itself registered at Singapore is the most famous Indian robotic company . It builds warehouse automation solutions utilising hardcore hardware and complex software, including decision science. In India it works with major companies like Flipkart and Mahindra Tractors.

PS : The above five startups were chosen on the basis of their relative global impacts in coming future, going by the domain on which they have been working. We intend to make this a quarterly review and feature other Indian AI startups which have the potential to be global players.

Artificial Intelligence: American Attitudes and Trends

A comprehensive study by University of Oxford on attitude of American public in general towards Artificial Intelligence

While technologists and policymakers have begun to discuss AI and applications of machine learning more frequently, public opinion has not shaped much of these conversations.It is thus vital to have a better understanding of how the public thinks about AI and the governance of AI. Such understanding is essential to crafting informed policy and identifying opportunities to educate the public about AI’s character, benefits, and risks.

This report, looks at the results from an extensive look at the American public’s attitudes toward AI and AI governance. It is based on findings from a nationally representative survey conducted by the Center for the Governance of AI, housed at the Future of Humanity Institute, University of Oxford, using the survey firm YouGov. The survey was conducted between June 6 and 14, 2018, with a total of 2,000 American adults (18+) completing the survey.

1. Americans express mixed support for the development of AI.

After reading a short explanation, a substantial minority (41%) somewhat support or strongly support the development of AI, while a smaller minority (22%) somewhat or strongly opposes it.

2. The overwhelming majority of Americans (82%) believe that robots and/or AI should be carefully managed.

This figure is comparable to with survey results from EU respondents.

3. Americans express mixed support for the U.S. investing more in AI military capabilities and for cooperating with China to avoid the dangers of an AI arms race.

4. The median respondent predicts that there is a 54% chance that high-level machine intelligence will be developed by 2028.

We define high-level machine intelligence as when machines are able to perform almost all tasks that are economically relevant today better than the median human (today) at each task.

5. There are more Americans who think that high-level machine intelligence will be harmful than those who think it will be beneficial to humanity.

6. Facebook is least trusted organisation by Americans in matter of AI.


The State of AI in 2018 : Startups, Funding, Skills, Jobs and Gender.

Putting the current AI landscape in complete perspective.

Fishes are never found in shallow waters. One has to always go deep, in order to thoroughly understand a subject or topic. We understand only when we take the things with entire perspective. We hear a lot bout AI and the the fourth industrial revolution coming, but what is the actual status? How it is growing, where it is growing, what is the 'total story'?

Here are some facts which would help you gain an overall perspective on the subject and shall make you more knowledgeable, with an overall perspective.

From January 2015 to January 2018, active venture-backed AI startups in US increased 2.1x, while all active startups increased 1.3x. For the most part, growth in all active startups has remained relatively steady, while the number of AI startups has seen exponential growth. There are now almost 800 active venture-backed AI startups in US. The majority of these AI startups have developed AI systems. A minority use AI as an integral part of business, but do not develop the systems themselves.

From 2013 to 2017, AI VC funding increased 4.5x in US, while all VC funding increased 2.08x. This is amply demonstrated in the rise in so called 'AI for X' and 'AI for Y' startups, across the globe. It is much easier to get dollars and attention of VC, if one has AI in the 160 character description of their startup.

While ML is the largest skill cited as a requirement, deep learning (DL) is growing at the fastest rate — from 2015 to 2017 the number of job openings requiring DL increased 35x. AI skills are not mutually exclusive.

On average, men make up 71% of the applicant pool for AI jobs in the U.S. Because the Machine learning requirement has the highest volume of applicants, the average is largely driven by Machine Learning job applicants. In addition to Machine learning, Deep learning and Robotics are more gender diverse, relative to other categories. The data are by skill required, which is not mutually exclusive. The number of applicants does not imply hires or overall representation in industry.


101 guide to transform your organisation in to an AI one.

AI Playbook from the 'God of AI' himself. Simplified for everyone.

While everyone is excited about AI, it's potential impacts on every industry and how it is going to transform our lives completely, most of the organisations who could be part of this revolution are still unsure of how to get themselves involved and be up and start running. More so when the 'real advice' is far less to find, compared to all the din and noise and mostly hype.

Andrew Ng, Chairman and CEO now of Landing AI and most renown researcher in the field of AI has some real practical implementable advice for organisations, we have produced the most important points here in a 101 style.

This is how you can lead your organisation too in to the AI revolution and be part of it.

1. Execute pilot projects to gain momentum

For traditional organisations who have not been at the fore-front of cutting-edge technology it is imperative that they first dip their hand in the water, rather than trying to immerse themselves in by jumping from a dive-board. While AI is touching each and every component of business imagined, the talent to advise and work on still very limited. And hence the need to go slow and steady.

Start small. Tiny is good. Don't do it for sake of being fancy called an 'AI Organisation'. Whatever you do, have a business objective attached to it and above all the outcome should be measurable.

Rinse and repeat. If you do this well, gradually over a period of no time, your organisation would really become an AI company.

2. Build an in-house AI team

This is one critical thing which cannot be outsourced except for the courtship period. This we are talking about the fourth industrial revolution. An internal small team could be set-up, then sent for training (online is best) and apprenticeship on AI projects, while company supporting all this while. An internal team is the best one to understand and then attend to company's AI needs. Work is fast, smooth and in the long run much more cost-effective. Above all, you have build the AI capability in some time.

3. Provide broad AI training

Just building a technology AI team is not sufficient to be called an 'AI Company'. 'AI' is a mindset and it has to be an all pervasive one across the organisation. It calls for training for the entire organisation in AI, broad and deep depending on the role and work profile of employees. After the training, employees should be able to think 'AI First' ie analysing everything from the AI perspective. Unless all hands think in alike manner (AI manner), a successful AI company cannot be built.

4. Develop an AI Strategy

While the leadership works on transforming the company to an 'AI Company', it is very important to have short,medium and long terms objectives for the company in AI landscape. While AI is still in a state of flux and new developments are happening, after some familiarisation, an AI strategy for the company should be established with periodic assessment over a half-yearly absis and if the needs arise, then revising the same. Instead of blidly following each and every new shining development, the strategy should develop on how the company can develop itself to a leadership position, riding the AI revolution. And then focus on building unique advantageous positions on those lines. Lines which are difficult to cross by competition, as the time grows.

5. Develop internal and external communication

AI is not a technological cycle which happens once a decade, here we are talking about the fourth industrial revolution in the history of mankind. Hence it requires a coherent and well-balanced interaction with all the stakeholders. Future belongs to those who are strong and innovative with AI, and of your company is along the right path, unless it is communicated well enough, it will go down the drain. All the major stakeholders of the company, Investors, Customers,Talent, Employees and Regulatory should be engaged meaningfully and updated regularily on what and where the company stands in terms of AI.


Two Indian origin High School students develop wildfire prediction AI tool.

Curiosity and Greater Good combination produces the best results, always.

Wildfires have been a menace at many places in the world, specially in California, where they have assumed notorious proportions.

Two Indian-origin high-school students studying at Cupertino, which is home to Apple's headquarters have developed an AI based solution, which can predict the occurrence of wildfires, before take place.

The device called "Smart Wild Fire Sensor" uses Google's open source software Tensor Flow, to combine images and weather parameters to predict the wildfire starts.

Aditya Shah (17) and Sanjana Shah studying at Monsta Vista High School in California; took on this challenge as pat of Google's AI for social good. Aditya has himself experienced several wildfires in his close proximity, since moving here.

Based on the moisture content in the leaves, dryness in the air, , its direction, ambient temperature and density of foliage in the area; the device would predict if the conditions cumulatively thus achieved is conducive to start a fire or not.

The duo have claimed a success rate of over 89 percent, however the challenge remains deploying this solution to wide forests spanning hundreds of thousands of hectares, where potential 'hotspots' could be virtually anywhere.

The other challenge are also to classify a good dataset which could work over a vast forest area, examining dry leaves and twigs of all kinds. Currently Aditya and Sanjana's dataset has only about 500 good quality images.

The students after receiving appreciation and accolades form Google, now plan to take this project to California Fire Department for further support.


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