Imagine if you could predict people’s behaviour. Even if just for simple tasks like texting (and adding emojis, a brand new only-beta feature) to your chat. Well, now come back to reality as Swiftkey is already doing it. SwiftKey learns from previous SMS messages and output predictions based on currently input text and what it has learned giving you word suggestions following your writing style.
Swiftkey has been funded in 2008 and bought by Microsoft earlier this year. It’s not the first British AI startup bought by a US Tech giant: Google bought Deepmind a couple of years ago, not only with the need of putting his hands on Deepmind’s technology but also to have access to an incredible pool of talents.
If you’re following the startup scene in London, you know that good developers are on the hunt. If your project is around AI, you know that finding good people with that expertise is even more difficult. That’s why there are meetups like London.AI, aiming to create a network of investors, companies, developers, academics. And that’s where I’ve been yesterday evening, attending a panel around creativity and AI.
The panel was super interesting, telling the experience of the co-founder of Prediction.io, a open source machine learning tool aiming to help developers building more intelligent products, such as recommendation or prediction engines (without having to reinvent the wheel) now acquired by Salesforce. If was great hearing from Jonathan from Union Square, a VC investing in creative AI projects (and a lot of other stuff) especially regarding the fact that ideas and networks are still important. And the last one, by Ed Rex, founder of Jukedeck was brilliant (and scary): AI is not just learning to predict our search and our behaviour but is also learning to be creative, using the same process we have in mind when we develop new ideas and produce a final result. Isn’t it scary? Ed is very much convinced about the positive effect this is leading to: much more people open to new stuff and more personalised products. Will be true? I’m sure we’ll continue the conversation.
Super fascinating projects, but only a few of all the AI projects in London. And it’s funny, ’cause London (and not the Silicon Valley this time) is becoming the main global hub, not only for London’s startup ecosystem but also thanks to Imperial and UCL offering a trove of talent and ideas.
According to the Guardian this is a growing network of academic excellence which has already attracted some of the world’s brightest minds, all keen to be part of an environment reminiscent of San Francisco’s web startup hub. – This is a scene where everyone knows each other. You can’t help being caught up in the excitement of it,- says Shanahan professor of cognitive robotics at Imperial.
Which are the other AI projects we should give a closer look at in 2016? Here what I liked the most.
- Magic Pony technology: using AI to expand and create pictures, discovering the finest details and larger patterns. If you don’t see where the application can be, imagine a game or CG movie where textures like that can be generated dynamically, different for every playthrough or character. Chances are that humans would still have to ground-truth these images to fine-tune the algorithms, but it’s a powerful way to implement a feature artists and engineers have been pursuing with varying success for years.
- Babylon: an artificially intelligent ‘doctor’ that aims to prevent illnesses before they occur. To do this, the program tracks your daily habits, diagnosis illness based on symptoms and integrating data about heart rate, diet and medical records.
Babylon is currently in a trial partnership with the National Health Service to test feasibility in making its service available to all UK citizens.
- Onfido: helping companies to carry out remote background checks using artificial intelligence and machine learning to build the sophistication of its fraud detection over time
- Seldon: predicts the future actions of consumers of media and e-commerce services across web, mobile and tablet combining behavioural, social, contextual, and first/third party data to increase the relevance of content and product recommendations and ultimately boost engagement and conversion.
- Rainbird: an artificial intelligence platform that uses existing human and business knowledge to automate knowledge work and deliver smart systems that can transform organisations. The technology is also capable of learning through interaction and from every decision that is made, getting smarter over time with the aim of improving large scale decision-making processes.
- Telectic: interpreting the Web’s content at scale by creating an automated semantic layer to the Web. The initial objective is to map and discover insights about the professional world by reorganising the Web’s information about people, networks and organisations.
Anything else you would add? Let’s chat