“Just as electricity transformed almost everything 100 years ago, today I actually have a hard time thinking of an industry that I don’t think AI will transform in the next several years.” —Andrew Ng
In the fast-moving world of artificial intelligence (AI), a few tech-giants—including Google, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, and Salesforce—garner the lion’s share of the headlines. But just under the top tier, we can find a number of fast-moving and well-funded organizations that are making waves in diverse industries including autonomous vehicles, medical diagnosis, robotics, and fraud prevention. Here are four companies that are pushing the boundaries with AI and machine learning:
Chipmaker Nvidia Corporation was best known for powering graphic-intensive video games, but in the era of AI and machine learning, these powerful graphics processing units (GPUs) have found a new lease on life. Nvidia’s GPUs are especially suited to deep learning, an advanced machine learning technique. Deep learning is important in the development of autonomous cars, medical diagnosis, computer vision, speech recognition as well as mobile gaming and entertainment. The company has created platforms that address four markets: gaming, professional visualization, datacenter, and automotive. As you might expect, other manufacturers including Intel, AMD and Asus have joined the fray to compete for a share of the rapidly expanding GPU market.
Tempus is a Chicago-based technology company that is dedicated to making precision medicine a reality by gathering and analyzing clinical and molecular data at scale. The company leverages AI to fulfill its future goal of putting each patient on a personalized therapeutic path to combat disease and increase health and longevity. There are massive amounts of valuable medical information trapped in unstructured data sources, including clinical notes, lab reports, images, and radiology scans. The company uses AI to unlock this information to optimize treatment options to every patient’s specific requirements. Tempus uses AI to create breakthroughs in cancer research, analyze DNA, RNA, and other data to understand tumors at the molecular level and identify effective treatment options.
Robot armies, assemble! It’s no exaggeration to say cloud computing holds the potential to benefit all of humanity. Instant global access, reduced costs, and real-time updates have enabled us to run our lives and businesses more effectively. But what about robots? Cloudminds is a company that aims to ensure that robots also benefit from cloud connectivity. The company is developing a comprehensive ecosystem to support cloud-connected smart machines to support finance, healthcare, manufacturing, power utilities, public sector, and enterprise mobility industries. Its cloud-based AI uses advanced algorithms, large-scale neural networks, and training data to prepare robots for image and object recognition, natural language processing, speech recognition and more. Cloudminds technology has the potential to connect robots and smart devices around the globe to AI services in the cloud via Virtual Backbone Networks (VBNs). Use cases include domestic robots, medical robots, industrial robots and autonomous mobile robots, such a Google’s self-driving cars. Cloudminds also offers cloud services to connect humanoid robots such as SoftBank’s Pepper. Pepper robots are used by more than 2,000 organizations around the world to welcome, inform, and guide visitors, including visitors to Singularity University headquarters in Santa Clara, California.
Innovation leaders and visionaries around the world relentlessly seek new ways to leverage exponential technologies to create a more abundant and connected world. At the same time, bad actors seek new ways to exploit these technologies for their own purposes. Sift bills itself as a leader in digital trust and safety, empowering companies of all sizes to unlock revenue without risk. The company uses machine learning, a type of data analysis that enables computers to learn without human instruction, to identify fraud and automatically adapt to a variety of evolving tactics used by online criminals. Founded by former Google engineers, Sift aims to make fraud detection simpler and easier to use for payment services and e-commerce sites, while minimizing revenue impact caused by loss of consumer trust in a brand’s ability to protect their personal information.
Though none of these four AI organizations are giants, they each have reportedly received more than $100 million in funding. Funding is an important signal in the future progress of AI and machine learning across industries. In other words, the dramatic increase in AI funding over the past four years is likely to accelerate AI advancements in the next few years. US investment in AI and machine learning startups continues to rise, according to Crunchbase, with 2019 investments on pace to top the $8.67 billion total invested in 2018.
The pattern seems to signal that AI investments continue to grow, but at a slower pace than in the last few years. Interestingly, current AI investments are directed to fewer startups than in the past. This may translate to a break in the relentless hype cycle around AI in the past few years. Or, it could signal that investors are becoming more knowledgeable and selective about which companies they back. Either way, it seems that we’re getting smarter about building and investing in AI capabilities—which can only be a positive.