Recent advances in data collection, algorithms and processing power have enabled computer scientists and researchers to make strides in developing Artificial General Intelligence (AGI). Enterprises are adopting AI and machine learning tools which are being deployed to build better credit models, foster financial inclusion, improve healthcare and even speed up the development of new drugs.
To support the deployment of AI, companies are investing in strengthening the digital infrastructure and build stronger data ecosystems. Besides that, enterprises are also making substantial changes in their management styles, forging strategic partnerships with startups and technology specialists to kick-start the AI efforts.
As computing power grows, AI reaches a tipping point and startups and companies are pushing the frontiers of AGI with research in neuroscience gaining ground. While there has been extensive progress in narrow application domains, specific applications where results are achieved with enough training data.
Here are some of the startups/companies who are striving for developments in AGI through neuroscience:
Cognituum: Cognituum AGI is pegged as a universal cognitive computing platform which offers quick instant insights from your data and networks. This New York-based company provides a framework for general AI with the software termed GAIuS, which the company claims is a convergence of AGI, big data, deep learning and evolving algorithms. Reportedly, they are using “AI technology to build the smartest and most adaptive systems”. Their applications are deployed in fintech, cybersecurity, information security, NLP, IoT and robotics. The company is founded by Peter Olausson, a neuroscientist turned entrepreneur who previously founded Intelligent Artifacts.
Viv Labs: Viv Labs is a subsidiary of Samsung Electronics, founded by Dag Kittlaus, who was previously the co-founder of CEO of Siri that spun out of Stanford Research Institute in 2007. Viv offers an AI platform which allows developers to distribute their products through an intelligent, conversational interface. His company was acquired by Samsung and the founder Kittlaus believes that AI has the potential to allow developers to build an exponential set of new capabilities to their applications without prior experience. His new venture, Viv Labs is pushing the boundaries of Consumer AI — through smart assistants which are embedded in phones, other devices around the home. The company is advancing voice capabilities and increasing its usefulness across devices.
Vicarious: Dubbed as AI for the Robot Age, this startup, co-founded by Scott Phoenix is developing artificial general intelligence for robots. With investment from Khosla Ventures, the company has a slew of notable investors like Ashton Kutcher, Tesla founder Elon Musk and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg. The California-based startup is pushing the frontier of computational neuroscience to build better machine learning models which will help robots take on a series of tasks. The company’s research focuses on the neocortex, a part of the brain concerned with sight and hearing and it is closing the gap in behaviour-based concept representation which can have a broader applicability.
Yandex: Russian IT behemoth Yandex, better known as the Google of Russia is also pushing the boundaries of cognitive computing. Last year, Russian IT giant also unveiled its autonomous car project, its on-demand transportation service known as Yandex.Taxi. Interestingly, the prototype of a self-driving car is a step towards a comprehensive set of driverless technologies for the application being used across a wide range of industries.
DeepMind: Owned by Google with its headquarters in the UK, DeepMind has always grabbed headlines for solving the AGI puzzle. As noted earlier, the company behind Atari and Go AI systems reached another milestone in its journey with AlphaGo Zero which evidently learns from scratch, requires no bootstrapping from human data and learns incrementally from its own mistakes. According to a section of ML researchers dubbed AlphaGo Zero as a significant research advancement in AI, even more so than Alpha Go since Alpha Go Zero learned without any data.
According to a McKinsey report, in 2016, tech giants like Alibaba, Facebook, Baidu, Amazon and most notably Google have ploughed in anywhere between $20 billion and $30 billion in AI development. These investments span both internal R&D efforts and a steady stream of strategic M&As to strengthen their talent and product pipeline. In addition to this, the aggressive M&As and investments also help in acquiring datasets, proprietary technology, and as the report sums up to build up barriers for slower-moving competitors.