He recognizes faces. He knows what kind of video would you like. He might be able to recommend the best treatment specifically for your case. Artificial intelligence and its sub disciplines such as machine learning, natural language processing and computer vision become more integrated in our daily lives, whether we like it or not. What was once science fiction has now become a routine research and development in University laboratories around the world.
Likewise, increased opportunities and startups working on technologies of artificial intelligence — and with them grow and stock. More than 30 of these companies is now estimated at a billion dollars, according to research from CB Insights. Private companies with a valuation of billion recently was a rarity that they even called “unicorns”. However, now there are more than 325 that in the aggregate the evaluation results of nearly a trillion dollars.
Startups AI do 10% of the total list, and are rapidly growing in number over the last 4 years from zero to thirty-two. In the past year, as many as 17 startups on the topic of AI struck a billion-dollar threshold.
But what is all that money?
Big Brother is watching you
Let’s start with the bad news.
Face recognition is probably one of the most common applications of AI today. In fact, this technology, which for many years created by a man named Woodrow Bledsoe, who used the RAND tablet for semi-Autonomous Association of persons from the database. It was in the 1960-ies.
Today most of us are familiar with face recognition as a way of unlocking smartphones. But technology has gained prominence as a tool of supervision over law enforcement, especially in China.
It is no secret that the algorithms for facial recognition, developed several “unicorns” AI from China — SenseTime, CloudWalk and Face++ (also known as Megvii) is used to observe the 1.3 billion people in the country. The police there even wears glasses with AI for these purposes.
Chinese startup Yitu Technologies, the fourth billion dollars, is also developing a platform to recognize individuals in the field of security and develop systems of artificial intelligence in healthcare. For example, its clever system of four-dimensional imaging CARE.AITM can in real time to identify various inflammations, including possible early detection of cancer.
Artificial intelligence: a doctor
As noted by Peter Diamandis, AI rapidly expands and improves health and life expectancy. In this regard, he points to another “unicorn” from China: iCarbonX, which plans to use the machine to develop individual health plans for each person.
A few “unicorns” in the field of hardware in the healthcare is OrCam Technologies and Butterfly. First, an Israeli company, has developed a wearable device for visually impaired people MyEye, which is attached to the points. The device can identify people and products and also read the text, passing information using discrete audio.
Butterfly Network from Connecticut completely revamped the healthcare market with a portable ultrasound device that works with a smartphone.
“Orcam and Butterfly — amazing examples of how machine learning can be integrated into solutions that provide incremental improvement even advanced technologies on ultrasonometry markets,” said Andrew Byrnes, chief investment officer at Comet Labs.
Artificial intelligence: the driver
The portfolio Comet Labs two “unicorn” in AI: Megvii and Pony.ai.
The second one is one of three startups to a billion dollars developing artificial intelligence technologies in self-driving cars, and the other two Momenta.ai and Zoox.
Founded in 2016 near San Francisco (headquarters in China), Pony.ai debuted with its system of self-government PonyAlpha last year. This platform uses a variety of sensors (LiDAR, camera and radar) to navigate in the environment, but its “technologies merge sensors” simplifies the task by choosing the most reliable sensor data in any particular scenario of driving.
Zoox — another startup in San Francisco founded a couple of years ago. At the end of 2018, he got the green light from the state of California and became the first company to develop Autonomous vehicle that carries passengers as part of a pilot program. Meanwhile, Momenta.ai from China is testing the autonomy of the fourth level for its system of self-driving. Levels of Autonomous driving are evaluated from zero to five, where the fifth level is the person behind the wheel.
The hype around Autonomous driving is currently at its peak, and Byrnes believes that in the foreseeable future regulatory checkpoints will hold most cars with self at idle. The exception is China, which applies a “systems” approach to Autonomous transport.
“If Autonomous transport is to solve more serious problems, such as traffic, and cause support for the government, it will have the potential for rapid development. That is why we believe that Pony.ai will be the winner in this area.”
Artificial intelligence: automation of processes
Technology based on artificial intelligence that will appreciate is that the fans of the cult classic Office Space, it’s a robotic process automation (RPA).
Company RPA undertake the daily work of the back office, like filling in the billing or processing of insurance claims, and pass it on bots. Then comes into play the intellectual part, since bots can work with unstructured data such as text in an email or even a video and pictures to perform an increasing variety of tasks.
Doing this UiPath and Automation Anywhere, a very old company, founded in 2003 and 2005. And only in 2017, they have attracted $ 1 billion in aggregate funding.
Artificial intelligence: cyber security
Cyber security is another industry in which AI encourages investment in startups. Such impressive names as CrowdStrike, Darktrace, and Tanium, using different machine learning methods to protect computers and other it resources, in addition to a simple update of the antivirus to the latest version.
Darktrace, for example, draws inspiration from the human immune system. Its algorithms can “learn” a unique scheme of every device and user on the network, identifying problems before the situation gets out of control.
All three companies used by major corporations and governments worldwide.
The most expensive startup in the world — a Chinese company Bytedance — currently estimated at $ 75 billion. What it does? To create news and 15-second viral video. However, companies like Comet Labs investing in such companies.
Byrnes sees real value in startups that use “approaches to the problem based on the data characteristic for unique industries”. For example, “unicorn” Uptake Technologies of Chicago analyzes the incoming data from machines, from wind turbines to tractors, to predict the emergence of problems before they affect the mechanisms. Small PingThings while the company conducts a similar analysis for the sector of energy services.
Will be very curious to see how this industry will change in three to five years. Read our Zen, there are many interesting things on this topic.