Artificial Intelligence (AI) had another big week with companies developing breakthrough technologies and getting funded in the process. LUMO Labs dominated the news while Meta revealed its major ambitions for AI and making AI mimic human capabilities.
While AI continues to evolve rapidly, there are also the inherent risks associated with it. As a result, the tech pioneers who championed AI in its early stage are also becoming the ones to build guardrails against its overt use. Here is a look at some of the stories that dominated the world of AI and depict the state of AI right now.
SeMI Technologies, the developer of the open-source Weaviate vector-search database, closed its $16M Series A funding round last week. The round co-led by New Enterprise Associates (NEA) and Cortical Ventures follows a previously unannounced $1.6M seed financing led by Zetta Venture Partners with participation from ING Ventures in 2020.
The seed funding followed by Series A shows the leadership position of SeMI Technologies in vector databases. The vector databases are ushering in a new wave of AI-first innovation in database technologies. Weaviate stores data that is processed by machine learning models and allows users to better index and search through their data. SeMI Technologies plans to grow its team and fine-tune its ML models and modules with the funding.
LUMO Labs announced the investment of an undisclosed sum in neurotechnology startup Maaind. The investment is part of LUMO Fund II Seed Capital and shows investor trust in neuroadaptive machine learning and the integration of AI-enabled platforms in everyday products and services. Founded in 2018, Maaind is developing personalised wellbeing solutions through biometrics and neuroadaptive AI. With presence in the UK, Germany and the Netherlands, Maaind has partnerships with several consumer-facing companies.
The algorithm designed by Maaind measures the emotional and stress state from speech analysis, wearables and the environment. Based on the data, it offers suggestions and recommendations that are tailored to each users’ psychological or physical state. The technology is far ahead of current wellbeing solutions and Maaind plans to use the funding to solidify its current partnership, attract new partners, and continue research and development.
LUMO Labs also announced seed investment in Chunkx, a Dutch/German startup developing AI-based solutions to make learning more relevant and effective in the digital era. We have seen the pandemic completely upend the digital learning ecosystem and with hybrid learning here to stay, Chunkx could lead the way for the next wave of edtech disruption.
The funding announced as part of LUMO Fund II will help Chunkx further develop its micro-learning application that creates a curated and personalised learning experience. Florian Stieler, founder and CEO of Chunkx, aims to make learning dynamic and build a world where every person with a smart device can connect the dots in their countless learning experiences.
The Chamber of Commerce Innovation Top 100 saw sign ups from between 300 and 500 companies. The idea of this year’s list is to offer representation to older innovative companies and 15 to 20 per cent of the top 100 participants are over 10 years old. The Chamber of Commerce says the age of the companies is lower than more than 50 per cent of innovative business registrations of 10 years and older in the Innovation Spotter.
In order to draw its list, Innovationspotter.nl used AI to analyse 500 SMBs participating which are 5 years old. The data was then compared with the total number of companies – 50,000 – classified as innovative. The AI was used to look at a total of 2.7 million Dutch registrations in the trade register and were categorised and indexed on the basis of innovation theme.
Darktrace, the most prominent player in cybersecurity right now, has acquired Dutch startup Cybersprint for €47.5M. The deal values Cybersprint at 12.5 times its annual recurring revenue.
The acquisition will help Darktrace’s vision of delivering a ‘Continuous Cyber AI Loop’ and will also complement its self-learning technology. Cybersprint offers continuous, real-time insights from an outside-in perspective to detect risk and eliminate blind spots. This is the most lucrative technology in the cybersecurity space right now.
Meta, the parent of Facebook, is no stranger in the world of AI and is arguably the strongest proponent of AI use across products and services. However, the company has ambitions that are in the realm of artificial general intelligence. Yann LeCun, Meta AI’s Chief AI Scientist, envisions AI systems that can learn and reason like animals and humans.
LeCun says such an AI system will help a teenager who has never sat behind a steering wheel learn to drive in just 20 hours. He is sketching an alternate vision for building human-level AI. His proposal for AI to learn “world models”, which Meta describes as internal models of how the world works, could be the key to unlocking the next level of AI intelligence.
Schmidt Futures, founded by Eric and Wendy Schmidt, has announced a $125M fund and five-year commitment to support leading researchers in AI making a positive impact. The initiative, called AI2050, aims to support exceptional people working on key opportunities and hard problems that are critical for society to benefit from AI.
The initiative stems from Eric Schmidt’s book, The Age of AI: And our Human Future, co-authored by Henry Kissinger and Dan Huttenlocher. The philanthropic initiative envisions a world in 2050 where AI has greatly benefited society and is focusing on funding efforts that will help AI make great contributions to societal change.