10 Artificial Intelligence Companies You Should Know

We look at 10 companies on the forefront of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technology.
  • Artificial intelligence (AI) is set for exponential growth in the coming years. According to a 2016 report from CB Insights, equity financing in the AI space rocketed from $282 million to $2.4 billion from 2011 to 2015 with global equity funding for AI reaching $6 billion. AI has touched nearly every industry from manufacturing and robotics to the Internet of Things (IoT), finance, healthcare, legal, and even agriculture.

    Within this, the technology industry has seen a plethora of new AI-related startups, as well as acquisitions and investments from major companies like Google, Samsung, GE, and Intel.

    So who are the companies to watch? We've left off some of the obvious guys like Google, IBM, and Facebook in order to highlight 10 new companies at the forefront of AI and machine learning.

  • 1. Clarifai

    When you think of image search you probably think of Google Image search – the go-to tool for verifying if your online date is really the person in that picture. But New York-based startup Clarifai believes image search can be so much more. The company has developed a machine learning API that lets developers attach metadata to images and videos for easy search and recognition.

    Clarifai's platform can be trained to learn what kinds of objects are in photos and videos so that users can search for them, or even send the software an image of their own so it can find similar objects in other images and videos. The company has presented several case studies for its technology – including assisting with diagnosis based on medical imagery.

    In the manufacturing space it's easy to conceive of suppliers and OEMs being able to leverage Clarifai's technology to match parts and equipment visually without the need for a lengthy description or product number. Imagine a factory worker being able to send a supplier a cellphone photo of a damaged part and having their system automatically know what that part is and ship you a new one.

  • 2. Darktrace

    Cybersecurity is only going to become a bigger concern in the coming years. But the problem for many companies is the shortage of qualified cybersecurity specialists available for hire as well as the challenge of keeping pace in a realm where the bad guys always seem to be one step ahead.

    UK-based Darktrace thinks thats where AI can come in. The company's Enterprise Immune System technology is a machine learning-based solution that monitors device and user behavior over networks – learning what is considered normal behavior and flagging anything suspicious or unusual. The technology is even capable of taking action on its own to expel and shut out hackers and malware.

    Darktrace sees its technology as an inside-out solution. Networks can only build so many walls to keep intruders out and not all threats come from the outside of the network. Darktrace concerns itself with what's happening within the network – sussing out cyber attacks that have already made it past firewalls and other security and are affecting a network undetected. The company is already boasting clients across a variety of industries including manufacturing, energy, automotive, finance, and healthcare.

  • 3. iCarbonX

    From wearables to patient records and tracking, IoT technologies have made healthcare one of (if not the most) data-heavy industries around today. And iCarbonX believes the best way to tackle all of that data, and deliver useful outcomes for patients, is to let AI handle the job – providing health analysis and health index predictions to patients.

    While IBM Watson might carry the best known applications of AI for healthcare, Chinese company iCarbonX says it is working on a solution that will bring AI into medicine in a way that collects data faster and cheaper than big rivals like IBM and Google.

    In January iCarbonX formed an alliance with seven other companies to develop algorithms to analyze genomic, physiological, and behavioral data. The alliance, led by iCabonX's founder Jun Wang, is aiming to create a mobile app that will provide customized health and medical advance directly to patients and consumers. The iCarbonX-led alliance has already pulled together $400 million in investment dollars and is aiming to gather one million users in the next five years.  

  • 4. MindMeld

    If you're familiar with the famous Turing Test, you know one of the biggest challenges faced by AI is to trick a human into thinking he or she isn't talking to a machine, or at least make them feel like they aren't.

    It's no accident that MindMeld's name makes you think of Star Trek. Inspired by the Vulcans' ability to communicate with all beings, MindMeld is aiming to make computer-human communication as natural and seamless as human-to-human communication. Founded in 2011, the company has created a technology platform that lets companies create intelligent chatbots for apps and devices – what it calls Deep-Domain Conversational AI. 

    Consumers are already familiar with AI assistants like Apple's Siri, Google Assistant, Amazon Echo, and Microsoft's Cortana, but these are closed off systems that can't be deployed across platforms. MindMeld's platform lets companies create a solution that can be deployed across multiple apps and devices, without having to take on the risks of going open source.  

     

  • 5. Mobileye

    Recently acquired by Intel, Mobileye has been positioning itself to be the name in vision systems for autonomous vehicles. Where competitors are leaning toward lidar and radar-based solutions for autonomous vehicle navigation, Mobileye believes that camera systems, combined with mapping and machine learning capabilities, will lead the road to fully-autonomous vehicles.

    And it may not be wrong. Mobileye was the go-to provider of camera systems for Tesla vehicles until a falling out in the wake of a highly publicized fatal Tesla crash. Now, under Intel, Mobileye is working to help the company create a full end-to-end solution for self-driving vehicles that will extend from the cars themselves to cloud-based data solutions.  

     

  • 6. Narrative Science

    It takes a special person to genuinely love compiling and explaining data reports. Realizing that such souls are few and far between, Chicago-based Narrative Science has developed Quill, an advanced natural language generation (Advanced NLG) platform, targeted at enterprise, that analyzes data reports, extrapolates the key points, and turns them into written, meaningful narratives for users.

    Companies can train Quill on what sorts of insights are most important to the business and the system can generate a comprehensive, natural language report. It may not have the dramatic flair of a human writer (yet) but Quill is pointing to a future where basic reports, press releases, and even white papers could be generated by machine.

     

  • 7. Reality AI

    Ask anyone about the challenges of the IoT space today and data analytics will be at the top of many lists. Reality AI is targeting its machine learning tools at engineers who work primarily with sensors and signal processing – whether that be in factory automation or even emerging fields like autonomous vehicles.

    Essentially, Reality AI is aimed at letting machines do the heavy lifting for IoT when it comes to data. The company's platform creates signal classifiers and detectors that can be deployed via cloud or embedded in firmware. Letting AI handle the signal processing for the data coming through an IoT network allows for more efficient equipment monitoring as well as other applications such as predictive maintenance, activity monitoring, and environmental monitoring.

  • 8. UBTech

    If you've ever wanted a true robot companion, or even just a maid like Rosie from the Jetsons around your house, China-based UBTech has your back.

    UBTech is dedicated to commercializing humanoid robots around the world. The company's latest robot, Cruzr, is targeted at industrial applications. The robot draws upon cloud-based intelligence – including facial and voice recognition, and mapping – and can be customized to a variety of applications. Some of those suggested by UBTech include functioning as a greeter (Cruzr can shake hands and even hug), security guard, or even a factory supervisor.

    UBTech hopes the robot's humanoid design will make it more readily adoptable for humans. The company expects the robot to hit the market in June 2017.

     

  • 9. Verb Surgical

    Scott Huennekens president and CEO of Verb Surgical, doesn't want his company to be thought of as robotics company, but as a “surgical platform company.” Formed by Johnson & Johnson in conjunction with Verily Life Sciences LLC (formerly Google Life Sciences) the company wants to use AI and robots to usher in the age of “digital surgery.” Indeed, Verb wants to do for surgery what IBM is hoping Watson will do for diagnosis.

    Surgical robots like Da Vinci have been on the market for some time, but they are more tools than collaborators. Verb wants to do for surgical robots what companies like Rethink Robotics have done for collaborative robots in the factory – creating machines that can intelligently work alongside humans (in this case surgeons).

    In an interview with Design News' sister publication, MD+DI, Huennekens described a bit of what Verb is attempting: "Always there, always on. ... You just bring up the arms for the couple of steps that you want to do, you move the arms out of the way, and continue on. Improved visualization will allow surgeons to 'see more, see easier, and interpret images using machine learning and data analytics.'"

     

  • 10. Zoox

    Easily the most secretive company on our list, Zoox is nonetheless making a big name for itself in the autonomous cars arena. The company has raised over $200 million in venture funding and is currently valued at about $1.5 billion for its claims that it is making a self-driving vehicle of its own that will rival those of big-name competitors like Google, Uber, and Tesla.

    To date Zoox is the only startup company with a license to operate self-driving cars on the roads in California (the last startup with the privilege, Cruise Automation, was acquired by General Motors in 2016).

    The company showed off some design concepts (above) at the 2013 LA Auto Show but has been very hush hush ever since. However, it claims that its vehicles will go beyond merely driving themselves and will feature deeper levels of intelligent automation. Zoox's nearest-term goal is to release a fleet of fully autonomous taxis by the year 2020.  

Chris Wiltz is the Managing Editor of Design News.

 

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