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Artificial Intelligence & Nonprofits: A Primer
AI’s purpose and success comes from using the unique tools of computers, namely, “huge memory capabilities and calculating power” that are far greater than the human brain can ever achieve. Artificial Intelligence is “simply creating computer software that can accomplish tasks (at least with some level of competence and usefulness) that seem to require intelligence in humans.” These tasks include, for instance, “communicating in everyday “natural” language, solving problems, recognizing images and patterns, learning new skills, and making decisions and plans.” But AI systems lack the “context” that humans have: that is, “knowledge that human beings readily bring to bear that stems from our ‘simply’ living in the world with our wealth of impulses and experiences.” So computers are incapable of “understanding humor, exhibiting basic ‘common sense,’ and working with ambiguity….” The role of computers in AI applications, “as idiot savants,” can be illustrated by an example.
Of the survey respondents, only about 42% say they are “researching AI” but just 28% report that “AI is either deployed, in the implementation phase, or experimental.” Despite AI still being in its “infancy” in the nonprofit sector, there is already such a breathtaking range and scope of Artificial Intelligence applications in use that it’s tough to cubbyhole them in neat little categories especially for an introductory post like this. Computer scientist, Lisa Rau, Ph.D., explains it in her article (cited extensively throughout this post) noting “there are a wide variety of nonprofit organizational tasks that AI can help to solve, especially for any organization either with lots of data that is handled repetitively or that requires “significant analysis across many pieces of data.” For instance, “any nonprofit where people analyze images” can benefit from the rapid advances in image-processing technology.
Kapin points to the Rainforest Connection’s use of Google’s TensorFlow to help in its “mission to protect forests from illegal logging.” This AI application can “detect illegal logging in vulnerable forest areas by analyzing audio-sensor data.” With this information, the organization is creating a large dataset that “lets scientists compare month over month, year over year changes to our planet’s most endangered ecosystems” for use in policymaking and allocation of resources, and in Rainforest Connection’s project to reintroduce species into reserves. In the fundraising category, she cites the example of the nonprofit Charity: Water using the AI tool, Persado, to “understand understand which content and images on Facebook would generate more recurring donors for its monthly program called The Spring.
AI 50: America’s Most Promising Artificial Intelligence Companies
Artificial intelligence is infiltrating every industry, allowing vehicles to navigate without drivers, assisting doctors with medical diagnoses, and mimicking the way humans speak.
As Jeremy Achin, CEO of newly minted unicorn DataRobot, puts it: “Everyone knows you have to have machine learning in your story or you’re not sexy.” The inherently broad term gets bandied about so often that it can start to feel meaningless and gets trotted out by companies to gussy up even simple data analysis.
To help cut through the noise, Forbes and data partner Meritech Capital put together a list of private, U.S.-based companies that are wielding some subset of artificial intelligence in a meaningful way and demonstrating real business potential from doing so.
To be included on the list, companies needed to show that techniques like machine learning (where systems learn from data to improve on tasks), natural language processing (which enables programs to “understand” written or spoken language), or computer vision (which relates to how machines “see”) are a core part of their business model and future success.
Only eight startups were founded or cofounded by women, reflecting trends in venture funding, where software startups run by men have received the lion’s share of investment dollars.
Its software cross-references CT images of a patient’s brain with its database of scans and can alert specialists in minutes to early signs of large vessel occlusion strokes that they may have otherwise missed or taken too long to spot.
CEO Wout Brusselaers says the company’s software can pull data from electronic medical records to create patient graphs that allow researchers to filter for specific conditions and traits, leading to matches in “minutes, instead of months.” The system’s language understanding engine has been trained so that it can infer some conditions even if they’re not explicitly mentioned in notes, and Deep 6 says it has more than 20 health system or pharmaceutical customers.
CEO and cofounder Dhananjay Sampath launched Armorblox into the saturated cybersecurity market two years ago with the aim of protecting customers from socially engineered attacks, like phishing emails, that take advantage of human missteps.
“However, the real-world use cases tend to move in the opposite direction—demanding solutions with less compute, memory and power.” They set about trying to create a system where complex algorithms could run on simple hardware and spun out of the Allen Institute, which was cofounded by the late Paul Allen of Microsoft, in 2016.
The company admits that its AI agent, Chloe, is still in its infant stage right now—it can complete simple tasks like reading the instructions on a pill bottle — but it has big ambitions for more robust computer-vision-based navigation.
While chat bots burst onto the scene with a lot of promise (remember how they were going to take over Facebook Messenger?), they never quite reached mainstream adoption, due in part to disenchantment with their limited scope and conversational rigidity.
it just happens to be stuck in a research paper somewhere.” He and longtime Microsoft employee Diego Oppenheimer banded together to devise an easier way for data scientists to discover and work with machine learning models.
The app can build a 3D map of a space in roughly 30 seconds and uses computer vision to recognize real-world objects, so that objects created in AR can interact with them like they would in the real world.
The company recently raised a fresh round of funding led by automotive company Aptiv with the hope that its technology could one day be integrated into smart cars (imagine a vehicle that could issue a warning to a drowsy-looking driver).In the meantime, it’s also being used to test consumer feedback on ads and TV programming.
Blue Hexagon, led by longtime Qualcomm executive Nayeem Islam, spent more than a year and a half building a deep learning system to analyze network traffic that it says can detect and block threats in under a second.
It evaluates data from hundreds of online and offline data sources including credit bureaus, carrier phone records, IP addresses, social networks and more, to monitor for any suspicious behavior.
Chief technology officer Sarjoun Skaff says it has taken iteration after iteration since 2013 to figure out how to let its robots maneuver safely around shoppers and interpret billions of images in a way that was accurate, timely and reliable.
Pymetrics gleans key emotional and cognitive traits for different roles so when job seekers apply to work at one of those companies and complete the challenges themselves, they’re paired with jobs that are the best fit.
The company’s consumer app draws on a data set of more than 2 billion anonymized medical records, finding subtle patterns in the data to give users personalized health advice.
In July, K announced a partnership with insurance provider Anthem to let members see how doctors diagnose and treat similar people with similar symptoms for free (though they’ll be charged to chat with an actual doctor).
Computers were too slow and data too expensive to make AI practical at the time, but roughly three decades later, Pratt teamed up with investment firm TPG to help it identify a data analytics company to buy or invest in.
The company uses vast quantities of nontraditional data—like signals from cellphones, internet-of-things devices and street cameras—to issue hyperlocal “street-by-street, minute-by-minute” weather forecasts.
Its image processing technology, called Cortex, works with its own 3D camera, as well as a selection ofcheaper360-degree cameras, to let users create virtual versions of their space.The company’s leaning into the real estate market, showcasing how agents can use it to give 3D tours.
Beck, who spent more than five years as a pathologist at Harvard, wants to make it easier for other pathologists to diagnose diseases like cancer by using machine learning to more quickly and accurately analyze images of cells.
Its overhead cameras track individuals and items continuously (notably, its so-called entity cohesion doesn’t rely on facial recognition, which it says gives shoppers more privacy).
A lineup of cloud-connected security cameras equipped with AI-driven features like object and movement detection has driven growth at Verkada, whose cofounders are three Stanford computer science graduates and the cofounder of enterprise cloud company Meraki, which sold to Cisco for more than $1 billion.
Among the company’s wide-ranging list of clients are fitness club Equinox, the $1.1 billion Vancouver Mall and more than 500 school districts, which use the cameras for anything from monitoring student safety to tracking food deliveries.
SentinelOne CEO Tomer Weingarten says he and his cofounder started the company in 2013 because antivirus software at the time was “some flavor of bad, incomplete, ineffective, and /or painful to deploy and operate.” They spent the past six years figuring out how to make endpoint security (which focuses on data coming from laptops, phones, and other network-connected devices) smarter, training machine learning models to detect malware in files and running in applications.
“Until now, the most complex operations in manufacturing have been too difficult for blind and dumb robots to perform with the same precision and fidelity as humans,” says CEO Amar Hanspal, adding that advances in computer vision and machine learning have changed the game.
Upstart CEO Dave Girouard admits that most of the early team of former Google employees had no history in financial services when they came up with the idea to apply advanced data science to the credit process in 2012: Only the belief that the current system was antiquated and exclusionary.
By using data not typically found in a person’s credit history to find more nuanced risk patterns, Girouard says Upstart’s lending model has higher approval rates and lower interest rates than traditional methods, with loss rates that are “less than half” of those of peer platforms.
Former Oculus cofounder Palmer Luckey is back after his dramatic exit from Facebook (he has hinted that the company fired him from the virtual reality unit for his political views, which it denies) with a defense technology startup called Anduril Industries, founded in 2017.
It has contracts with the Marine Corps and UK’s Royal Navy, as well as with Customs and Border Protection for what has been described as a controversial “virtual border wall.” Following a report that it became a unicorn after a recent fundraise, the company confirmed to Forbes that it now has $180 million in total funding and a near-billion valuation.
Alexandr Wang’s data labeling startup Scale AI has gained so much attention from customers — particularly autonomous transportation companies, which need gobs of well-labeled data to train their systems — that he’s running a unicorn company before his 23rd birthday.
It pulls public data about a property to automatically answer many of the questions a typical insurer would ask, which means it can quickly dole out quotes, and pulls data from aerial images and smart home sensors to detect issues that could lead to claims in real-time.
Dataminr ingests public internet data, like social media posts, and uses deep learning, natural language processing, and advanced statistical modeling to send users tailored alerts.
Uptake CEO Brad Keywell says his company is in the business of making sure things work, “whether it’s the U.S. Army’s Bradley Fighting Vehicle, or the components that make up Rolls-Royce’s fleet of market-leading engines.” It’s brought in more than 100 industrial customers on its way to a $2.3 billion valuation.
trifecta of autonomy and transportation experts from Tesla, Uber, and Google came together to build Aurora, a self-driving car company that plans to sell its system to automakers instead of operating its own fleet (it currently has a deal with Hyundai to provide software for its future Kia models).
- On 7. maj 2021
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