What’s happened in AI: October 1-October 8

By | October 10, 2017


Policy & Regulation

  • DeepMind announces ethics group to focus on problems of AI (10/4/17)
    • New research unit will aim “to help technologists put ethics into practice, and to help society anticipate and direct the impact of AI so that it works for the benefit of all”
    • Company is bringing external advisers including Columbia development lent professor Jeffrey Sachs, Oxford AI professor Nick Bostrom and climate change campaigner Christiana Figueres
    • The unit, called DeepMind Ethics and Society, is not the AI ethics Baird that DeepMind was promised when it was acquired by Google in 2014


  • Cardiologs raises $6.4m (10/5/17)
    • Company is developing image recognition software that can analyze an EKG and detect potential problems going forward
  • Spiro raises $3m (10/6/17)
    • Spiro originally set out to use artificial intelligence to enhance CRM products
    • They then pivoted to creating a platform that acts as a “proactive CRM”, which means that it accomplishes the job of CRM, but with less data entry due to automation


  • Amazon has acquired 3D body model startup, Body Labs for $50-70m (10/3/17)
    • Body Labs aims to create true-to-life 3D body models to support various b2b software applications — such as virtually trying on clothes or photorealistic avatars for gaming
    • Co-founder and CEO Bill O’Farrell lists a number of prior exits in his Body Labs’ biog: namely SpeechWorks, acquired by Nuance; CoSA acquired by Adobe; and OpenAir acquired by Netsuite
  • Apple Acquihires Init.AI (10/4/17)
    • Init.Ai is a small 6 person startup focused on customer service automation
    • Apple reports there was no intellectual property included in the deal
  • Boeing Bets on Robot Pilots, Self-Flying Taxis With Acquisition (10/5/17)
    • Boeing Co. is buying drone pioneer Aurora Flight Sciences Corp., gaining a portfolio of futuristic technology such as unmanned air taxis that may someday navigate city skies for Uber Technologies Inc.
  • Money farm acquires Ernest (10/6/17)
    • Ernest is a personal banker, which combines natural language processing technology with machine learning. Powered by artificial intelligence and leveraging Facebook messenger, Ernest connects with an individual’s bank accounts to answer questions and send proactive notifications
    • The purchase will enable Moneyfarm to explore the use of chatbot technology to help individuals manage their money and investments by combining the technology behind Ernest with its existing services.

Company Highlights/other

  • Oracle adds AI development service to platform offerings (10/2/17)
    • The AI service being announced today is an extension of the tools the company has been using in-house to build AI-fueled applications for their own customers. The service is designed to give their customer a similar set of tools to build their own AI applications
  • AI enabled Microsoft Excel (10/3/17)
    • According to a blog post by Kirk Koenigsbaeur, corporate VP of Microsoft Office, Microsoft Excel will be adding in AI capabilities in early 2018
    • Features are centered on using AI to find and recommend patterns, and augment data based on public and enterprise information
  • Google Lens will make its debut on Pixel phones later this year (10/4/17)
    • Google announced during its hardware event today, the first preview of Lens will make it to the company’s Pixel phones — but only as a preview — later this year. It’ll come to other devices “in time.”
    • Lens brings together a wide swath of Google’s machine intelligence services. It combines the company’s image recognition smarts with the real-time translation of Google Translate and the Google Assistant. That means that you can snap a picture of a flower, for example, and Lens can tell you what flower you are looking at and then tell you more about it. Same with landmarks and even restaurants