TBT: Arcade Games Offer Opportunity for Companies to Show Off AI
A true test of artificial intelligence (AI) has been by beating humans at our own games.Back in the ’90s that game was chess but gradually, as AI has gotten smarter, the games of strategy have progressed. We recently highlighted how Google’s AlphaGo beat the world champion Go player, but now companies are competing for our nostalgia.
The AI company Vicarious has created an AI that plays arcade classics, such as “Breakout” and “Space Invaders.” While this is not a new phenomenon (Google’s Deepmind published research in 2013 regarding seven different Atari games played by its AI), Vicarious hopes to do it better.
Microsoft’s recent acquisition, Maluuba, has also been developing arcade-playing AI,except this one excels at the 1982 classic “Ms. Pac-Man.” The employees of the startup sought to discover what happened when you scored a million points in Ms. Pac-Man, but according to Wired it was a bit of a let down. “The moment proved somewhat anticlimactic. ‘It just reset to zero, it was kind of disappointing,’ says Rahul Mehrotra.” As a terrible Ms. Pac-Man player, I’m impressed nonetheless.
VCs Love AI
Element AI, an AI platform that allows businesses to build AI applications, raised $102 illion in Series A funding this week in hopes to compete with the behemoths, like Facebook and Google, for high-quality AI talent.
According to TechCrunch, “The round was led by the prolific investor Data Collective, with participation from a wide range of key financial and strategic backers. They include Fidelity Investments Canada, Korea’s Hanwha, Intel Capital, Microsoft Ventures, National Bank of Canada, NVIDIA, Real Ventures, and “several of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds.” With such big names backing the company, expectations will be high that Element will make a statement in the AI platforms space.
It’s not just AI-centric companies VCs are showing love to either. This week included four examples of VCs backing companies that are infusing AI into their applications. The ex-Cylance team raised $9.5 million dollars for a new cybersecurity startup called Obsidian Security that will “apply AI and machine learning at broad-based level” to cybersecurity. The virtual claims operator for the car insurance industry Snapsheet raised $12 million and plans to focus on “improving their machine learning capabilities.” Conviva, the video analytics platform for audiences watching on apps and online, raised $40 million to enhance its machine-learning audience measuring algorithms. The sales enablement toolHighspot raised a $15 million round on its offering of “deliver(ing) the value of AI and machine learning to the sales enablement software market.”
The lesson here is this: if you’re searching for funding, you best be investing in AI and machine learning.
Podcast of the Week
FORBES – Ethics And Artificial Intelligence With IBM Watson’s Rob High
Video of the Week
BBC NEWS – Deep Blue vs. Kasparov: How A Computer Beat Best Chess Player In The World
Twitter Follow of the Week
According to NetworkWorld, “Mallick is an entrepreneur who loves computer vision and machine learning. He co-founded a computer vision company, TAAZ Inc., that applies vision technology to problems in beauty and fashion. TAAZ proved scalability of its computer vision and machine learning algorithms tested by more than 100 million users. His most personally satisfying work in collaboration with the Scripps Research Institute solved a problem in Cryo-Electron Microscopy that is part of the 3D reconstruction pipeline. Mallick holds a Ph.D. from the University of California, San Diego.”
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