"Perhaps we should all stop for a moment and focus not only on making our AI better and more successful but also on the benefit of humanity." - Stephen Hawking
Artificial intelligence is back in the news: Carnegie Mellon U gets a $2.8 million grant to help people collaborate with AI; an IU alum hands the school a $60 million gift for AI research; and a Raleigh company has gotten $20 million in funding to further its enterprise AI tools.
A new Alzheimer’s drug submitted to FDA
Four more reasons to launch a startup in Kansas City.
The grant will allow the three to study “team collective intelligence and the theory of mind”—which in the simplest terms relates to how well a team can work together and how someone can figure out what others are thinking and will likely do.
So where do the robots come in? The researchers will focus on the aforementioned concepts to develop a “synthetic team coach” that uses a cognitive model to facilitate collaboration based on previous team member actions.
Co-investigator Cleotilde Gonzalez summed up their objective: “AI has become part of our lives. Every day, we talk to our phones and these machines understand and collaborate with us. We want to expand this concept to situations in which a group of individuals and machines are performing a task together and can interact in effective ways.”
Luddy is the founder of ServiceNow, a Silicon Valley-based company that delivers automated IT help desk services. Last year, Forbes named ServiceNow the world’s most innovative company.
Luddy’s gift will fund the construction of a building and enable the creation of six endowed professorships and six endowed faculty fellowships, in addition to graduate and undergraduate scholarships.
IU will change the name of the school to Luddy School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering. The school will feature teaching and learning spaces dedicated to supporting IU faculty and students doing pioneering work in AI and machine learning.
“I believe in the importance of people,” Luddy said. “It is the imagination and determination of people that drive technology that makes an impact in real lives. My path has been shaped by the people who inspire me, who guide me to pursue the next innovation with the potential to transform everything.”
Raleigh company augmenting AI for the enterprise
Raleigh, NC-based Pryon just announced an additional $20 million in series A funding to further develop its growing suite of AI-powered tools designed to help entire enterprise organizations work at “superhuman scale and speed.”
With augmented intelligence, or intelligence augmentation (IA), Pryon aims to empower every enterprise employee with “the strengths of machines to supercharge human performance.”
CEO Igor Jablokov, who previously worked as program director for IBM's Watson team, shared Pryon's potential, noting, “There is an opportunity for organizations to revolutionize their workplaces by giving employees the power of AI at their command.” The list of Fortune 500 companies already doing so is impressive—AT&T, Delta, Goldman Sachs, and UPS, to name a few.
Pryon partnered with Revolution's Rise of the Rest Seed Fund for this latest round of capital infusion. Revolution chairman (and former AOL CEO) Steve Case added, “Pryon is delivering solutions to empower employees and enterprises to tackle the challenges brought on by this next wave of technological progress. They are another great example of a company that is successfully building disruptive technology outside Silicon Valley.”
PHARMA IN FLYOVER
New Alzheimer's drug submitted for FDA approval
Alzheimer's disease. One in eight people 65 and older have this devastating form of dementia.
Drug company Biogen Inc. intends to pursue regulatory approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its experimental Alzheimer's drug, aducanumab, based on new analyses of data from its Phase 3 clinical trials performed at Mayo Clinic campuses across the country.
According to Dr. Ronald Petersen, director of the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at Mayo Clinic, the field of Alzheimer’s research is at a low point right now in regard to treatment of the disease. A whole class of drugs recently has been shown to be ineffective.
But he’s optimistic about Biogen’s aducanumab, which is a disease-modifying therapy. He said, “The fact that this drug may be effective at removing the amyloid class [plaques that are believed to be an essential component of Alzheimer's disease] from the brain and stabilizing people clinically is a big step."
Biogen is seeking approval to file with the FDA—it’s not necessarily approval of the drug yet.
LAYOVER IN KANSAS CITY
Four reasons to launch your startup in Kansas City (soon)
A recent article on Kansas City’s Startland News website extolled the virtues of KC as a city poised to become a “top startup destination.” It backed up that claim by citing four key factors that make Kansas City a prime location for new businesses—and it urged founders to get ahead of the game by launching their ventures there sooner rather than later. Here's a recap:
1. Venture capitalists are showing the city a lot of love
According to Startland, “$908 million of venture funds were invested in sixty-one Kansas City businesses this past year.”
2. The tech talent is off the charts
Over the past five years, the city has seen tech job growth exceeding that of LA, Boston, New York, Dallas, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C.
3. The startup ecosystem is robust and getting robuster (Is that a word?)
Tools, resources, entrepreneurial networking opportunities, actionable market research, social events, community support, and more than 25 accelerators… You get the idea.
4. Kansas City is an ideal place to live and work
KC boasts a low cost of living, a short commute (average time is 23 minutes), and a vibrant cultural scene. All the amenities you could want. And oh yeah: world-class barbecue.
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