IPO Corner: Artificial Intelligence

“But we don’t yet understand the mathematical language it is speaking.” These are the words of Dr. Boyuan Chen, an assistant professor at Duke University. Dr. Chen is referring to a new artificial intelligence program built by a team of roboticists at Columbia Engineering. An AI program built to detect physical phenomena and discover relevant variables, a precursor to physics theory. And this AI… has just discovered alternative physics. Folks, this is not your dad’s AI.

This AI has managed to discover a new way to describe the universe. The researchers built and fed the computer the equivalent of math problems with unknown variables which scientists couldn’t figure out. That’s when the computer started spitting out information still beyond the capacity of even our most brilliant minds. But… before we continue, let’s get a quick refresher on what AI is.

AI stands for Artificial Intelligence and consists of applying cognitive science techniques to artificially create a system that can perform tasks that, traditionally, only humans could… such as communicating, problem-solving, and reasoning. Some simulate human intelligence, while others compliment or enhance (think of your Google Assistant or Siri). And there are two types: narrow and general. Narrow AI is trained to perform a specific task, while general AI is capable of a specific task, but can also adapt and learn.

It’s “Alive!”

Google has recently let go an engineer for their vocal, public statements that Alphabet’s groundbreaking AI program LaMBDA has become sentient. Yes, you read that right, sentient. When asked about his assertion, the engineer stated, “I know a person when I talk to it.” We almost hate to jump on the bandwagon in covering this, but it matters insomuch that it should factor into our understanding of how AI will play into the growth of markets and our investment choices.

Our question is… does it matter if it’s sentient? We would also venture to hypothesize that it may appear sentient because it has access to the entire range of its knowledge, unlike us… it could seem godlike or sentient to us simply by virtue of its ability to understand itself without bias and make choices from that space. We say, embrace it. If it’s intelligent enough to appear sentient, we must learn how to work alongside it.

Big Market Opportunity

We’re not sure about you, but armed with the knowledge that AI is getting so sophisticated that even top scientists and engineers are baffled, we can imagine countless scenarios where this advanced technology could revolutionize entire industries… it already has!

We’re sure that ten years ago you never would have imagined you would have an Amazon Alexa in your home and would talk to it the way you do a person. As implausible as that once seemed, so to do the things approaching now that will one day be commonplace… and we are seeing dollar signs.

To put it into perspective, in June of this year alone, technology industry AI deals totaled $5.6 billion globally. Tell me that doesn’t give you a nice, pronounced ache in your wallet… but, right now, we’d like to narrow our focus to one specific sector of the AI market… AI platforms, which we see as having the potential to take these advances in AI and revolutionize how we interact with them.

Demand for automated machine-driven decisions will help expand the AI platforms market because of the massive amount of data we have to work with these days… AI is necessary. What will change is not our platforms, but the way AI allows us to aggregate and use the large amounts of data collected by these platforms. That will be where we see the magic happen… and the market is full and ripe, we expect to see it reach $166,520 million by 2027 and to continue to explode.

Deals To Watch

Over the horizon, we’re seeing exciting companies come into view, and two of those companies are Scale AI and People.Ai. Scale AI, founded in 2013 and headquartered in San Francisco, is an AI data-labeling platform that specializes in labeling and curating data for AI applications. Which means the technology collects, annotates, curates, and cleans data and supports the development and monitoring of machine learning models. The company provides natural language and vision data to a wide range of sectors including government, finance, and logistics.

The company’s technology is already replacing outdated systems for major clients such as Square, Toyota, Alphabet, and Samsung, allowing them to automate tasks and improve efficiency in multiples. The company’s young CEO, Alexandr Wang, who has been widely touted as the next Elon Musk for his status as the world’s youngest self-made billionaire, is fond of saying, “data is the new code”… and we think he’s right. While the company has not made an official announcement, we expect an IPO sooner rather than later.

People.Ai is a revenue operations and intelligence platform that automates manual data entry, helps productivity, and provides intelligence across an institution’s management tools. Essentially, it collects information from communication flows, which then gives visibility into data for sales and marketing teams. Those teams can then extrapolate information with which to create action items and make important decisions about the business, customers, and operations. This data would take humans an untold amount of time to collect and format… let alone the other tasks the platform performs; Ai is the answer to the data problem.

The California-based company was founded in 2016 by Oleg Rogynskyy after he migrated from Ukraine in the early 2000s and got his degree at Boston University… and it has grown and innovated rapidly. The platform boasts more than 180 enterprise customers and the protection of over 48 patents. While an IPO has not been formally announced, the company has stated that their last round of funding was their last prior to an IPO… so we have our eyes peeled for this to be announced.

While AI has been around in some capacity for a number of years, what we’re now seeing happen with the technology is astounding. Much the same way we’ve had computing power for decades but are just now capable of exploring the world of quantum computing, so too are we at a crossroads in the AI space… and we hope to see some great AI companies end up on our Buy List. Keep coming back, and we’ll keep bringing you the news on the edge of reality in the IPO space.