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The World Economic Forum today announced its list of 56 companies selected as Technology Pioneers, and this year’s class demonstrates the growing embrace of artificial intelligence and machine learning across a broad range of sectors.
Of those selected, at least 20 companies say they are using AI or machine learning in some fashion to tackle challenges in fields such as advertising technology, smart cities, cleantech, supply chain, manufacturing, cybersecurity, autonomous vehicles, and drones.
While many are still skeptical about the actual impact of these technologies, the Technology Pioneers offer some indication of the progress being made in finding practical applications for these tools.
“Our new tech pioneers are at the cutting edge of many industries, using their innovations to address serious issues around the world,” said Fulvia Montresor, head of technology pioneers at the Forum, in a statement. “This year’s pioneers know that technology is about more than innovation — it is also about application. This is why we believe they’ll shape the future.”
As members of the Pioneers programs, startups are invited to participate in various WEF events that give them access to international policy makers and larger corporations that represent potential partners or investors. For many, it also represents an important validation of their product or services.
From the list of 56, here are the 20 startups that are using some kind of AI or ML, along with their summary descriptions as posted by the WEF:
1. 7 cups offers web-based and smartphone-based emotional support for free, anonymously, from anywhere, anytime. 7 Cups is an accessible and comprehensive approach to the mental health epidemic, using gold-standard therapeutic protocols, adaptive machine learning, trained volunteers, and credentialed professionals. With 340,000 trained volunteers in 189 countries and 140 languages, 7 Cups has an unparalleled reach in the behavioral health space.
2. Airobotics partners with leading enterprises and governments around the world to digitize their business. As the world’s first and only regulatory compliant commercial unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) solution that can be operated remotely, the Airobotics automated system is purpose-built to simplify drone operations. The company’s robotic airbase, multi-sensor drone, and artificial intelligence (AI)-driven analytics automate the digitization of sites and cities through high-frequency data collection, processing, visualization, and analysis.
3. BigID makes software that redefines how enterprises find, map, and de-risk personal information for today’s privacy, protection, and governance problems. It can help organizations measure and manage personally identifiable information (PII) data risk while enhancing protection and accelerating breach identification and response.
4. Bright Machines applies artificial intelligence to manufacturing, adding eyes and brains to the factory floor through machine learning and computer vision. This intelligent software layer is constantly improving the accuracy, quality, and performance of the production line. By building this software layer to manage all the machines and tasks required to manufacture a modern product, it enables full automation, flexibility, and intelligence on the factory floor.
5. CyberCube equips the insurance industry with world-class analytics and unmatched data. This insight enables the insurance sector to share more risk with businesses and empower economies to grow with confidence in the digital age. CyberCube uniquely combines big data artificial intelligence with actuarial science in a software-as-a-service platform that helps insurers make better decisions when underwriting cyber risk and managing risk aggregation and catastrophic cyber events.
6. DabaDoc connects millions of patients with thousands of doctors across Africa. It radically enhances the doctor discovery process and breaks down geographic barriers. DabaDoc improves care access, productivity, and outcomes. Using telehealth, machine learning for health education, and partnerships with key private and public stakeholders, it helps redeploy limited human and capital resources. By streamlining the care cycle, DabaDoc helps doctors focus on what they do best: caring for patients.
7. DataProphet is a leading global artificial intelligence (AI) provider for Industry 4.0, improving quality and yield in manufacturing. Through advanced machine learning, its AI solution suite is proven to reduce defects and scrap by at least 50% and improve plant efficiency. DataProphet’s technology actively prescribes optimal control parameter settings to refine production performance. Its team of 40 engineers, mathematicians, and data and computer scientists is committed to delivering actionable insights and measurable impact.
8. Descartes Labs Descartes Labs has built a cloud-based platform to digitize the physical world. It provides enterprise-grade data processing and management to enable the next generation of global-scale machine learning analytics. Custom machine learning models fuse enterprise data sets with its data catalog to deliver financial, operational, and competitive advantage for customers. It is headquartered in Santa Fe, New Mexico and has offices in New York, San Francisco, Washington DC, Denver, Minneapolis, and Los Alamos.
9. Drishti Despite robotics hype, humans are manufacturing’s largest value creators. But methods for measuring human activity have not changed since Henry Ford. Manufacturers struggle to optimize human tasks at scale. Some believe human efficiency has peaked. Drishti’s pioneering computer vision uses artificial intelligence (AI) to digitize human activities in the factory and allows manufacturers to benefit from human analytics for the first time. Drishti’s data set drives a future in which technology does not displace people; it makes them more valuable.
10. Eureka is an artificial intelligence (AI) platform that powers partnerships between mobile operators and enterprises in industries including banking, insurance, transport, and market research. It applies AI to unlock the unique data that telecommunications companies hold and enable monetization through products that deliver insights, risk scoring, and customer engagement. The platform is currently being deployed with leading mobile operators across ASEAN, India, the Middle East, Africa, and Europe, with 850 million subscribers.
11. Holmusk is a data science and digital health company dedicated to addressing how the world confronts mental health. Its mission is to build the world’s largest real-world evidence (RWE) platform and establish data as a core utility to the treatment of mental health. Holmusk’s RWE platform provides the capacity for great changes in the provision of care and research into new treatments through machine learning, deep learning, and digital tools.
12. Homoola is a technology startup that will revolutionize the trucking industry and boost its efficiency and sustainability. The company connects shippers who want to ship with carriers who deliver via a smart AI engine that uses empty truck space, saving time, money, and energy. The inland transportation industry suffers from too much inefficiency: 40% of the trucks in Gulf Cooperation Council countries return empty. Every year, truckers drive millions of miles, wasting countless litres of petrol, harming the environment, and costing money, time, and energy. Homoola is a solution that will cut costs, raise transparency, and make money while also helping reduce the logistics industry’s pollution footprint.
13. ImpactVision is a machine learning company applying hyper-spectral imaging technology to food supply chains in order to improve food quality, generate consistent, high-quality products, and reduce waste. Its software provides real-time insights about the quality of foods and is aimed at food processors, manufacturers, distributors, and retailers. For example, its system is able to determine the freshness of fish, the ripeness of avocados, or the presence of foreign objects rapidly [and] non-invasively.
14. Luminance Technologies is a leading artificial intelligence platform for the legal profession. The technology builds on ground-breaking machine learning and pattern recognition techniques developed at the University of Cambridge to read and understand legal language, much like the human brain [does]. Law firms and in-house teams in over 40 countries around the world use Luminance to improve numerous practice areas. Luminance has offices in London, Cambridge, New York, Chicago, and Singapore.
15. Marinus Analytics is social entrepreneurship in action. It delivers solutions globally that leverage machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) to empower law enforcement and government agencies to best protect and serve the most vulnerable community members. It has revolutionized law enforcement’s ability to identify and stop human trafficking. Now, it is applying AI solutions to additional needs, such as social services challenges and the opioid epidemic.
16. One Concern is a benevolent artificial intelligence company with a mission to save lives and livelihoods before, during, and after disasters. Founded at Stanford University, One Concern enables cities, corporations, and citizens to embrace a disaster-free future through artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled technology, policy, and finance. By combining data science and natural phenomena science, it is pursuing a vision for planetary-scale resilience where everyone lives in a safe, equitable, and sustainable world.
17. Quantela is a Silicon Valley startup with offices in the U.S., Europe, India, Singapore, and Canada. Its Atlantis artificial intelligence cloud platform simplifies the collection of data and helps streamline urban infrastructure operations to enhance experience and urban management. It has more than 40 Atlantis deployments. Its goal is to have urban infrastructure that thinks ahead to the needs of its communities through improved use, better operational insights, and the leveraging of different assets.
18. Shape Security: Criminals steal over 10 million credentials daily and then use these credentials to attack web and mobile applications. Shape Security’s mission is to stop these attacks, eliminating fraud and restoring trust online. Today, Shape defends 1.7 billion user accounts. Shape tells the difference between real versus fake users online. Shape stands between the world’s consumers and the major online brands, protecting against bots imitating real customers. Shape then takes the friction out of ecommerce, eliminating the need for user names and passwords by helping brands to recognize their customers with no visible security.
19. Tookitaki is a regulatory technology company that has developed machine learning-enabled enterprise software solutions in the anti-money laundering and reconciliation spaces. The software solutions are designed to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of compliance programs in financial institutions and ensure sustainability. Incorporated in 2014, Tookitaki has offices in Singapore, India, and the U.S.
20. Truepic is a leading photo and video verification platform. Its mission is to accelerate business, foster a healthy civil society, and fight disinformation. It does this by bolstering the value of authentic photos and videos while leading the fight against deceptive ones. Truepic has pioneered controlled capture technology for a new breed of visual media: photos and videos that have verifiable origin, contents, and metadata.
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