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Below is our recent interview with Pedro Alves, the Founder and CEO of Ople.ai:
Q: Can you tell us something more about the company, and your Artificial Intelligence software?
A: At Ople, we think about Artificial Intelligence just like electricity, the computer, or the car. Ople’s mission is to make AI easy, cheap, and ubiquitous because AI – like those revolutions – will only impact society once it is. Ople makes software that allows people with very little knowledge of AI to build AI models, making it easy. Once AI becomes easy, more people will be able to use it, and, with more people using it, AI will become cheap. Once AI is easy and cheap, then every company in the world can finally be able to use AI, at which point, and it will become ubiquitous.
Our software enables people to deliver expert-level AI projects in hours instead of months, and, with significantly less training and technical know-how. Industries including digital marketing, online retail, and manufacturing have successfully used our software to deliver unprecedented value using AI.
Q: How exactly does it work? Tell us more about your product.
A: As a Data Scientist myself, I found the biggest pain point in data science projects to be the model building part. Doing feature engineering, finding algorithms, and tuning hyperparameters were very long and repetitive tasks far less impact on the business then pursuing additional projects. However, the more projects I worked on, I found myself getting better and faster at the above-mentioned tasks. Suddenly I thought, ‘What if I could build Artificial Intelligence that learns like a data scientists and becomes better after each project?’ That is what I set out to build and our core product at Ople.
We have built AI into our AI platform, giving it the ability to learn from its experiences, just as a Data Scientist does, and continuously improve, becoming faster and more accurate. Data Scientists can now test hypotheses within minutes rather than spending days and weeks tuning models and building ensembles. Our product is a power tool for Data Scientists to finish projects faster with better accuracy. We developed our product to be highly valuable to Data Scientists, but also easily usable by a citizen data scientist or analyst with a basic understanding of data science. This way, businesses without a Ph.D. Data Scientist are still able to tackle AI challenges. For more info, take a look at https://ople.ai/product/.
Q: Your latest release opens the black box of the artificial intelligence decision-making process. What exactly does it mean?
A: The importance of model transparency in AI has never been more relevant. We have invested significant time and research into Transparent AI, and, I am extremely excited about what we just rolled out to the public. We started with some =more common tools such as feature importance and partial dependence plots. e are finishing internal tests on something that goes way beyond anything the industry has seen. Ople’s software will enable people to truly understand the nature of the choices that the AI makes, and, be able to explain those choices to a human being in an automated fashion.
Q: You’ve recently announced $8m in Series A round; could you tell us something more?
A: Ople is growing at a fantastic rate. We’ve raised $10M to date, which we are using to incorporate the voice of the customer into our software and scale the team. Speaking of the team, when it comes to applicants, we have seen an unprecedented level of interest, for a company our size! We have received over 20,000 applications to work at Ople, which is astounding.
Q: Should we be concerned about destructive artificial intelligence?
A: No. When the media talks about “destructive artificial intelligence” I believe they are referring to a sentient AI that actually thinks like an intelligent being and makes complex decisions. First of all, we are far, far away from even understanding how to define intelligence The current state of technology is so far away from the Hollywood view of the malicious robot mind that even if we did understand how to build such a thing it would take decades.
Secondly, all Technologies can be used for good and for bad. If you go back to the cavemen, they used a club to hunt and provide food for people’s families as well as to hit a fellow human over the head. In that sense, AI is not any different. However, AI is still very early in its stage and we have yet to see its full capabilities. Most people do not understand how AI truly works, and this lack of understanding often leads to fear. To overcome this, we need Transparent AI. We are building Transparent AI to help people understand how AI makes decisions, reduce the fear of the unknown, and build confidence that AI as a tool is being used for good.
That said, the race for AI has started and there is no stopping it. Humans have a unique talent for great creativity and great destruction. Like all tools before it, AI is at the mercy of how humans choose to use it, and the more transparent we can make it, the more we can reduce the fear of unintended consequence.
Q: What are your plans for the coming months?
A: In 2019, we will focus on the growth of our team and the delivery of some exciting, new product features, including Transparent AI, that should blow the market away!