CausalFunnel - Democratizing AI and Data Science
An avid reader, a passionate data scientist and an absolute techie, Abhimanu Kumar is known for his love for Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML). As the AI market remains in an evolutionary state with a high percentage of AI innovations appearing on the upward-sloping Innovation Trigger, Abhimanu remains optimistic that the AI market is all set to witness a boom – never experienced earlier. As the CEO and Co-Founder of CausalFunnel, Plug-and-play data science platform for eCommerce funnel optimization, Abhimanu speaks on an array of topics. Excerpts from an interview:
Conception of CasualFunnel
“We created CausalFunnel with 10 years of industry experience to solve the problem that technology shifts and market dynamics are creating, especially for SMBs.” Adds Abhimanu that the current marketing and sales strategies depend on third-party data, but the privacy laws prohibit it. “Cookies are essential in every single current analytics tool, but the future is Cookie-less and there is a huge technical gap being created because of it. Data fidelity is going down and even now businesses have blindness to 30% of their data, which is collected by cookie-based tools.”
He also cites the massive digital wave the eCommerce is witnessing as one of the reasons for the conception of CasualFunnel. “These businesses need skilled data-science professionals to be successful in the new digital world, which many companies are unable to afford. CausalFunnel is an answer to that need.”
Flagship Products- Benefits
The company is on a mission to build an AI-powered data science platform that is accessible to every business and is built with future-proof technology that complies with privacy laws.” Website visitor persona and intent prediction created with a disruptive cookie-less data-science technology remain the flagship products of the company. “Our AI is powered with the anonymized cohort data from the industry and the first-party buyer intent data, giving you the most accurate and actionable insights. Our solution is serving 200 million unique visitors every year, driving a 20-50% lift in the rate of orders/leads.”
AI- Challenges Galore
The current state of the art in AI is mostly pattern recognition and machine learning, observes Abhimanu. “If you are an SMB or even one of the blue chips, you can’t afford to pay big bucks to build AI and Data Science algorithms. You can at most look at the data and report that various analytics platforms provide and hope the insights that your business development and intelligence teams discover using it, can grow your business.” But many nuances and insights get lost without a science aspect to this intelligence. CausalFunnel is on a mission to democratize AI and Data Science.
The second big risk factor is the privacy aspect of the data that is taken for granted but is steadily going away. “Platforms like CausalFunnel with their DeepID and Persona Predictors play a pivotal role as it becomes imperative to make a distinction between learning and intelligence.”
“One of the traits that I admire in other leaders is humility coupled with decisiveness. Mutual respect and empathy make a tightly-knit team”, according to Abhimanu. “I believe if leaders accurately know what drives their performers, they have an unbeatable team”.
A Word of Advice
“Personally, I believe, fear of failure is good. But getting paralyzed due to that fear is bad. Fear has at times driven great technological advancements. Teams have gone “way beyond the extra mile” due to fear of failures.” He recommends leveraging that fear to drive success and this comes from, among other things, having the right focus.
The Success Mantra
“Professionally, I believe, speedy execution after deliberate attention, and learning fast after failures is a great recipe for personal success. For teams, technical empathy mixed with goal-oriented concrete visions drives successful product executions. CausalFunnel has one of the world’s top expertise in dealing with sparse predictions and is one of the mantras of our success.”
Another aspect to be aware of is Occam’s Razor and statistical aspects of ML, especially for eCommerce products, warns Abhimanu. Deep Learning has not been able to replicate its success in Computer Vision and Natural Language to Business Development and Data Science partly due to its black-box nature. “CausalFunnel is uniquely positioned in this aspect as having worked on both cutting-edge deep learning technology and driving business development using data science has given us unique insights to work with.”
MemryX: a new Edge AI startup that has developed a highly efficient and scalable AI accelerator.
Keith Kressin, President & CEO, MemryX
MemryX: a new Edge AI startup that has developed a highly efficient and scalable AI accelerator.
As the CEO of MemryX, Inc., an innovative Edge AI startup founded by professors at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Keith Kressin has been a passionate entrepreneur. Prior to joining MemryX, Keith was a SVP at Qualcomm, leading a spate of activities including the Snapdragon roadmap, technologies for application processing, company strategy, competitive analysis, and more. In an interview, he speaks on an array of topics. Excerpts:
Conception of MemryX
“Our team wanted to develop an AI accelerator that was customer friendly in terms of ease-of-use and scalability, while providing excellent technical metrics.” Adds Keith that the team wanted to develop a hardware accelerator that could be adapted to any trained AI software model, rather than needing to train and then modify the model to run well on target hardware. “So our focus from the start was on developing technology to meet a key customer need and hence MemryX was born.”
Challenges galore – AI technology
AI continues to grow in a variety of different applications and industries as it is used to make cities, companies, and hospitals smarter, help increasing manufacturing efficiencies, better support education inside and outside the classroom, and more. “AI can add a layer of intelligence into any device that computes. Of course, every new technology is just a tool and those tools need to be used to increase to increase productivity and quality of life, rather than the limit freedoms or increase natural biases.” MemryX envisions accelerating Edge AI by providing a highly efficient and scalable solution that is simple to deploy and support.”
The key is the company’s innovative MemryX architecture. “Our architecture was designed to natively support pre-trained AI models with high efficiency and utilization. If one doesn’t consider model structures and framework, and only focuses on HW efficiency the result is theoretically strong, but practically weak. MemryX architecture was designed not for white papers or theoretical achievements, but for broad customer scale and deployment.” The combination of at-memory computing, pure dataflow, and our unique memory-based fabric interconnect all support our ability to scale verified models into high volume with a very simple to use software SDK.
One trap for AI is focusing on the core technology itself, rather than the practical application of that technology throughout the entire value chain. As in most industries, solving customer needs be in the forefront. AI is extremely complex with many facets. It is also very exciting and dynamic field that attracts individuals with a wide variety of background and skills. The key is to stay focused on the larger picture while being extremely adaptable to market and technology changes.
“It all starts with clear and transparent organization & communications. People need to understand objectives, timelines, and be given the tools/resources to achieve well defined goals. Teams need to be encouraged to be open and honest.” Realistic, approachable, in-tune with all functions of the entire organization, humble, goal-centric, empowering, and one who honestly cares about the company, the team, and the individual. Keith’s leadership style is approachable with realistic expectations and stays in-tune with all functions of the entire organization. He honestly cares about the company, the team, and the individual.
“Fear in failing is usually rooted in the reaction to the failure in terms of embarrassment or punishment. However, if leaders encourage an intelligent risk-taking culture where we learn from our failures, then we grow to become a stronger organization. Further, failures from risk-taking can be minimized through proper hiring, organization, funding, and goal setting.”
RAIN Defense + AI: Creating synergies between AI and defense sectors
Norine MacDonald KC, President & Founder, RAIN DEFENSE + AI
RAIN Defense + AI: Creating synergies between AI and defense sectors
Norine MacDonald is the President and Founder of RAIN Defense + AI, an exciting new global platform on AI and Defense. She was formerly President and Founder of The International Council on Security and Development (ICOS), an international security and development think tank founded in 2002. Ms MacDonald is a former Distinguished Research Fellow for National Defense University in Washington and a graduate from Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan School of Management program in Artificial Intelligence (AI). In an interview, she speaks on an array of topics. Excerpts:
Conception of RAIN Defense + AI
For Ms Norine MacDonald it is clear that the business of war is being overtaken by the advent of AI, and a competitive and fast-moving global environment. Western governments need to be competitive with other countries, primarily China, that have been investing heavily in the sector.
The AI + Defense sector offers significant investment opportunities, particularly for non-traditional business players. The global AI + Defense market is projected to grow to $61 billion by 2027.
“There is no specialized single company or platform for the AI + Defense sector to source comprehensive, intelligible and relevant knowledge/data and connect to all the players globally” said Ms Norine MacDonald.
RAIN Defense + AI is an exciting new venture working at the critical intersection of AI and Defense:
- RAIN INDUSTRY provides access to expert knowledge and data analytics on current and emerging AI technologies on defense platforms for all market participants across sectors and geographies.
- RAINCLOUD creates a global community content platform with a validated network of multidisciplinary professionals, with curated data and news and product info in AI and defense.
RAIN, the AI and defense solution: the RAINCLOUD global platform
To understand and unpack the complex world of AI and defense, RAIN produces commercial INDUSTRY Reports which provide:
- benchmarking various defense sector platforms and AI, along with trends and forecasting.
- complete information “Who’s Who” data on individuals working in the field of AI and defence.
- a data and directory on Venture Capital players active in AI and defense. Norine says: “We have mapped the 500 most influential individuals in the US in our RAIN 500 and we have done an extensive report on the 40 main venture capital firms in the US and the 150 defense and dual-use startups they invest in.”
As a gateway to RAIN Research data and content platform RAINCLOUD will be launched in 2023.
“For RAIN, our access to government clients has been made much easier through our business connection as a data provider with Grist Mill Exchange, which functions as a data marketplace for government and national security enterprises. Through Grist Mill Exchange we will be able to provide our INDUSTRY reports to government stakeholders and to onboard them to the RAINCLOUD global platform where they can connect with AI startups, venture capitalists, defense companies and scientists working in the broad field of AI and defense.”
AI and Defence: a new Ethical Challenge
“AI solutions in defense are now more than ever driven by the commercial sector and dual-use technology. While onboarding such technology in the military world is revolutionary in terms of competitiveness, we cannot ignore the important ethical questions inherent in their adoption.”
AI enables unprecedented opportunities for more autonomy, and this changes the human-machine interaction. Therefore, we decided from the beginning that RAIN would also have an Ethics Division, which helps unpack the ethical and legal arguments involved and supports discussion and debate on these issues, she observed.
“The RAIN team has been working together for more than 20 years on international security and policy issues in Afghanistan, Latin America and the Middle East. To launch a new company requires both creativity and stamina. We are lucky to have a close-knit team that works well both independently and together.” Norine believes in having a hands-on approach to the work in the sense that she involves herself in the conception, research and implementation of projects, from field work in conflict zones contexts to testifying at the highest levels of government. “If you have a good business idea stick to it – but at the same time be flexible and adapt as you go along. Hard work, high standards and discipline will never fail.”
AI, the Defense sector and start-ups
In the AI and defense sector, there are exciting new companies developing defense and dual-use technology. These start-ups benefit from new ways to work directly with the government to develop and test their prototypes. At the same time, there are new venture capital firms that focus especially on defense and national security-oriented startups.
“We want to bring all these actors together on our RAINCLOUD platform for mutual benefit. Companies will be able to showcase their latest products and services in our virtual trade show”, MacDonald said.
Optimizing Industrial Business Processes with AI
Rudolf Felix, CEO, PSI FLS Fuzzy Logik & Neuro Systeme GmbH
PSI FLS Fuzzy Logik & Neuro Systeme GmbH: Optimizing Industrial Business Processes with AI
Rudolf Felix is the CEO of PSI FLS Fuzzy Logik & Neuro Systeme GmbH, a German company that specializes in developing and providing software solutions for complex technical systems. Rudolf Felix has been with FLS in the PSI Group since 2008 and has been the CEO since already 1992. Under his leadership, the company has grown to become a leading provider of software solutions for technical systems, particularly in the fields of energy, industry, and transportation. Rudolf Felix has also been involved in various research and development projects related to fuzzy logic and artificial intelligence and has published numerous papers in these fields. In an interview, he speaks on an array of subjects. Excerpts:
Conception of PSI FLS Fuzzy Logik & Neuro Systeme
Says Rudolf that making decisions is crucial for successful and efficient operation in every industrial business process. Decision-making processes that are based on business goals must reflect both long-term strategies and the current operational situation. If the decisions are based on data and the pros and cons between the business process goals are machine evaluated, machine learned and optimized, business process owners and operators get the best possible benefit. “An optimized and explainable decision support is particularly helpful here. And this is exactly what PSI FLS and the specially developed Qualicision AI technology is all about. It combines both technical and economical business goals. An efficient, easy-to-use, and explainable software that is used for business process optimization is what we deliver. It is data-based, and balances out conflicting business process goals ahead of classic algorithms and provides for the performance that our customers across many industrial sectors appreciate.”
AI- Challenges galore
According to Rudolf, many of the industry’s industrial AI use cases have long been developed and in use. Perhaps in the pandemic time, the constant work with computers at home is an additional momentum. “But in my view, business processes in industry have evolved in their objectives rather because of the growing importance of topics such as digitalization, exploitation of data, sustainability and green energy or new possibilities to integrate automatized decision-making in context with many new important aspects in business processes. Therefore, the complexity of the processes has rather increased.”
PSI FLS Fuzzy Logik & Neuro Systeme AI solution
Qualicision AI stands for qualified support with decision-making when optimizing business processes. Qualicision technology was originally based on fuzzy logic which has been extended by a full stack of AI methods that combines the advantages of all of them. In this combination Qualicision AI helps to integrate decision-making expertise of people with business process know-how and connects it with data-driven AI. In addition, the Qualicision AI software has been extended by highly automated deployment. Machine-learned explainability mechanisms are part of it, too. In business processes there are a lot of pros and cons when decisions must be made. Therefore, uncertainty is intrinsic even if all data is clearly measured and in good shape. Automated recognition of these kinds of uncertainty, in particular stemming from the variety of the data and interaction between decision options, is extremely important. “Our Qualicision AI based tools help to identify and to exploit tolerances in the business processes and to optimize out uncertainty. Many use cases show that once Qualicision AI is introduced the business process efficiency increases by 10 to even 25 percent compared to the previous unoptimized status quo.”
Trying to get inspired from people for whom and with whom you work and trying to inspire them, too. Everything else is the right technology you must have and the passion to work with it. “When you work on something with passion, the thought of possible difficulties is more of a drive. This is especially true when you are working on the implementation of something you have been involved in from the beginning on.”