artificial intelligence

Member Profile: Zept makes finding the right school as easy as swiping left or right

Member Profile: Zept makes finding the right school as easy as swiping left or right

After selling his previous company in 2016, email newsletter service Mailout, Gregg Oldring was trying to figure out what to do with the empty downtown office space for which he still had a lease. Then he ran into Tony Williams, at that time merely an acquaintance, at a coffee shop.

“I didn’t really know him that well, at that point,” says Oldring. “We had that classic conversation, ‘What do you do for a living?’ And Tony’s response that day was, ‘What I do is stupid.’ Which got me thinking, ‘Okay, tell me more.’”

Meet Martha White - Dispelling fears about artificial intelligence

Meet Martha White - Dispelling fears about artificial intelligence

Martha White would like to dispel the fears and hype about artificial intelligence.

The University of Alberta assistant professor says AI will be a collaborator helping humans make better decisions.

“Once we start to have better and better AI it will be like having a better and better member of our team.… They will have complementary or even similar skills, and together we can all accomplish more,” White says.

Recommended Viewing | Hello World Canada: The Rise of AI

Recommended Viewing | Hello World Canada: The Rise of AI

Last month, Hello World premiered an all Canadian AI episode on Bloomberg Business Week. In this episode, journalist and best-selling author Ashlee Vance travels across the country to talk to the best minds in artificial intelligence, provide a bit of a history lesson, and wade through the pop culture representations and ethical concerns about the future of our relationship with this much talked about technology. 

With his tongue firmly planted in his cheek, Vance travels to Edmonton to highlight the work of Richard Sutton in the field of reinforcement learning and to meet some of the talented researchers working in this field in some unique ways. 

Machine Learning in Action: PFM Scheduling

Machine Learning in Action: PFM Scheduling

Shift scheduling sounds like a deceptively simple problem until you have to do it in a large organization like a hospital, with many shifts over several weeks, with many rules dictated by collective agreements.

Maybe not so simple after all. The multi-dimensional aspects of shifts and the millions of variables involved require a computer program at least as smart as a human. And that's where machine learning, a field that involves computers able to learn and improve without being specifically programmed with the data, comes to the table.

Like several firms in the artificial intelligence and machine learning field in Edmonton, PFM Scheduling was born to solve a problem.

Frettable | Note-worthy app brings AI to the masses

Frettable | Note-worthy app brings AI to the masses

Like so many inventions, Frettable was born out of necessity.

Greg Burlet dreamt up the artificial intelligence-driven music transcription service after his bandmate moved to B.C.

Still wanting to write music together, the duo started emailing audio files back and forth. The lack of visuals made collaborating difficult, so they tried pointing webcams at their fretboards instead. This too was unsuccessful.

“There was so much lag and the audio quality wasn’t great,” Burlet says.

A University of Alberta undergrad at the time, Burlet had recently taken an introductory class on machine learning and thought: what if a program could recognize the notes played and automatically transcribe them into sheet music or tabulations? It would work like speech recognition, but for music.

AI and Machine Learning: Testfire Labs

The first inkling of Testfire Labs entered Dave Damer's head on Day 6 of a 10-day meditation retreat.

A couple of months before he had exited ThinkTel, the successful telecom company he founded in early 2003. He had some ideas "in his back pocket," a favourite place he stashes inspirations that come up on his path through business.

The retreat was a great experience that brought "great clarity," Damer says.
His inspiration? "We would take some recent developments in speech-to-text and machine learning and natural language processing and we would make a companion for business people so they wouldn’t have to, in my initial iteration this, stress about all the mental to-do lists we have.... They would be better at staying on top of things and prioritizing their daily activities."

With some consultation and working through the idea, the first product was narrowed down to Hendrix.ai, an intelligent companion who helps make meetings more productive.

Testfire Labs is one of a growing number of AI and machine learning companies setting up in Edmonton. AI and machine learning involves computers and machines that do tasks that would normally be considered to require human-level intelligence, dealing with complex data sets and in the case of machine learning, able to learn and improve without specific programming in a data set.

Member Update | Gfycat Uses Artificial Intelligence to Fight Deepfakes Porn

Member Update | Gfycat Uses Artificial Intelligence to Fight Deepfakes Porn

We do a lot of student tours of our space and one thing we can count on like clockwork is the astonished reaction from students when they find out Gfycat is an Edmonton-founded company that has deep roots in the community. Gfycat lets you create, discover and share awesome GIFs, amazing moments and funny reactions. If you see a GIF on Reddit, it's most likely powered by Gfycat. 

This week, WIRED covered the strides our friends are making to identify a form of AI technology called deepfakes. Deepfakes are videos that use AI to paste a celebrity face onto someone else's body in a video with uncanny accuracy. When it comes to celebrity or revenge porn, according to SARAH RENSE in Esquire it's legal quicksand. "Legally, there is little protection against deepfakes because the body doing the act isn't the celebrity's own. These videos aren't made from illegally stolen nudes, and as Wired wrote, "You can’t sue someone for exposing the intimate details of your life when it’s not your life they’re exposing." You can even drag the First Amendment into it, defending deepfakes as art, satire, and "free speech" because they weren't technically created illegally." 
 

Image: Wired, February 14, 2018. Photo Credit: HOTLITTLEPOTAT

Startup Edmonton Notes: Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and the Startup Community

Startup Edmonton Notes: Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and the Startup Community

At the Mayor's State of the City address last month, we heard a lot about companies in Edmonton that are embracing technology to scale traditional industries and business models. Mayor Iveson cited Jobber, a member and Launch Party alumni company, as one of the local technology companies that is growing at an incredible rate and doing so by applying technology to optimize thousands of small businesses around the world, from landscaping to appliance repair and almost any service industry in between. 

Here at Startup Edmonton, I hear a lot every day about machine intelligence and the opportunities for Edmonton to take a leading role in the way these technologies are integrated into businesses of all sizes and in all industries. We have leading researchers and students at Amii at the University of Alberta, but we also have startup and technology communities that are hungry to learn and implement these research principles into their products & projects.