Whether or not you think we should heed the warnings offered to us by many a 90’s movie like The Terminator, we’re already well into the age of the robot. Chinese giant Baidu is already offering AI software, a Baymax-type of personal health artificial intelligence, but AIs have also given our generation new ways of recreation. With Japan’s Suidobashi Heavy Industry and the U.S.’s Megabots planning what can only be described as round two of a robot-off set for this summer, artificial intelligence is a field still wide open for different uses. Mumbai-based startup Arya.ai is hopping on that train full speed ahead.
While Suidobashi and Megabots’ duel looks like something straight out of Pacific Rim and is very much meant for sport, Arya.ai’s plans are meant more for immediate use. It’s a study companion that can store a database of previous research, then help with relevant queries in real time. In other words, if your understanding increases the more you read, why not just have something that can read hundreds or more texts for you, then offer you suggestions on where to go next?
“We started by solving a problem for researchers [because] we are researchers,” founder Vinay Kumar tells Tech in Asia. However, the ability to digest a lot of information for application is a skill that carries across professions, from economics to medicine to engineering.
Though the AI is still in a prototype stage, Vinay says its cost will depend on how much storage space an individual or institution needs for work. Reading hundreds of papers isn’t a huge deal, but the AI will need a lot of space if required to read millions of texts.
Vinay believes most of the work we do in our jobs can be automated. “You don’t actually use your brain in most of the tasks you do in your profession. There’s maybe only [a few moments] per day when you have to think,” he says. With Arya.ai’s research companion, you can leave the mindless tasks to your robot study buddy and maximize efficiency by only concentrating on the parts of your day you have to put in some good old-fashioned human creativity.
Empathy between machines and humans
Founded by Vinay and Deekshith Marla in 2013, Arya.ai is a startup that provides AI tools for businesses dependent on information gathering and retrieval. It’s a wide category, one that the company counts on, providing services in both business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) enterprises. Vinay comes from a nanotechnology background, and Deekshith brings natural language processing experience to the table.
The project got its start at Invenzone, a shared research space that promotes the simplifying of knowledge sharing between science, technology, and medical researchers and scientists. Though the AI has several potential applications, it is meant to be first and foremost a research companion.
Backed by angel startup accelerator Venture Nursery, the firm was recently named as one of Paris&Co’s list of 21 finalists in its international startup competition – the only startup from Asia included on the list. If it makes the top six, it will take part in Paris&Co’s three-month incubation program.
As far as Vinay is concerned, though, a personal robot for everyone is just a few years away; Arya.ai just wants to be a part of the action.
“There will be complete empathy between machines and humans, […] a symbiotic existence where machines will be helping humans with every task. [In] the next four or five years, everyone will have a robot of [his or her] own,” he says.
As a person in a profession quickly getting replaced by robots, this may not be good news for me, but I remember many a night I stayed up putting off my homework and talking to instant messaging robots. If SmarterChild had had the ability to make my life more efficient instead of teaching me new pathways to procrastination, I would have jumped at the chance. A good study buddy is hard to find.
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