Launching a new era of augmented AI

In the heart of Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum, surrounded by countless monuments to human achievement, the founders of Mind Foundry regaled the audience with their firsthand account of the inception of the company.

In a world that so often fearmongers the advent of democratised artificial intelligence (AI), Professor Stephen Roberts and Professor Michael Osborne pose a more optimistic vision for the future of human and machine, not one of AIs, but rather of augmented human intelligence.

Since 2015, the AI for Business report has been a staple of the Raconteur publishing calendar, positioning us to narrate the future of this nascent, but rapidly growing, industry. Over that period, we have watched avidly as AI has transitioned from technology to a category on the Gartner Hype Cycle, spawning more emergent technologies than perhaps any other transitive category since big data.

Much to this accord, Mind Foundry has debuted as one of the first-mover commercial machine-learning platform-as-a-service (ML PaaS) or automated machine-learning (AutoML) offerings in the market, presenting a solution which promises to keep humans relevant in the age of machine-learning.

Mind Foundry has entered the market as the world leader and category-defining product that will turn the much hyped potential of creating and empowering ‘citizen data scientists’ into reality

With the vast delta in demand and supply for data science talent, this is an important addition to the marketplace. ML PaaS technologies will further democratise access to the possibilities machine-learning presents, with Mind Foundry extending this reach beyond incumbent technical talent, to data-savvy business users who have an intrinsic understanding of the problems they’re trying to solve.

Much like the AI for Business report, Mind Foundry was born in 2015. For three years, the company leveraged the exceptional talent of its founders and grew its capability across machine-learning research, product development and software engineering. At the end of 2018 they appointed Paul Reader, an expert in SaaS business scale-up. In the seven months since, they have achieved a staggering amount, including developing marketing and brand strategy, systematising the business processes and attracting their first subscribers.

Customer experience

They’ve launched a new website and revamped the user experience of their product to a highly polished standard to consistently keep customer experience front of mind. Furthermore, the appointment of David Bennett as life sciences adviser heralds their future business plans to augment existing category expertise with best-in-class sector excellence.

Of the commercial brand launch, Mr Reader says: “On June 12, Mind Foundry officially launched to market its machine-learning software solution that has been under development since early-2016. The so-called AutoML software space is experiencing a burst of investment and innovation. Most applications have been developed by data science and machine-learning experts for data science and machine-learning experts. They are technical and complicated technologies to use.

“Instead, since the very beginning, Mind Foundry has completely focused on creating software that is oriented to data-savvy business users. The user experience and an assistance AI layer uniquely guides these non-technical users through the process of building their own machine-learning solutions that can be implemented with the click of a mouse to solve real-world business problems.

“As a result, Mind Foundry has entered the market as the world leader and category-defining product that will turn the much hyped potential of creating and empowering ‘citizen data scientists’ into reality.”

This gives us an insight into not only Mr Reader’s own excitement, but also his expert view of why Mind Foundry will become a “category-defining product”. On the day of the launch, he outlined the key factors that he believes have set Mind Foundry up for success:

  • Founded by two of the top academics in their field
  • Emerged from one of the world’s most prestigious academic institutions, the University of Oxford
  • Built on a foundation of leading-edge science
  • Backed by professional, dedicated investors committed to long-term success
  • Staffed by individuals of the highest calibre with a dynamic and rich workplace culture
  • Rooted in a space for which there is a significant and timely need.

There’s no doubt that it’s an exciting time in AI. However, it’s an even more exciting time for Mind Foundry. As the world fully realises the possibilities of AI and the transformation it will bring to every industry, a distinct new market voice is needed, one extolling augmentation, not replacement.

Perhaps, the future of machine-learning is not to replace human agency at all, but to unleash our creativity and higher cognitive functions as the routine and the mundane are handed over to machines. With so much investment, interest and intelligence being brought to machine-learning, the future can only be bright. In fact, the future can only be augmented.