Empowered Startups forms research partnership with UBC
Contract Research Agreement aims to further human-computer interactions
Empowered Startups has entered a Contract Research Agreement to develop Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Information Visualization (InfoVis) at The University of British Columbia. The collaboration, which began in January 2018, will support the work of Dr. Giuseppe Carenini, Associate Professor, Computer Science Department, and Co-Director of the UBC Master in Data Science. With the rise in data available, businesses and consumers alike want to be able to access and present that data in a user-friendly format. The research looks at best practice in topic modeling and sentiment analysis through supervised and unsupervised machine learning. This enables the analysis of conversational data from human-human interaction and from human-chatbot interactions. The goal is to help businesses in the AI and big data industry, such as Empowered Startups’ portfolio company 1109330 B.C. Ltd (dba ChatWithBanks.com), better understand what customers are truly requesting (using sentiment analysis) and answer customer’s questions quickly and appropriately (using NLP and InfoVis).
The funding from Empowered Startups allows the research to be extended, aiding in the development of direct business applications across other of Empowered’s portfolio companies – which is core to the firm’s incubation program. “As a technology incubator we work with a lot of innovative technology,” explains Paul Girodo, Co-Founder, Empowered Startups Ltd. “One of the big bets we have made with a number of the ventures we support is that some of the most important next advances in IT will be in smoothing out human-computer interactions, and increasing the broad based usability of solutions. For example, in the blockchain space we are heavily focused on UX/UI design. Similarly, in a number of our chat bot solutions, such as ChatWithBanks.com we are focused on Natural Language Processing. We are very pleased to be supporting Dr. Carenini’s industry leading work in this area.”
The project will develop data driven (machine learning) techniques for generating natural language from structured information with applications to text summarization and other tasks. It will also explore the integration of natural language and text in supporting data analysis; for instance, the generation of interfaces where visualizations present large amounts of data compactly. This will support the discovery of trends and relationships, while natural language narratives can signify and explain key points about the data, by focusing particularly on specific geo-locational, temporal, causal and evaluative aspects.
Empowered Startups has already invested significant resources towards the AI chatbot space, and with chatbot ventures associated in sales, finance, and airlines. This latest initiative will benefit service-centric businesses by more usefully collating relevant customer trends, and enabling them to present data in more intuitive formats to each end user. Applications could include Retail, Transport, Travel, Insurance, Tourism, Social Services, Care Services, Risk management.