Contextual AI emerges from stealth with $20M to pursue ‘synthetic specialised intelligence’



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Contextual AI, a brand new enterprise-focused AI startup based in Palo Alto by veterans of Fb AI Analysis (FAIR) and Hugging Face, as we speak emerged from stealth and introduced it has raised $20 million in a seed spherical led by Bain Capital Ventures (BCV), with participation from Lightspeed, Greycroft and a protracted listing of different angel buyers.

The corporate has a novel focus: Growing what its co-founders Douwe Kiela and Amanpreet Singh check with in a weblog publish as “‘ASI’—synthetic specialised intelligence.”

“Why waste parameters, cash, latency and compute on a mannequin that is aware of Shakespeare and quantum physics, when all it ought to actually do is resolve your organization’s drawback?” they write, later taking a public shot at the most well-liked and broadly used LLM up to now, OpenAI‘s ChatGPT.

Contextual AI founders Amanpreet Singh (L) and Douwe Kiela (R). Credit score: Contextual AI.

The chance Contextual AI sees

The duo has latest high-profile expertise within the area of AI and huge language fashions (LLMs). Each beforehand labored at Meta Platforms’ FAIR on growing programs for detecting hate speech in memes and the sale of illicit items on Fb. At HuggingFace, they labored on LLMs.


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Now, with the launch of Contextual AI, they search to use their abilities — alongside different engineers (the overall crew dimension is 12 to this point) — to unravel six issues they are saying confront enterprises looking for to make use of present LLMs.

The issues Contextual AI is focusing on embody:

  • Information privateness
  • Customizability
  • Hallucinations
  • Compliance
  • Staleness, which the Contextual founders describe of their weblog publish because the comparatively outdated data contained in main AI fashions: “ChatGPT doesn’t know something that occurred after September 2021, and probably the most downloaded mannequin on the HuggingFace hub is BERT, which nonetheless thinks that Obama is president.”
  • Latency and price

Committing to open supply AI

The founders additionally took their funding announcement to pledge a dedication to the burgeoning open supply AI neighborhood, which has come underneath renewed scrutiny within the final week by U.S. lawmakers (particularly focusing on Meta Platforms’ “leak” of its LLM LLaMA.)

“With a know-how as essential and disruptive as LLMs, we imagine there ought to be extra gamers, and that it is extremely harmful to have this know-how solely within the fingers of some incumbent huge tech companies,” the wrote of their weblog publish. “Our strategy each helps and is supported by open supply. We plan to leverage open supply software program as a lot as we are able to and to present again to the neighborhood in return.”

For its half, BCV mentioned they supported Contextual AI’s objectives and ambitions and noticed huge potential available in the market for enterprise-grade AI.

“Our view is that AI will develop into ingrained in the whole lot enterprises do in methods which can be safe, deeply built-in and most significantly, contextual to worker workflows,” BCV principal Rak Garg and companion Aaref Hilaly wrote in a weblog publish. “Spending time with Douwe and Aman, it’s clear they each perceive that at an intuitive stage. We’re thrilled to be working with them each to convey the facility of language fashions into the office.”

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