One of the tech buzzes of 2017 was the rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI). You surely heard of Sophia, the first robot ever to receive citizenship and the first non-human to be given a UN title. If you haven’t connected the dots by now, Sophia is the icon of AI.

The news is causing panic to those who are worried about an artificial future and give hope to others who believe in the better use of technology. But, the truth is AI comes with a significant advantage: from healthcare to financial industry, and even entertainment, it lends a helping hand to specialists and eases their work.

What is Artificial Intelligence?

Compared to “classic” robots, which are designed and programmed to perform specific tasks, robots with artificial intelligence collect the data while performing the tasks, and improve their abilities for the following performances.

For this reason, AI startups could represent one of the biggest breakthroughs of our times.

Even if the big fuss started in 2017, the concept of artificial intelligence is not new. The term was invented in 1956 by John McCarthy, computer science teacher at MIT.

Nonetheless, 2018 looks like the perfect year for artificial intelligence to be part of the top startups.

Top AI Startups with Promising Future

1. Mycroft, Voice Assistant

You already know Alexa and Siri, right? They help you find anything you need, from the weather report to the closest restaurant that is still open at 12 AM.

What’s so special about Mycroft is that it’s open-source, unlike Alexa and Siri, which are proprietary software. This means that any programmer that would like to alter and improve the code is more than welcome to do so. And more than 700 programmers have taken up this challenge.

It is a free-download assistant, which is currently targeted at the auto industry. Nonetheless, its functionality grows at the same time with the number of the contributors.

2. Toutiao, Personalized News Recommendations

Toutiao is an app co-founded by a former Microsoft employee and uses AI algorithms to recommend news and content based on each user’s reading preferences.

And according to the stats, the visitors read past the Headlines (Toutiao means headlines in Chinese) – 1 in 2 Chinese people have an account, and 1 in 10 use it daily.

Moreover, they spend an average of 74 minutes per day on the app, which makes us think they’re happy with the recommendations they receive.

Although it’s currently limited to China, the guys at ByteDance plan on launching it globally.

3. Upstart, Financial Assistant

As they state on their homepage, Upstart was “Founded by ex-Googlers—fair and fast personal loans.”

But that sounds vague.

Simply put, Upstart is a platform that allows you to pay for different services or products by borrowing money from them. You’d think that this happens for centuries already – people ask for money from other people or institutions and pay it back over time.

The innovation that Upstart brings is that they consider more data than just the FICO score and the years of credit when they calculate your rates. They have lower rates than most credit cards, and the process you need to go through is quick and easy.

4. Affirm, Financial Solutions for Online Shoppers

Started by PayPal co-founder Max Levchin, Affirm is another loan-based solution that will make your life easier in 2018.

Whether you choose to shop online or in store, the virtual card doesn’t come with a credit limit, and you can apply for multiple loans at a time.

All you have to do is to select “Affirm” at the checkout if you’re buying from one of the merchants that accept this method payment, respectively to give out the card information to the cashier.

5. Quantifi, Marketing R&D Platform for Social Media Managers

Quantifi is probably the best tool for marketers – it helps them target ads more accurately, by creating specific audiences and discovering the best channels to reach out to them.

What makes Quantifi unique is that it allows you to stay ahead of the curve by providing real-time data.  It also gives you the possibility to experiment with your audiences. You have thousands of options to help you segment the prospects, which gives you flexibility in managing your ads (and the ads budget, too).

AI Startups and Businesses

All these companies integrate AI in their processes so that the automated tasks can run smoothly, and humans take care of the things that only humans can (so far).

But machine learning startups aren’t the only trend coming in today.

Companies like Amazon, Google or Netflix, have already integrated artificial intelligence into their business model. And it looks like it’s paying off – so many people use their services, and the numbers are increasing every year.

We can only hope that these startups will add to the great variety of benefits AI has brought us so far.



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