Uber just bought an artificial intelligence startup out of NYU Tandon

Interesting story of an idea moving from University lab to the real world!

As Geometric Intelligence’s more human like approach to machine learning hits the road, might New York become a hub for AI expertise?

As you might imagine, figuring out the best routes for taxi carpools, let alone how to configure a fleet of self-driving cars, requires some top-notch chops in artificial intelligence.

Yesterday, Uber announced that it’s building up that know-how by acquiring Geometric Intelligence, a startup based out of NYU Tandon’s Data Future Lab, for an undisclosed sum. The startup will form the basis of Uber’s newly launched AI Labs, which will conduct ongoing research into artificial intelligence and machine learning. Geometric Intelligence, which has a staff of 15, will move to Uber’s San Francisco headquarters.

Geometric Intelligence, founded in 2014, takes an alternative approach to artificial intelligence. Rather than focusing on deep learning, which relies upon processing copious amounts of data, it has been developing a system that approaches machine learning similarly to how a young child learns — by abstracting patterns and making generalizations from much more limited information. (This writeup at MIT Technology Review gives a good overview of the company’s approach.)

CEO Gary Marcus, a professor of psychology and neural science at NYU, has been vocal in his belief that such an alternative is necessary for AI to make the futuristic strides often portrayed in the media. In a talk at MIT Technology Review‘s EmTech Digital conference in May, he even referred to self-driving cars as an example of the limits of today’s AI: The cars need to be prepared for all sorts of driving conditions, which likely won’t be found all in one place. On top of that, there’s random, offbeat activity from passersby to account for.

“I’ve ridden around on a unicycle through Times Square, and you’re not going to get a lot of data on that,” he said.  Read the rest: technical.ly


Also in the media:

  • Uber in Artificial-Intelligence Drive After Buying Startup -Uber Technologies Inc. is getting real about artificial intelligence.The ride-hailing service is creating a new division to develop the technology, which attempts to teach computers to think like humans, after agreeing to acquire Geometric Intelligence Inc., a fledgling New York-based artificial intelligence startup founded by academics.-Wall Street Journal
  • NYU Press Release – NYU incubated start up geometric intelligence acquired by uber


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