Will.i.am Joins Montreal’s Stradigi AI


“We used to come here on tour from 1998 to 2009. Now I hope I can spend more time in this awesome city in my new career.”

Those were the words of the world-famous musician and entrepreneur Will.i.am on Thursday as he announced at C2 that he is joining Montreal-based Stradigi AI as their new AI Advisor, Bias and Ethics.

Over the last number of years, the American has become a powerful voice for the democratization of data, acted as an advocate for STEM education and now also sits on the AI board for the World Economic Forum. He is also an investor in Stradigi AI, and says he decided to take on this more active role because he believes it’s important to keep humans first when it comes to AI.

“The snapshot of AI right now does not equal tomorrow. That’s just the limit of today’s predictive model. That’s not 5 years from now” he said. “Data democracy hasn’t come yet. But it will come.”

The company’s Chief Scientific Officer, Carolina Bessega, backed up the artist by saying ethics in AI is a top priority for their team. “Every project we undertake, we always consider if there could be something dangerous in that” she told the audience in attendance at the press conference. She went on to explain that she believes the potential benefits for humans are so massive, that AI has to be protected and kept ‘good’ in order for it to be accepted by society.

The company also seized the opportunity to announce the launch of a new product. Kepler is a machine learning platform containing a set of tools and a smart engine that empowers users to build and execute solutions to complex business challenges faster and in a secure way.

This Hollywood style press conference is somewhat out of character for Stradigi AI. However, CEO Basil Bouraropoulos explained they didn’t want to pump themselves up too much before the launch of the product, saying “for us, it was important as a business not to create white noise in AI.”

The company says Kepler is the first platform on the market to leverage three types of algorithms—proprietary algorithms from Stradigi AI’s own research lab, hybrids that are customized in-house from open source algorithms, and open source algorithms. With a focus on natural language understanding, strategic decision-making, image and video understanding, anomaly detection, recommender systems, prediction systems and automated machine learning, they plan for the product to allow the rapid input and layering of the above technologies within the platform, for transformative results.

“The launch of Kepler is a huge milestone for Stradigi AI,” said Bouraropoulos. “Our brilliant team has worked tirelessly over the last several years to deliver a state-of-the-art AI platform that enables companies to efficiently deploy AI into their business to augment their performance, gain new insights, optimize processes, and make better decisions like never before.”

As for Will.i.am, he believes what Stradigi AI is working on goes hand in hand with the projects he has been developing for the last few years. He also plans to take his role seriously, explaining that we are starting to see AI bias all over the place, even at a bathroom sink. “If we don’t fix the basics first, we’ll never get to the complex stuff” he said. “We need to keep people first. Until we have regulation. I encourage everyone to demand clarity and transparency until there is an AI constitution.”

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