With The AI Summit in San Francisco just over three weeks away, we felt it important to reflect on the inaugural event in London, and one of the key talks of the day – from Rick Seabrook, European Managing Director of Neota Logic.
Neota Logic is the provider of Neota Logic Server, a hybrid reasoning platform that combines expert systems and other artificial intelligence techniques, including on- demand natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning, to provide fact- and context-specific answers to legal, compliance, and policy questions.
Prior to joining Neota Logic, Rick ran the European offices for Epiq Systems, a forensics and electronic discovery business and was a Partner at Accenture where for over 18 years, he led consulting, technology and outsourcing client engagements across a number of industries.
At The AI Summit in London on 5 May, Rick delivered his keynote on ‘Artificial Intelligence – The Last Mile’.


rick seabrook rs1

Rick Seabrook of Neota Logic


‘Artificial Intelligence – The Last Mile’: Transcript

I wanted to talk today about something called The Last Mile.

The last mile was (and is today) an issue for the telecommunications industry, and relates to the stretch of twisted copper cable that connects the consumer’s house to the local exchange.

The reason this is important is because no matter what smart new high capacity fibre-optic technology is being built between the exchanges or exciting new multimedia is available to sell to the consumer, what separates the unlimited potential of the internet from the consumer was and is this small twisted copper wire with historically only enough bandwidth for a limited download speed…

Now if I draw a non-technical comparison here to the situation today for Artificial Intelligence (AI) software, I think we have a last mile problem too …

It is about our inability to connect all this data and content that is becoming more and more discoverable, with the human expertise in a way that allows us to turn that content into meaningful products and services that are usable and actionable at internet scale.

In the field of AI or cognitive technologies, this, I believe is our ‘last mile’ issue.

So for example, today, instead of being able to…

  • tell an asylum seeker whether they are eligible for to stay in this country, assess their case, apply all relevant facts and judgement and where appropriate grant them an instant visa, all online, we ask them to fill out an online form, consult an advisor, read up on their rights, wait, decide, appeal etc.
  • Instead of being able to assess a complex financial trade for all applicable regulations and make an instantaneous, accurate and binding decision based upon the level of risk I or my company are prepared to accept, I have to gather information, consider, seek expert advice, discuss and then decide and so on…
  • Instead of having a secured loan application assessed and approved and transfer the funds instantly, I have to fill in an online form, wait for approval, speak to an advisor…

And so on…

And the reason for this, is of course, because this is where historically, the human expert come in.

An expert who consumes all the information that is available and applies context, and precedent and judgement and know-how to a unique set of circumstances to provide context specific outcomes.

That we trust.

And right now, it is our biggest constraint in AI, as we have manifestly failed to effectively emulate that expertise in software. Hence why so many AI technologies and related online products and services are narrow, routine and one-dimensional.


So then I ask myself, what would I need in order to close this gap, to be able to do the things I described, to go the last mile and include human-style expertise in software?

  • Well I would need to be able to absorb facts about a unique circumstance, and respond intelligently with more requests for information until I had enough to start its expert analysis
  • And I would need access to knowledge contained in public and non-public places, structured and unstructured data
  • And I would need to be able to learn from past successes and failures
  • I might need the knowledge of hard rules and soft social & cultural norms
  • I would need to apply know-how or judgement
  • I would need to infer facts and conclusions
  • I would need to consult with others
  • I would need to be deterministic, bold enough to make a decision (not probabilistic)
  • I would need to explain to me how it had come to that decision


And probably a range of other things….

I would need to be able to reason, instantaneously and in real-time across all of this complex content

If I could put a system that combines all of this expert reasoning power on top of the incredible AI technologies being developed today, then it would be truly unleashing the power of these amazing technologies into the real world…

The equivalent to replacing the twisted copper wire with high-capacity 8 fibre optic, bringing it straight into my home, giving me answers to all my most complex questions, solving my issues, providing me what I need, in real time.

Think real time medical diagnosis, think instant digital justice, think ambient compliance systems, think highly advanced online consumer services… and on and on


The expert is now in the system. On their best day, every day.


So that’s what we at Neota Logic are working on – feel free to contact us to hear about how we’re already doing that in many industries today.

Richard Seabrook – 5th May 2016


At The AI Summit in San Francisco on 28-29 September, CxOs from the world’s leading AI software developers and enterprises will gather to explore the huge opportunity that AI presents all major industry verticals.

To find out more, and to register to join us at the event, visit: theaisummit.com


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