We secured an exclusive interview with Luminoso’s Co-Founder and CEO, Catherine Havasi, who spoke to us about how her company is involved in the AI-space today, and how it’ll be in the future.

When Catherine Havasi started Luminoso back in 2010, their main aim was to help clients rapidly discover value in their unstructured text data through the use of cutting edge technology such as natural language processing and machine learning. Fast-forward seven years, and Luminoso is now a leading AI-based deep analytics company, which is far beyond most AI start-ups’ wildest dreams.

Understanding natural language via AI

We started off our conversation with Catherine by asking her how Luminoso is currently using AI. “We work in a part of AI called Natural language Understanding,” she began. Catherine went on to explain how their two flagship products, Analytics and Compass, are capable of delivering an accurate, unbiased, real-time understanding of what consumers are actually saying, uncovering actionable insights and, what she referred to as, the “unknown unknowns.”

“I think it’s really a prime time for AI to be gaining traction. I’ve been doing AI for a really long time,” explained Catherine. “It was pretty scary for people.” Luminoso’s CEO went on to describe how we are starting to see a real revolution in AI. “There’s been a revolution in the way people see AI,” she noted. This is especially true in the field in which Luminoso operates: natural language understanding.

We are now seeing more and more sophisticated AI in our mobile devices – Siri, Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and now Samsung’s Bixby – and customers expect them to understand their vocal commands. “Anything to do with speech and video, opened up a wide variety of worlds,” she highlighted.

Standing out from the AI crowd

This then brought us onto our next topic of conversation – Luminoso’s competitors. What sets them apart from the rest? Why should potential clients chose Luminoso above of other companies working in the same field? Catherine highlighted their experience as a key factor in giving them an edge over their competitors. “We’re bringing to the table what it already a finished project, which has taken 18 years to complete,” she explained. “We are able to understand how people think at a deeper level.”

This is indeed the case with Luminoso. They are now one of the world leading companies working in deep analytics and natural language understanding. Their software is flexible and can natively analyse data in 12 languages. Their customers include world leading companies such as Sprint, Staples, Scott’s Miracle-Gro, Roche, and CenturyLink.

However, as Catherine had mentioned previously, AI can be seen as rather “scary”. This has led to people such as Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking publicly voicing their concerns around the new technology. There’s now a real fear of people losing their jobs to automation. We asked Catherine whether she could comment on this topic.

“I think that one of the things that AI lets you do is to use AI to automate,” she replied. “The things you could not do before, you can now open up with AI. That creates jobs,” she explained. “There’s so much to do in AI that it’ll help develop more jobs,” she finished.

Speaking AI’s language

The conversation then moved onto the areas of AI that Luminoso wants to expand upon moving forward. “I think that one of the things that we really want to push forward is gaining a deeper understanding of language. A lot of that is understanding the intricacies,” Catherine outlined. “Getting all the different languages is going to be really important; the not so easy languages, emerging languages and lesser spoken ones. Understanding people in their native tongue,” she noted. “I think we’re going to make leaps and bounds in that area,” finished Catherine.

With AI being one of the key buzzwords of 2017, many companies are looking at ways of deploying the new technologies into their business strategies. We asked Catherine whether she could outline the challenges that businesses face in adopting AI. “Company data policy is a difficult one. Companies feel that they have to have their data policies all in line. If you wait for that to happen, you’re never going to start,” she answered.

“There’s a lot of different things that makes you successful when you’re trying to deploy AI, but a lot of it doesn’t have to do with the tech, but it’s more about the companies themselves,” revealed Catherine. “Companies need to sit and put their heads together and work out how to do things properly,” she concluded.

You can hear more of Catherine Havasi’s thoughts on AI during her keynote speech at the AI Summit London, which is entitled ‘AI for the multilingual world’, and will be taking place in Stream A on the 9th of May.