Mycroft AI, Inc’s open-source AI assistant could very well end up challenging the market superiority currently held by companies such as Apple, Amazon and Google.
Google, Apple, Amazon and Microsoft have been doing groundbreaking work into the world of NLP. Their virtual assistants are getting more and more complex and developing at an exponential rate. Very soon we’ll be having ‘real’ conversations and developing relationships with our devices, much like in the film Her.
However, these companies keep their trade secrets very close to their figurative chests. Yet, one company is looking to end of all that and blow the market wide open by being the first to make their AI available to anybody who wants it, which means that developers can create their own virtual assistants for as many devices as they please, as long as they run on Linux OS.
“There’s an entire community of developers looking to access this technology, but so far, it’s been the purview of a few large companies. The technology is walled-off, proprietary, and secretive,” highlighted Joshua Montgomery, CEO of Kansas City-based Mycroft AI, Inc., to Forbes.
Mycroft is free to download and developers are invited to make their own changes to the code in order to make truly conversational AI, and with over 700 independent developers already using and making changes to the software, Mycroft’s already a proven success.
Back in 2015 Mycroft held a successful Kickstarter campaign, earning themselves $189,000, which went towards their first product, the Mark 1, a smart speaker akin to Amazon Echo and Google Home, but it’s only a jumping off point. Mycroft’s AI is now able to run on your desktop and can even be integrated into your mobile devices. After their Kickstarter campaign, Mycroft completed a $350,000 angel round and then a $1.17 million seed round.
“The seed money we’ve obtained allows us to position ourselves as the open technology in this space,” Montgomery said. “Our goal is that when you think ‘open’ and ‘virtual assistant,’ you’ll think Mycroft.”
“Ask yourself: if your technology could understand human speech and respond naturally, what would you build?” challenges Montgomery.
The customisable nature of Mycroft’s open-source AI means that independent developers can teach it new things which go far beyond its original programming. The possibilities with Mycroft are endless and the company is focusing its efforts on the automative industry since they feel there’s untapped potential with voice control in cars.
“J.D. Power and Associates has reported that the voice control in the car is the single most complained-about feature in the automobile. We solved that problem, so that’s how we land with companies like Jaguar Land Rover, who’s a strategic investor and soon will be a customer, and General Motors, who we’re working with through 500 Startups,” Montgomery said.