Intel invests $132mn in disruptive AI startups
Totalling $132mn total, the...
Semiconductor chip giant Intel’s investment arm, Intel Capital, has announced it is investing in 11 technology startups.
Totalling $132mn total, the startups have interests in areas ranging from artificial intelligence, autonomous computing and chip design. The full list of companies includes Anodot, Astera Labs, Axonne, Hypersonix, KFBIO, Lilt, MemVerge, ProPlus Electronics, Retrace, Spectrum Materials and Xsight Labs. Intel said its investment arm was on course to invest between $300mn and $500mn in 2020.
One of the startups, San Francisco’s Lilt, is developing AI-powered language translation capabilities, combining neural networks and professional translators. Another, MemVerge, is developing software to provide large pools of persistent memory suited for data hungry applications such as AI, machine learning, financial market data analytics and high-performance computing. A third, Anodot, is using machine learning to autonomously monitor businesses, capable of sending out contextual alerts in real time to catch incidents such as drops in success rate or app performance.
Wendell Brooks, Intel senior vice president and president of Intel Capital, said in a press release: “Intel Capital identifies and invests in disruptive startups that are working to improve the way we work and live. Each of our recent investments is pushing the boundaries in areas such as AI, data analytics, autonomous systems and semiconductor innovation. Intel Capital is excited to work with these companies as we jointly navigate the current world challenges and as we together drive sustainable, long-term growth.”
While perhaps best known for building the processors powering most of the world’s PCs, a market it dominates alongside AMD, Intel has increasingly been exploring disruptive new technologies. Late last year, the company unveiled a quantum control chip which it said would speed up the development of quantum computers. Capable of operating in proximity to qubits at cryogenic temperatures, it is consequently more simple and scalable than other examples.
Discord buys Sentropy to fight against hate and abuse online
Discord, a popular chat app, has acquired the software company Sentropy to bolster its efforts to combat online abuse and harassment. Sentropy, monitors online networks for abuse and harassment, then offers users a way to block problematic people and filter out messages they don’t want to see.
First launched in 2015 and currently boasting 150 million monthly active users, Discord plans to integrate Sentropy’s own products into its existing toolkit and the company will also bring the smaller company’s leadership group aboard. Discord currently uses a “multilevel” approach to moderation, and a Trust and Safety (T&S) team dedicated to protecting users and shaping content moderation policies comprised 15% of Discord’s workforce as of May 2020.
“T&S tech and processes should not be used as a competitive advantage,” Sentropy CEO John Redgrave said in a blog post on the announcement. “We all deserve digital and physical safety, and moderators deserve better tooling to help them do one of the hardest jobs online more effectively and with fewer harmful impacts.”
Cleanse platforms of online harassment and abuse
Redgrave elaborated on the company’s natural connection with Discord: “Discord represents the next generation of social companies — a generation where users are not the product to be sold, but the engine of connectivity, creativity, and growth. In this model, user privacy and user safety are essential product features, not an afterthought. The success of this model depends upon building next-generation Trust and Safety into every product. We don’t take this responsibility lightly and are humbled to work at the scale of Discord and with Discord’s resources to increase the depth of our impact.”
Sentropy launched out of stealth last summer with an AI system designed to detect, track and cleanse platforms of online harassment and abuse. The company emerged then with $13 million in funding from notable backers including Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian and his VC firm Initialized Capital, King River Capital, Horizons Ventures and Playground Global.
“We are excited to help Discord decide how we can most effectively share with the rest of the Internet the best practices, technology, and tools that we’ve developed to protect our own communities,” Redgrave said.