Radical Reads

Software robots are empowering the enterprise

By Adithya Sreekumar, Investor


Photo credit: Sixty Marketing

Last week, UiPath, a global leader in Robotic Process Automation (RPA) software, listed on the New York Stock Exchange in one of the largest software IPOs in history. RPA software helps companies automate highly repetitive processes without replacing legacy systems. Standalone RPA software can take on simple tasks such as copying and pasting data, creating folders, moving files, and filling forms. UiPath’s valuation is a strong signal that empowering enterprises to further digitalize and automate their workflows remains an enormous market opportunity.

When RPA is combined with AI it provides opportunities to automate more complex workflows. Software ‘robots’ will leverage machine learning to understand documents, recognize speech, classify images, and make decisions. Ultimately, RPA software will free people from spending time on repetitive tasks that don’t require creativity or interactions with other people. In other words, with AI powered RPAs, we will spend less time making sense of data and more time creating with each other.

AI News This Week

  • This has just become a big week for AI regulation   (MIT Tech Review)

    Last week the EU released an early-draft of AI restrictions around mass surveillance and manipulative practices. The US Federal Trade Commissions (FTC) also published a statement of intent to prohibit unfair or deceptive practices for companies using or selling algorithms. The FTC statement likely has more immediate impact especially toward regulating claims of “unbiased” within AI products.

  • AI in fashion: technology could turn you into a Tiffany  (New York Times)

    While some craftsmen worry technology adoption in the industry will replace their work, others are embracing AI models to create mathematical masterpieces. Many are seeking out hyper-personalized, computer-generated designs made tangible by sophisticated 3-D metal printing. AI and tech adoption has the potential to refresh a generational perception of high-end jewellery.

  • New neural networks solve hardest equations faster than ever  (Quanta Magazine)

    Partial differential equations (PDEs) are ubiquitous in physics and engineering and notoriously difficult to solve. One equation can take months to solve on a supercomputer. A group of researchers claim to have built new kinds of artificial neural networks that can approximate solutions to PDEs orders of magnitude faster than traditional PDE solvers, and solve families of PDEs without retraining. From predicting seismic activity to analyzing the spread of a disease through a population, efficiencies in PDEs will help better describe complex phenomena involving many independent variables.

  • Groundbreaking effort launched to decode whale language  (National Geographic)

    When seeking applications for AI, a major factor is access to data. It turns out that we have excellent data on sperm whales. A group of experts in linguistics, robotics, machine learning, and camera engineers are setting out to build on this data to decode the language of whales. The project, Protect CETI, is likely one of the largest interspecies communication efforts in history.

  • AI unlocks a mystery behind a 2000-year-old Dead Sea Scroll   (The Conversation)

    Applying AI to the study of sacred texts has confirmed 70 years of research and overturns the argument that the original text was the work of one scribe. The algorithm was trained to separate the ink from its background, the leather, and the papyrus to isolate characters and find small changes. Machine learning applications in the digital humanities are increasingly responsible for surfacing new insights and uncovering new discoveries.

Radical Reads is edited by Leah Morris (Senior Director, Velocity Program, Radical Ventures).