Posted: 23/09/20

Dublin, 23 September 2020: ADAPT Radio Series 2 has just wrapped up its journey through the Commercialisation Fund team. The host and guide through all these stories of innovation, Donal Scannell, was able to help us understand these complex technologies and how they will impact and improve the world. After talking to key members of six ADAPT startup projects, three strong themes have emerged relating to how our world will transform through digitalisation in the coming years: improved efficiency, human-centric approaches, and sustainability.

Improved Efficiency

Artificial Intelligence is the main technology powering ADAPT’s budding startup projects. The name of the game is efficiency when it comes to AI. Taking over repetitive tasks, producing results less prone to human error, and freeing up human hours to work on more complex tasks that computers simply can’t handle yet are the main goals behind automation. 

AI Map IT seeks to leverage publicly available street level imagery to identify street furniture locations and conditions. This way a remote part of the country doesn’t need to be scouted in-person to identify telephone poles in need of repair, for example. Rather, a recently updated database, such as Google Street View, can be sequenced through the AI software that will recognise and tag poles in disrepair.

A new ADAPT project from this year, Biologit, seeks to use AI to help researchers, doctors, and patients gain easier access to the huge amount of medical research regarding medication. Currently, the field of pharmacovigilance is very manual, time consuming, and expensive. Their product seeks to address this to help make information more accessible, with the ultimate goal of making healthcare safer in the long run.

Publishing online is vastly different than it was in print. The news cycle is getting quicker and quicker, with traditional media outlets competing with social media networks for having the freshest content and updates. This speed, however, cannot be at the expense of accuracy. Enter Caliber AI, a tool that is like a spell checker for defamation. It’s not a fact-checker or a truth teller, but it will pick up on potentially problematic language and flag it for human review. This technology could easily save millions in defamation suits and add a layer of assurance to writers and editors already under the pressure of meeting deadlines.

Human-centric Approaches

As technologies are often developed in profit-oriented companies, automation can increase productivity or make users of the new technology more dependent on it in their daily lives, which isn’t necessarily in their best interest. Given the issues we are seeing currently during the adjustment to everything online due to COVID-19, it’s becoming clear that while technology is available to make remote work and socialising possible, it’s not fully user-friendly. Several ADAPT projects that were showcased in our series are looking to improve technology and make it more human-centric and beneficial to our digital well-being.

The team at Empushy has recognised the extremely disruptive effect push notifications have on our daily lives. Simply feeling a vibration or seeing a screen light up on the table when it’s face down is enough to get you thinking about who it might be or what you may be missing. The programme they are developing will create a sort of digest of notifications presented at times the AI algorithm determines are most convenient for you, the user, and not the sender of the notification. Rather than receiving a dozen pings that your friends have liked the picture you posted of your dinner as you’re trying to fall asleep, for example, they will show up for you during your usual morning commute to work.

MoveAhead has recognised a slightly different problem also related to the increase in screen time. This issue deals with our youngest generation of technology users--school-aged children. There is a movement-based crisis resulting from multiple factors--less outdoor space, safety concerns, and now COVID-19--which has led to a huge decrease in physical activity and much more screen time. MoveAhead is developing apps where children would use their bodies as controllers to progress through the game, rather than just pushing buttons. This way, a technological solution can be implemented to help with the issue, rather than simply cutting out technology that has become so ingrained in children’s lives. 

Sustainability

Consumers are becoming more and more concerned with the companies they support and how their products are made. Although it’s not there yet, Darwin and Goliath are working to develop an AI programme that can rank products based on how green they are. Currently the system is working with small to medium sized eCommerce businesses to build micro-recommender systems as our world continues to shift even more to online shopping. With an ever-growing number of products available at our fingertips, many shoppers will want more criteria beyond price and reviews in order to evaluate what to spend their money on.

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