AI spin-out built by Google, Amazon researchers raises investment

Posted on July 29, 2020 by Alistair Hardaker

Humanloop, an AI start-up spun out of the University College London (UCL), has attracted investment from UCL’s Technology Fund (UCLTF).

The UCLTF has invested in Humanloop to help the team, which includes Professors David Barber and Emine Yilmaz, to build software that can train AI models to reach high levels of accuracy while using smaller datasets through better interaction with their human users.

Based on the research of the two notable academics, Humanloop is teaching AI to improve performance, and claims the process requires 10 times less human training than existing systems.

The technique sees AI systems querying human experts on only the most valuable data to learn faster.

The firm’s team, a combination of AI academics and experienced start-up founders, includes David Barber, Professor of Machine Learning and Director of UCL AI Centre and Professor Emine Yilmaz, an expert in intelligent sampling who has worked for Amazon Alexa and Microsoft Cortana.

Also at the firm are co-founders Raza Habib and Peter Haye, UCL PhD students with previous start-up experience.

They are joined by Jordan Burgess, a machine learning engineer who was previously at Amazon and Bloomsbury AI, a UCLTF investment which agreed to join Facebook’s London research team in July 2018.

Professor David Barber, Co-Founder of Humanloop and Director of the UCL AI Centre, said: “What makes Humanloop’s systems different is that we use research developed at the UCL AI Centre to make the system learn a lot faster. Our models also have well-calibrated uncertainty so when they are not confident they defer to a human, working alongside people and augmenting them, rather than trying to replace them. UCL Technology Fund’s vital investment means we can put our research into practice and take this exciting vision forward.”

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