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AI / Startups

Steven Kuyan wants to help you sort through the AI hype

Here are five good questions to ask when evaluating artificial intelligence.

Don't worry: the machines won't be taking over for a long time, says NYU's Gary Marcus. (Photo by April Joyner)

When there’s money, glamour and dreams on the line, people have a tendency to say what it takes to get them where they need to be.

That’s the problem Steve Kuyan faces as the managing director of the Future Labs at NYU Tandon. Specifically, he says, every startup seems to be using artificial intelligence.

“AI has become the hot new buzzword, generically applied to any tech company trying to sound relevant or impress venture capitalists,” he writes in a blog post on the issue, Five Questions to Help You Sort Through the AI Hype. “Since the Future Labs began supporting artificial intelligence (AI) startups, we’ve been approached by hundreds of ‘AI’ companies that don’t seem to have any AI at all.”

The reason is because that’s where the money is. According to CB Insights founder Anand Sanwal, speaking alongside Kuyan at the Future Labs AI Summit last month, funding for AI has totaled $14.9 billion since 2012, and in the first quarter of 2017, it received the most funding of any quarter since CB Insights started tracking it.

So how do you separate the real from the rest? Kuyan has five questions to ask:

  • How is the tech being built?
  • Is the founding team technically proficient?
  • Where’s the data?
  • Is this really an AI problem?
  • Does it sound too good to be true?
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