"When AI Begins to Replace Humans: A Wave of Billion-Dollar Language AI Startups is Coming"

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Sep 24, 2023

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"When AI Begins to Replace Humans: A Wave of Billion-Dollar Language AI Startups is Coming"

Artificial intelligence (AI) has come a long way in recent years, and its potential to replace human workers is a growing concern. CAPTCHAs, the distorted words we often encounter when filling out online forms, were originally designed to outsmart computers. However, with the help of millions of users, companies like Google have used CAPTCHAs to train their AI systems and improve their image recognition abilities, particularly in the development of self-driving cars.

According to a survey conducted by Gallup, the fear of AI replacing jobs has increased among American workers. In 2021, 15% of workers expressed this fear, but that number rose to 22% in recent years. Interestingly, the fear is more prevalent among workers with college degrees, with a significant increase from 8% to 20% in just two years. Goldman Sachs Research estimates that 300 million full-time jobs are at risk of automation, with certain industries, such as maintenance, repair, and construction, being safer than others, like admin or legal work.

While the fear of AI replacing jobs is widespread, there is a growing respect for skilled trades among Gen Z. A survey found that 73% of Gen Z individuals view skilled trades as a respectable career option, with 47% expressing interest in pursuing a career in a trade. One reason for this preference is the belief that skilled trade jobs are less likely to be replaced by AI.

Despite the potential impact of AI on jobs, the investment in retraining workers has significantly decreased over the years. Currently, only 0.1% of GDP is spent on worker retraining, less than half of what was spent three decades ago. This means that we rely heavily on the private sector to come up with solutions. However, the stagnation of productivity software in recent years presents an opportunity for startups to reinvent various industries by leveraging AI technologies.

In the realm of language AI, there is a wave of billion-dollar startups emerging. While language generation models have captured much attention, language representation models like BERT offer significant opportunities for developers. Companies like Hugging Face, AI21, You.com, and ZIR AI are leveraging large language models to power applications and build innovative solutions.

Video search is another area where AI startups are making strides. With 80% of internet data being video, there is a need for effective video search capabilities. Twelve Labs, a startup that combines NLP and computer vision, is working on semantic search within videos. This multimodal AI approach, which incorporates multiple data modalities, will play a central role in the future of AI.

Language AI is also being applied to improve writing and communication. Startups like Textio, LitLingo, and Writer are using advanced language AI models to offer targeted solutions for specific use cases. BLANC offers AI-powered video translations, enabling dialogue translation while maintaining natural lip movements. Lilt focuses on machine translation, especially for enterprise and government organizations. NeuralSpace recognizes the limitation of English-centric NLP research and aims to make NLP accessible for non-English speakers.

In the sales and customer service space, conversational AI interfaces are gaining traction. Rasa, an open-source AI stack, allows organizations to build their own chatbot platforms with transparency and control. Moveworks and Espressive are leading the way in automating employee help desks, while Duplex and Replicant focus on voice AI for tasks like making phone calls and automating contact center activities.

Content moderation is another area where AI startups are making a difference. Spectrum Labs and Logically combat online toxicity and misinformation, respectively. In healthcare, AI has the potential to improve access and reduce costs. Woebot is a leading startup in mental health chatbot technology, providing accessible support to individuals. DigitalOwl and Infinitus use AI to navigate and automate processes in the healthcare industry, such as medical record reviews and routine phone calls.

In conclusion, the rise of AI and its potential to replace human workers is a growing concern. However, there are opportunities for startups to innovate and reinvent industries by leveraging AI technologies. Actionable advice for individuals and organizations includes investing in retraining programs, embracing the potential of AI for productivity gains, and exploring partnerships with language AI startups to improve communication and customer experiences. By embracing AI and finding ways to work alongside it, we can navigate the changing landscape of work and technology.

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