Meet The World’s Most Valuable AI Startup
In just four years, SenseTime went from being an academic project to become the world’s most valuable artificial intelligence (AI) company with a current valuation of $4.5 billion. Based in China, the company has a portfolio of 700 clients and partners, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Qualcomm, Honda, Alibaba, Weibo, and more. They use their proprietary artificial intelligence and machine vision technology to drive its success and “redefine human life as we know it.” With the number of core technologies, products, and services SenseTime offers, it’s hard to believe it’s such a young company. Here are just a few ways SenseTime uses artificial intelligence to “power the future.”
SenseTime’s Core Technologies
SenseTime developed several AI technologies including face, image, object and text recognition; medical image and video analysis; remote sensing; and autonomous driving systems. These AI technologies have been deployed in a variety of industries from healthcare to finance, online entertainment to education, retail to security, smart cities to smartphones, and more. They also created a deep learning platform. SenseTime is now the largest algorithm provider in China, as well as the fifth largest AI platform. Along with other tech titans, SenseTime is working with the Chinese government on Made in China 2025, an initiative to make the country economically autonomous.
One of the reasons SenseTime has been able to grow so successful so quickly is that it has government support and direct access to China’s vast databases regarding its 1.4 billion residents. The more data algorithms are given, the better they become. And, with plans to triple its revenue to $300 million in the coming year by putting its technology as the foundation of image recognition everywhere, there doesn’t seem to be any signs of this growth slowing.
Conventional wisdom in the AI community is that while Europe and the United States might be better at developing AI breakthroughs, China uses and improves AI thanks to the data generated by its enormous population. This had led to some concern about an “AI arms race” and how to manage ethics and privacy considerations among governments and cultures that see these issues very differently. In one example, there are concerns that algorithms using facial recognition technology are being used for racial profiling and to track the actions of a Muslim minority group in China. This is something that human rights groups are watching very closely.
Applications of SenseTime Technologies
Since we’re talking about a Chinese company with facial recognition technology (called DeepID), you won’t be surprised that a core focus for SenseTime is security. You get a sense for what’s behind the screen when you visit the company’s Beijing office lobby and see employees gain access after a camera scans their face and checks it against company records. There’s also a panel at the entrance with a built-in camera that can analyze your face and even assign an “attractiveness rating.”