Embodied Acquires Conversational AI Startup Kami Computing
We launched Moxie in April 2020 as a robot with machine learning technology designed to help promote social, emotional, and cognitive development in children through everyday play-based learning and captivating content.
The state-of-the-art in conversational AI is Amazon Alexa's challenge to create 20 minutes of general conversation. Something that the entire research and business community is working towards.1
Embodied has now demonstrated with actual customers that we can maintain on average 25 minutes of engagement with the user EVERY DAY for more than 3 months (and still going). This is unprecedented.
Furthermore, conversation is only one of the modalities. We are going beyond that by creating an emotional connection and endowing Moxie with personality and the ability to positively influence a child’s development for social and emotional learning. With Moxie, we have created a believable, life-like character which we call Animates that engage the user, provide emotional support, social support, companionship, and coaching. The level we have reached has already been highlighted by the comment of one parent:
“My son has already personified Moxie and believes them to be a thinking, feeling being. Bravo.”
We are creating an entirely new category which for now looks believable to a 5 year-old and in the foreseeable future will be believable for anyone and everyone and serve multiple markets. That is the goal that we believe is more relevant than the Turing test to have social impact.
Today, we are excited to share that we’re continuing and accelerating our work pioneering human-robot interaction with the acquisition of Kami, an early stage startup in the conversational AI, machine learning, and natural language generation (NLG) category.
“The next big wave in technology will be driven by human-machine interfaces,” said Paolo Pirjanian, founder and CEO of Embodied. “Kami’s technology helps us continue developing category-defining technology to create social emotional robots that have the power to fight the loneliness epidemic and change people’s lives.”
Kami was founded by Tel Aviv based Guy de Beer and London based Dr. David Levy, who together with a team of 12 scientists, spent the last two years developing a generative voice-based conversational agent. It's product is an artificial persona capable of human level open domain conversations, with a natural tone of voice, long-term memory, advanced cognition, and emotions. This groundbreaking, conversational technology passed the Turing Test in October 2019, an artificial intelligence test to determine whether computers can “think” as humans would.2
Kami’s expert team of machine learning scientists and engineers will be joining the Embodied team to integrate their technology into Embodied’s proprietary SocialX™ platform. SocialX™ is the platform developed by Embodied’s in-house team to enable children to engage with Moxie through natural interaction (i.e., facial expressions, conversation, body language, etc.), evoking trust, empathy and motivation as well as deeper engagement to promote developmental skills. Incorporating Kami’s technology will strengthen Moxie's conversational AI capabilities to include memory of past conversations context, consistent personality, common sense reasoning and common knowledge.
“We’re thrilled to join Paolo and the Embodied team as they embark on the exciting journey to change the future of robotics through lifelike, believable human-machine interaction. Our conversational technology will have an outstanding impact on interaction with Moxie as well as the development of future projects,” said Guy de Beer, Founder and CEO of Kami Computing.
This technology will support personalization and individualization of Moxie's conversational experience and drive long-term engagement for children. The acquisition accelerates and further extends Embodied's competitive advantage in revolutionizing human-robot interaction and conversational AI globally.
We’re excited to share this news and take you along our journey!
1 Levy, Steven, “Amazon’s AI Guru Is So Totally Over the Turing Test”, WIRED, 30 April 2021, https://www.wired.com/story/plaintext-amazon-ai-guru-over-the-turing-test/. Accessed 5 May, 2021
2 Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. "Turing test". Encyclopedia Britannica, 7 May 2020, https://www.britannica.com/technology/Turing-test. Accessed 5 May 2021