If chatbots are slated to help people, how do they know what to ask or how to respond? And where does all that data come from?
One startup called Mighty AI — which just changed its name this month from Spare5 — gathers that data from humans, namely subject matter experts who are willing to answer questions about a certain topic. And get paid for it.
“There’s an arms race in training data” for AI, according to Mighty AI Chief Executive Officer Matt Bencke.
Mighty AI is based in Seattle and will seek out those experts in order to gather and cull the appropriate data for AI and bot technology. Some examples of companies it’s worked with and the subject matter in focus include IBM and golf, Getty Images and photos, as well as health care companies needing information important to radiologists and technicians.
Recently, the company, led by Patrick O’Donnell, Matt Shobe, Daryn Nakhuda and Bencke, went through a $14 million funding round in which Intel Capital, Google Ventures and Accenture Ventures all played a part.
The company was birthed in 2014 out of Seattle-based VC Madrona Venture’s labs, a rival of Amazon’s Mechanical Turk program. Perhaps serendipitously, Getty Images needed help with categorizing all of its photos with the help of people who can train AI algorithms. It paired up with Spare5 and moved forward from there, with IBM coming aboard for a chatbot for spectators at the 2016 Masters golf tournament.
“What we like about Mighty AI is that, for a lot of our customers, the first step is annotating data — they need that before they can build on top of our chips and software for AI,” Ken Elefant, Intel Capital managing director for software and security, told Bloomberg. “With Mighty AI, all of this annotation will happen at a much faster rate, which will help Intel customers deploy much more quickly.”
While sometimes a company can do the work itself, it depends on the tasks and the amount of information needed to run the bots smoothly. According to Mighty AI, the company has more than 100,000 specialists in 155 countries. Those specialists are rated, paid accordingly and offered additional jobs based on those ratings.