Meet your new chief of staff: An AI chatbot

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Navigator, the new project from the creators of Mailbox, launches with $12M

Years ago, a mobile app for email launched to immediate fanfare. Simply called Mailbox, its life was woefully cut short — we’ll get to that. Today, its founders are back with their second act: An AI-enabled assistant called Navigator meant to help teams work and communicate more efficiently.

With the support of $12 million in Series A funding from CRV, #Angels, Designer Fund, SV Angel, Dropbox’s Drew Houston and other angel investors, Aspen, the San Francisco and Seattle-based startup behind Navigator, has quietly been beta testing its tool within 50 organizations across the U.S.

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AI transforming the world

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The world is fast evolving, with Artificial intelligence (AI) at the forefront in changing the world and the way we live. This article is Part 1 of a 2 part series.

An important question: What is AI? For many people, it remains unclear what this technology is all about, so this is a good place to start the conversation. AI is a branch in computer science that deals with the intelligent behavior of machines. It is an ingeniously simulated ability of a machine to imitate human behavior and our conventional response patterns. This is made possible with specific algorithms that make the AI function in a specified scope of activities (according to what the algorithm codes for). This means that with AI, many of our everyday activities can now be carried out effectively by programmed machine technology.

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Can emotional AI make Anki’s new robot into a lovable companion?

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Known for its hyperactive toys, the company spent years developing technologies to tackle its greatest challenge yet–subtlety.

If there’s a robot uprising anytime soon, it seems unlikely to start in our living rooms. Robotic vacuums like Roomba sell well because they are so handy. But other types of home robots–pets and companions from Sony’s Aibo robo-pooch to the recently shuttered Kuri (backed by Bosch)–have flopped due to both prices and expectations that have been set unreasonably high.

If any company can eventually bring us a domestic robot like Rosie from The Jetsons, Anki is a good bet. Started by three Carnegie Mellon Robotics Institute graduates in 2010, the company has racked up over $200 million in venture funding. More important, it’s attracted customers. Anki has already sold 1.5 million robots by taking what it sees as the easiest route into the home: toys. The star is a manic little bulldozer-looking bot called Cozmo that drives around a tabletop and plays simple games with light-up cubes it carries about. Cozmo was the best-selling toy (by revenue) on Amazon in the U.S., U.K., and France in 2017, according to one analysis.

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Should your life be automated so you can work harder?

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Would you delegate all of your decisions to someone else?

Would you pay someone in the Philippines to answer your email for you — even your personal messages? Or hire strangers on the internet to plan your spouse’s big birthday party? Or throw meat, vegetables, and butter into a blender and call it dinner?

 

 

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