Felix Laumann, CEO at NeuralSpace: “Our goal is to become a world leader in language AI in Asia and Africa”
UK-based NeuralSpace debuted in 2021 with a powerful language AI model that can translate text and speech into over 100 languages and regional dialects with an emphasis on Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. Translation accuracy, linguistic variety, and data privacy are the hallmarks of its platform.
Felix Laumann is the CEO of this startup based in King’s Cross, London. To date, the company has raised more than $3 million with the backing of GoHub Ventures.
Question: What would NeuralSpace’s pitch be like today if you were on stage at the most important event on the planet?
Answer: I honestly believe that nothing would change in my speech compared to the ones I gave at the outset. In the last couple of months, AI applied to language has attracted a lot of public and media attention, especially owing to LLMs (large language models such as OpenAI’s with ChatGPT). However, the number of sensitive tasks that call for in-depth understanding of language whether spoken or written is still huge, ranging from scrutinizing competitors based on their online presence to putting together a compelling marketing kit or disentangling a call between a customer and an agent in an attempt to optimize that communication.
Many of these tasks can be automated in part or in whole with the help of AI. Plus, much of the technological race in this field is anchored in using only English and other European languages, whereas NeuralSpace seeks to deliver highly accurate solutions for languages and regional dialects spoken in other parts of the world.
Q: What makes NeuralSpace different in a market with so many rivals?
A: Most AI tools work with European languages even though 90% of the world’s population speaks another native language. Our company was set up to redress this imbalance. We have developed the most robust and customizable technology regardless of the industry or use case to automatically translate from speech to text and to enhance the effectiveness of virtual assistants (chatbots, voicebots).
In addition to helping developers to craft their own software using NeuralSpace’s APIs, we also offer enterprise solutions in which we personalize our products. When it comes to complex enterprise solutions, we strive to fully understand the customer’s business problem before suggesting any solutions. For example, as explained in GoHub Ventures’ Tech Unpacked inaugural edition, oil giant Aramco uses our DocAI solution to analyze complex documents and extract qualitative content, a process previously done 100% manually.
Q: Let’s talk about NeuralSpace’s next milestones and where you see the company five years from now when the AI revolution will have fully spread its wings.
A: Our goal is to become the world’s leading provider of language AI in African and Asian languages and dialects. The potential fields of use of our technology are vast. In the short term, we are expanding the capabilities of our AI-driven enterprise solutions and a good example of this is our speech recognition tool, VoiceAI. We are also delivering a world-class development experience, enabling more professionals and organizations to harness the transformative power of language AI in their software applications.
Our long-term commitment is straightforward: to help all kinds of companies in Asia, the Middle East, and Africa to ramp up their productivity, efficiency, and cost savings, thereby putting them in a prime position to significantly enhance their performance.
Q: Let’s talk about the AI boom. Will there be room for everyone or will big tech firms verge on oligopoly with hegemonic solutions and/or buying out startups with disruptive proposals?
A: The market is so large that big tech firms and startups will rub shoulders. It is likely that all tools which can tap into the capabilities of artificial intelligence will leverage this technology in the future as companies need to stay competitive. The surge of innovation we have seen over the last 12 months is incredible.
In this scenario, startups have the agility and speed to make the most of technological breakthroughs and adapt to customer needs which often call for bespoke models or product adaptations. The big players can’t offer this level of customization.
Q: Turning to regulation, there are two opposing schools of thought: the more liberal led by people such as Marc Andreessen who advocate letting artificial intelligence develop with hardly any restrictions, and the more moderate players (Geoffrey Hilton, Sam Altman) who are pushing for clear limits.
A: The AI industry needs to evolve responsibly and transparently. Safeguarding security, privacy, and human rights must be a priority. Our team fully grasps this integrity requirement and applies it to every aspect of the process, from data collection and algorithm design to product rollout and customer interaction. In fact, my feeling is that the AI and machine learning community is more than willing to engage in a healthy regulatory discussion and work with society to strike a balance.
Q: Some compare the emergence of generative AI to the invention of the printing press or the automobile. Where is humanity heading as a result of this revolution?
A: There is no question that artificial intelligence will completely change the way businesses operate. More productivity means more growth. Automating tedious tasks also enables the employee to focus on more complex issues and feel more satisfied with their mission. At the same time, the company gets more out of its workforce. New jobs will also come along, including the position of head of AI strategy (a kind of CAI working hand in hand with the CEO). The conversation has shifted significantly over the last year: the question is no longer whether a company should use artificial intelligence. The question is how to leverage it to stand out from the competition.