MassTLC member, Vyasa Analytics, a deep learning startup in Newburyport, is the latest venture from serial entrepreneur – and neuroscience Ph.D. – Christopher Bouton. We had the recent pleasure of sitting down with Chris and discussing where he sees data analysis, machine learning, and the nature of work heading.
The Perfect Storm is Here: Enter, Vyasa
Advances in big data analytics, GPU processing power, and new algorithms are coming together at this time to provide a huge opportunity to develop machines that can analyze data in a more natural, human way. Vyasa was founded to take advantage of this confluence of technology breakthroughs and provide deep learning solutions across industries.
After a year of working in stealth mode, Vyasa is using 2018 to build different use cases, starting with spaces they know well, healthcare and life sciences.
Many industries and application areas – whether in healthcare, life sciences, legal services, marketing, fintech, etc. – are facing the same fundamental problem: how to best process large volumes of challenging data so that it can be used in meaningful ways. Most data accumulated by companies is never used, in some cases because it is too difficult to analyze.
By using a “first principles” approach to problems experienced across different verticals – i.e., starting with fundamental, known concepts and figuring out from there what’s possible – Vyasa develops solutions that can be applied across industries. Text analytics, for example, is useful in diverse verticals such as legal services, healthcare, and life sciences. Image recognition has applications in life sciences, healthcare, manufacturing, etc.
Chris believes that freeing humans from the slow, tedious work of analyzing different types of data allows them the opportunity to do higher value work.
But What About the Employment Impact?
This is where Chris makes a distinction between specialized and generalized AI. He believes that in cases where highly trained workers utilize AI to do the data analysis that they formerly spent hours doing, they are freed to use their training in higher value-added areas.
Where AI is used to create a generalized system that operates like a human, there is the risk of broader job loss. Generalized AI also raises the issue of controlling the machine intelligence so that it behaves in an ethical way. People like Elon Musk and the late Stephen Hawking have raised the need for an ethical framework for AI to be created.
Starting and Growing in MA
Vyasa is not the first company that Chris has started in Massachusetts. This isn’t just sentimentality – he believes that the Massachusetts ecosystem is uniquely suited for a company like Vyasa. The blend of cutting edge high tech, healthcare, and life sciences expertise can’t be found in many other, if any, places in the world.
Although Vyasa hasn’t set any specific hiring targets, as Chris prefers to hire based on specific gaps, he knows that he will need employees with skills ranging from cloud systems to data analysis.
Because he also sees both technology and art as creative undertakings, Chris is hoping to add an artist in residence as a way to blend the two.
To learn more about Vyasa, check out the company’s website.