AI & Your Career

Esther Wang

June 6th, 2018

 

 

According to a research report by Grand View Research, the global neuroscience market was valued at $28.42 billion in 2016 with a 3.1% compound annual growth rate. Brain mapping research, government-initiated projects and technological applications are some of the biggest drivers in the industry. Yet, besides the traditional healthcare and research related items, unconventional applications of neuroscience, especially within technology, have begun to attract more attention. This new branch of neuroscience seeks to enter our lives with the mission of empowering human beings and unlocking our potential. From Elon Musk’s ambitious new venture Neuralink to the controversial venture by Y Combinator for “100% fatal” brain preservation known as Nectome, neuroscience has become one of the most innovative fields in the world. This process has been accelerated by the fast-paced growth of other technologies, including artificial intelligence and computer science. It is due to the interdisciplinary nature of these fields that a myriad of investing opportunities have arisen. In this article, I would like to direct your attention to a few of the revolutionary and successful applications of neuroscience.

CODE

One of the most immediately recognizable applications of neuroscience-based technology is Pymetrics. The company, founded by two accomplished female entrepreneurial scientists, has continued to push boundaries in job placement technology. Despite concerns that AI is going to be a “job killer,” at the present moment hiring inefficiencies remain a more common and pressing issue. Through playing a series of interactive games, Pymetrics can identify individual’s traits, ranging from emotion detection to memory, and match those traits to potential career paths. The aim is to recruit solely on ability and traits while eliminating implicit discrimination in traditional recruiting.

To construct an effective matching system requires a series of base tests. These involve a company in a certain industry allowing their top-performing employees to play the games, assessing items such as willingness to take risks, fairness, and emotion detection, and identify those traits from the potential candidates. Since the games are very accessible as mobile applications and are scored by AI, no prejudice towards an individual’s background, gender and race is taken into account and used against qualified candidates. Using this process, Pymetrics has already partnered with industry leaders, including Accenture and BCG, which are incorporating the application into their recruiting process. What is more, given the almost 23 million college student population in the U.S. and massive job-seeking population across the world, Pymetrics has real potential in guiding individuals to find careers that both interest them and best match with their skillset.

PUZZLE

As a college student contemplating my future career path, Pymetrics has opened up a whole new world of possibilities and investment opportunities. Pymetrics’ $8 million round was led by JAZZ Venture Partners, a venture capital fund that focuses on the intersection of digital technology and neuroscience to unlock human potential. In addition to Pymetrics, JAZZ Venture’s portfolio companies show a wide range of applications in neuroscience. For instance, Akili designs scientifically-validated video games to help people with varying needs including ADHD or memory decline to improve mental capacities and cognitive performance. On the more dynamic side, Halo Neuroscience’s wearable platform and headsets allow users to maximize their motor and cognitive capacity through enhancing their motor cortex’s plasticity.

These platforms demonstrate a variety of neuroscientific applications in the technological space. However, there are clear links to many other fields including healthcare and medicine. Aira, another JAZZ Venture portfolio company, aims to utilize video-equipped glasses to help over 285 million blind and vision-impaired individuals interact with AI-backed human agents, access key information about their environment and live more independent lives.

A textbook view of neuroscience defines the field as  a branch of life science that deals with nerves and nervous tissues especially with their relation to learning and behavior. However, the application of this knowledge might also serve as a window and a tool for us to better understand ourselves and make the world a better place.