Cyber Talk Radio: Using Artificial Intelligence to Find New Prospects
Bret Piatt, CTR Host, and Sridhar Kamma, FunnelAI CEO - Episode 119 of Cyber Talk Radio
This past Saturday, January 5, episode 119 of Cyber Talk Radio hit the air on 1200 WOAI and iHeartRadio streaming. I was joined by Sridhar “Sri” Kamma, FunnelAI CEO, to discuss how artificial intelligence (AI) is changing what's going on out there on the Internet and how the information gathered can be used for productive use such as helping businesses find new prospects.
What is Sri’s background and how did he get into AI? Sri started in automation, mechanical engineering, robotics, software engineering and did AI in his master’s program. He started digging into AI about four years ago when he had issues finding qualified prospects for his startup. He found that a lot of prospects are talking about what they are looking to purchase on social media and public forums. Sri has a passion for automation either with machine learning or AI with software. Funnel AI is using natural language processing. Sri's team trains for up to almost 80 percent accuracy and then has it learn more over time for better accuracy. Funnel AI has developed an algorithm to mine public data on social media and forums to find people asking for recommendations and opinions on things they are planning to purchase like a car or home. Their training model is feeding public data sets versus storing private data to develop an output. Think about it as AI-as-a-Service, finding intents using their own machine learning and deep learning technologies. What is the difference between machine learning and deep learning? Microsoft’s Tay, AI chatbot, is an example of a machine learning tool that went wrong and was trained poorly. It is important to understand the outcome and intent to properly train your AI and machine learning system. This brings up the question, what’s the ethics around using an automated AI tool for responses in public forums? Some industries that FunnelAI have seen some success for driving new customers through their AI tool is auto dealers, real estate and even IT/cybersecurity a bit.
What’s the process like for new customers ramping up with Funnel AI? Sri talks through a customer example they are working with, which is a West Texas Ford car dealer. He talks through how they approached finding people with intent in their specific geo-location. For something specific like a truck, how did they go about training the AI system to find truck-specific buyers? There are a few ways to train the AI model to better categorize. As you start training the algorithm, it starts learning vocabulary, keywords, intents, features, etc. Moving into background on the business development of FunnelAI, Sri moved the startup from Austin to San Antonio to be a part of RealCo and are also now a part of Active Capital. They also raised a small seed round of funding earlier this year so overall they have been pleasantly surprised by the venture capital scene in San Antonio. On the hiring and talent pipeline front, one challenge has been attracting people to San Antonio from other cities. This has led to FunnelAI building partnerships with local universities and education programs like the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) and Codeup. Through these partnerships, Sri and his team hope to help build the talent within the city. Businesses need to put the effort in to recruit and build talent if they are looking for specialized roles. Funnel AI is also hosting AI meetups to bring the talent pool together and get the community familair with how businesses are using AI. If you are wanting to learn more about the AI/tech industry, go to their Meetup page to find more details on the upcoming meetup dates and topics. An example focus area for the AI industry in general that Sri shared is healthcare, specifically around cancer research and other ways AI can help the medical field. Be sure to check out the meetup page to get involved and learn more about the job openings at FunnelAI. They are currently hiring for sales, data analysts, software engineers and more!
Upcoming episode – Saturday nights from 11:00 p.m. to Midnight -
- Episode 120, Saturday, January 12: New cybersecurity-focused high school, Cyber P-Tech High School, in San Antonio
Listen to a replay of this episode or past episodes on a Cyber Talk Radio Podcast stream. Replays are available via the below podcast services:
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