Wluper, a 2016-founded London-based tech startup has raised $1.3 million in seed funding led by IQ Capital. Seedcamp, Aster, Ian Hamilton of Tessian, and Magic Pony co-founder Dr. Zehan Wang were the other participants.
Wluper’s “conversational AI” project is initially targeting navigation products. The “goal-driven dialogue” technology – as it describes – is designed to have more natural conversations. Alexa, Siri, or Google Assistant only understands commands, not conversations, Wluper says. “The problem is people can't express complex ideas with commands, hence, a dialog is needed to communicate effectively.”
A “general” conversation AI is far ahead of practicality and reality. What is needed in the interim are, as Bahraynian says, “Intelligent agents” that are created for a specific purpose, now. “This is exactly what we do,” he says. “We build domain-expert conversational intelligence, which does one thing, understanding everything transport-related, but that one thing perfectly”. As Wluper believes, voice assistants work better if the AI that powers them is trained to become an expert in a narrower and specialist domain.
With Wluper’s approach, the AI systems will be able to understand more complex questions and in a more natural way, the startup claims. This includes multi-intent queries and follow-up questions to enable a “true” conversation, says Bahraynian.
But in order to provide more meaningful results, a machine’s “knowledge acquisition” capabilities must be tweaked so that it extracts and provides relevant and useful information from the right places. Wluper is working on this problem, he said, “to optimize a machine’s knowledge acquisition and finding the right balance between structured and unstructured data.”