New York-based artificial intelligence firm Centiment recently announced that the firm has established a research partnership with the University of Kansas School of Medicine.
The neuroscience study will focus on two areas of the brain — the limbic system and the prefrontal cortex — and will scan the brains of people while they consume content, looking for patterns on how the brain responds to certain words.
Built in partnership with IBM Watson, Centiment’s tech uses thought-driven artificial intelligence and natural language processing to help advertisers understand how human emotion actually works. The tool offers emotional search, deep content search and text recommendations for brands large and small.
Centiment founder Micah Brown said that the study will put Kansas City on the map.
“The study will be monumental and have a major effect on how psychology works,” Brown said. “A similar study has only been done by UC Berkeley, which was on the cover of Nature and Forbes. … The implications are big not only for our artificial technology but for KU Medical Center. The data will allow long term diagnoses to happen quicker and could become the second renaissance of medical realizations.”
The firm is a recent alum of the Sprint Accelerator 2017 program, which culminated in a demo day on June 27.
“I’m really grateful to the Sprint Accelerator for taking a chance on me,” Brown said. “Participating in the corporate accelerator has been huge and the ability to get the exposure that we’ve had, the mentors that we’ve met and the resources have been massive.”
Brown said that he turned down two New York-based incubator opportunities to join the program. With 2017 marking his first time ever in the Midwest, Brown said Kansas City did not let him down.
“The hospitable nature of everybody out here is amazing,” Brown said. “I’ve gained a lot of great friends, I’ve gained great insight into Kansas City and a bigger worldview as well.”
With previous experience working in project management at NBC and MTV, Brown understands the power that mass media has on society.
“It’s something that people don’t really think about because media influences every aspect of life,” Brown said. “I felt an imperative, personal responsibility given the position I was in to pay it forward. So I did that and built Centiment. I decided to actively work to change the balance of power in media.”
Although Brown’s heart is driven by the desire for equal representation in media, his technology is also solving a massive problem in the advertising industry. Over $12 billion per year is wasted on bad advertising, due to skipped or disliked ads, Brown said.
“I absolutely believe people are impressionable,” Brown said. “If I were to get to the point where I could influence media to be fairer, and every billboard, program and Facebook advertisement would be more positive positive, we’d see a big change in society.”
Centiment has raised over $50,000 and is currently looking for potential investors based out of Kansas City. Brown said that ideally, he would like to open an office in the metro so he could continue to work closely with KU Med, as well as the multitude of contacts he’s met due to the Sprint Accelerator.
“I think it’s interesting how in a very short period time I managed to network in a way that would have been harder to do in New York,” Brown said. “I would love to come back and stay absorbed in the community.”