Data Science Investment Counter —Funding raised by UK data science companies in 2018.
£ 5.640 Million

Mark Cuban pours $1m into AI startup protecting Syrian civilians

Billionaire Mark Cuban has poured $1 million into artificial intelligence (AI) startup Hala Systems, a company helping to save lives in war-torn regions including Aleppo.

The new investment will allow the startup to improve their “early warning system” that alerts Syrian civilians when an airstrike has been launched as well as making plans to expand into different regions and build new products “for new use cases and markets.”

Cuban, who is known for refusing the majority of investments in the entrepreneurial-themed reality show Shark Tank, made the announcement on Twitter on Monday.

Hala Systems uses a  combination of AI technology, Internet of Things, and “remote sensing” to track, detect, and identify danger. According to the company, the system, which is called Sentry Syria, has already “saved hundreds of lives and prevented thousands of injuries.”

Syrians subscribe to the Sentry service via their mobile phones. In addition to sending the warning message, the company also trains the locals on how long they have to hide after receiving the warning.

The system would be effective because Syrians living under the constant threat of bombs are given a heads up of between seven and 10-minutes, which, according to Hala Systems, is enough time to lower the death rate by between 20% and 30%. 

Cuban, who is rumoured to be exploring a possible 2020 presidential bid, said that “Sentry is a great example of using AI for good in one of the toughest places on Earth.

“Technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship are powerful foreign policy tools, and they should be used more to promote stabilisation along fragile geopolitical fault lines — to move upstream in tackling problems like migration, terrorism, and genocide”, he added.

The company has recently started operating in Yemen and in addition to saving lives, their technology also provides asset protection. Hala Systems was founded by Wharton MBA Dave Levin and former US diplomat John Jaeger.

Image via Wikipedia and PXhere.


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