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EVi (An Amazon Company) Tech Talk - Answering any question, in any language, in one second or less

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Evi (formerly True Knowledge) is a Cambridge based business specializing in the automatic answering of questions on any subject. Amazon acquired Evi in October 2012 and the team is now housed in the new Amazon development centre in Castle Park. The Evi smartphone application (iPhone, Android and Fire phone and tablets) can already answer unlimited numbers of open-domain questions asked by customers using voice. This talk will explain the deep technology behind the application, the problems and challenges the team have had and what is needed to scale to a world where everyone has instant access to all available information simply by asking for it.

William Tunstall-Pedoe is the entrepreneur who founded Evi (formerly True Knowledge), a Cambridge-based Artificial Intelligence technology business that makes the Evi product. The vision for the business was a world where people could find out any information they needed just by asking naturally for it – the computer would understand them and give them back exactly what they wanted. Founded in 2006 with the core technology and a patent application, the vision has stayed exactly the same, though the business went through multiple pivots to find success.

The business was initially funded by the founder, followed by seven rounds of equity funding from friends and family through to venture capital. The business achieved a successful exit to Amazon in October 2012 and Amazon now has a major presence in the city with a development centre housing the Evi team and others in Castle Park. William has lived in Cambridge since graduating in Computer Science from Cambridge University. Previous products include a commercial chess-playing program, the first and only program which can solve and explain cryptic crossword clues and the AI anagram-generating software which was used by Dan Brown to create the anagrams that appeared in the Da Vinci Code book and movie.

This talk is part of the Computer Laboratory Tech Talks series.

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