‘Extensions of our mind’: Personalized artificial intelligence is on the way, courtesy of local company

Personal.ai creates individual models for artificial intelligence.
(Personal.ai)
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A local company is taking the next steps toward creating individualized artificial intelligence with a digital vault of one’s mind.

Personal.ai, headquartered just south of La Jolla Village Drive just east of Interstate 5, recently announced that it has raised $7.8 million since 2020. With it, Personal.ai developed an app that is set for release in coming months that it says will be able to create a personalized model onto which users can upload correspondence, articles, podcasts, stories or any other information they want to retain.

Thus, while the human brain keeps only a percentage of the information it takes in, the AI model will be able to retain everything for quick access, according to the company, headed by founder and Chief Executive Suman Kanuganti, who graduated from the UC San Diego Rady School of Management in 2014.

“It’s kind of like a little assistant on your shoulder, and when you’re struggling to remember something, it whispers in your ear,” said Personal.ai head of finance Jonathan Bikoff. “The model gets larger and larger as you feed it data, and it’s your assistant — no one else gets to use it. And unlike me, my model will never forget. So if I ever want to retrieve that data, instead of scattering through my internet history, emails or text messages to find whatever it was, I just ask my model.”

Though the idea may sound like something out of science fiction, “sci-fi is typically one of the biggest drivers of technological development,” Bikoff said. “It enables us to think into this future and try to develop very futuristic technologies.”

“This whole AI evolution happening right now is what I would imagine it felt like when people sent the first emails [thinking] ‘I can communicate with someone across the world instantly without sending them a postcard or mail,’” he added.

Personal.ai’s model can receive information from across multiple platforms such as text messages, emails or chat apps, and rather than rely on keywords to locate the information, the model can learn the user’s way of describing the information that is needed and locate it that way.

“It will remember everything — it will contextualize it, understand it and help you recall it,” Bikoff said.

An example of the Personal.ai application that uses one's personal information and saved data in a searchable format.
An example of the in-development Personal.ai application that uses one’s personal information and saved data in a searchable format.
(Personal.ai)

Further, the model learns the user’s way of communicating and can generate responses or content based on the person’s style.

“We wanted to take what makes us human … and create digital extensions of our mind using language models and generative AI so we can access memories that we may have forgotten,” Bikoff said. “We can connect the dots in ways that may be hard to do naturally.”

“The model gets larger and larger as you feed it data, and it’s your assistant — no one else gets to use it. And unlike me, my model will never forget.”

— Jonathan Bikoff, Personal.ai head of finance

Unlike larger forms of AI language models, Personal.ai only takes on the information of its user and locks it away so only the user can access it.

“The information is stored in a very secure vault,” Bikoff said. “Just like if you were to write in a journal and stored it in a physical vault. ... You have the key. There’s dual authentication only you can access. ... It’s like each thing is siloed. My model is unique to me and yours is unique to you. You own yours, I own mine.”

The intent is to have the AI be individualized to meet the needs of its user, Bikoff said.

“You could talk to your own model; you could ask questions that maybe you had forgotten,” he said. “The potential in the beauty of a personal language model is that this is built on your knowledge. The use case is really dictated by the individual.”

Some might be apprehensive about the implications of artificial intelligence, including the fear of displacement of a job or displacement of one’s humanity in favor of AI.

“Those are real fears I think people are feeling today,” Bikoff said. “But with a personal language model, displacement isn’t really one thing that pops into my mind because I see it as much more of like an extension of my mind.”

Learn more at personal.ai. ◆


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