David Karandish is the founder and CEO of Jane.ai, an artificial intelligence platform that customers can chat with to access information. In his segment, David explains the possibility of using bots to help owners in their businesses. He also shares the best way to make bots learn and adapt to change.
Topic – Inman Connect highlights
Mentor – David Karandish
Kevin: Of course, the big talk at Inman was all about artificial intelligence and we met a number of people who are pioneering in that field. Kieran Clair caught up with David Karandish to talk about Jane.
Kieran: Well artificial intelligence, or AI, is a catchphrase we’re hearing a lot about here at Inman in New York. Pretty exciting things happening in that space, and so we’ve got a guest here today, David Karandish, the CEO and founder of Jane.ai. Very smart man who’s going to teach us a little bit about this space. Thanks for joining us.
David: Thanks for having me.
Kieran: Now, very impressively, we were chatting earlier. At age 35, you’ve had eight companies in the tech space. I mean, you must’ve learned a bit about how that area’s progressed. What are some of the big things that we’ve seen over the last few years?
David: Yeah, I think one of the big trends we see is an increase in focus on both customer experience, as well as employee experience, and you see that playing out here at Inman.
Kieran: Yeah, absolutely. So look, Jane.ai, sounds pretty exciting. Tell us who is Jane, tell is a little bit about her.
David: So Jane stands for the Joy of Accessing Nearly Everything, and the idea’s that she can connect to all of your company intelligence, your apps, your documents and the knowledge of your team. You could think of her as an AI platform to help you go do your best work. Almost like Siri or Alexa, but applied for the workplace.
Kieran: Yeah. When you talk about artificial intelligence in 2019, how flexible is it? How does it learn?
David: Every time you ask Jane a question, her neural networks are learning all the nuances of what you’ve said, to see if she should match to something that she knows what to do with, or if she should clarify and ask you to select A, B or C and help her nudge that toward the right answer. Or if she truly doesn’t know the answer, she can go bring someone in from the outside, what we call a co-pilot, someone from your team who can teach her the answer and then make that part of her knowledge base going forward.
Kieran: Is it a complex … I mean, I assume, it’s fairly complex thing that’s quite groundbreaking to have a machine that learns. Is this a difficult area for people to really grasp how it works?
David: Yeah, she’s really easy to use and a lot of hard work goes into actually making it work.
Kieran: Okay, terrific. Your customers in this case are really business owners and their staff. AI is something new to people who are outside the tech industry. How has the take up been and the acceptance of it?
David: Yeah, people are loving the idea of helping to free you up from having to do mundane tasks like looking through documents or searching through apps or trying to figure out who in the company knows this or that, so the take rate’s been really good. Even in the last six months, I’ve seen a big shift where companies are moving from being at the bleeding edge to now saying, “We need to get an AI in here yesterday”.
Kieran: Yeah, right. Is there resistance so far at the moment and is there a process that some of these companies have to go through to change a mindset? That one of their team members now never sleeps, never eats and is always on call.
David: Yeah, I think about back in the 80s, people said, “What do we need a computer for?”, or back in the 90s, “DOS is just fine. What we need Windows for?”, or, “Man, my flip phone is doing great. What do I need an iPhone for?”. I think, similarly, you’ll always have some Luddites who push back on the technology, but at the end of the day, the benefits vastly outweigh the costs. And the idea is that if we can help you go do the more creative aspects of your work, that’s something most people are going adopt overtime.
Kieran: Yeah, of course. Do you think that sort of acceptance of this kind of technology is a generational change? Or do you find that even some of your customers who are a bit older, used to having living, breathing personal assistant, are quite adequately taking up this kind of [inaudible]?
David: I think younger generations are used to communicating via text a little more often, but no, we see people in their 60s use Jane just as much as people in their 20s.
Kieran: Terrific. And Jane, obviously, is something that’s a wave of the future. I can imagine, it’s stepping beyond the actual retail offering that you’re talking about, placed into people’s personal lives. I suppose we’ve got Siri and all those at the moment. What do you see as kind of the next big steps for AI in this [crosstalk].
David: Yeah. So the way we think about is … all your company intelligence comes down to three aspects. It’s scattered across your apps, it’s buried in your documents and it’s uncaptured in the minds in your team. So when it comes to your apps, we’re integrating with all the major app platforms that you can imagine. So Jane can both retrieve information, but also start to take actions on your behalf: schedule something with you, create a help desk ticket. Within documents, it used to be a real manual process to go take a document and generate questions and answers out of it. Today, Jane can start to pull those out in automatic fashion. And then finally, we’ve got our knowledge base, where we can start to learn not only the major aspects of the organisation, but we can also learn who knows what, who should I talk with when I have a question on this or that? That’s what we kind of think about it.
Kieran: Yeah, it’s a pretty cool sort of process. One of the big things that we find talking about in the tech space now is the idea of security. How do you factor those sorts of things in where not everyone needs to access everything in your company?
David: Yeah, great question. What we use with Jane is this concept called cascading permissions, where Jane only has access to the information that the user has in the original system. So if you’ve got a document called ‘Take over the Australian Media World’, which you might actually have …
Kieran: I do, it’s on my iPhone.
David: It’s real, it’s a real document. If you’ve never shared that with me on Box or on Microsoft OneDrive, if I go and I say, “Search my files for the ‘Australian Take over the World’ document”, Jane literally won’t even know that that exists, because she is logging in as me. It can only see what I have access to.
Kieran: All right.
David: So we let the originally systems cascade your permissions down to Jane, so everything’s kept safe and secure.
Kieran: Fantastic. Dave, we get the impression that you’re a young bloke who’s going to go onto company number nine. What’s the step beyond AI for you?
David: You know, I think there’s so much runway here. We’re just getting started. We’re two years old. I’ve got about 59 people in the company, and just loving what we’re doing. I’ve been a part of a lot of great companies in my 35 years on this earth, but I’ve loved this one the most, because every day, I’m learning something. We’re building a product that learns, so that’s kind of fun. And then, it’s just been fascinating, the intersection of both, that these really hard technical challenges, these human interface design areas to explore.
Kieran: It’s a pretty thrilling area to be in. I’m glad there’s people like you at the front of it and not me.
David: Thank you.
Kevin: That was just one of the 60 interviews we did when we were at Inman Connect at New York. Now you can see those, we recorded them in video. And you can see them all right now at propertytv.io. Check it out for yourself. We’ve compiled them into shows and we’ll also be featuring them individually. That website, again, is propertytv.io.