The AI Eye: Artificial Intelligence Innovation Alive and Well in Costa Rica - Stocks discussed: (OTC PINK: GTCH) (Nasdaq: INTC) (NYSE: G) (NYSE: WMT) (Nasdaq: NVDA) (Nasdaq: MSFT)
Point Roberts, WA and Vancouver, BC - October 8, 2019 (Investorideas.com Newswire) Investorideas.com (www.investorideas.com), a global investor news source covering Artificial Intelligence (AI) brings you today's special edition of The AI Eye, looking at AI deployment and development in Costa Rica.
Picking up steam in 1997 with Intel Corporation's (NasdaqGS:INTC) opening of a microchip factory and an $800 million USD investment, Costa Rica has since blossomed into a key tech hub in Latin America, according to an article from Nearshore Americas. But leaving the landmark Intel investment aside (the factory is now closed), the country is fostering growth through government spending in the space, high public funds devoted to education and tax-friendly technology parks that attract investors and talent from around the globe. An excerpt from the Nearshore Americas article provides a snapshot of the tech space in Costa Rica:
With a population of five million inhabitants and 51,000 square kilometers, the number of companies in the country has reached over 546 IT companies, 3,447 manufacturing (including medical components), and performed 12,281 various commercial activities by 2018. This activity generated over 300,000 jobs, according to the National Institute of Statistics and Census.
One of the major fields in the current technological revolution is artificial intelligence (AI), of which a high amount of development is occurring in Costa Rica. Intel is currently responsible for 60 percent of the country's research and development exports, and according to a document published earlier this year, AI-equipped drones "have been deployed by Intel in Costa Rica to construct models of the forest terrain and calculate the amount of carbon being stored based on tree height, health, biomass, and other factors". These drones are used to capture data which can be applied to solving environmental challenges.
GBT Technologies Inc., (OTC PINK:GTCH) a development-stage company developing Internet of Things (IoT) and AI-enabled mobile technology platforms, is testing its Avant! AI Virtual Agent through GBT Technologies, S.A., a private Costa Rica-based company. In an interview with Investorideas.com in August of this year, GBT's CTO, Dr. Danny Rittman explained how the company's relationship with its Costa Rican counterpart was fruitful and why the firm looks forward to further work in the country.
"The collaboration with GBT Technologies benefits us by working with a team of experts in the software and hardware domains. Investing in Costa Rica R&D capabilities will enable the research and development of our sophisticated milestones to be faster and of higher quality. We are looking forward to developments in Costa Rica in our future domains, including autonomous machines, EDA, IoT, wireless mesh networking and mobile technologies."
Recently, Rittman addressed the AI space more broadly, charting its progress from fiction to reality, and outlining GBT's scope in AI development:
"Today's AI technology is transforming how humans and machines work together. That's why GBT is investing in the development of the next generation of intelligent technologies. Because AI has moved from science fiction to our daily lives, we are focused on meeting today's technological challenges, and preparing for a better future. Our AI solutions target a wide variety of domains that will impact our future, among them medicine, intelligent imaging, communication, autonomous machines and robotics.
Our AI capabilities are rapidly evolve towards application's implementation, creating new horizons in the communication and medicine fields. In the upcoming year we intend to introduce a new dimension in our daily lives, which is based on our intelligent technology. Our expert agent will be able to advice humans about significant topics like medicine and business, enabling new era of humans and machines collaboration together towards a better future."
Genpact Limited (NYSE:G) announced plans in August to open a new finance and accounting (F&A) delivery center in Heredia, Costa Rica as part of its expanding partnership with Walmart (NYSE:WMT). As per the partnership, Genpact accelerates Walmart's digital transformation through the former's Cora platform, which "deliver[s] strategic business value to help companies easily implement AI", according to Genpact Chief Digital Officer, Sanjay Srivastava. The news prompted Jorge Sequeira, Managing Director, CINDE, the economic development agency in Costa Rica, to comment:
"We would like to welcome Genpact to Costa Rica. The company's expertise in advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, predictive analytics, and robotics process automation nurtures and enhances Costa Rica's vision in the knowledge economy, and expands our technological capabilities to serve the world. We are confident that Costa Rica's talent, our quick learning skills, and adaptability will contribute to the success of Genpact as a leader in digital transformation to best serve its global clients."
GPU-accelerated deep learning - pioneered by NVIDIA Corporation (NasdaqGS:NVDA), who invented the GPU (graphic processing unit) in 1999 - is being leveraged in plant identification and organism classification by the Costa Rica Institute of Technology (ITRC). Specifically, the Costa Rican team "trained a convolutional neural network on about 260,000 images using two NVIDIA GeForce GPUs, the Caffe deep learning framework and cuDNN", according to a NVIDIA blog post. Jose Mario Carranza-Rojas, a Ph.D. candidate on the ITCR team, spoke to the indispensability of NVIDIA's solutions:
"Without this technology, it would've been impossible to run the network with such a big dataset. On common CPUs, it would take forever to train and our experiments would have never finished."
Tech giant Microsoft (NasdaqGS:MSFT) has committed to supporting Costa Rica's digital transformation through Cloud and AI technology, according to The Costa Rican Times. Microsoft Latin America President, César Cernuda, who led a delegation of Microsoft executives visiting Costa Rican President Carlos Alvarado, said:
"We have been present in Costa Rica for 24 years, we provide direct employment for more than 600 people, and we are convinced that technologies such as the Cloud and Artificial Intelligence (AI) can be a powerful force capable of creating more opportunities in the region and in Costa Rica, where the IT market is predicted to continue growing and there is an advanced innovation ecosystem."
This was expanded upon by Ineke Geesink, General Manager of Microsoft Costa Rica:
"Microsoft's mission is to help people and businesses achieve more. The Cloud, Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things have the potential to amplify human potential, transforming production processes, business models, jobs and experience as human beings. This opens up many opportunities for the development of our country. Once again, we make ourselves available to the government to accompany them on the path of digital transformation."
In a comment to Investorideas.com, GBT Technologies Costa Rica CEO, Salomon Ocon recapitulated the thrust of Costa Rica's burgeoning AI space and foreshadowed some of the company's future endeavors in the space in tandem with other emerging tech;
"It is no secret that artificial intelligence looks to be the major technological milestone of our generation. Years from now, the concept of a machine developing its almost human-like intelligence will be as familiar as logging in to any social media platform.
Today, GBT Technologies Costa Rica is working towards developing technology that'll enable AI and machine learning to intertwine with our daily lives, we believe that blockchain technology and AI will bring enormous benefits to our day to day transact-ability, from buying products, services or assets to safely storing methods of payment in a digital, encrypted and highly secured form.
We will be unveiling within the next few months how this technology will work and what it will look like, but we're eager to share this much with you so far."
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