Erudite AI: Pioneering Education through Artificial Intelligence

Technology has the potential to significantly improve the education system globally. One such company that is transforming the way education is delivered through artificial intelligence (AI) is EruditeAI​.

EruditeAI​ ​delivers​ ​free​ ​private​ ​tutoring​ ​powered​ ​by​ ​peer-to-peer​ ​learning​ ​with AI. The company’s​ ​product​ ​ERI, ​is​ ​a​ ​dedicated​ ​chat​ ​system​ ​for educational​ ​use​ ​that​ ​incorporates​ ​AI​ ​by ​mapping​ ​students’ knowledge and intelligent matching, ​and​ ​generate​s ​feedback​ to​ ​improve​ ​the tutoring​ ​quality​ ​of​ ​peer​-tutors​ ​to​ ​a ​professional level.

The company’s​ ​philosophy​ ​is​ ​to​ ​build​ ​AI​ ​technologies​ ​that​ ​augment​ ​humans​ ​as​ ​opposed​ ​to replacing​ ​them. ​​This​ ​requires​ ​EruditeAI ​to​ ​integrate​ ​AI​ ​technologies​ ​in​ ​a Human-in-the-Loop​ ​context. So, it becomes important to have​ ​the​ ​UX​ ​and​ ​interface​ ​of​ ​the system​ ​to​ ​work​ ​in​ ​harmony​ ​for​ ​the​ ​human​ ​and​ ​AI​ to work ​in​ ​a tight​ ​closed​ ​loop.

The company​ ​also​ ​offer​s ​development​ ​and​ ​consulting​ ​services​ ​to​ ​corporate​ ​customers who​ ​want​ ​to​ ​take​ ​advantage​ ​of​ AI​ ​techniques. EruditeAI​’s​ ​specialty revolves​ ​around​ ​Deep​ ​Learning, ​​Reinforcement​ ​Learning, ​​Natural​ ​Language Processing​ ​and​ ​Generation besides​ ​​other​ ​techniques​ ​that​ ​are in​ ​the​ ​Machine​ ​Learning​ ​domain.

The Force Behind EruditeAI

Patrick​ ​Poirier,​ ​President of EruditeAI​,​ ​was​ ​a​ ​high​ ​school​ ​dropout and ​was​ ​able​ ​to​ ​bounce back through​ ​private​ ​tutoring. He ​earned​ ​four​ ​University​ ​degrees​ ​in​ ​Commerce, Computer​ ​Science, ​​Psychiatry, ​​and​ ​Machine​ ​Learning. ​Patrick ​realized​ ​that although​ ​private​ ​tutoring​ ​is​ ​very​ ​effective, ​it​ ​is​ ​very​ ​expensive, ​​hence​ ​the mission​ ​of​ ​EruditeAI​ ​is​ ​to​ ​provide​ ​tutoring​ ​to​ ​learners​ ​entirely​ ​free​ across​ ​students ​worldwide.

Just​ ​like​ ​all​ ​startups,​ ​EruditeAI​ ​went​ ​through​ ​ups​ ​and​ ​down​ ​along​ ​the​ ​way. With ​incremental​ ​refinements, ​​and ​iterations, the company ​presented their ​work​ ​at​ ​the​ ​United​ ​Nations​ ​twice​ ​in​ ​2017, ​​demonstrating​ ​that​ ​it​ ​is​ ​possible​ ​to combine​ ​commercial​ ​goals​ ​and​ ​social​ ​impact​ ​using​ ​deep​ ​technology. ​​In 2013, EruditeAI​​ ​started ​building​ ​educational​ ​games and ​moved​ ​into​ ​an​ ​intelligent tutoring​ ​system, ​and​ ​​into​ ​a​ ​peer-to-peer​ ​model after two years.

Innovating Around Education

Patrick,​ ​with​ ​his​ ​background​ ​in​ ​Neuroscience,​ ​brings​ ​a​ ​fresh​ ​outlook​ ​on​ ​AI technology​ ​and​ ​Education. ​He​ ​rethought​ ​the​ ​entire workflow​ ​of​ ​private​ ​tutoring​ ​in​ ​order​ ​to​ ​completely​ ​eliminate​ ​cost​ ​to​ ​students using​ ​a​ ​combination​ ​of​ ​not​ ​only​ ​technology, ​​but​ ​human​ ​paradigms​ ​such​ ​as peer-to-peer​ ​tutoring. One​ ​of​ ​Patrick’s​ ​main​ ​contributions​ ​was​ ​to​ ​integrate​ ​a​ ​company​ ​culture​ ​that attracts​ ​high​-quality​ ​AI​ ​expertise. ​

EruditeAI​ ​was​ ​fortunate​ ​enough​ ​to​ ​attract​ ​a​ ​solid​ ​team​ ​of engineers​ ​with​ ​a strong​ ​AI​ ​knowledge. The ​technical​ ​advisors​ ​of the company include ​some​ ​of the​ ​top professional​s ​in​ ​the​ ​world​ ​such​ ​as​ ​Dr.​ ​Doina​ ​Precup,​ ​researcher​ ​at​ ​McGill​ ​University​ ​and head​ ​of​ ​research​ ​of​ ​Google​ ​DeepMind​ ​at​ ​the​ ​Montreal​ ​office.

“All​ ​our​ ​staff​ ​have​ ​the​ ​option​ ​to​ ​collaborate​ ​with​ ​University​ ​researchers​ ​at​ ​McGill University​ ​(MILA),​ ​Polytechnique​ ​University​ ​(IVADO),​ ​and​ ​Concordia​ ​University through​ ​our​ ​existing​ ​partnerships.​ ​This​ ​setup​ ​enables​ ​us​ ​to​ ​give​ ​back​ ​to​ ​the industry​ ​through​ ​published​ ​research​ ​but​ ​also​ ​offers​ ​a​ ​technical​ ​research​ ​challenge that​ ​some​ ​crave” says Patrick.

Awards and Accolades

Most​ ​recently, ​EruditeAI ​won​ ​the​ ​Social​ ​Impact​ ​Startup​ ​Prize​ ​by​ ​CIC​ ​of​ ​the Coopérathon​. ​ ​The company was ​the finalist​ ​of​ ​the​ ​​AIconics​​ ​award​ ​for​ ​best​ ​innovation​ ​in Deep​ ​Learning.

For​ ​most​ ​customers, ​AI​ ​is​ ​still​ ​too​ ​new​ ​and​ ​magical, ​it​ ​requires​ ​a​ ​fair​ ​amount​ ​of education​ ​to​ ​explain​ ​how​ ​such​ ​tools​ ​can​ ​be​ ​integrated​ ​into​ ​their​ ​workflow​ ​to increase​ ​revenues​ ​and​ ​efficiency​ ​or​ ​lower​ ​costs. ​The​ ​trick​ ​is​ ​to​ ​challenge​ ​all assumptions. Big​ ​companies​ ​have​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​of​ ​data​,​ but​ ​it​ ​is​ ​rarely​ ​structured​ ​with​ ​the intention​ ​of​ ​integrating​ ​it with AI.​ ​The​ ​reality ​is​ ​that​ ​for​ ​most​ ​organizations​ ​it​ ​can​ ​be more​ ​advantageous​ ​to​ ​re-assess​ ​their​ ​workflow​ ​and​ ​identify​ ​new​ ​data​ ​that​ ​could be​ ​generated​ ​and​ ​taken​ ​advantage​ ​of​ ​by​ ​AI.​ ​​“When​ ​considering​ ​AI​ ​tools,​ ​it​ ​is​ ​not​ ​enough​ ​to​ ​just​ ​integrate​ it ​into current​ ​existing​ ​practice,​ ​we​ ​need​ ​to​ ​rethink​ ​how​ ​we​ ​can​ ​change​ ​the​ ​workflow​ ​for the​ ​better” said Patrick.

Investment and Collaboration to Upgrade Education

EruditeAI​ ​invests​ ​heavily​ ​into​ ​academic​ ​research​ ​in​ ​the​ ​area​ ​of​ ​Reinforcement Learning​ ​applied​ ​to​ ​Natural​ ​Language​ ​Generation​ ​in​ ​a​ ​context​ ​of Human-in-the-Loop concept. The company​ ​plans to​ ​publish​ ​research​ ​articles​ ​​to​ ​contribute to​ ​the​ ​field​ ​of​ ​AI. ​​For​ ​companies​ ​and​ ​society​ ​at​ ​large,​ ​this​ ​means advancement​ ​in​ ​AI​ ​technologies​ ​built​ ​to​ ​augment​ ​humans​ ​as​ ​opposed​ ​to​ ​replacing them, ​resulting​ ​in​ ​a​ ​stronger​ ​economy​ ​and​ ​prosperity​ ​for​ ​all.

As​ ​mentioned​ ​earlier,​ ​attracting​ ​talent​ ​in​ ​the​ ​AI​ ​industry​ ​is​ ​very​ ​difficult. ​For​ ​companies​ ​in​ ​the​ ​non-tech​ ​industry,​ ​it​ ​can​ ​be​ ​even​ ​more​ ​difficult,​ ​so​ ​collaborating​ ​with​ ​tech​ ​companies and​ ​even​ ​startups​ ​can​ ​be​ ​very​ ​advantageous​ ​to​ ​attract​ ​such​ ​talent​ ​and technological​ ​advancements​ ​indirectly.

Challenges Acknowledge So Far

Commenting on challenges, Patrick said, as​ ​with​ ​any​ ​startup,​ ​we​ ​made​ ​our​ ​fair​ ​share​ ​of​ ​mistakes, ​​in​ ​our​ ​case,​ ​although​ ​we had​ ​serious​ ​accounting​ ​issues​ ​at​ ​some​ ​point,​ ​our​ ​current​ ​problems​ ​are​ ​now​ ​more related​ ​to​ ​the​ ​difficulty​ ​of​ ​obtaining​ ​large​ ​​dataset​ ​to​ ​train​ ​our​ ​AI technology. ​​Not​ ​every​ ​company​ ​benefits​ ​from​ ​having​ ​large​ ​user​ base​ ​such​ ​as Google​ ​and​ ​Facebook. But with​ ​time,​ ​money,​ ​and​ ​an​ ​attractive​ ​product​ ​the​ ​real problem​ ​can​ ​be solved.

Patrick​ ​often​ ​jokes​ ​that​ ​entrepreneurship​ ​is​ ​a​ ​disease​ ​similar​ ​to​ ​gambling addiction.​ ​The​ ​ups​ ​and​ ​down​ ​have​ ​a​ ​strong​ ​effect​ ​on​ ​your​ ​brain​ ​chemistry​ ​leading to​ ​rearrangement​ ​of​ ​your​ ​neural​ ​pathways.​ ​After​ ​a​ ​long​ ​period​ ​of​ ​struggle,​ ​even the​ ​smallest​ ​bit​ ​of​ ​good​ ​news​ ​can​ ​feel​ ​so​ ​much​ ​better.​ ​This​ ​addiction​ ​however,​ ​is critical​ ​to​ ​ensure​ ​​entrepreneurs​ ​have​ ​the​ ​resilience​ ​to​ ​bring​ ​their​ ​innovation to​ ​the​ ​finishing​ ​line.

Going Ahead

Although​ ​EruditeAI​​ ​is​ ​doing​ ​very​ ​well​ ​now​ ​given​ ​the​ ​market​ ​hype​ ​of​ ​AI,​ ​the company​ ​expect there​ ​might​ ​be​ ​a​ ​decrease​ ​of​ ​interest​ ​and​ ​funding​ ​in​ ​the​ ​next​ ​24​ ​months​ ​due​ ​to unrealistic​ ​expectations​ ​of​ ​what​ ​AI​ ​can​ ​deliver. ​However,​ ​they ​are​ ​confident​ ​that some​ ​AI​ ​companies​ ​will​ ​survive​ ​and​ ​thrive​ ​despite​ ​market​ ​conditions, ​​just​ ​like eBay​ ​and​ ​Amazon​ ​succeeded​ ​after​ ​the​ ​dotcom​ ​crash​ ​of​ ​2000.

“We​ ​are​ ​very​ ​fortunate​ ​that​ ​Canada​ ​has​ ​been​ ​and​ ​continues​ ​to​ ​offers​ ​incredible financial​ ​support​ ​for​ ​the​ ​tech​ ​and​ ​specifically​ ​the​ ​AI​ ​industry, and​ ​we​ ​are​ ​looking​ ​forward to​ ​the​ ​next​ ​decade.​ ​We​ ​believe​ ​that​ ​while​ ​there​ ​will​ ​be ​full​ ​automation​ ​for​ ​certain​ ​job​ ​types,​ ​the​ ​vast​ ​majority​ ​will​ ​simply​ ​be​ ​human with​ ​AI​ ​systems​ ​working​ ​together​ ​in​ ​a​ ​more​ ​productive​ ​fashion, ​taking​ ​advantages of​ ​each​ ​other’s​ ​strengths.​ ​As​ ​far​ ​as​ ​our​ ​company​ ​goes,​ ​we​ ​have​ ​a​ ​large​ ​ambition​ ​to become​ ​one​ ​of​ ​the​ ​world​ ​leaders​ ​in​ ​education​ ​through​ ​our​ ​peer-to-peer AI-augmented​ ​tutoring​ ​system.​ ​A​ ​quality​ ​and​ ​accessible​ ​education​ ​for​ ​all​ ​of​ ​the 1.8​ ​billion​ ​students​ ​in​ ​the​ ​world​ ​is​ ​important​ ​to​ ​our​ ​team​ ​as​ ​we​ ​believe​ ​everyone should​ ​have​ ​a​ ​chance​ ​and​ ​the​ ​tools​ ​to​ ​achieve​ ​their​ ​full​ ​potential​ ​in​ ​their​ ​life” Patrick​ said.