Engineer.ai, an Indian startup claiming to have built an artificial intelligence-assisted app development platform, is not in fact using AI to literally build apps, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal. Instead, the company, which has attracted nearly $30 million in funding from a SoftBank-owned firm and others, is reportedly relying mostly on human engineers, while using hype around AI to attract customers and investment that will last it until it can actually get its automation platform off the ground. The company claims its AI tools are "human-assisted," and that it provides a service that will help a customer make more than 80 percent of a mobile app from scratch in about an hour, according to claims Engineer.ai However, the WSJ reports that Engineer.ai The company was sued earlier this year by its chief business officer, Robert Holdheim, who claims the company is exaggerating its AI abilities to get the funding it needed to actually work on the technology.
Engineer.ai is a human-assisted Artificial Intelligence (AI) that empowers everyone to build and operate software projects. Established in 2013 in San Francisco, the startup has a branch office in Gurgaon. "Four years ago, we started out with a dream to be the connection between every great idea and a fully realised product. The idea is to empower everyone to build their ideas; especially given that only 3 per cent of people are successful in taking an idea to a live product," says Sachin Dev Duggal, Co-founder & Chief Wizard of Engineer.ai, They looked at best practices across industries and landed on the magic Henry Ford did with his assembly line.
Conventional thinking says that one needs to know coding or be an engineer to create an application. "I am an engineer and many like me don't want to do repetitive codes like Facebook login. We have to utilise engineers to do the important things--like the logic and flow of an application and actually thinking through a customer's problem," he explains. When an app needs to be designed, the majority of it is done in the first couple of hours by the AI on his platform. And then, software engineers (from a workforce of 26,000) work on the little parts remaining to complete the app (like how technicians fix a car's chassis, engine and wheels in a car assembly line), thereby leaving the repetitive work to AI and focusing on the creative parts that actually need human attention.
Recently, the WSJ published a blowout exposé on pervasive fraud in the AI startup ecosystem. It got zero attention, because the hype train isn't supposed to get derailed, but we thought the story deserved a redux. I wrote this Letter with Wayfair's senior algorithms guru and Brandt data science lead Clayton Kim. The thrust of Newley Purnell and Parmy Olson's article was that tech startups, like story topic engineer.AI, frequently overstate the advancement, comprehensiveness, or business necessity of their AI. Founders stretching the truth on their technical accomplishments is nothing new.
By 2020, 85% of all customer service interactions will be handled without a human agent. From enterprise apps that make it easier to track real-time insights and manage customer relationships, to emerging tools that allow clearer communication between teams and a streamlined exchange of data -- one of the most important decisions startup founders face today is selecting the right software. As a result, the average small business is accustomed to integrating a wide range of cloud-based apps to address a complex array of business needs. In 2016, small businesses spent over $55 billion on these cloud-based services, with the average professional using between 10-16 apps daily. By 2020, nearly 80% of small businesses are projected to use cloud-based services, increasing the current total by 37%.