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From deep tech or deep impact, towards a desirable future with isahit!

March 16, 2021

Isabelle Mashola is CEO of isahit, a startup company specialising in socially responsible outsourcing of digital tasks. It provides women from developing countries around the world with a decent living while contributing to the success of its partner companies' AI projects.

Since the 2000s, the digital boom has embraced platforms and the new services they enable. Based on existing technologies, rapidly scalable, and easily understood by investors and users, they have had a powerful societal impact, albeit relatively limited in terms of technological innovation. In this phase of digital history, isahit has played its part.

Techy is the new Sexy

But times are changing, and the stakes (climatic, economic, civilizational, etc.) are becoming more and more pressing and strategic. This is why, in recent years, pure technology, renamed deeptech for the occasion, has been receiving renewed attention. Simply put, deep tech is a small seed of industrial revolution, a paradigm shift, a breakthrough. The result of an often long and complex R&D, "deeptech represents investments that are not very sexy, that are slower, less easy to evaluate and that require more patience" , warns Xavier Lazarus[1] co-founder of Elaia, which finances start-ups in the sector. A description that would make a trader falter, but which will be the cement of tomorrow's innovations. Possible applications include innovations in robotics, mobility, biotechnology, nanotechnology and artificial intelligence.

For example:

  • Lillium Aviation, which is working on one of the first flying cars;
  • Alice & Bob: a startup made in France that wants to create the first quantum computer and has already raised 3 million in 2020, the year of its creation.

Potentially even more promising are the fruitful interactions that can take place between these technologies: " A good example is the coming revolution in bioproduction. This is about producing using the living as a factory. Advances in this field are the result of a convergence between biotechnologies, robotics and machine learning," notes Arnaud de la Tour[2]President of Hello Tomorrow.

Democratization, acceleration, ambition

Until now, deep tech has been the preserve of the academic world and large corporations, due to the scientific fundamentals and the very heavy investments required. But the barriers to entry have largely fallen and startups can now also invest in this field of innovation. Especially since :

  • more responsive and agile, they accelerate the transition from research to development to commercialization.
  • smaller, they are better able to innovate radically.

Public and private investors are not mistaken and are investing massively:

  • According to the Boston Consulting Group, the funds raised by startups worldwide has been doubled in 3 years to reach $18 billion in 2018,
  • The BPI's deep tech plan includes a €1.3 billion budget to promote the development of a strong French ecosystem.

As Olivier Ezratty points out: "For the public authorities, financing deeptech means highlighting companies with a strong technological heritage while putting the fruits of public research into practice. The objective: to be a precursor, at last, of the innovations of tomorrow. »

Isahit: deeper, faster, stronger

As a player in the field of artificial intelligence, isahit has been immersed in this deep tech universe since its inception. Driven by our development and listening to the needs of our clients, we must now think outside the box to invent new solutions. Over the next few months, we will be accelerating two major R&D programs that could ultimately revolutionize the way we recruit, assign and develop the skills of a task force; with ethics and benevolence. The ultimate goal: a fully automated, self-service platform.

  • The first project consists in the design of an advanced artificial intelligence solution, which will have to autonomously ensure the assignment, monitoring and evaluation of tasks.  This is a technical challenge, but also an ethical one in the sense that it aims to get rid of any bias that might be hidden in the codes and to organize the rise in competence of each of our employees, while maintaining maximum quality of service. There is no solution today to meet these challenges. Our ambition is to create it, thus participating in the construction of an AI in line with our values. The scope of such an innovation in the human resources management of any project can be immense.
  • The second focuses on "smart tools" which should both guarantee a better quality of service to our customers and enable our machines to work more easily and efficiently, while lowering the barriers to entry. The aim is to make the most of human intervention by providing a pre-annotation that requires as little adjustment as possible. Only with ergonomic, efficient and innovative tools can we stay ahead of the game.

Technology at the service of people

But these deep tech projects are not just a series of 1's and 0's. Their objective is the same as the one that guides each of isahit's actions: the human impact. By increasing our capacity to train and support our community of women, we will be able to give them all the leverage they need to take their destiny into their own hands, while improving our quality of service and contributing to the development of AI in line with our values.

Only in this way can we build a desirable future in which everyone can play a part. This is, in our opinion, the only way. It is, in our opinion, the only way.

Related Article: tech for people, manifesto for technology on a human scale

[1] https://www.lesechos.fr/tech-medias/hightech/les-fonds-dinvestissement-francais-attires-par-la-deeptech-1258041

[2] https://www.experts-et-decideurs.fr/strategie-entreprise/digitalisation-innovation/secteur-deep-tech/

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