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From Legal Cases To Car Repairs, Wilmington-based Platform Weighs AI Uses

By Emma Dill, posted Jun 24, 2024
UmbrellaAI, a platform created by Wilmington-based Equal Access Carriers, is exploring new uses for its StructuralAI model following input from students at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business.

As part of a capstone project, about 60 MBA students evaluated the most “attractive go-to-market opportunities” of StructuralAI, a model that allows users to see and audit how AI makes its decisions. That helps make the model more transparent than generative AI models, said UmbrellaAI CEO Chip Venters.

The MBA students identified an array of uses for StructuralAI, ranging from diagnosing problems with farm equipment to assisting in legal cases, Venters said.

 “They went out and came up with all these unique business models that our type of AI uniquely supports,” he said.

UmbrellaAI initially developed its model about five years ago in partnership with students and researchers from Golden Gate University in San Francisco to use the AI tool to look at patterns and data to help doctors diagnose illness. 

While the company has the data and proof of concept it needs for medical use, Venters said they decided to pivot by exploring some of the student-proposed AI uses.

“Sometimes in a startup environment, you go to where the strongest opportunity is first,” Venters said. “We've sort of pivoted away briefly from human health to other types of diagnostics.”

“These other industries don't have the regulatory overhead that health care has, especially human health care,” he added. “We're gonna do that application at some point in time, but there's so many other opportunities before that. I mean, it could be a couple more years before we negotiate all the regulatory stuff on the health diagnostics.”

The potential AI uses include diagnosing problems with cars and medical devices to improving college admissions, forecasting natural disasters and helping medical students prepare for exams.

“We're just really getting started on the business of finding people who will want to take one of these business models and run with it,” Venters said. “And what we want to do is just provide the platform.”

UmbrellaAI plans to continue its collaboration with students at the Darden School of Business to “further explore the business applications of StructuralAI and help students get hands-on exposure to real-world business problems at the cutting edge of AI technology,” according to a news release from the company. 

Venters and Kent Locklear, UmbrellaAI’s COO, are both based in Wilmington. The company also employs a handful of researchers in the San Francisco area, Venters said.
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