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When I tell friends and family about what contextere does, develop AI empowered tech for blue collar workers, I can often see a subtle shift in their attention. Their thoughts waver to that of terminators and matrix agents, mushroom clouds and targeting lasers. It’s as if the mere mention of artificial intelligence can create a fear of the future in some. Well allow me to assuage their fears: artificial intelligence is not the enemy, there is nothing to fear from technological innovation, and the core premise of Terminator is exceptionally silly. It is a Schwartzenegger film after all…

The goal of contextere, and our AI developing compatriots, is not to create digital sentience but to develop software that can perform actions that were previously considered impossible to perform. We want decision making, we want predictive analytics, we want learning.  If we get lost while driving, we want our devices to recognise our anomalous driving patterns and provide guidance. If we routinely forget to lock our front door, we want software to recognise this oversight and lock the door on our behalf. We want tools that can boost efficiency, save time, and increase safety.

In his congenial way, our CEO Gabe Batstone describes contextere’s approach as being ‘Iron Man over Skynet’, an analogy that speaks to my inner geek. What he means by this is that we seek to empower blue collar workers by providing them tools that allow for greater autonomy and mastery of their crafts. We’re interested in augmenting the human, not automating the task. If Cortana and Siri can improve our quality of life at home, then surely we can build a tool that will improve our quality of life at work.

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