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AiThority Interview Series with Dr. Ronen Shoval, Founder and CEO at BLINK

AiThority Interview Series with Dr. Ronen Shoval, Founder and CEO, BLINK_cue card

AI is making huge steps into gaming from solutions that generate automatic highlights of a long game based on machine learning and AI.

Know My Company

Tell us about your interaction with smart technologies like AI and Cloud-based Ops platforms. 

At Blink, we use AI and advanced machine learning algorithms as a tool to automatically detect mobile game highlights and map those highlights into a corresponding narrative to create an engaging game summary. We have a community of gamers who train our machine learning algorithms by manually indicating where game highlights are, practically training the algorithms with supervised data. At the end of this controlled training process, the machine learning algorithm is ready to cope with unsupervised data from any mobile esport gamer.

How did you start in this space? What galvanized you to start Blink?

If you take a look at how people consume video today you see that the trend is clearly towards mobile. Ooyala reports that in the second quarter of 2018, the smartphone-only video starts topped 50% for the first time. We believe that video storytelling needs to change to fit this new medium. Mobile is personal, portable, and interactive and video needs to be too.

As part of our R&D, we tested our AI on various genres of Video and discovered that esports/gaming gave us great results. When we delved deeply into this massive market we decided that this should be the direction of the company.  The stats on gaming are amazing with 47% or $63.2 Billion dollars coming from mobile alone in 2018 and over 2.3 billion people considering themselves fans according to Newzoo.

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Blink leverages AI to detect gameplay highlights and automatically create stories for everyone in this community. What Musical.ly did for music we are doing for gamers.

What is Blink and how does it leverage AI in its operations?

Blink is a leading eSports technology company, with offices in Israel and the United Kingdom. Its proprietary deep learning technologies automatically detect the defining moments of eSports game-play and effortlessly turns them into compelling stories, known as “Blinks.”

Blink, a pioneering mobile-first eSports platform, leverages its cognitive core of artificial intelligence and deep learning.

Blink focuses on the fast-growing, dynamic world of eSports where technology will unlock the value of game-play video for all players. Blink makes eSports viewing as interactive and personalized as the games themselves in order to excite and unite gamers worldwide.

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At Blink, we use AI and advanced machine learning algorithms as a tool to automatically detect mobile game highlights and map those highlights into a corresponding narrative to create an engaging game summary. We have a community of gamers who train our machine learning algorithms by manually indicating where game highlights are, practically training the algorithms with supervised data. At the end of this controlled training process, the machine learning algorithm is ready to cope with unsupervised data from any mobile esport gamer.

What is the state of AI for mobile app and gaming in 2019? How much has it evolved since the time you first started here?

AI is making huge steps into gaming from solutions that generate automatic highlights of a long game based on machine learning and AI all the way through to AI coaches that teach a user how to optimize his gameplay based on machine learning and AI techniques.

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Tell us more about your vision into growing revenue opportunities by deploying AI in your product offering.

In the world of gaming revenue is generated by in-app commerce. That is, the sale of real and virtual goods and services. We see three possible revenue streams.

  1. Customization of “stories” – Blink will sell premium music and graphics packages so gamers can make their clips their own.
  2. Advanced analytics. We will leverage the data we use to train the ML to provide deep insights to individual gamers into their gameplay, trends, tips and tricks. We can provide them personalized coaching and feedback on their performance and how to improve. This is already part of the graphic we add to gameplay clips for Hearthstone.
  3. Marketplace. We will build a marketplace for partners to gaming related sell goods and services.

The Good, Bad and Ugly about AI that you have heard or predict –

The good things about AI are the ability to come up with insights in areas with huge amounts of random data such as medical, autonomous cars, to the benefit of humanity by improving insights from the data in short cycles. The bad thing is that it takes huge amounts of data to come up with an effective AI-based systems and the ugly is that some organizations exclusively take the ownership of the huge amounts of data needed in order to train an effective machine learning and AI system.

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What is your opinion on “Weaponization of AI/Machine Learning”? How do you promote your novel ideas?

The weaponization of AI across cyberspace, geospace, and space (CGS) is indeed a concern with autonomous weapons becoming a reality and vital infrastructure systems directly in the crosshairs. It is easy to imagine a power facility or air traffic control targeted and the chaos that would ensue. It’s a mistake to think that you can roll back the technology or limit its applications, weapons will be developed and get into the hands of bad actors. As an entrepreneur, I believe in the power of innovation and the ability of cutting-edge cyber security companies to answer this challenge.

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The Crystal Gaze

What technologies within AI/NLP and Cloud Analytics are you interested in?

We are following Sequence Classification algorithms, CNN (Convolutional Neural Networks), RNN (Recurrent Neural Networks), Advanced Video and image processing algorithms.

As a tech leader, what industries you think would be fastest to adopting Analytics and AI/ML with smooth efficiency? What are the new emerging markets for these technology markets?

  • While I am not an expert, I believe that medicine is where AI/ML will make the biggest change. New, more efficient interpretation of imagery and personalized treatments will begin to make a huge impact in the next few years.
  • Education is another area where AI / ML will improve results. As we develop a better understanding of unique datasets generated by students and testing , we will be able to provide customized lesson plans per student.

What’s your smartest work related shortcut or productivity hack?

My smartest productivity hack is working agile also in my personal life and prioritizing work and life tasks all in one agile based backlog.

Tag the one person in the industry whose answers to these questions you would love to read:

Ma Huateng – CEO Tencent

Thank you, Dr. Ronen! That was fun and hope to see you back on AiThority soon.

The company is headed by Dr. Ronen Shoval. Dr. Shoval holds a PhD in philosophy from the Sorbonne. His experience encompasses more than a decade as CEO and founder of social and educational enterprises. Dr. Shoval has extensive media experience as a regular participant in various panel discussion programs on TV and as a writer of columns in major newspapers. In addition, Dr. Shoval was VP BD, at Accells, company that sold to Ping Indnetety.

During his work in Accells he managed the marketing and the business initiatives of the company. In addition he contributed to turning the technological concept into a compelling market offering, while demonstrated an understanding in the technological aspects of the products. His management experience includes being Board Member in large public organizations like theZionist Federation, and the Jewish Agency.

Elastic Media is now Blink, a pioneering mobile-first eSports platform. Leveraging our cognitive core of artificial intelligence and deep learning, Blink focuses
on the world of eSports where our technology unlocks the value of game-play video for all players. Blink will make eSports viewing as interactive and personalized as the games themselves in order to excite and unite gamers worldwide.

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