Stanhope AI Raises Funding for Tech That Teaches Machines to ‘Make Human-like Decisions’

By Jay S May 28, 2024

Stanhope AI, a company rooted in extensive neuroscience research aimed at teaching machines to emulate human decision-making, has secured a significant £2.3 million seed funding led by the UCL Technology Fund. The Creator Fund, MMC Ventures, Moonfire Ventures, Rockmount Capital, and several prominent angel investors are joining the funding round, demonstrating confidence in the company’s mission and potential.

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Established as a spinout from University College London, Stanhope AI boasts a formidable team comprising leading figures in neuroscience and AI research. Led by CEO Professor Rosalyn Moran, previously serving as Deputy Director of the King’s Institute for Artificial Intelligence, the team comprises Director Karl Friston, a Professor at the UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology, and Technical Advisor Dr. Biswa Sengupta, who holds the position of MD of AI and Cloud products at JP Morgan Chase.
At the heart of Stanhope AI’s innovation lies the ‘agentic’ AI concept, which leverages fundamental neuroscience principles to pioneer a new generation of AI technology.

The firm’s algorithms, drawing inspiration from the predictive abilities of the human brain, continually refine their internal models of the world by adapting to real-time data. Unlike conventional AI models reliant on pre-existing data, Stanhope’s agentic AI models autonomously decode their environments, exhibiting decision-making processes akin to human cognition.

At the core of Stanhope AI’s technology lies Active Inference, a neuroscience principle suggesting that our brains continually forecast and adjust to incoming sensory information to reduce surprise and uncertainty. In contrast to current machine learning methods constrained by pre-seen data, Stanhope AI’s models can continuously refine their predictions autonomously, thereby minimizing uncertainty and advancing towards human-like decision-making capabilities.

Director Karl Friston’s in-depth exploration of Active Inference and the Free Energy Theory Principle enabled the company’s distinctive methodology. Friston’s principle theory elucidates how living organisms, including humans, minimize free energy by predicting and perceiving the world. Active Inference, nestled within this theory, serves as the cornerstone of Stanhope AI’s work, explaining the brain’s process of minimizing energy and guiding its development of agentic AI models.

Stanhope AI rigorously tests its technology in practical settings, conducting trials with delivery drones and autonomous machines in partnerships with esteemed organizations such as Germany’s Federal Agency for Disruptive Innovation and the Royal Navy. The future applications of Stanhope AI’s technology span diverse sectors, including manufacturing, industrial robotics, and embodied AI. The investment secured will be allocated towards furthering the development of agentic AI models and practical research applications.

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Professor Rosalyn Moran, CEO of Stanhope AI, expressed confidence in the company’s ability to bridge neuroscience and artificial intelligence, envisioning AI systems capable of human-like cognition. Stanhope AI aims to revolutionize AI technology, making it more impactful and applicable in real-world scenarios. David Grimm, a partner at the UCL Technology Fund, praised Stanhope AI’s distinctive strategy, which combines neuroscience insights with advanced AI to tackle some of the most challenging issues in AI today.