For years now, the tech industry has been moving at a pace that people struggle to keep up with. For example, would you have believed that a decade ago we would be on the precipice of using Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in the ways that we do across sectors like Insurance, Sales and Marketing?

As one of the few bastions of technology not yet owned by the likes of Apple and Microsoft, other unknowns have had a chance to leave a technological fingerprint. Who, though, are some of the most important darkhorses within the AI and ML industries today?

5. Jibo

Jibo is working on creating the ‘world’s first social robot’ and is already on the pre-order track. The robot is available for around $750. It was voted the #1 Most Successful Technology Campaign on Indiegogo in 2014, not a small feat, showing the consumer confidence in this social platform. It’s being created to help deal with minor tasks around the house and hold fun, engaging conversations with anyone who’s interested.

4. Conversica

Having picked up an impressive $34m in funding in 2016, and $56m in total, Conversica is working towards creating what they call ‘intelligent sales assistants’. With the likes of Wellington Finance involved, there is significant interest in their platform. It’s essentially aiming to be a virtual assistant in the most literal sense: managing e-mails and even making organic and authentic sales pitches based on a huge collection of user information. While it’s still a long way off being realized, it has become one of the most intriguing and commonly engaged with platforms of it’s kind.

3. Crowdflower

CrowdFlower is a very interesting proposition, having picked up a whopping $38m from various investors, including Microsoft. Having been around since 2009, they utilize programs such as Amazon’s mTurk platform to crowdsource workforces for smaller, menial tasks. They also want to make a Machine Learning program that can perform algorithmic tasks with human input when they feel that the AI is not quite ready to make a critical decision. An interesting hybrid, it’ll be interesting to see it’s development path. We plan on keeping a watchful eye on this one.

2. Maana

Already heavily engaged in major industries like the Oil & Gas sector, MAANA has become a mainstay for those looking to take their enterprise further. Formed in 2012, they’ve already gone on to work with the likes of GE, Chevron and Shell by helping to maximize their command of digital databases. They offer a service which can seemingly work at ten times the speed of other decision-making assistants available. Definitely one of the main artificial intelligence companies on the way up.

1. Relativity6

An MIT-based company that is already working with major international conglomerates on insuring customer retention, Relativity6 is arguably the most promising of all Artificial Intelligence companies at present.

Maybe their most impressive move so far has been the development of their Behavioral listening algorithms. These algorithms claim to sift through and ingest clean transactional data and dirty unstructured data (videos, audio, images) to find the historical actions of an enterprises customers. The output of these algorithms helps companies recover lapsed customers with startling accuracy. We’re keeping on eye their growth in the next year and expecting their new dashboard product to attract a lot of interest from larger companies looking to increase their AI capabilities.

At the moment, there’s a lot to be seen, discovered and discussed about both Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. With companies like the above listed, it’s already safe to see that the development of promising companies in this sector has moved far quicker than anyone expected it to.