AI innovator Mind Foundry has launched a new research lab in Oxford in partnership with the global insurance brand Aioi Nissay Dowa Insurance.

The Aioi R&D Lab – Oxford brings together insights from Aioi Nissay Dowa Group of companies and the wider insurance sector with applied machine learning expertise from Mind Foundry.

Mind Foundry is an Oxford University spinout that aims to create a future where humans and AI work together to solve the world’s most important problems. 

The latest announcement continues the successful collaboration that has already delivered improvements across customer retention, safe driving, fraud detection and automation across the board.

The R&D Lab expands upon this work to develop real-world solutions to tackle some of the most significant challenges facing societies around the world in the coming decades.

The challenges range from the impact of increased automation to issues related to the climate crisis and the continued ageing of populations, with a focus on embedding AI into specific applications.

The lab will be based in Oxford to benefit from and add to the city’s rich history of research and innovation in AI.

Keisuke Niiro, president of ANDI, said: “Insurance was born in the UK and breakthroughs of many kinds have their origin here, so it’s the perfect place for our new hub of innovation.

“The R&D Lab aims to solve global-scale social issues through developing cutting-edge insurance and services utilising AI technologies.

AI innovator Mind Foundry raises £10.4m

“The Lab will develop innovative solutions through combining cutting-edge capabilities of Oxford researchers, AI provided by Mind Foundry, and the world-class insurance capability of Aioi Nissay Dowa Insurance. I am confident Aioi Nissay Dowa and the experts in the Oxford ecosystem can offer solutions that will have a tremendous impact on the world.”

The research conducted at the Lab will focus on topics that create shared value across all of society, including: Mobility for all; autonomous driving; future of insurance; climate; and health and wellness.

In 2020 Mind Foundry raised £10.4m in Series A funding led by Aioi Nissay Dowa Insurance, including funding from existing investors Parkwalk Advisors, Oxford Sciences Innovation, the University of Oxford and the Oxford Technology and Innovations EIS Fund.  

The lab will be supported by an advisory board of world-renowned professors from the University of Oxford with expertise across many disciplines that sit at the heart of the transformations facing society, and insurance in particular, over the coming decades.

Members of the advisory board include Mind Foundry co-founders Professor Stephen Roberts and Professor Michael Osborne, alongside Professor Michael Wooldridge, Professor Malcolm McCulloch, Professor Paul Newman, Professor Baroness Kathy Willis, and Professor Doyne Farmer.

Mind Foundry co-founder and University of Oxford Professor of Machine Learning Stephen Roberts said: “Big data is useful up to a point, but what we need now are very smart algorithms that can distil that data into knowledge that is interpretable, valuable, understandable, and beneficial to everybody.

“We want to understand the societal impact – not just of insurance, but of risk, environment, and sustainability – and form a foundation for how algorithms of all levels of sophistication can work in harmony with society.”

New CEO to scale smart manufacturing firm ThingTrax

Mind Foundry CEO Brian Mullins said: “Mind Foundry is dedicated to tackling high-stakes problems with AI – and the insurance sector is not only one that impacts all of our lives both individually and at scale but it’s also at the forefront of long-term thinking about global economic problems and the effects of change on people and civilization.

“We could not have better partners as we take on some major challenges in that field with this R&D Lab. ANDI shares our aspirations and understands the importance of digital transformation working with – not against – society, and we will also benefit from the University of Oxford’s rich ecosystem, which has been at the cutting edge of AI research for decades.

“We look forward to deepening our relationship with ANDI and the University of Oxford and working together to create a more inclusive and fairer world for all.”