AI-powered language processing tool ChatGPT has revolutionized how content is delivered and received since its launch in November last year.
Latest data from Explodingtopics.com shows the platform currently has over 100 million users, with over 1.8 billion visitors to the ChatGPT website alone per month. Whilst popular, one such issue that’s come to light recently is its accuracy. Although the platform is inarguably efficient, questions have been raised over its ability to fact-check as content is churned out.
One female founder focused on solving this problem for enterprises is May Habib, Co-founder and CEO of Writer.com. The company, launched in August 2020 (pre-ChatGPT), specializes in helping businesses write content whilst detecting and fact-checking outputs.
Today, the hugely successful platform is used by numerous big companies, including Spotify, Opendoor, Bill.com, Squarespace and Cisco, among others.
We caught up with the successful female founder ahead of her appearance at London Tech Week, which takes place from the 12th to the 16th of June this year. We began by asking her about the concept and challenges she faces daily as a tech entrepreneur.
First of all, May, where did the concept for Writer.com come from?
In 2013, I was browsing through GitHub (a site where people build software). It was there that I came across the work of a Dubai-based tech executive named Waseem Alshikh. At the time, he dabbled in then-nascent machine-learning techniques to summarize large blocks of information. I was struck by the similarities in our backgrounds and how we think. We arranged to meet and, sharing the same vision, started working together. Ten years and two startups later, we built Writer, the generative AI platform for enterprises. This was a culmination of lessons from our first business venture and also our exciting initial discussions about machine learning, deep learning models and language.
What is the technology behind it? How does it work?
Without sounding too technical, Writer uses Palmyra, part of our family of LLMs (LLMs are machine-learning neuro networks). We have found these to be transparent, secure
and powerful. Through our open-source models, we can share code, data and data distribution. It’s also secure as it’s writer-built, and data stays private. In terms of being a powerful tool, it’s trained on high-quality, formal business writing. Users can also customize and host their own version of our LLM and make it more industry-specific if needed. We built Writer specifically to focus on fact and not fiction.
What challenges have you faced so far in bringing such a concept to market?
One of the biggest challenges was that there wasn’t an easy concept to grasp in terms of explaining exactly what Writer does. I found that the die-hard brand-focused companies got it, but it wasn’t a must-have for everyone. Now, generative AI has caught everyone’s attention. This has made explaining our technology, impact, and competitive positioning so much easier.
What are the biggest obstacles (if any!) you have faced as a female founder?
As a female founder of colour, I’ve faced many challenges. However, I believe these obstacles have informed how Writer operates. Diversity and representation are fundamental to our success.
I’m a Lebanese Muslim first-generation immigrant and was also the first generation of my family to go to college. I’m aware of who in the room might feel like an outsider, and I ensure those people are given meaningful roles and responsibilities. I have a weird inclination to notice tiny social differences, honed probably from growing up among much wealthier kids, and I think. As a result, I’m very committed to building a culture at Writer that is only about ideas and contributions.
We’re not cliquey. We’re probably all too different to be cliquey! Around sixty per cent of our leadership team are women, and sixty-two per cent of our overall team are women or minorities of all types, ethnic, racial, and LGBTQ+. I think we also have a lot more socioeconomic diversity than other tech startups and a huge number of non-native English speakers, though those aren’t things we measure. We value difference, and I believe that is reflected in the makeup of the team.
What are your thoughts on Chat GPT detection?
I think it’s a useful tool. The wave of generative AI companies is leading to a rise in incorrect information, and this is a major issue for enterprises that must rely on the accuracy and brand consistency above anything. If your content reads like AI entirely produced it, it may affect how search engines rank it. At Writer, we also have a free detector to check up to 1,500 characters; you can access it through the following LINK.
What are your ambitions for Writer.com?
Our ambition at Writer is to move past fringe cases and arrive at impactful business use cases. We can either have a future where AI takes dignity away from many people, or we can have one where AI enables much more progress, access, and prosperity. We’re working like hell for the latter.
Are there other features you might consider adding in the next few years?
No doubt about it! We are constantly innovating and will continue to build solutions that deliver our users the highest levels of accuracy, security, privacy and compliance. For example, we just announced new product features, including a self-hosted LLM, which gives users the ability to host, operate and customize their LLM on-premises or in their cloud service, and Knowledge Graph, which allows them to snap into and index any data source, from Slack to a wiki to a knowledge base, to a cloud storage instance.