In this technology-driven era, the world is witnessing a massive rise in the use of AI technology. However, AI is not 100% successful in adapting emotional intelligence and the ability to contextualize information like human beings. And this is the prime reason that AI has not taken over a major aspect of our careers and lives. Therefore, infusing emotions, empathy, and even morality into AI is the next milestone that every tech-savvy is looking towards to accomplish. It is prophesied that in the next few years, artificial emotional intelligence won’t just be a concept, but it will be a reality.
Founded in 2012, BPU Holdings is a leading technology firm dedicated to generating the first Artificial Emotional Intelligence (AEI) platform in the world. With a vision to advance the understanding, design, and value of AEI-based technology, BPU started its journey with its proprietary platform ZimGo, a next-generation search engine based on emotional intelligence. Using sentiment analysis, ZimGo teaches itself about human emotion from a very simple model: positive or negative sentiment. The data and knowledge that the platform collects can be used to enhance people’s understanding of themselves or their relationships.
“At BPU, we are attempting to decipher the emotional DNA codes that we believed have been inherited; in part, through emotion protocols from one generation to the next. That is very similar with generic information in DNA,” says Oh SangGyoon, CEO of BPU Holdings.
In-Conversation with the CEO, Oh SangGyoon:
Q. How successful was your first project roll on? Share the experience.
Just like every other start-up, our first projects involved “chasing” our customer. We had a large customer base with strong requirements that seemed to change as we got near to delivering what they had requested. Often, as a CEO, I have seen this behavior and I call it the “I know it when I see it” syndrome. Many times, companies know they want to use the technology of a certain kind, but are not sure about the boundaries or the limitations of the application. So, they tend to come to smaller, newer companies and begin with what is believed to be a really well-understood problem. And as the solution shapes itself, the company begins to realize what the client wants, so it adjusts to the needs. Our first big project was one of these moving targets until we got tired of chasing it. And it helped us understand ourselves and the technology we built has formed the core of our business today.
Q. What challenges did you face in your initial years? What can your peers learn from it?
At BPU, we have a unique culture and that is the idea that we call each other “family”. From our humble beginnings, we were always on the brink of extinction. At one point, we were running out of funds and we could not afford to compensate our employees for roughly 10 months. We even struggled to keep our servers running and keeping our office space. Surprisingly, no one resigned and a few individuals even contributed their personal money to sustain the company.
This happened until we received a $5 million USD institutional investment. After that, everything came into place. BPU was able to successfully raise an additional $60 million USD through crowdfunding. We became one of the largest crowdfunding companies in technology.
Q. Is it true that striving for both ‘ethics’ and ‘success’ in a business is a tough feat?
I think people normally have a desire to do well on their own and will generally strive for the betterment of themselves, their society, and this world. But, the problem is that companies must deal with a wide variety of individual goals and directions. A successful CEO is one who can provide the vision and let the employees collectively navigate the ship in that direction. Although it sounds simple, it is extremely difficult, especially when we are talking about companies that span the globe. It’s hard enough to get two people of the same cultural background to agree on divisive issues, let alone attempt this with people from diverse cultural backgrounds and etiquette. Sometimes, it’s hard to find the common ground.
On the other hand, diversity fuels innovation. Different ways of thinking contribute new alternatives to old problems that a single culture might have unsuccessfully managed ways to deal with them. As with anything else, ethics is fostered by leadership in a company. Again, from a global perspective, it is challenging to find the common ground.
So, it’s not hard to strive and achieve ethical and successful operations of a company. But, the desire is important. We at BPU have that desire and we foster that goal within our employees; the challenge is simply executing on the common path to achieving the end-goal.
Q. Is your company a ‘leader’ or a ‘follower’? Do you formulate your own core values?
We are definitely the leader in Artificial Emotional Intelligence (AEI). We at BPU Holdings want to change the world and advance the human condition by providing rigorous tools to improve emotional intelligence. Identifying and handling emotions enables management of interpersonal and professional relationships, both judiciously and empathetically. And we are committed to building technology with Privacy by Design.
The Future Roadmap
There was a time when AEI was not even a measurable part of Computer Science and today, not only can it be measured and quantified, but it can also be simulated. BPU Holdings has played a significant part in that. This technology today is the primary driver behind the company’s pursuit.
Over the years, BPU Holdings has gained tremendous popularity and at present, the company is putting its focus on the ‘here and now’ to deliver the best-of-breed AEI products. It believes there is no tomorrow without today and it works diligently to make everyday remarkable.
Greet the Chief
Oh SangGyoon, Chief Executive Officer: Prior to BPU Holdings, Mr. SangGyoon was CEO of Vijit International, Bruso Co. Ltd and Seoul Bank WAP 3000. He was also the owner of financial IT product and settlement bank system establishment.
Mr. SangGyoon is a graduate from Inha University.