DarwinAI Collaborates with Lockheed Martin on Explainable AI

DarwinAI, a Kitchener-Waterloo-based artificial intelligence startup, announced a strategic collaboration with Lockheed Martin to improve the global aerospace company's customers' understanding of AI solutions.

DarwinAI provides an "explainability" platform for deep learning development based on its Generative Synthesis technology, called GenSynth Explain. Explainable AI (XAI) is a type of AI focused on illuminating how neural networks reach their decisions. DarwinAI's CEO, Sheldon Fernandez, has argued that the lack of understanding around AI's decision-making process has hampered the widespread adoption of AI.

"The 'black box' problem that plagues AI -- our inability to peek inside exotic neural networks and understand how they work -- represents one of the most urgent moral and business imperatives of our time," Fernandez said in a blog post.

XAI is about developing machine learning techniques that make it possible for human users to understand, appropriately trust, and effectively manage AI. In addition to improving neural network efficiencies, DarwinAI's XAI platform can reduce the time it takes to produce robust and accurate models through the insights it generates, the company says.

"Explainability is a critical challenge in our industry," said Lee Ritholtz, director and chief architect of applied artificial intelligence at Lockheed Martin, in a statement. "Understanding how a neural network makes its decisions is important in constructing robust AI solutions that our customers can trust."

DarwinAI came out of stealth mode in 2017. In March, the company applied its XAI expertise to the pandemic. Working with the University of Waterloo's Vision and Image Processing (VIP) Lab, it developed a neural network for COVID-19 detection via chest radiography.

"The global crisis brought on by COVID-19 has affected us all," Fernandez said in a blog post. "Like many businesses, we've been grappling with how to best deploy our skills in service of the present crisis."

DarwinAI has been recognized for its industry-leading research and scholarship. The company was named a cool vendor in Gartner's October 2019 Cool Vendors in Enterprise AI Governance and Ethical Response report. CB Insights also recently named DarwinAI a "high-momentum startup" in its "Game Changing Startups 2020" research report in the "AI transparency" category, and also selected Darwin for its AI 100, CB Insights' annual list of the 100 most promising private AI companies in the world.

About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at