Kika Tech Infusing AI Into Emoji Keyboard App


Ric Zhou is a cofounder and head of product for Kika Tech, makers of the Emoji Keyboard app for mobile smartphones, incorporating AI. Partnerships so far include Huawei, ZTE, 20th Century Fox and Warner Brothers.He was interviewed recently by AI Trends Publisher Eliot Weinman.

Tell us about Kika Tech.

Kika’s mission is to revolutionize communications by leveraging the company’s cutting-edge artificial intelligence (AI) engine. Bill Hu, co-founder and CEO and I formed Kika through our passion of creating a product that would help billions of mobile users communicate around the world with their ideas, emotions and personality. Through Kika, we developed an Emoji keyboard that enhanced the way information is shared through messaging and other social platforms. Integrating into smart devices, Kika enhances self-expression that goes beyond mobile platforms. By leveraging AI, Kika enhances the emotional connection between individuals.

The Kika ecosystem includes its award-winning, Kika Emoji Keyboard app, which has received Google’s Top Developer in 2015. Kika has also been ranked a top productivity app in more than 77 countries. With 400M downloads and 60M MAU [monthly active users], it’s not surprising that leading mobile manufacturers and movie studios partner with the company. An example of partnerships, include recent collaborations with FC Barcelona and Real Madrid C.F. Kika’s partners also include Google, Facebook, Twitter, Samsung, Huawei, ZTE, 20th Century Fox, and Warner Bros.

Q. There seem to be many keyboard software providers in the market, please tell us about your differentiation.

Kika Tech provides users with the ability to communicate with each other authentically predicting a user’s intent and context to make their communication expressive, therefore preserving the genuine nature of human conversations. Kika’s vision is to decrease the time that individuals take to connect with each other through technology by five times. To achieve this, Kika’s flagship product creates the optimal approach for the company to use deep learning, Natural Language Processing (NLP), and image and voice recognition.

The number one challenge in AI is to collect training data. AI systems don’t just require more information than humans to understand concepts or recognize patterns, they require hundreds of thousands times more. Because Kika stands out with an ever-growing engagement rate of 120 times a day/person, which is equivalent to 50 minutes a day, coupled with 400M downloads and 60M MAU, the company has an unmatched level of training data, that makes its machine learning algorithm more effective. Because of this key differentiator, Kika is able to predict contexts and emotions more accurately.

Q. What AI technologies are you using in your platform to understand, predict and make conversations between people more expressive?

Kika uses deep learning and Natural Language Processing (NLP) for image and voice recognition and for accuracy for the 150+ languages that the company supports. In addition, Kika uses deep learning for text and emoji prediction. Being able to predict a user’s intent, Kika makes communication more expressive and preserves the genuine nature of human conversation.

Q. The ultimate power of AI seems to be in maximizing the effectiveness of the communications between people and making machines more valuable to people. How do you see Kika playing in this future scenario? Where will Kika be three years from now?

In the future, keyboards will continue to create massive amounts of data that will be analyzed by deep-learning technologies. This process will be the foundation for the future of AI. Our smart devices will eventually anticipate our needs versus responding to our commands.

Machine-learning enhanced phones will most likely focus on voice recognition, translation and image recognition. By leveraging AI in smartphones, the time it takes a user to communicate with each other will be greatly reduced.

Kika’s vision is to extend into far more smart devices. For example, Kika is currently integrated into one million smart TVs.

Learn more at Kika Tech.