In January 2016, Filtered launched the industry's first AI-driven learning recommendation engine called globalfilter. Since inception, the product concept has always been strong, but the name globalfilter has never been completely agreed upon.
When questioned about the reasons driving the name change, CEO, Marc Zao-Sanders said, "To be honest we never loved the name globalfilter. Worst-still, as clients signed up they started calling it all sorts of things: The Global Filter, Filtered, and my least favourite: globalfiltered. And no capitalisation and no spacing really threw the cat amongst the... birds. So we got together to consider alternatives."
The product with no name?
The company first toyed with the idea of removing a name for the product completely and sticking with one brand name. When suggested, the eight year old business decided against it. Marc explained, "There are just too many sentences we need to write and utter in which it’s helpful to have a handy abbreviation than a descriptive collection of four complex words (intelligent-learning-recommender-system)."
Cognitive ornithology & magpie
Google is an AI-driven organisation which uses avian nomenclature to refer to algorithms. Filtered's in-house development team, inspired by the Google naming convention, began to refer to the stack of algorithms used in Filtered's learning recommendations engine and courses platform as magpie. magpie picked up momentum fast, both internally and externally, demonstrating its memorability and making it a front-runner for the recommender engine.
Filtered were particularly enamoured with the name magpie because there is a lot of evidence available showcasing the intelligence of magpies as the only non-primates to exhibit self-awareness. Read more about this here. Self-awareness is one of the hallmarks of human intelligence and therefore a long-standing aspiration for individuals working in AI. Indeed, magpies are also able to develop complex, adaptive strategies such as win–stay, lose–shift. There may be a hardware-based explanation for this: magpies have a “larger numbers of neurons and greater neuronal density in the forebrain” compared to other birds. [Source: Cognitive ornithology: the evolution of avian intelligence].
When summarising the transition from globalfilter to magpie which took place earlier this month Marc concluded, "We think the Eurasian magpie represents what we’re doing very well. magpie (our tech) is a stack of algorithms which collectively define a personalized learning experience of recommendations of the best, most relevant, most useful, hardest-hitting freshest material in the cosmos. It’s complex, adaptive and neural - all terms used in the paragraph above and discussed at greater length in our vision, set out a year ago."
magpie can be put to the test via Filtered's website.