Enabled Intelligence, a startup founded by a longtime Arlington resident and father, is redefining what inclusion of people with disabilities in the workplace looks like.
And it does so while solving a long-standing labor problem for government agencies and contractors trying to automate their operations with artificial intelligence, says CEO and founder Peter Kant.
Enabled Intelligence employs Americans with disabilities and veterans to do data annotation — teaching computers what images or sounds to look for as they are programmed to sift through large data sets — for government and government-adjacent groups.
“It’s technical, repetitive, problem-solving, somewhat compulsive and relatively asocial work,” he said.
This work has to be done by “puzzle solvers who always want an answer” and U.S. citizens to ensure the data stays secure, Kant says. But government groups, which can’t send data annotation overseas like private companies, often struggle to find people to do the work. Kant ran into this problem while leading SRI International, a research institute with a location in Rosslyn.
So he turned to a “highly skilled, underutilized workforce” within the U.S.: people with certain cognitive differences, who have an edge over neurotypical people, and veterans from intelligence and defense agencies, who have helpful subject-matter expertise.
These two groups face barriers to skilled work because of their disabilities, he said.
“Some were bagging groceries but had a computer science degree from Radford University, and because of their neurodiversity, were not working anywhere else,” he said.
Today, 14 of Enabled Intelligence’s 20-person team have disabilities.
“This is not just a company just for people with disabilities, it’s a mix of people neurodiverse and [neurotypical] people,” Kant said.