Thursday, July 18, 2024

C10 Labs is in the 245 Main St., Kendall Square, building of CIC, its partner in an AI venture. (Photo: Marc Levy)

An artificial-intelligence hub is coming to Kendall Square in a collaboration announced Thursday by C10 Labs and CIC, the operator of “innovation campuses” around the world.

The initiative could grow the AI industry in Greater Boston by providing a space for startups to collaborate in areas from health care and agriculture to transportation and energy, the partners said. It will start modestly with the capacity to support 30 to 40 people in C10 Labs’ inaugural four-month Winter Cohort of 15 entrepreneur teams.

It’s CIC’s next venture after the summertime shutdown of an offshoot called CIC Health, which tackled testing during the Covid pandemic but did not survive it, despite chief executive Rachel Wilson arguing that it remained needed: “It is a question of when, not if, the next public health crisis will emerge.”

Publicity materials provided by the partners for the Thursday launch said Massachusetts is recognized as a top-rated place for AI companies – though a survey they linked to was about tech in general – but there was a “strategic” advantage to putting the hub in Kendall Square, because it “further solidifies the region’s standing as a home for advanced innovation.”

Kendall is home to AI initiatives such as IBM Research and The MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab; Isee, which works on driverless trucking; and the Boston Dynamics Institute, which focuses on “machines that contribute to human safety,” care for the disabled and elderly and enhance industrial productivity. Its related company, Boston Dynamics, is best known for its robot dogs, which in late October were given the power of speech through artificial-intelligence ChatGPT software. In a review of Boston Dynamics and its competitors, The Conversation published Wednesday that “AI is already being melded with robotics – one outcome could be powerful new weapons.”

C10 Labs, a spinoff from MIT’s Media Lab, focuses on sponsorship of groups using AI to revolutionize various industries. 

“Through our partnership with CIC, we aim to create a dimensional AI hub that goes beyond screens, revolutionizing how AI impacts various sectors and ultimately contributes to the betterment of society,” said Shahid Azim, general partner and chief executive at C10, in the press release.

CIC, founded by Tim Rowe, creates workspaces and designs programming for startups and corporations. It got its start in Kendall Square in 1999 as the Cambridge Innovation Center and has grown from one building to 1.2 million square feet of space and more than 10,000 client organizations worldwide. The flagship location is now two buildings – at 1 Broadway and 245 Main St. – hosting more than 800 current clients. C10 Labs is at 245 Main St.