Engineer.ai misleading marketing
Occurred: August 2019
Founded in 2012, Indian start-up Engineer.ai claimed to have developed an AI-enabled app development platform for small businesses. But it was discovered in August 2019 to have been relying on humans.
The Los Angeles and Delhi-based company trumped its 'human-assisted' AI, but the Wall Street Journal found when talking to engineer.ai employees and former employees that it used humans rather than AI to develop its app, and grossly inflated its marketing rhetoric to attract customers and investors.
The allegations came after Engineer.ai founder and CEO Sachin Duggal had claimed at a conference that 82 percent of the work on the event’s app was done by AI in under an hour, and that human engineers worked for five weeks to finish the rest of it.
In February 2019, Engineer.ai chief business officer Robert Holdheim had filed a wrongful termination complaint in a Los Angeles court alleging the company had been exaggerating its AI abilities to attract the funding it required to develop its technology.
Duggal responded to the WSJ report by saying the company had never claimed to offer 'automated software development'.
The company re-branded as Build.ai in November 2019.
Sector: Business/professional services
Purpose: Automate app development