On a recent work trip, I found myself in a swanky-but-still-hip office of a private tech firm. I was drinking a freshly frothed cappuccino, eyeing a mini-fridge stocked with local beer, and standing amidst a group of hoodie-clad software developers typing away diligently at their laptops against a backdrop of Star Wars and xkcd comic wallpaper.
I wasn’t in Silicon Valley: I was in Johannesburg, South Africa, meeting with a firm that is designing machine learning (ML) tools for a local project backed by the U.S. Agency for International Development.
Around the world, tech startups are partnering with NGOs to bring machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) to bear on problems that the international aid sector has wrestled with for decades. ML is uncovering new
My startup investment “formula”A lot of venture funds try to optimize for returns. They run complex ratio economic models to determine what their diluted value will be at the end of the life cycle of the optimal and non-optimal case of every given company. I don’t do that. I just try to fund the best and brightest. I love working with the smartest and brightest people in the world on some of
It is a well-known fact that Europeans are generally more concerned about privacy than some other countries. Indeed, we’ve had a history of major privacy breaches that had such catastrophic consequences that it is now part of our culture that personal data should be treated as highly sensitive — something the U.S. is now catching up to in the wake of the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica scandal. The culmination of this is the new EU-wide privacy regulation, the GDPR, which will come into effect on May 25, 2018, and was a hot topic during the recent Zuckerberg testimony.
One key article is the right to personal data portability. In a nutshell, it states that users of a service can request their personal data to be transferred to another provider, without hindrance (read: in the format the other provider requests). This means that if you are no longer happy using
As Facebook shapes our access to information, Twitter dictates public opinion, and Tinder influences our dating decisions, the algorithms we’ve developed to help us navigate choice are now actively driving every aspect of our lives.
But as we increasingly rely on them for everything from how we seek out news to how we relate to the people around us, have we automated the way we
Criminals and terrorists, like millions of others, rely on smartphone encryption to protect the information on their mobile devices. But unlike most of us, the data on their phones could endanger lives and pose a great threat to national security.
The challenge for law enforcement, and for us as a society, is how to reconcile the advantages of gaining access to the plans of dangerous individuals with the cost of opening a door to the lives of everyone else. It is the modern manifestation of the age-old conflict between privacy versus security, playing out in our pockets and palms.
One-size-fits all technological solutions, like a manufacturer-built universal backdoor tool for smartphones, likely create
Seeking roommates and venture capitalA Crunchbase News analysis of residential-focused real estate startups uncovered a raft of companies with a shared and temporary housing focus that have raised funding in
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On December 31, 2015, I published my original call to arms for society’s rational regulation of artificial intelligence before it is too late. I explained certain reasons why someone who is against solving problems through regulation would propose precisely that mechanism to help hedge the threats created by AI, and announced my proposed legislation: The Artificial Intelligence Data Protection Act (AIDPA).
Since 2015, we have witnessed AI’s rapidly evolving national and international growth and adoption that will soon impact every phase of mankind’s life, from birth to death, sex to religion, politics to war, education to emotion, jobs to unemployment.
Three of many recent developments confirm why now is the time for the AIDPA: (1) a McKinsey study from late 2017 determined that up to 800 million workers worldwide may lose their jobs to AI by 2030, half of contemporary work functions could be automated by 2055 and other recent studies suggest
The UK and the USA have always had an enduring bond, with diplomatic, cultural and economic ties that have remained firm for centuries.
We live in an era of profound change, and are living with technologies set to change things ever faster. If Britain and America work together to develop these technologies for the good of mankind, in a way that is open and free, yet also safe and good for our citizens, we can maintain the global lead our nations have enjoyed in the fields of innovation.
Over past months we have seen some very significant strides forward in this business relationship. All of the biggest US companies have made decisions to invest in the UK. Apple is developing a new HQ in the
The visual data sets of images and videos amassed by the most powerful tech companies have been a competitive advantage, a moat that keeps the advances of machine learning out of reach from many. This advantage will be overturned by the advent of synthetic data.
The world’s most valuable technology companies, such as Google, Facebook, Amazon and Baidu, among others, are applying computer vision and artificial intelligence to train their computers. They harvest immense visual data sets of images, videos and other visual data from their consumers.
These data sets have been a competitive advantage for major tech companies, keeping out of reach from many the advances of machine learning and the processes that allow computers and algorithms to learn faster.
Now, this advantage is being disrupted by the ability for anyone to create and leverage synthetic data to train computers across many use cases, including retail, robotics, autonomous vehicles,
Note: This is the final article in a three-part series on valuation thoughts for common sectors of venture-capital investment. The first article, which attempts to make sense of the SaaS revenue multiple, can be found here; the second, on public marketplaces can be found here.
Over the past year, the VC-backed hardware category got a big boost — Roku was the best-performing tech IPO of 2017 and Ring was acquired by Amazon for a price rumored to exceed $1 billion. In addition to selling into large, strategic markets, both companies have excellent business models. Ring sells a high-margin subscription across a high percentage of its customer base and Roku successfully monetizes its 19 million users through ads and licensing fees.
In the context of these splashy exits, it is interesting to consider the key factors that have made for valuable hardware companies against a backdrop of an investment sector that has