DEAR CEOs ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE IS YOUR BIGGEST THREAT AND YOUR BIGGEST OPPORTUNITY

Dear CEOs: Artificial Intelligence is your biggest threat, and your biggest opportunity

It is no secret that artificial intelligence (AI) is poised to take the world by storm. But what exactly does that mean if you are a business leader? It means you need a strategy, and you need to act fast.

Just ask Mark Fields, the former CEO of Ford who was replaced back in May by Jim Hackett, head of their future focused Ford Smart Mobility division. Though it will take time for any company’s internal AI capability to grow, the time to get started is now – and waiting might end up costing you at lot more.

What is your game plan?

Beyond the dwindling profits motive for Ford, we are talking about entire industries and their supply chains being transformed at unprecedented speed. Amazon’s recent acquisition of Whole Foods suggests that even successful, profitable companies, in what most would consider a non-tech sector,  are not immune to changing times and technology disruption.

We have already seen early AI adopters like Facebook, Google, Uber, Microsoft and IBM establish new standards for data analysis and customer experience, and those standards will continue to sharpen as more companies take advantage of this technology. With $1.7 billion invested in AI startups in Q1 2017 alone, and the exponential efficiencies created by this sort of technology, this evolution will happen quicker than many business leaders are prepared for.

If you aren’t sure where to start, don’t worry – you’re not alone. The good news is that you still have options:

  1. You can acquire, or invest in, an innovative technology company applying AI/ML in your market, and gaining access to new product and AI/ML talent.
  2. You can seek to invest as a limited partner in a few early stage AI focused VC firms like BootstrapLabs, gaining immediate access and exposure to vetted early stage innovation, a community of experts and market trends.
  3. You can set out to build an AI-focused division to optimize your internal processes using AI, and map out how AI can be integrated into your future products. But recruiting in the space is painful and you will need a strong vision and sense of purpose to attract and retain the bests.
  4. You can use outside development-for-hire shops like new entrant Element.ai, who raised over $100M last June,  or more traditional consulting firms like Accenture, Capgemini, and others to fill the gaps or get the ball rolling.

What’s more, these options are by no means mutually exclusive. On the contrary, as an executive leader in the digital era, you need to adopt a lean and iterative philosophy around execution: build/partner/buy, measure, learn, and double down on what’s working for your company.

The best companies in the world are already doing this, and many more are preparing to do so soon. Are you?

Connect to the Community and Start Building

Since our second annual Applied AI Conference back in May, which gathered over 700 senior executives, we have been amazed at the level of enthusiasm surrounding the AI advancements and possibilities taking shape across all industries.

What was once but a body of research has given way to massive investment, adoption, and before long we will see large-scale market adaptation taking place well beyond the current use cases. The technology is there, ready for action, and an amazing community has formed around it, across many important industries.

Over the last several years, BootstrapLabs has lead the way in connecting this community. From the technologists and evangelists to the entrepreneurs and investors, we are much more knowledgeable and capable together than any one of us could be alone.

The same principle applies to your business. The talent war around AI is already raging, and as you build your strategy, you need a plan for attracting and retaining top personnel. This means that you have to do more than just “lip service” or “innovation theater” and execute in all aspect of your business to make AI part of your brand and core infrastructure. Your stakeholders will first ask for it, then quickly demand it.

Be Future-Ready

Okay, you’re sold on creating and executing your AI strategy – but how do you prepare for the unknown?

Not only must you focus on adapting for the near-term impact that AI will have on your market, but you must build out capabilities which will set you up for long-term success. This is where your leadership is so important.

Create and mobilize an ecosystem of human capital, venture capital, and technology that will help your organization sail through the seas of change. Empower your domain experts with a robust and agile business strategy, and the innovation will happen more organically.

The puzzle pieces are all there, it’s just up to you to start putting them together. You have much to gain. As Akli Adjaoute, President and CEO of AI company Brighterion suggests, we are talking about “10x ROI for enterprise: you could solve problems within a minute using this technology, instead of weeks.” This opens up space to solve bigger and better problems, increasing employee engagement and productivity and reducing the risk of inefficiencies eating away at your margins.

Don’t wait to be in Mark Fields’ position. Be remembered as the visionary leader that managed to plan, take action, and come out ahead of this challenging innovation curve. Just reflect back on the move that Mark Zuckerberg made with Instagram in 2012. He chose to spend $1 billion (10% of Facebook’s valuation at the time) to buy a revenue-less, two year old mobile photo sharing company – and invested several million dollars since to keep supporting its growth.

He knew that mobile was transforming everything, and Facebook had to stay relevant. Seeing how far we’ve come since this move, you would take that bet any day of the week. Now let me ask you: How much of your market cap are you investing in your AI transformation today?

If the answer is not enough, not fast enough, then refer back to the above section on game plan and reach out to the community!

Corporate investment in artificial intelligence “is predicted to triple in 2017, becoming a $100 billion market by 2025,” writes Ray Wang of Harvard Business Review. He and his colleagues agree that “the question now is not about whether managers should investigate adopting AI, but about how fast they can do so.”

Don’t be mistaken, though – you can’t do it overnight. Developing your AI capability will take some serious effort, commitment, and consultation from multiple invested parties in the space before it can really take flight.

Never forget that innovation and entrepreneurship is a team sport, so ask yourself, who is on my team?


BENJAMIN LEVY

Ben is the Co-Founder of BootstrapLabs, a leading venture capital firm, based in Silicon Valley and focused on Applied Artificial Intelligence.

Some of BootstrapLabs’ portfolio companies include Prezi, AngelList, Zerply, Trusted Insight, AEye, Qurious.io, Roger.ai, Vidora, and Sibly.

Born in France and living in Silicon Valley for the past 18 years, Ben is a repeat entrepreneur who launched, built, and exited two startups in the financial technology space. Read more.

Autonomous Transportation- Rethinking Security, Infrastructure, and Experience

Announcing the BootstrapLabs Applied AI Insiders Series: Autonomous Transportation

Autonomous Transportation- Rethinking Security, Infrastructure, and Experience

BootstrapLabs is thrilled to announce the BootstrapLabs Applied AI Insiders Series: Autonomous Transportation

Event Summary:

  • Date and Time: Tue, October 3, 2017 | 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm
  • Location: Google Launchpad Space, 301 Howard Street, San Francisco, California 94105
  • Registration: this event is INVITE ONLY. If you did not receive an invitation you can request one below.

 

 

Event Description

Topic: Autonomous Transportation: Rethinking Security, Infrastructure, and Experience

Autonomous transportation goes well beyond cars and includes all modes of powered transport such as motorcycles, buses, trucks, trains, ships, helicopters, planes, and even spacecraft. There are also various degrees of autonomy levels which need to be considered in the context of fluid and frictionless mobility.
Secure and intelligent communication networks, smart sensors, reliable and fast identification, fail safe and redundancy planning must all come together for the dream to become reality and to ensure safety and security. Read more.

Speakers

Ben Levy, Co-Founder, BootstrapLabs

Ben spent the last 20 years in Silicon Valley building and exiting two FinTech startups to Mergent and NASDAQ, investing in disruptive software technologies, and advising CxOs of Fortune 500 Telecom, Media and Technology companies on corporate strategy, financing and M&A.
Ben is a member of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI), an Ambassador of La FrenchTech, as well as a frequent keynote speaker at industry conferences on innovation, technology investing, entrepreneurship, artificial intelligence, and globalization in the US, Europe, and Asia.

Dr. Allan Steinhardt, Chief Engineer, AEye

Steinhardt was Chief Scientist for DARPA, Chief Scientist at Booz Allen, co-author of a book on adaptive radar, and assistant professor in Electrical Engineering and Applied Mathematics at Cornell University among other experiences.

Tilly Chang, Executive Director of the San Francisco County Transportation Authority

Ms. Chang has also held posts with the World Bank, Metropolitan Transportation Commission, and a
technology startup. She serves on the boards of the California Transportation Foundation, SPUR and
the UC Transportation Centers.

More speakers will be announced soon!

Thank You To Our Host and Partner

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Announcing the Applied Artificial Intelligence in the New Industrial Revolution

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BootstrapLabs is thrilled to announce the Applied Artificial Intelligence in the New Industrial Revolution.

Event Summary:

  • Date and Time: Thu, April 13, 2017 | 5:45pm to 8:30pm
  • Location: 44 Tehama St
  • Registration at this link.

We stand in front of the 4th and largest wave of the industrial revolution, powered by AI and Data. This is the biggest opportunity, so far, for innovation and entrepreneurship, and every single industry will be disrupted and redefined by companies that are not yet even born.

With the AI market projected to grow over 20 fold in the next 10 years, to $3Tn annually, we believe Applied Artificial Intelligence represents one of the major wealth creation opportunities of this century.

Manufacturing robots, unmanned vehicles for transportation, warehouses drones as well as space exploration and environmental monitoring empowered by new architectures for distributed computing and intelligent systems are the initial signals of the next generation of industrial systems.

The power of AI will ultimately empower humans to work closely with robots, and bring us to the new age of collaborative systems that can operate side by side with humans.

 

Speakers:

 

Ben Levy, Co-Founder, BootstrapLabs

Joshua Bloom, CTO, Wise.io (Acquired by GE Digital)

George Mathew, CEO and Chairman, Kespry

Ruban Phukan, Co-Founder, Chief Product Officer, DataRPM

Eduardo Torres Jara, Founder, Robot Rebuilt

 

Learn more about the Agenda at this link.

Special Opportunity

Attendees of the Applied Artificial Intelligence in the New Industrial Revolution will receive a special discount for the Applied Artificial Intelligence Conference 2017.

AAI17

Thank You To Our Host and Partner

Galvanize

 

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How to Learn Machine Learning by Ben Levy

(This article was originally published at techemergence.com)


How to Learn Machine Learning – an Investor’s Perspective

Episode Summary: There’s been lot of hype around AI and ML in business over the past five years. Even among investors exist a lot of misconceptions about using ML in a business context, and how to get up to speed on and learn machine learning as it applies to utility in industry. Recently, I talked with Benjamin Levy of BootstrapLabs in San Francisco, whom I met through an investment banking friend in Boston.

BootstrapLabs invests in Bay area companies, and Levy also travels around the world speaking about investing in AI companies and raising funds for new ventures. In this episode, Levy gives his perspective on what investors and executives get wrong about ML and and AI, and discusses how they can get up to speed and leverage the applications for these technologies and related expertise to really make a difference (i.e. increased ROI) in their businesses.

Expertise: Technology; Corporate Development & Strategy; Product Development

Brief Recognition: Ben Levy is the co­-founder of BootstrapLabs, a leading venture capital firm, based in Silicon Valley and focused on Applied Artificial Intelligence.

Born in France and living in Silicon Valley for the past 18 years, Ben is a repeat entrepreneur who launched, built, and exited two startups in the financial technology space. Praedea Solutions, a data mining software company using machine learning and image recognition technology, was acquired by Mergent in 2005, and InsideVenture, a financial social network for the founders of venture-­backed pre-­IPO startups and long­-only institutional investors on Wall Street, was acquired by SecondMarket in 2009 (and is now part of NASDAQ).

Earlier in his career, Ben was a Technology, Media, and Telecom Investment Banker who advised startup founders and CxOs of Fortune 500 companies on corporate strategy, financing, and M&A. Ben is also a frequent keynote and panel speaker on innovation, technology investing, entrepreneurship, artificial intelligence, and globalization in the US, Europe, and Asia.

Current Affiliations: Co-founder of BootstrapLabs

Interview Highlights:

The following is a condensed version of the full audio interview, which is available in the above links on TechEmergence’s SoundCloud and iTunes stations.

(1:54) What do you see as some of the bigger misconceptions around machine learning in industry by business people and investors?

Benjamin Levy: We’ve had the benefit of traveling around the world…we talk to executives, family offices, people that are running businesses, and I think there’s been a lot of hype around AI…it’s nothing new, it’s been around about 50 years, there’s been an incredible breakthrough lately, but that’s coming as a result of the explosion of big data, of computing power at scale…

…I think it actually starts with basic lack of understanding of how the technology is going to impact their business…if you’re a business person, at the end of the day, you’re going to be caring about your ROI—is my product better, faster, cheaper; am I selling it to my customers and are my customers happier, and am I competitive. In 2 to 3 years, people will not be selling you AI software, they’ll be selling you upgrades, and that upgrade will have a lot of machine intelligence and a lot of AI, and you’re not going to talk about it because the way you sell AI technology is not going to change…now, the ability that you have as an executive, to have the right talent in-house to evolve your products so that they become smarter…that is the hard part….

(7:20) Talk about the notion (that you mentioned) of “lumpier” in the markets —what do you mean in that regard?

BL: If you look at the global perspective…just from a pure business stand point, we live in a world that is a lot more subject to interconnections and prices impacting one another and the terminal effect, I think in a world where we’re going to continue to see these ups and downs…the waves of disruptions are going to come in faster and faster…if you think about AI, we went from a world where we started to automate to a world that’s becoming more autonomous, a lot more intelligent; so we look at a world that is machine intelligence augmented by human beings…the two combine, but we’re going to move from a world where 80 percent of the work is being done by humans and 20 percent is begin done by machines to a world where 80 percent of the work is done by machines and 20 percent of the work is done by humans…

(10:14) Do you think that people are prepared for the investment involved?

BL: …are you going to be as a business investing heavily in your own capabilities of adopting and applying AI technologies so that you do? Who owns AI inside your company, who owns automation, and who’s going to be driving products that incorporate this other way of looking at things and solving problems?…There’s so many cooks in the kitchen on the inside is side in the corporations; on the other side, you have a lack of vision as to what these products and endpoint should be…

(12:50) What is the talent game for (those outside of Silicon Valley)…what does it look like for the folks who aren’t in the Bay?

BL: …when I think about these dynamics, if you were to be a startup in France focusing on AI, you have a great local pool of talent and you’re not in as much aggressive competition with the local Googles and Facebooks and Amazons of the world that they want to suck up all the talent from these universities, so play that to your advantage. We only invest in companies in Silicon Valley (SV), but the founders can be from anywhere in the world, the company could have ben started elsewhere, which means that we’re completely in favor of you maintaining an R&D somewhere in the place where you come from, where you speak the language, where you know the universities….

(18:35) What do companies do to start to grasp what is possible, see how they could be disrupted, where the opportunities lie?

BL: As a venture capitalist, we’re in a very unique, privileged position…we are educated constantly so we see patterns that are very interesting; my advice would be, talk to people who are in the business to get smarter and wiser, not just by reading things…but you need to talk to people that are on the front lines, who are doing it, you need to potentially be a corporation investing in (venture) funds as well…

…people should be using budgets to actually learn, you should be thinking where can we allocate money…you might actually get closer to people who organize that (sponsored) event and have incredible access, you could be working with incubators and accelerators…there’s a few different tools that corporations have that are accessible to them.

Big Ideas:

1 – People are not buying AI as a company, they’re buying results – a return on investment. AI shouldn’t be looked on as a “neat” thing, but something that has requirements, costs, and results, with a need for smart business decisions, the same as any valuable business tool.

2 – SV doesn’t necessarily have more talent, it just has more resources that allow companies to scale. AI and ML companies can and should get started and grow outside the SV ecosystem. The reason BootstrapLabs wants those companies to eventually have a presence in SV is the ability to scale ideas and ROI; returns are driven by acquisitions, and most of those willing to pay for these technologies are in SV.

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The Autonomous Corporation presented by BootstrapLabs

Thank you to the Autonomous Corporation attendees!

 

We hope that you found the conference informative and enjoyed the networking during the event.

Seeing all of you hanging out until the end of the event made our team proud of their work and strongly encouraged us to keep working hard evangelizing AI around the world.

 

At BootstrapLabs, we believe that innovation and progress will happen at an accelerated pace in all corners of the globe, and that bringing people together around their shared passion for AI will drive positive impact in our world!

 

As many of you have been asking, we would like to officially announce that we have started working on next year’s Applied AI Conference 2017 (Check out the Applied AI Conference 2016 here) and will soon share more information about date, location and speakers line-up.

 

Below you can find some social media posts about the Autonomous Corporation event: