Applied AI Digest 148

The latest Data, Insights, and Inspiration about Applied AI

Every week the BootstrapLabs team curates the most interesting and current articles on Artificial Intelligence. Here are our picks for the first week of February 2019.

Venture Capital Funding For Artificial Intelligence Startups Hit Record High In 2018

As venture capital (VC) funding nears record since the dot-com era, with U.S. companies raising $99.5 billion versus $119.6 billion in 2000 according to the latest PwC MoneyTree Report, AI startups also experienced their best year ever, raising a record $9.33 billion, or nearly 10% of last year’s total VC investments… read more

Trump Signs Executive Order Promoting Artificial Intelligence

President Trump signed an executive order Monday meant to spur the development and regulation of artificial intelligence, technology that many experts believe will define the future of everything from consumer products to health care to warfare… read more

We analyzed 16,625 papers to figure out where AI is headed next

Almost everything you hear about artificial intelligence today is thanks to deep learning. This category of algorithms works by using statistics to find patterns in data, and it has proved immensely powerful in mimicking human skills such as our ability to see and hear… read more

Valued raises $1.7 million for Slack chatbot to combat workplace harassment

Workplace harassment is depressingly common. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission received 90,000 complaints in 2015, and it estimates that three-fourths of all incidents go unreported… read more

BootstrapLabs Sees Massive Opening in AI for Energy: Q&A

BootstrapLabs, a California-based venture-capital investor focused on finding startups that apply artificial intelligence to industrial problems, is turning its attention to the energy sector… read more

Upcoming Events

BootstrapLabs Applied Artificial Intelligence Conference

Don’t miss the opportunity to network with the world’s leading AI experts at our Applied AI Conference on April 18, 2019!

Our line up of SPEAKERS is continuing to grow:

  • Oliver Brdiczka, AI Architect, Adobe
  • Erin Kenneally, Portfolio Manager, Cyber Security Division, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
  • Sabrina Atienza, Founder & CEO, Valued
  • Tom Campbell, Founder & President, FutureGrasp LLC
  • Margaretta Colangelo, Managing Partner, Deep Knowledge Ventures
  • Herb Kelsey, Founder & CEO, Quantum Vault Inc.
  • Irakli Beridze, Head of the Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, United Nations

Visit our registration page today to learn about our recently added Pre-Conference Applied Artificial Intelligence Workshop For Executives and to SAVE $1040 on tickets!

Leaders in AI

In case you missed our BootstrapLabs Applied Artificial Intelligence Conference 2018, we’d like to share with you a portion of the highlights and discussions about interesting sectors like Health, Transportation, Logistics, Energy, and more.

Check out our 2018 Conference Highlight Video below along with a panel discussion on “AI Policymakers: The Need for Public/Private Partnership.” If you’re curious and would like to explore more topics on AI, see our YouTube Channel.

AAI18 Conference Highlights

AI Policymakers: The Need for Public/Private Partnerships

WANT TO JOIN US AT THE NEXT AI EVENT?

Sign up for our newsletter to receive updates – subscribe here.

Applied AI Digest 147

The latest Data, Insights, and Inspiration about Applied AI

Every week the BootstrapLabs team curates the most interesting and current articles on Artificial Intelligence. Here are our picks for the first week of February 2019.

1 big thing: Chess schmess. AI tries Pictionary

For several years, computers have made short work of human champions in Go and chess. Now, artificial intelligence researchers are attempting an improbable path even closer to human capability… read more

Making New Drugs With a Dose of Artificial Intelligence

Every two years, hundreds of scientists enter a global competition. Tackling a biological puzzle they call “the protein folding problem,” they try to predict the three-dimensional shape of proteins in the human body… read more

New collaboration sparks global connections to art through artificial intelligence

MIT designers, researchers, and students collaborate with The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Microsoft to improve the connection between people and art… read more

Applying artificial intelligence for social good

Artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to help tackle some of the world’s most challenging social problems. To analyze potential applications for social good, we compiled a library of about 160 AI social-impact use cases… read more

Buying and Adoption Readiness for AI (AI Zeitgeist 5)

It’s a common psychological phenomenon: repeat any word enough times, and it eventually loses all meaning, disintegrating like soggy tissue into phonetic nothingness. For many of us, the phrase “artificial intelligence” fell apart in this way a long time ago… read more

Upcoming Events

BootstrapLabs Applied Artificial Intelligence Conference

Don’t miss the opportunity to network with the world’s leading AI experts at our Applied AI Conference on April 18, 2019!

We are happy to announce the first group of SPEAKERS:

  • Richard Socher, Chief Scientist, Salesforce
  • Danny Lange, VP of AI and Machine Learning, Unity Technologies
  • Ben Levy, Co-Founder, BootstrapLabs
  • Irakli Beridze, Head of the Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, UN
  • Aaina Agarwal, AI Project Specialist, World Economic Forum
  • Erin Kenneally, Portfolio Manager, Cyber Security Division, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
  • Cathrine Andersen, Founder, Roger.ai

Register today and SAVE $1040!

Leaders in AI

In case you missed our BootstrapLabs Applied Artificial Intelligence Conference 2018, we’d like to share with you a portion of the highlights and discussions about interesting sectors like Health, Transportation, Logistics, Energy, and more.

Check out our 2018 Conference Highlight Video below along with a panel discussion on “AI Policymakers: The Need for Public/Private Partnership.” If you’re curious and would like to explore more topics on AI, see our YouTube Channel.

AAI18 Conference Highlights

Keynote & Fireside Chat – Death of Moore’s Law

WANT TO JOIN US AT THE NEXT AI EVENT?

Sign up for our newsletter to receive updates – subscribe here.

BootstrapLabs To Speak at The SuperReturn US West Private Equity Venture Capital Conference, Feb 11-13

BootstrapLabs Founder & CEO, Nicolai Wadstrom, and Co-Founder, Benjamin Levy, will be speaking at the SuperReturn US West Private Equity Venture Capital Conference in Los Angeles on February 11th and 13th, 2019.

The conference will bring together over 300 of the leading players in private equity and venture capital from the West Coast, for an unparalleled opportunity to meet, learn and create new business ventures.

Nicolai and Ben, along with other leading industry experts will share their strategies and insights, and discuss the trends, opportunities and challenges facing the future of venture capital.

If you’re in the area, come see BootstrapLabs participate in this influential conference. For a 10% discount, purchase your ticket here and enter following code:

FKR2488EMSPK

BootstrapLabs will be hosting a reception in a private villa in the Beverly Glen area of Los Angeles on Monday, February 11th, from 6:30 to 9:00 pm.

We are inviting family offices, institutional investors, and other limited partners who are interested in decoding the AI trends, their impact on existing portfolio allocations, and capture what promises to be one of the largest wealth creation opportunities of the next decade.

If you are interested in joining please contact events@bootstraplabs.com.

Agenda Featuring BootstrapLabs

Feb 11, 09:20 – 10:00

Benjamin Levy will be participating onstage as a panelist. The discussion will cover the following topics.

Title: Future gazing: how will the VC landscape change by 2030?

  • How do you spot the superstar of the future?
  • Where is Venture going and how is it evolving?
  • Is disruption likely to keep going?
  • Is Venture likely to cease in a recession?
  • How are VC strategies developing? What sectors are VC moving into?
  • Are there new ways to finance portfolio companies?
  • What other hybrid and innovative models are there in Venture?

Additional Panelists

  • Jeff Grabow, US VC Leader at EY
  • Xinhong Lim, Director at Vickers Venture Partners
  • Carmen Palafox, Partner at Make in LA

Feb 13, 15:40 – 17:20

Nicolai Wadstrom will be participating onstage as a panelist. The discussion will cover the following topics.

Title: Technology spotlight – Rotating roundtable presentations and Q&A

Examining the most influential technologies; what they are, what makes them important, and how to invest – 10 minutes on each topic then delegates change table.

  • Automation – How does it work, and how do I invest?
  • Artificial Intelligence & Hardware – How can it be used, and how do I invest?
  • Blockchain – How does it work, and how do I invest?
  • Cryptocurrency – How does it work, and how do I invest?

Additional Panelists

  • Peter Liu Vice, President at Pritzker Group
  • Aymerik Renard, General Partner at Hardware Club
  • Venktesh Shukla, General Partner at Monta Vista Capital

For more information please visit the conference website.

Applied AI Digest 146

The latest Data, Insights, and Inspiration about Applied AI

Every week the BootstrapLabs team curates the most interesting and current articles on Artificial Intelligence. Here are our picks for the fifth week of January 2019.

 Singapore Releases Framework On How AI Can Be Ethically Used

Singapore has released a framework on how artificial intelligence (AI) can be ethically and responsibly used, which businesses in the Republic and elsewhere can adopt as they grapple with issues that have emerged with new technology… read more

AI Is Still On Course to Outpace Human Intelligence

The Singularity is near(er)! At least, that’s what the famous inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil argues… read more

If AI Is The New Electricity, Who Is The Samuel Insull?

Andrew Ng repeatedly compares AI to electricity, positioning AI as a technology that will be everywhere, and in everything. But if you study the history of electricity adoption in the United States, it was not always on track for ubiquity. With all the attention paid to Tesla, Edison, Westinghouse, and others, the real brains behind mass adoption of electricity was Samuel Insull… read more

AI Can Now Decode Words Directly From Brain Waves

Neuroscientists are teaching computers to read words straight out of people’s brains… read more

THE STATE OF AI IN 2019

It’s a common psychological phenomenon: repeat any word enough times, and it eventually loses all meaning, disintegrating like soggy tissue into phonetic nothingness. For many of us, the phrase “artificial intelligence” fell apart in this way a long time ago… read more

The Hidden Automation Agenda of the Davos Elite

DAVOS, Switzerland — They’ll never admit it in public, but many of your bosses want machines to replace you as soon as possible… read more

Upcoming Events

BootstrapLabs Applied Artificial Intelligence Conference

Don’t miss the opportunity to attend our Applied AI Conference on April 18, 2019!

We are happy to announce the first group of SPEAKERS:

  • Richard Socher, Chief Scientist, Salesforce
  • Danny Lange, VP of AI and Machine Learning, Unity Technologies
  • Ben Levy, Co-Founder, BootstrapLabs
  • Irakli Beridze, Head of the Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, UN
  • Aaina Agarwal, AI Project Specialist, World Economic Forum
  • Erin Kenneally, Portfolio Manager, Cyber Security Division, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
  • Cathrine Andersen, Founder, Roger.ai

Register today and SAVE $1040!

Leaders in AI

In case you missed our BootstrapLabs Applied Artificial Intelligence Conference 2018, we’d like to share with you a portion of the highlights and discussions about interesting sectors like Health, Transportation, Logistics, Energy, and more.

Check out our 2018 Conference Highlight Video below along with a panel discussion on “AI Policymakers: The Need for Public/Private Partnership.” If you’re curious and would like to explore more topics on AI, see our YouTube Channel.

AAI18 Conference Highlights

AI Policymakers: The Need for Public/Private Partnership

WANT TO JOIN US AT THE NEXT AI EVENT?

Sign up for our newsletter to receive updates – subscribe here.

BootstrapLabs on Bloomberg News

In December 2018, our CEO and Founder, Nicolai Wadstrom, met with Danya Liu, Emerging Technology Analyst at Bloomberg NEF in San Francisco. He shared some details about the BootstrapLabs investment strategy, and his vision on how Artificial Intelligence will impact our world.

Each month Bloomberg features a strategic investor active in one of the key industries they track. Their profiles provide an outline of the main investors, portfolio companies, characteristics, and strategies involved in the company, as well as their own opinion on what makes their operation so interesting.

We are pleased to share with our community the first Bloomberg Tech Radar report of 2019,  featuring BootstrapLabs. You can access a copy of the report (courtesy of BloombergNEF) by clicking on this link or the image below, and entering your email address. 

(courtesy of BloombergNEF)

BootstrapLabs - Ferrari Image

Powering Autonomous Dreams

Authors

Thomas A. Campbell, PhD – Founder & President, FutureGrasp™, LLC[1] and Special Advisor, BootstrapLabs
Nicolai Wadstrom – CEO and Founder, BootstrapLabs

The Dream

Driving used to be a pleasure: the open road, Sunday drives, cruising on Main Street. Now it is more of a chore: traffic jams, road rage, avoiding distracted drivers. While in the last few years we have advanced with capabilities such as Waze and Google Maps in our unending quest to dodge traffic and still make it home in time for a hot dinner, the thrill of being in the driver’s seat is waning.

Moreover, there are few things that we spend more time doing than commuting. “New survey data show the average American’s commute inched up to 26.9 minutes from 26.6 minutes the previous year [based on a one-way commute], according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2017 American Community Survey.”[2] US cities with the worst traffic have more than 40 minute one-way commutes.[3] Thus, many commuters spend more than an hour of every workday just driving; our time is being consumed by this stressful and unproductive activity.

Finally, polluting cars are a significant source of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, a major contributor to climate change.[4] “EIA [Energy Information Administration] estimates that U.S. motor gasoline and diesel (distillate) fuel consumption for transportation in 2016 resulted in the emission of about 1,102 million metric tons of CO2 and 437 million metric tons of CO2, respectively, for a total of 1,540 million metric tons of CO2. This total was equal to 82% of total U.S. transportation sector CO2 emissions and equal to 30% of total U.S. energy-related CO2 emissions in 2016.”[5] Clearly, this is unsustainable.

So what might we do to realize the dual dreams of hassle-free, environmentally-friendly driving? One approach is to make our vehicles autonomous…to empower the car to do the thinking instead of the driver, and thus free us to do things other than focus on that next stop sign. Moreover, making autonomous vehicles (AVs) become electric vehicles (EVs) could be an even further victory for our environment.[6] This vision is being aggressively pursued by many companies and researchers; unfortunately, reality imposes several technical challenges.

Reality & Challenges

Autonomous vehicles have been considered possible with the right technology aids almost since the first mass assembly car was manufactured.[7] However, only in the last decade have AVs been taken seriously with recent advances in computation and sensors. Perhaps starting with Google’s initially secret Waymo project – itself stemming from Larry Page’s undergraduate vision of being chauffeured around Stanford University campus autonomously – AVs have started to gain traction.[8] Nevertheless, there remain many fundamental challenges, both technical- and policy-related, before we can take our eyes off the road. The one we’d like to focus upon in this note is the need for power.

A few years ago, the only EV many Americans had ever seen was a golf cart.[9] Surprisingly, several of the first automobiles were all-electric in the late 1800s. Popular in cities (where one could get electricity), EVs fell out of favor with the introduction of the mass-produced Ford Model T car, followed by the discovery in the United States of cheap Texas crude oil. EVs all but disappeared by 1935.[10]

With advances in technology – especially batteries that offer range up to 300 miles on one charge – EVs have experienced a resurgence in popularity. “Today, there are 23 plug-in electric and 36 hybrid models available in a variety sizes.”[10] The United States just exceeded one million EVs on the road.[11] [12] One of the leading companies developing EVs is Elon Musk’s Tesla. The Tesla Model 3 and its other brands are wonders of technology.[13] However, despite full touch-screen for nearly all its controls and many other technology perks,[14] Tesla cars would be just hunks of metal without power, as well as the computers for autonomous controls.

Power (Batteries vs. Fuel Cells)

Batteries have come a long way since Nikola Tesla himself did fundamental research on them in the late 1800s. Current go-to materials for EV power storage batteries include exotic compounds and elements such as nickel-cadmium, nickel-metal hydride, and lithium. “Lithium-ion (Li-ion) and Lithium-Iron-Phosphate (LiFePO4) cells have so far provided the biggest boost in energy density, between 300% and 400% more energy-dense than LA [lead-acid] batteries. Nissan Leaf, all Tesla vehicles, and most other electric cars and hybrid electric cars use Li-ion battery packs, though a few hybrid and electric car startups are toying with LiFePO4 chemistry.”[15]

Despite the popularity of Li-ion batteries, a lingering technical challenge is their long charge time and power required for each charge. A full-day charge for a Tesla Li-ion battery pack takes several hours and consumes about 2,500 Watts.[16] People who don’t have access to a charger at work typically charge their Tesla batteries overnight at home. Charging EVs puts a new strain on electrical grids.

Another option for powering EVs is the fuel cell, which has been around for decades.[17] “Like a battery, a fuel cell harnesses a chemical reaction to produce energy in the form of electricity. More specifically, hydrogen fuel cells generate electricity, water and heat from hydrogen and oxygen.”[18] A fundamental issue with hydrogen fuel cells is the storage of the hydrogen in the car before its use; one wants to have as much hydrogen as possible on-board in some compressed form to ensure long mileage. Simple hydrogen liquefication doesn’t go far enough; one must resort to trapping the H2 molecules inside or with other solid materials and then enabling their easy release.[19] Nanomaterials encapsulating or bonded to H2 have been researched for several years to do that.[20] Carbon buckyballs, nanotubes and other exotic molecular shapes have all been considered for their ability to store H2 and release it when needed. e.g., [21][22][23]

Despite their comparative environmental friendliness (hydrogen fuel cells emit only water vapor and warm air), fuel cells still have a ways to go before they can, if ever, usurp the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of batteries. “Hydrogen fuel cells offer a potentially very clean, energy dense and easy to recharge energy source for vehicles and other systems, but they are currently complicated, expensive and dangerous to operate. In comparison, lithium-ion batteries, although less energy dense and slower to recharge, are as clean, much cheaper, easier and safer to handle.”[18] Although a few models of automobile EVs powered by hydrogen fuel cells have been manufactured, they have not received wide adoption. Some fleets of buses, as well as forklifts, use hydrogen fuel cells. Wider adoption will require not only major advances in H2 storage capabilities, but also a substantially expanded fleet of charging stations dispersed across the United States.[24] For the next several years, we will most probably see hydrogen fuel cells in only limited use within EVs.

Sensors and Computation

One doesn’t realize it after some experience, but the action of driving actually requires substantial attention and skill. Distracted driving (whether via texting, taking a phone call, or drunk driving) is well-documented to cause accidents.[25] Clearly, computers don’t have the social or biological needs that humans do, but ultimately AV systems still have several significant technical specifications for sensors and computation – a few examples include:[26]

  • High-resolution, 3D maps. When driving, one needs to know where one is going. While humans can look at maps and easily adjust to changing driving conditions, such actions are not trivial for an AV. “Self-driving cars currently lack the common sense needed to navigate using a traditional human map. Since they can’t interpret context, they need to rely on a map signal that doesn’t cut out in tunnels, waver in precision or fall out of date…these machine maps must meet several key demands:
    • Incredible precision, so the car can compensate for its lack of understanding context and know where it is within 10 cm.
    • Granular instructions, like which lane the car is in, the traffic rules that apply to that lane, and even overhead clearances and road elevation.
    • Constant connection, which continues to provide information even when GPS signals are weak or missing.”[27]
    • Advanced sensors systems – increasingly prototypes incorporate LiDAR, Radar and other sensor systems that compensate for the AV systems lack of ability in some areas, but also add capabilities beyond human drivers. BootstrapLabs’ portfolio company AEye is an example of such a technology.[28]
  • Data processing. AVs place incredible demands on the volume of data needed to be processed rapidly. 5G or faster wireless speeds are said to be required. “When it comes to autonomous vehicles, the speeds and data processing capabilities needed to mimic the timing of human reflexes are incredible. Dr. Joy Laskar, co-founder and CTO of Maja Systems, believes the future self-driving car will generate approximately two petabits of data—the equivalent of two-million gigabits.”[29]
  • Object identification. Is that a bicycle or a deer ahead? While easy for a human to discern objects, AVs have troubles. One of the grand challenges with AVs is that objects on the road are in motion—by themselves and/or relative to the AV itself. Thus, AVs must not only process static images, but also moving video data. Some researchers are resorting to infrared cameras to ensure object visualization and identification, even in the worst conditions.[30]
  • Varying weather conditions. Whether you live in the mountains or on a beach, the weather can change quickly. Sensors must be able to accommodate the full spectrum of ambient conditions, including sun, rain, hail, snow, fog, ice and winds. Unfortunately, designing sensing capabilities that cover the full meteorological spectrum is challenging. “After years of testing, with hundreds of cars and vans deployed on public streets and private facilities, even the best autonomous-driving efforts still struggle with inclement weather…At the moment, autonomous cars rely on a patchwork of sensors: GPS, traditional cameras, radar, and lidar technology that bounces lasers off nearby cars and pedestrians. Mother Nature essentially sidelines two of those four applications: cameras are useless in fog and heavy snow, and lidar lasers careen wildly off raindrops and snowflakes. The remaining systems also have major deficiencies. GPS connections can be slow and spotty, and radar is lousy at distinguishing obstacles—is that a pedestrian or a seagull?”[31] New technologies and software are needed to ensure our trips aren’t limited by changing weather.

Opportunities for Applied Artificial Intelligence (AI)

The various challenges described above present unique opportunities, as well as the basic necessity, for Applied AI. As noted in a previous note from BootstrapLabs and FutureGrasp™, LLC,[32] AI can be leveraged positively for energy utilities. Similar thoughts apply in the context of EVs. Let’s review briefly how Applied AI can help us realize the dream of electrically powering AVs:

Advanced materials research. Over a hundred years ago, Thomas Alva Edison used a purely empirical approach to narrow his choice of a filament material for the first sustained light bulb. Later as computers became available, the ability to not only record data, but also to simulate how a material would behave with a given set of material properties and desired results became possible. Now with Applied AI we can take modeling advanced materials to a new level. Companies such as Citrine Informatics leverage AI and big data analytics to go way beyond the Edisonian approach. “Our platform ingests and analyzes vast quantities of technical data on materials, chemicals, and devices to streamline R&D, manufacturing, and supply chain operations for any organization that produces a physical product.”[33] Such AI-driven research can accelerate the development of new batteries and fuel cells. Instead of empirically assessing millions of compounds or spending countless hours programming and running simulations, AI can cut the time and budget spent on finding new advanced materials. Companies such as Toyota[34] and Tawaki,[35] as well as US Government efforts such as DARPA’s Make-It program[36] are using AI to tease out from Mother Nature new synthetic molecules that could be used in next-generation battery and fuel cell technologies.

Optimizing AV Performance. The aforementioned set of sensing and computation challenges for AVs all have two major issues in common: data and its processing. The sheer amount of data that a single AV accumulates on the road is astounding. “A single autonomous test vehicle produces about 30 TB per day, which is 3,000 times the scope of Twitter’s daily data.”[37] This volume of data overwhelms CPUs[38] or other lesser chips. On-edge computing (where the compute is done at the site of data generation) is also paramount as one would certainly prefer not to have loss of WiFi result in a sudden loss of computation and AV control. AI can assist with both these issues. Large data processing using AI with on-board GPU[39] packs is becoming now the go-to solution for AVs.[40][41]

Fulfilling the Dream

Autonomous vehicles powered by electricity require that AI move out of university and industry labs and into the real world—that it is actually “applied.” One means of making that happen is through the creation of start-ups that have a vision of changing the world. BootstrapLabs, a venture capital group in San Francisco, recognizes that challenge and invests in founders that dream big and are solving today’s hardest problems by applying AI to shape a better future.

Across the spectrum of challenges within AVs and EVs, applied AI has the potential to help resolve thorny problems, whether they be in discovering the next-generation advanced material for batteries or fuel cells, or in optimizing datasets and their processing. Achieving the dream of powering AVs will require capabilities beyond what a human or even big data analytics can accomplish. Ultimately, AI can help us make driving a pleasure again.


Notes (all web links accessed November 2018)

[1] FutureGrasp™, LLC, https://www.futuregrasp.com/

[2] G. Salvidia, “Stuck In Traffic? You’re Not Alone. New Data Show American Commute Times Are Longer,” September 20, 2018, NPR, https://www.npr.org/2018/09/20/650061560/stuck-in-traffic-youre-not-alone-new-data-show-american-commute-times-are-longer

[3] “These 25 cities have the worst commutes in America,” October 16, 2018, https://www.nwitimes.com/jobs/these-cities-have-the-worst-commutes-in-america/collection_2745a1a9-6757-59f3-a864-fd4a44cd212a.html#3

[4] Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, “Global Warming of 1.5°C,” http://www.ipcc.ch/report/sr15/

[5] U.S. Energy Information Association, Frequently Asked Questions, https://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.php?id=307&t=10

[6] Of course, a debate rages about whether EVs are actually more environmental than cars with combustion engines. Electricity doesn’t just magically appear – it has to come from somewhere, and those energy sources themselves may be big polluters. One must crawl down the whole electron chain to learn whether the local energy utility is primarily burning fossil fuels or using renewable energy sources.

[7] L. Dormehl, S. Edelstein, October 28, 2018, “Sit back, relax, and enjoy a ride through the history of self-driving cars,” Digital Trends, https://www.digitaltrends.com/cars/history-of-self-driving-cars-milestones/

[8] No pun intended

[9] Golf carts typically have speed-limit governors on them, as one author [TAC] experienced when he caddied in his teenage years. Some friends of his learned the hard way that disabling the governor still doesn’t give a cart enough power to jump a creek.

[10] “The History of the Electric Car,” September 15, 2014, Department of Energy, https://www.energy.gov/articles/history-electric-car

[11] M. Joselow, “The U.S. Has 1 Million Electric Vehicles, but Does It Matter?,” October 12, 2018, https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-u-s-has-1-million-electric-vehicles-but-does-it-matter/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=tech&utm_content=link&utm_term=2018-10-23_more-stories&spMailingID=57626706&spUserID=MTExNTAyMjAzODk1S0&spJobID=1503280707&spReportId=MTUwMzI4MDcwNwS2

[12] Although one million vehicles still only represents less than one percent of all wheels on roads in the United States

[13] Tesla, https://www.tesla.com/

[14] Including its 2017 Easter Egg of a software upgrade: ‘Ludicrous Mode,’ providing 0-60 mph in under 2.3 seconds

[15] Chilton, “A Short History of Electric Car Batteries,” http://blog.chiltondiymanuals.com/short-history-electric-car-batteries/

[16] Energy Sage, “Tesla Model S and Model X charging: everything you need to know,” March 27, 2018, https://www.energysage.com/electric-vehicles/charging-your-ev/charging-a-tesla/

[17] One author [TAC] saw a prototype hydrogen fuel cell car at General Motors (GM) in 1990 during his mechanical engineering summer internship there. Sadly, the vehicle never made it off the research floor.

[18] E. Wertheimer, “Hydrogen Fuel Cells vs Lithium-ion Batteries in Electric Vehicles,” June 20, 2018, Furo Systems, https://www.furosystems.com/news/hydrogen-fuel-cells-vs-lithium-ion-batteries-in-electric-vehicles/

[19] Department of Energy, “Hydrogen Storage – Basics,” https://www.energy.gov/eere/fuelcells/hydrogen-storage-basics-0

[20] “Basic Research Needs for the Hydrogen Economy,” May 13-15, 2003, https://science.energy.gov/~/media/bes/pdf/reports/files/Basic_Research_Needs_for_the_Hydrogen_Economy_rpt.pdf

[21] E. Erünal, F. Ulusal, M.Y. Aslan, B. Güzel, D. Üner, “Enhancement of hydrogen storage capacity of multi-walled carbon nanotubes with palladium doping prepared through supercritical CO2 deposition method,” International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, 43 (23), June 7, 2018, 10755-10764, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360319917346967

[22] T. Liu, “Buckyball’s Hydrogen Spillover Effect at Ambient Temperature Observed Experimentally for the First Time,” March 26, 2018, Chemical Communications Blog, http://blogs.rsc.org/cc/2018/03/26/buckyballs-hydrogen-spillover-effect-at-ambient-temperature-observed-experimentally-for-the-first-time/

[23] Y. Liu, et al., “Metal-assisted hydrogen storage on Pt-decorated single-walled carbon nanohorns,” 50 (13), November 2012, 4953-4964, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0008622312005349

[24] Wikipedia, “Fuel Cell Vehicle: Buses,” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fuel_cell_vehicle#Buses

[25] National Safety Council, “Distracted Driving Research, Infographics,” https://www.nsc.org/road-safety/safety-topics/distracted-driving/research

[26] A. Marshall, “After Peak Hype, Self-Driving Cars Enter The Trough Of Disillusionment,” December 29, 2017, WIRED, https://www.wired.com/story/self-driving-cars-challenges/

[27] N. Garg, “Self-driving cars need a new kind of map,” https://www.axios.com/self-driving-cars-need-a-new-kind-of-map-df0b7e69-e0fb-4a8e-a865-24bc96708103.html

[28] AEYE, https://www.aeye.ai/

[29] B. Khosravi, “Autonomous Cars Won’t Work – Until We Have 5G,” March 25, 2018, Forbes, https://www.forbes.com/sites/bijankhosravi/2018/03/25/autonomous-cars-wont-work-until-we-have-5g/#614ff971437e

[30] N. Pinon, “Next-generation technology is coming to a self-driving car near you,” November 7, 2018, PhysOrg, https://phys.org/news/2018-11-next-generation-technology-self-driving-car.html

[31] K. Stock, “Self-Driving Cars Can Handle Neither Rain nor Sleet nor Snow,” September 17, 2018, Bloomberg Businessweek, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-09-17/self-driving-cars-still-can-t-handle-bad-weather

[32] T. Campbell, N. Wadstrom, (November 26, 2018), “Banish the Darkness with Artificial Intelligence,” BootstrapLabs Blog, https://bootstraplabs.com/blog/2018/11/26/banish-the-darkness-with-artificial-intelligence/

[33] Citrine Informatics, https://citrine.io/

[34] M. Moon, “Toyota is using AI to hunt for new battery materials,” March 30, 2017, https://www.engadget.com/2017/03/30/toyota-research-ai-battery-material-hunt/

[35] Tawaki, “What If Artificial Intelligence Finds New Battery Materials,” June 1, 2017, http://www.tawaki-battery.com/artificial-intelligence-new-battery-materials/

[36] Make It, DARPA, https://www.darpa.mil/program/make-it

[37] J.A. Amend, “Storage Almost Full: Driverless Cars Create Data Crunch,” January 17, 2018, https://www.wardsauto.com/technology/storage-almost-full-driverless-cars-create-data-crunch

[38] Central processing units

[39] Graphics processing units

[40] See for example, NVIDIA’s overview of GPUs in AVs: https://www.nvidia.com/en-us/self-driving-cars/drive-platform/

[41] For an overview of advanced semiconductor technologies relative to AI see: T. Campbell & R. Meagley, Next-Generation Compute Architectures Enabling Artificial Intelligence – Part I of II, 2 FEB 2018, https://www.futuregrasp.com/next-generation-compute-architectures-enabling-artificial-intelligence-part-I-of-II and T. Campbell & R. Meagley, Next-Generation Compute Architectures Enabling Artificial Intelligence – Part II of II, 8 FEB 2018, https://www.futuregrasp.com/next-generation-compute-architectures-enabling-artificial-intelligence-part-II-of-II

BootstrapLabs Applied AI Workshop: AI and Human Capital

 

Date and Time: Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Location: San Francisco

Registration: This event is INVITE ONLY. You can request more information at events@bootstraplabs.com

Come join us to learn more about how Artificial Intelligence will revolutionize the enterprise of tomorrow, and how Applied AI solutions can help executives and leaders around the world better manage, attract and engage their employees and customers.

As the Fourth Industrial Revolution unfolds, companies are seeking to harness new and emerging technologies to reach higher levels of efficiency and compete on a global scale for innovation, customers, and talent.

Artificial Intelligence is here to stay, and will drastically change the way we do business and live. The economic and social impact of artificial intelligence technologies will ultimately depend on how quickly organizations and institutions are able to learn, adapt, control, and ultimately wield these powerful technologies for the greater good.

Over the last 30 years, the allocation of market capitalization value for corporations has shifted from 80% being assigned to tangible assets (machinery, plants, buildings, etc), to 80% being assigned to their intangible assets (brands, intellectual properties, trade secrets, business processes, and talent).

They are many opportunities and challenges ahead, and as a Venture Capital firm focused on Applied AI technologies, BootstrapLabs believes that the success of any business today, more so than any other time before, will ultimately be determinate by their ability to not only adopt AI solutions across their entire business but also, and maybe most critically, apply AI to known critical factors such as attracting, retaining, developing and managing their pool of Human Capital as well as delighting their customers.

Agenda:

  • 5:00pm – 5:25pm: Registration & Networking
  • 5:25pm – 5:30pm: Greetings and Introduction by BootstrapLabs
  • 5:30pm – 5:45pm: “Applied AI and Human Capital Investment Trends”, Ben Levy, Co-Founder & Managing Partner, BootstrapLabs
  • 5:45pm – 6:00pm: “Bringing AI in the Enterprise – Legal Considerations”, Natalie A. Pierce, Partner, Littler
  • 6:00pm – 6:20pm: “Scaling your Enterprise Conversational Knowledge”, Jonathan Eisenzopf, CEO, Discourse.ai
  • 6:20pm – 6:40pm: “Corporate Culture 2.0”, Sabrina Atienza, Co-Founder & CEO, Stealth Mode Startup
  • 6:40pm – 7:30pm: “Applied AI and Human Capital Panel + Q&A”, moderated by Debi Hirshlag, Advisor and former VP, HR at Workday, Flex, Trimble & Ariba
  • 7:15pm – 8:00pm: Networking Reception

Speakers:

Ben Levy, Co-Founder & Managing Partner, BootstrapLabs

Jonathan Eisenzopf, CEO, Discourse.ai

Natalie A. Pierce, Partner, Littler

 

Sabrina Atienza, Co-Founder & CEO, Stealth Mode Startup

Debi Hirshlag, Advisor and former VP, HR at Workday, Flex, Trimble & Ariba

Thank You To Our Host

Image result for littler mendelson logo

b.telligent and BootstrapLabs partner to accelerate the adoption of AI technology among German and Swiss Corporations

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, US and MUNICH, GERMANY, Dec. 20th, 2018 /PRNewswire/ – b.telligent, a Munich and Zurich based premier data science and business intelligence management consulting company, and BootstrapLabs, a Silicon Valley based venture capital firm focused on Applied Artificial Intelligence, today announced the formation of a strategic partnership to accelerate the deployment of AI technology among b.telligent’s existing and future corporate customers.

Accenture estimates that AI has the potential to boost rates of profitability by an average of 38% and could lead to an economic boost of US$14 trillion by 2035 globally. With so much at stake, and a possible reallocation of wealth from traditional players to digital first players, Germany and Switzerland are among the countries with the most to lose if their multinational corporations fall behind during the AI revolution.

“We are excited to partner with b.telligent,” said Nicolai Wadstrom, Founder, CEO, and Managing Partner of BootstrapLabs. “Klaus and Sebastian have assembled a great pool of talent with deep domain knowledge expertise in data warehousing, data management, data science, and data strategy that helps their clients successfully transition into the new data driven world. As such, they represent an ideal partner to roll out some of our portfolio companies’ products across their client base of over 300 companies, and in doing so, accelerate the adoption of innovative AI solutions for Germany and Switzerland, and some of their leading multinational corporations.”

For the past 3 years, BootstrapLabs has been exclusively investing in Applied AI technologies and has assembled an exciting portfolio of 22 companies, each looking to solve hard and meaningful problems in multibillion dollar industries.

“Startups often waste time and capital figuring out which of the several large corporations they are talking to today i) can quickly and fairly evaluate their solution, ii) has the budget to purchase their solution in the next 3-6 months, and iii) is ready to scale that solution across their entire organization,” said Benjamin Levy, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of BootstrapLabs.

“b.telligent is in an incredible position to accelerate BootstrapLabs’ portfolio companies’ revenue generation, as we not only have our customers’ trust (such as Telefónica, Car2Go, Puma or BSH), but we have an intimate understanding of their readiness level as well as often act as an extension of their team, managing the very data that is required for these AI solutions to become valuable to our clients,” said Sebastian Amtage, Managing Director of b.telligent.

“We believe that Artificial Intelligence poses a large threat, as well as unprecedented opportunity for every company, and we look forward to working closely with BootstrapLabs, their portfolio companies, and their large community of AI experts to support our customers on their journey to apply Artificial Intelligence,” said Klaus Blaschek, Co-Founder and Managing Director of b.telligent.

 

Media Contact

 

BootstrapLabs

press@bootstraplabs.com

 

b.telligent GmbH & Co. KG

pr@btelligent.com

Greta Wenske

 

About BootstrapLabs

Founded in 2008, BootstrapLabs is a leading Venture Capital firm based in Silicon Valley and focused on Applied Artificial Intelligence. We invest in founders that dream big and are solving today’s hardest problems by applying artificial intelligence to shape a better future for all.

BootstrapLabs works closely with some the world’s most prominent families and their multinational corporations to actively invest in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) startups targeting large global markets including Industrial Manufacturing, Transportation, Logistics, FinTech, Enterprise Productivity, Cybersecurity, and Healthcare.

BootstrapLabs is often the first institutional money and acts as a lead investor in the early stages, with follow-on capital at the growth stages.

Select portfolio companies include AEye, Mendel, Qurious, Vidora, Sibly, Myia Labs, Indus.ai, iUNU, SmartEar, Nodle.io, Roger, Prezi, Pryon, Trusted Insight, and AngelList.

BootstrapLabs leverages its large community of over 40,000 Applied AI experts, entrepreneurs, and developers to support its portfolio companies and investment strategies.

For more information visit: https://bootstraplabs.com

 

About b.telligent

b.telligent is considered one of the market leaders in Germany for business intelligence consulting projects. The main objective of b.telligent is to enable clients to tackle the challenges of the present and upcoming digital transformation. In order to meet those challenges, it is important for b.telligent to support its clients in the deployment of some of the most advanced data science techniques such as artificial intelligence and machine learning while at the same time ensuring these ventures are based on solid data fundamentals.

Additionally, b.telligent continuously strives to optimize clients business processes by applying knowledge gained through consolidation and analysis of business information all resulting in increased margins, lowered cost and improved risk management.

Our customers are leaders in their sectors, such as telecommunications, financial services, trade, and the industry. Since 2004, over 300 clients have benefited from our “data-first” approach. With over 160 employees spread across six offices, we are passionate about joining our clients in establishing and advancing their data-driven business models.

For more information visit: https://btelligent.com

BootstrapLabs AAI18 Keynote and Fireside Chat – Death of Moore’s Law

Over the next several weeks we’ll be releasing the videos from the sessions from the BootstrapLabs Applied AI Conference 2018. The yearly conference organized by BootstrapLabs, a leading Venture Capital firm focused on Applied AI, that brings together over 800 members of the Artificial Intelligence community for a day of incredible speakers and exciting conversations.

Speakers:

  • Tom Campbell, Founder & President, FutureGrasp, LLC
  • Madhav Thattai, Chief Operating Officer, Rigetti Computing
  • Sateesh Kumar, Founder, Pathtronic

During this session, the speakers discussed the future of computing in the age of AI, Neuromorphic and Quantum computing and edge use cases and applications.

Some of the key takeaways from the session are:

  • The death of Moore’s Law as originally define has given birth to a variety of them depending on the technology leveraged: neuromorphic, quantum, among others.
  • There’s a shift in the industry from bigger companies to focus on creating their own use-case-specific chip architecture.
  • We need to bring more power to edge computing to really provide AI solutions that work and leverage insights in real time.

About Tom Campbell:
Thomas A. Campbell, Ph.D.is the founder and president of FutureGrasp, which advises organizations on trends and impact of emerging technologies, and a special advisor to BootstrapLabs. Prior to this, Tom was the first National Intelligence Officer for Technology with the National Intelligence Council. Tom holds a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering Sciences from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and a B.E. in Mechanical Engineering from Vanderbilt University.

About Madhav Thattai:
Madhav Thattai is the COO of Rigetti Computing, a full-stack quantum computing company based in Berkeley, California. Prior to joining Rigetti in 2015, Madhav worked at Dell Computing for eight years in a variety of roles, most recently as Director of Product Operations. Madhav holds a Master’s degree in management from Stanford University, a Master’s degree in industrial engineering from the University of Michigan, and a Bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Birla Institute of Technology and Science in India.

About Sateesh Kumar:
Sateesh is the Founder and CEO of Pathtronic Inc, a silicon valley start-up company focused on building revolutionary AI Processing Unit. Sateesh is a visionary and seasoned entrepreneurial executive and innovator with broad technology background. He has been advisor to multiple corporations, start-ups, incubators, and universities in the area of AI, Autonomous Vehicles and Drones, and more. As a former innovation and incubation executive at Cisco, he pioneered and led various initiatives in the area of IOT, Automotive and Connected Vehicles, Industrial Switching and Automation, Smart Cities, Mobile and Wireless, Fog Computing, Big Data and Machine Learning and more. Prior to Cisco, he founded and led multiple Silicon Valley venture funded start-ups. He has published extensively in international journals including IEEE/ACM and holds dozens of granted patents.

Banish the Darkness with Artificial Intelligence

The Need

Most everything we do in life requires electricity. Transportation, farming, homes, businesses, computing—they all necessitate the efficient movement of electrons from a power production source to an energy use site¹. Unfortunately, since Thomas Alva Edison first illuminated a Menlo Park street in 1879 – thus banishing the darkness 2 – the  demands humanity has placed upon energy utilities have skyrocketed and consequently at least parts of our energy grid have become brittle and prone to failure. Moreover, the complexity of operating local, regional and national systems that are susceptible to cyber-attacks has made electricity a critical topic for national security.

World population has quintupled since the first sustained artificial light in the late 1800s. With more than 7.6 billion people now teeming on our planet and all of us needing increasing amounts of energy 4, we cannot rely anymore on simple dynamo generators creating electricity and sending it straight to the desired location. On the contrary, our electricity grids are highly complex with numerous power sources (coal, gas, oil, nuclear, and renewables—biomass, solar, wind); switching and amplifying stations; transformers; above and below ground wiring; and storage batteries. Unsurprisingly, even considering conservative trends, our energy use is growing rapidly:

“In the New Policies Scenario, global energy needs rise more slowly than in the past but still expand by 30% between today and 2040. This is the equivalent of adding another China and India to today’s global demand.” 5

Moreover, our already highly electrified society will become even more dependent on charged electrons with new technologies. The Internet of Things (IoT), which requires cloud and edge computing at massive scale, is forecasted to exceed 75 billion devices connected to the internet by 2025 (up from 23 billion presently).6 Research into autonomous vehicles is rapidly approaching deployment stages. Testing underway in Phoenix, AZ and Pittsburgh, PA may be halted temporarily because of bad algorithms causing accidents or irregular policies, but other countries are not waiting around for the United States to perfect driverless cars. China is building cities specifically designed for autonomous vehicles.The Hyperloop – Elon Musk’s dream of accelerating people and cargo in a vacuum tube to near the speed of sound – is being tested in the United States and Europe.8

Population growth is also spurring construction of whole cities from scratch; examples abound in Asia. China plans on constructing a new city the size of Chicago (2.7 million people) with the latest technologies, and thus high energy demands.5 With support from Singapore, the Indian state Andhra Pradesh is building a new capital. “It will be a stupendous 7,235 square kilometres, 10 times the size of Singapore’s own 716 square kilometres.”9

The Risks

With so much riding on our need for energy, we must avoid costly failures. For example, when one author [TAC] worked in the semiconductor industry, the great Northeast Blackout of 2003 was tripped only a few miles from the production facility where he worked. The source of the power failure was overgrown tree branches that had fallen on a transformer. Normally, this would have remained a local issue, but the lead utility failed to react quickly enough to disengage the switches to other grids, thus causing a cascading, multi-grid failure for 50 million people from Ohio to New York to southeast Canada. People were trapped in subway cars and elevators for hours; cell phone service was disrupted for millions. 10 11

Perhaps even more dangerous than a lack of sensors on the grid and failed switches is the looming possibility of a cyber-attack targeting fragile points in the electrical system. Industry is spending billions in its attempts to strengthen cybersecurity of the brittle grid.12 “U.S. utilities will spend a cumulative $7.25 billion in security from now until 2020, with distribution automation assets as the core focus.”13 Grid security is a major issue within the US Government; simulations of cyber-attacks are routinely done by groups such as DOE and DHS.14 15

While a completely failure-proof grid may be impossible with the moving demand target caused by new technologies online and rapidly growing electricity demands, companies and government agencies must nevertheless do their best to anticipate and to prevent both accidental and nefarious situations before they happen. This presents a unique opportunity to engage newly accelerated capabilities of computers, especially artificial intelligence (AI).

The Opportunities

A core challenge with global electrical grids is their growing complexity. Growing exabytes of data from billions of IoT sensors, coupled with too-fast-for-humans reaction speeds required by increasing power demands, make a purely human-controlled electrical grid impossible. To sustain our growing needs, we must resort to a more digitalized approach.

There has been much talk recently about the so-called “smart grid,” defined as an electricity supply network that uses digital communications technology to detect and react to local changes in usage. 16 A smart grid has three major facets: data from sensors, computational power and optimized algorithms. Let us discuss the third point in detail.

Algorithm development has progressed in concert with Moore’s Law – the doubling of the number of transistors on a given semiconductor chip roughly every two years. In the early days of computers, there were a limited number of programming languages – Basic, Fortran, C/C++, Cobol, etc. Nowadays, companies such as Google develop their own proprietary operating systems as a routine course of smart business action. Increasingly, those algorithms are leveraging the power of AI.

While there are many definitions for AI, it can be defined simply as the ability of a machine to perform tasks commonly executed by a human. 17 AI is presently the hottest ICT 18 market sector. PwC estimates that global GDP will increase $15.7 trillion (a +14% boost compared to today) by 2030 as a result of AI. 19 20 Such a huge economic contribution cannot be understated, and organizations are investing aggressively accordingly. Venture capital funding pumped almost $5 billion into AI startups in 2017 alone. 21 AI has become a top corporate spending priority, with many hundreds of billions of dollars devoted to nabbing top talent and to securing algorithmic leadership. 22 There is a global race among governments to capture the title of AI world leader.  23

The reason for this flood of venture capital, corporate and government funding is that AI can solve problems far faster than humans, and in some cases solve problems that no human can. While we humans are smarter than any other living being on Earth, we are still rather dumb when it comes to absorbing and processing quickly vast amounts of data. The human mind is limited also to mostly working on a single task; despite some claims, we are generally horrible at multitasking. 24 Computers don’t have those limitations.

How might AI help the energy sector? We suggest there are two primary means by which advanced AI algorithms can improve efficiency, enhance safety, and improve the bottom line for energy utilities: grid optimization and cybersecurity.

Grid Optimization. To reap the benefits of the smart grid, AI will be a true necessity. “AI will be the brain of this future smart grid. The technology will continuously collect and synthesize overwhelming amounts of data from millions of smart sensors nationwide to make timely decisions on how to best allocate energy resources. Additionally, the advances made from ‘deep learning’ algorithms, a system where machines learn on their own from spotting patterns and anomalies in large data sets, will revolutionize both the demand and supply side of the energy economy.” 25

A challenge for utilities is maintaining consistent power. When there is a sudden increase in demand, the go-to reaction for utilities is to power-up ‘peaker plants’ that run on fossil fuels, generally natural gas. 26 Able to be turned-on within minutes of the detection of a demand spike – for example, due to increased air conditioning or heating requirements from a weather front moving through an area – peaker plants are unfortunately terribly inefficient and polluting. AI might assist in diminishing the use of peaker plants by leveraging advanced forecasting capabilities – for example, considering weather forecasts, regional demand cycles, and smart meter sensors in a single holistic package. The solution of such multidimensional problems is a strength of AI over humans. Such efforts could save utilities significant funds that they could funnel into further grid improvements.

One recent success story in using AI for energy optimization is that of Google’s deployment of algorithms to reduce electricity consumption in their server farms. Google has thousands of data centers worldwide to run search, store and process emails, etc. Those countless banks of GPUs 27 and memory storage systems consume tremendous amounts of electricity and tend to overheat. Because of their increasing presence and inherent inefficiencies, it is estimated that 2% of the world’s energy is consumed by data centers. 28 Both to save costs and to show-off its earlier purchase of the British AI startup DeepMind, Google decided to test AI in improving the cooling efficiency of their computer banks. “The autonomous AI control system initially led to a 12 percent improvement, which over nine months of operation increased to around a 30 percent improvement, with further improvements expected over time as its decisions are improved by having more training data. Google said in the long term that there is potential to apply the technology in other industrial settings.”29

Finally, AI can assist in converting incoming power to be acceptable to a grid. Every energy utility has a mix of power sources that it taps to provide its customer base their electricity. That mix is optimized based on price and, more recently, social perception for use of renewables. A challenge with multiple power sources – natural gas, oil, coal, nuclear, renewables – is to seamlessly integrate them all into the single grid. For example, wind and solar power sources require special converters to enable them to plug into the grid. “The high penetration of renewable energy systems is calling for new more stringent grid requirements. As a consequence, the grid converters should be able to exhibit advanced functions like dynamic control of active and reactive power, operation within a wide range of voltage and frequency, voltage ride-through capability, reactive current injection during faults, and grid services support.”30 AI could assist with energy conversion from renewables by leveraging deep learning to identify key performance optimization criteria and thus enable efficient uptake of the generated power into the smart grid.

Cybersecurity. Ironically, the very action of creating a smart grid makes it more vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Standardizing hardware and software, as well as creating a high degree of connectivity, enables hackers easier access to the grid through a greater variety of means. Programmed backdoors, firmware chip hacks, and even fake chips on motherboards 31 can all compromise the security of a given system.

Humans are inherently limited in what we can accomplish in cybersecurity. Our minds require rest, eating, drinking, etc.; cyber-attack bots require none of that. Thus, even though we might have the best intentions to be ever-diligent in the face of malware or phishing attacks, eventually we will slip up and allow nefarious actors access to sensitive computer systems.

Four years ago, seeing the rapid advances occurring in AI and knowing the challenges of human-centered cybersecurity, one author [TAC] forecasted that soon cybersecurity would enter the realm of “AI vs. AI,” i.e., AI algorithms would be both sources of attacks and defense. We are close to that time now. In the last few years, there has been a surge of interest in coupling the powers of AI, especially deep learning, to cybersecurity. 32 Thousands of companies globally now claim some form of AI in their cybersecurity offerings. Although it is debatable whether all these startups and corporate entities are truly using AI (some startups treat “AI” as a form of pixie dust—sprinkle it in a pitch in attempts to get funding), it makes sense to leverage the powers of learning algorithms to monitor and to react to cyber-attacks.

Ultimately, using AI for cybersecurity may not be just a choice but an imperative in the energy industry. In the United States, the complexity of the grid—with more than 8,000 power plants, 200,000 miles of high-voltage transmission lines, and 5.5 million miles of local distribution lines 33 34—necessitates that even local utilities must think hard about how they monitor their systems for intrusive cyber-attacks.

The Means

So how do utilities leverage the power (no pun intended) of AI? One challenge for cash-strapped utilities is that AI experts are in such demand that a starting salary for a star AI programmer can exceed seven dollar figures35. Thus, a more cost-effective approach may be partnerships among established startups and corporate entities that already have in-house expertise in AI. One such partnership was announced recently between BootstrapLabs (a leading venture capital firm focused on Applied AI in San Francisco) and innogy SE (a leading Germany energy company):

“BootstrapLabs and the innogy Innovation Hub will coordinate globally to build the largest artificial intelligence community for energy ecosystems, and provide a combination of capital and support to Applied AI startups that reimagine the future of energy production, distribution and management across decentralized and interconnected energy services for consumers, machines, enterprises, and public sector agencies.” 36

Sebastian Niestrath, SVP Infrastructure Platform Ventures at innogy New Ventures LLC, further clarified: “The need to interpret massive amounts of data and use AI-supported algorithms for grid operations is becoming increasingly important, especially in Germany – where electricity from renewable sources has pretty much quadrupled during the last 15 years and where millions of solar panels are now installed on residential buildings.” Moreover, with the California Energy Commission unanimously voting 5-0 in favor of mandating that all single-family homes, apartments and condominium complexes of three stories or less require solar panels as of January 2020, California will quickly follow suit in the need for AI-supported algorithms for grid operations.

Further such engagements among all major energy players – including utilities, AI experts, and local/regional/national governments – will be imperative as grid demands and threats increase.

The Future

As our population continues to grow and more technology gets plugged into existing grids, it will be incumbent upon utilities to increase efficiencies to remain cost-effective and to avoid grid failures. Moreover, the growing threat from cyber-attacks will demand that power companies better protect their grids from nefarious actors. AI is one approach that can significantly help utilities move into this challenging world. Opportunities will be strong and risks could be minimized for those leaders who embrace the capabilities of advanced computation.


Authors

Thomas A. Campbell, Special Advisor, BootstrapLabs and Founder of FutureGrasp, LLC

Thomas A. Campbell, Ph.D., is Founder and President of FutureGrasp, LLC (https://www.futuregrasp.com/), which advises organizations worldwide on trends and implications of emerging technologies.

Thomas is also serving as Special Advisor of BootstrapLabs, for Applied AI intellectual propriety development as well as assisting BootstrapLabs to expand its network reach and meet new opportunities into government sectors.

From February 2015 to August 2017, he was the first National Intelligence Officer for Technology (NIO-TECH) with the National Intelligence Council (NIC) in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI). Tom’s insights have informed senior policymakers, enabled millions of dollars in industry and academic funding, broken ground in multiple new research areas, and kept diverse groups abreast of the rapid pace and implications of technology change.

Dr. Campbell is focused on emerging & disruptive science and technologies, especially identifying, tracking, forecasting and implications. He has extensive experience in government, academia, and industry – nationally and internationally. More about Tom at this link here.

Nicolai Wadstrom, Founder & CEO, BootstrapLabs

Nicolai is the Founder, CEO and Managing Partner of BootstrapLabs, a leading venture capital firm, based in Silicon Valley and focused on Applied Artificial Intelligence.

Nicolai has spent all of his professional life building technology companies. He started his first business at the age of 15 in the late 1980s and in 2008 he founded BootstrapLabs to build a scalable investment platform focused on being the most valuable partner for entrepreneurs to build successful companies.

With decades of operational and entrepreneurial experience, and having invested in, advised, and mentored over 30 companies, Nicolai works with investment decisions, and post investment mentorship to support scaling for BootstrapLabs’ portfolio companies.

BootstrapLabs is a Venture Capital company focused on Applied Artificial Intelligence that combines Venture Capital and Human Capital to build companies that define our future.

BootstrapLabs unique Venture Builder platform provides all the resources top-tier entrepreneurs need to take their companies from innovation to a Scalable Product Market Fit and from there to growth.

Prior to BootstrapLabs, Nicolai among other things founded a cutting edge Enterprise Software company (in the ECM and EAI space), he also co-founded and IPO’d the first CFD/FSB trading platform in the Nordics, and pioneered Virtual Reality in 1996. More about Nicolai at this link.


References:

  1. “Power is the capacity to use Energy…Power is like the strength of a weightlifter and Energy is the measure of how long he can sustain the output of power…Power is ‘watt’ and Energy is ‘watt-hour’.” http://www.differencebetween.net/science/difference-between-energy-and-power/#ixzz5Sze5vPtN 
  2. C. Klein, (December 17, 2014), “When Edison Turned Night into Day,” History, https://www.history.com/news/when-edison-turned-night-into-day
  3. “World Population by Year,” http://www.worldometers.info/world-population/world-population-by-year/
  4. The population considered in the middle class, and thus more prominent consumers of energy, is exploding globally. H. Kharas, February 17, 2017, “The unprecedented expansion of the global middle class,” Brookings, https://www.brookings.edu/research/the-unprecedented-expansion-of-the-global-middle-class-2/  
  5. “World Energy Outlook 2017,” https://www.iea.org/weo2017/
  6. “Internet of Things (IoT) connected devices installed base worldwide from 2015 to 2025 (in billions),” https://www.statista.com/statistics/471264/iot-number-of-connected-devices-worldwide/
  7. Kai-Fu Lee, “AI Super-Powers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order,” 2018, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Boston.
  8. Hawkins, April 15, 2018, “World’s third hyperloop test track is now under construction,” The Verge, https://www.theverge.com/2018/4/15/17235262/hyperloop-transportation-technologies-test-track-france
  9. C. Cram, January 7, 2015, “Why Singapore is building a new Indian city 10 times its own size,” The Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com/public-leaders-network/2015/jan/07/singapore-building-india-city-andhra-pradesh
  10. History Editors, August 21, 2018, “2003 Blackout hits Northeast United States,” This Day in History, https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/blackout-hits-northeast-united-states
  11. The plant where [TAC] worked had diesel generators that kicked-in immediately upon the power loss to avoid thousands of dollars per hour of manufacturing losses. The plant manager nevertheless called FirstEnergy Corporation quickly to find out what happened and when power would be restored. Their unbelievable initial response was, “Don’t worry, we’re on it. We’re watching CNN right now to figure out what happened.”
  12. C. Douris, September 21, 2017, “Utilities Will Spend Billions On Cybersecurity As Threat Grows,” Forbes, https://www.forbes.com/sites/constancedouris/2017/09/21/utilities-will-spend-billions-on-cybersecurity-as-threat-grows/#2dbe47b26cfe
  13. J. St. John, April 17, 2013, “Report: US Smart Grid Cybersecurity Spending to Reach $7.25B by 2020,” GTM, https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/report-u-s-smart-grid-cybersecurity-spending-to-reach-7-25b-by-2020#gs.ZB7iBm8
  14. Department of Energy, Department of Homeland Security
  15. G. Bade, August 7, 2018, “Report: DOE, DHS planning new grid cybersecurity exercise this fall,” Utility Dive, https://www.utilitydive.com/news/report-doe-dhs-planning-new-grid-cybersecurity-exercise-this-fall/529518/
  16. https://www.google.com/ 
  17. Marr, February 14, 2018, “The Key Definitions Of Artificial Intelligence (AI) That Explain Its Importance,” Forbes, https://www.forbes.com/sites/bernardmarr/2018/02/14/the-key-definitions-of-artificial-intelligence-ai-that-explain-its-importance/#15b1f7be4f5d
  18. Information and Communication Technologies
  19. “Sizing the prize – PwC’s Global Artificial Intelligence Study: Exploiting the AI Revolution,” 2017, https://www.pwc.com/gx/en/issues/data-and-analytics/publications/artificial-intelligence-study.html
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  21. J.D. Rowley, March 2, 2018, “Venture Funding Into AI And Machine Learning Levels Off As Tech Matures,” CrunchBase, https://news.crunchbase.com/news/venture-funding-ai-machine-learning-levels-off-tech-matures/
  22. Seitz, April 6, 2018, “Artificial Intelligence Becoming Top Corporate Spending Priority,” Investors Business Daily, https://www.investors.com/news/technology/artificial-intelligence-ai-spending/
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  26. “Peaking Power Plant,” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peaking_power_plant
  27. Graphics Processing Units, the current workhorse for deep learning AI.
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  29. Ranger, August 20, 2018, “ Google just put an AI in charge of keeping its data centers cool,” ZDNet, https://www.zdnet.com/article/google-just-put-an-ai-in-charge-of-keeping-its-data-centers-cool/
  30. Teodorescu, 2011, “Grid Converters for Photovoltaic and Wind Power Systems 1st Edition,” John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., https://www.amazon.com/Grid-Converters-Photovoltaic-Power-Systems/dp/0470057513
  31. Robertson, M. Riley, October 4, 2018, “The Big Hack: How China Used a Tiny Chip to Infiltrate U.S. Companies,” Bloomberg Businessweek, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2018-10-04/the-big-hack-how-china-used-a-tiny-chip-to-infiltrate-america-s-top-companies?srnd=premium&mod=djemceocouncil
  32. “Applied AI Conference 2018 – Panel – Applied AI and Cybersecurity – Making the Enterprise More Secure,” BootstrapLabs, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ckuyHpyA00
  33. December 8, 2017, “How many power plants are there in the United States?,” https://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.php?id=65&t=2
  34. J. Weeks, April 28, 2010, “U.S. Electrical Grid Undergoes Massive Transition to Connect to Renewables,” Scientific American, https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/what-is-the-smart-grid/
  35. C. Metz, April 19, 2018, “A.I. Researchers Are Making More Than $1 Million, Even at a Nonprofit,” New York Times, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/19/technology/artificial-intelligence-salaries-openai.html
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