Introducing Technically Sentient - A Newsletter on the Tech and Business of A.I.

Posted on July 13, 2015
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The short version is, I have started a newsletter than you don’t want to miss. Go here to sign up.

Now for the longer explanation…

Back in 2002 I started work on a graduate degree in Computer Science, with a focus on Artificial Intelligence. I stopped after 18 months because I didn’t agree with the underlying philosophy of how they taught A.I. It was all top down, command and control stuff, at a time when bottoms up emergent models were just starting to show promise. But for the past 13 years, I have continued to follow the space, read papers, watch companies, etc.

Now that I’ve sold Backupify and have some time, I decided to make A.I. the primary focus of what I do going forward. I just made my first angel investment in Netra, which brings an interesting machine learning approach to video analytics, and I hope to make 20+ angel investments a year in this space. I think that over the next 2 years I can become one of the top angel investor in this area, and get really great deal flow as a result. I think I am better positioned than most early stage VCs to understand the technical and early market risk of many of these companies. Most importantly, I think over the next 5 years the focus of A.I. will move from “Machine Learning” to “Machine Thinking”, and as more higher level work becomes automated, providers of capital into these spaces will get disproportionate economic gains.

But my interest in A.I. is about a lot more than investing. What I love about the space is two things. First, it is a multidisciplinary space. People come to A.I. from Computer Science, Linguistics, Electrical Engineering, Robotics, Philosophy of Mind, Cognitive Science, Neurobiology, Medicine, Cognitive Psychology, and all the other fields you can get by combining those branches of study (e.g. Computational NeuroLinguistics). That cross disciplinary nature makes it incredibly interesting, because I get to follow advances in all kinds of areas.

The second thing I love about A.I. is that it is filled with all kinds of moral, legal, political, and ethical challenges as it moves forward. Building sentient machines will challenge many of our the underlying philosophies on which modern civilization is built, and as someone who is attracted to complex multi-dimensional problems, I think it will be exciting to help companies work through those.

To make sure I stay focused and move forward, I decided to start an email newsletter called Technically Sentient. It will be sent out a few times a month, but at my leisure, not on a regular schedule. It will focus on interesting businesses I’m seeing in the A.I. space (with some Robotics and Neurotechnology discussion as well - as these are the follow on areas of the intelligence revolution). I will also interview key people in the space, and write my own thoughts as well. I have found that writing often helps me clarify what I actually think about a topic, and I am excited to do more of it.

If you are in this part of the tech industry, go sign up. You won’t regret it. And if you are starting a company in the A.I. space, please send me a summary of it. That is where I want to focus my investing.

If you are raising capital for an early stage company that somehow incorporates artificial intelligence, please reach out to me. If you have cool stuff that you think I should include in my newsletter, send it to tips@technicallysentientdotcom.

Also, go here to sign up for my email newsletter.

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