Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Artificial Intelligence Opportunities

I'm an Artificial Intelligence (AI) and technology (in general) optimist. That means I believe the positive outcomes will outweigh the negatives. AI is a type of new tech with significant potential to reduce or eliminate mundane (or even interesting) human operations such as checking out products purchased in person shopping, driving a car, working in a warehouse, identifying skin conditions, and many more. Since my last blog post we've seen Dall-E 2, Stable Diffusion, self driving cars and ChatGPT moving from experimental phases into real world operations.

I'm not naive, with any significant advancement of society we have seen associated downsides and AI will not be without valid detractors. I'm still waiting for an AI company to drastically address the challenges we see in cyber security from hiring/training, automating data analysis, detecting threats, remediating systems, or conducting investigation. It's happening slowly, although the marketers have been hyping it for almost a decade now. 

Some people are afraid of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and losing jobs or worse, some sort of digitally induced Armageddon. There's lots of reasons for this, we have centuries of history where people claim we will run out of food, or assembly lines mean humans are not needed anymore. And while technology has meant many orders of magnitude improvements in productivity and quality of life, it has also yielded weapons and digital addictions.

As an investor I'm investing in AI focused or enabled companies more often now (firms like Piction Health and Spiky). I love how the field is automating the mundane, unlocking new capabilities and has transformative potential to address challenges in society. From enabling first time entrepreneurs to rapidly build a no-code system, or software engineers to produce more code in the same time (and be happier!), or people to be productive while their car drives themselves (and reducing fatalities at the same time!) there is a lot to love. 

There are numerous areas of application with significant potential to improve the human condition. I've decided to focus all my efforts on one area that is less impactful to humanity but nonetheless an exciting opportunity: Sports. By using AI to automate the mundane tasks of collecting stats, recording video of games, editing highlight clips, and analyzing performance we can democratize access to many tools restricted to the wealthy or elite. I've played basketball for over 30 years and all of my children play (and played other sports like Soccer), so my wife and I have served as parents and I've coached for almost 15 years. There is massive potential to improve players, save money, have more fun, and help poorer players get better tools and exposure applying AI (and a specialty/subset field called computer vision.) 

In 2021 I founded SportsVisio, an Sports Technology company using AI/Computer Vision to automatically create stats, highlights and analytics for sporting events. We are starting with Basketball and expanding to other sports over time. I'm excited about our potential to help players, parents and coaches, but for me the goal is really more about building a great company that allows us to drive financial resources to high impact charities. After selling Siege Technologies my wife and I set up a foundation to find and support charities having a tremendous, cost effective impact on the marginalized in society. It's an incredible blessing to get to do so, and motivated me to get "get off the couch" and get back into the game as an entrepreneur to try to grow what we're able to distribute over time. There are still so many needs in the world and a thousand dollars can have massive impact (especially in third world countries.)

It's been fun to work in an area that non-computer science majors like my kids can understand! And wonderful to not have to sell to the 500 overworked Fortune 500 CSOs who are bombarded by sales pitches from cyber security firms around the world. Working in an area with virtually no high-tech competition is different and excited to feel like you're charting new ground. There are many industries that have done things the same way for decades or even centuries that will be disrupted by the rapid advances in AI, I'm looking forward to being in one of them.