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March 2016

Important Conclusions from recent AI Milestones: Deep Learning Is Going to Teach Us All the Lesson of Our Lives: Jobs Are for Machines (Scott Santens)

Good quote to get those unfamiliar with the concept a better understanding: “The power of deep learning is that it’s a way of using massive amounts of data to get machines to operate more like we do without giving them explicit instructions.”

Source: Deep Learning Is Going to Teach Us All the Lesson of Our Lives: Jobs Are for Machines — Basic income — Medium

Facebook’s Messenger Bot Store could be the most important launch since the App Store (TechCrunch)

If Facebook announces the “Messenger Bot Store” at F8, as many predict, it would be arguably the most consequential event for the tech industry since Apple announced the App Store and iPhone SDK in March 2008.

Even Steve Jobs could not have foreseen the impact of what he described as “a new application that lets users browse, search, purchase and download third party applications directly onto their iPhone”…

Source: Facebook’s Messenger Bot Store could be the most important launch since the App Store | TechCrunch

Putting lots of random AI Thoughts into Perspective: Everything You Know About Artificial Intelligence is Wrong (George Dvorsky)

It was hailed as the most significant test of machine intelligence since Deep Blue defeated Garry Kasparov in chess nearly 20 years ago. Google’s AlphaGo has won two of the first three games against grandmaster Lee Sedol in a Go tournament, showing the dramatic extent to which AI has improved over the years. That fateful day when machines finally become smarter than humans has never appeared closer—yet we seem no closer in grasping the implications of this epochal event.


Source: Everything You Know About Artificial Intelligence is Wrong

Great Deep-Dive: Understanding Customer Acquisition Costs (Rob Moffat)

An area I have wrestled with as a VC over the last five years is how to really understand the unit economics of businesses. The basic concept of LTV>CPA (lifetime value greater than cost to acquire) is pretty simple. The complexity comes when you try to work out what will happen to these economics as the business scales.

I’m not going to get into lifetime value calculations here, as it is well covered elsewhere e.g. by Bill Gurley here. Where I’d like to focus is on CPA.

Often as a VC you are presented with a headline CPA figure and nothing more. This can look good on the surface but mask underlying issues. For example…

Source: Understanding Customer Acquisition Costs  — Growth Hacking, Marketing and Venture Capital — Medium

Good overview of low-power local radio networks for IoT: Meet the WAN alternatives Sigfox, LoRaWAN & Weightless (Ninu Mohan, Keleno)

WAN is an emerging technology that offers several benefits compared to traditional technologies. Wireless network technologies such as WiFi, ZigBee, Bluetooth etc can handle only consumer applications of the Internet of Things (IoT), but many industrial, civic, and other IoT applications need to operate over vastly greater territory than these technologies. Even-though cellular and satellite machine-to-machine (M2M) technologies have traditionally filled this gap, but cost, power,and scalability concerns make these choices less appealing for the future. A number of low- power,wide-area networking (LP-WAN) alternatives have arisen that need careful consideration to address these wide-ranging IoT applications…

Source: Shaping the Future with WAN alternatives : Sigfox, LoRaWAN & Weightless – Keleno

Great Piece of Ground Work: All about Network Effects Presentation (Anu Hariharan, Andreesen Horowitz)

Network effects. It’s one of the most important concepts for business in general and especially for tech businesses, as it’s the key dynamic behind many successful software-based companies. Understanding network effects not only helps build better products, but it helps build moats and protect software companies against competitors’ eating away at their margins.

Yet what IS a network effect? How do we untangle the nuances of ‘network effects’ with ‘marketplaces’ and ‘platforms’? What’s the difference between network effects, virality, supply-side economies of scale? And how do we know a company has network effects? …

Source: All about Network Effects – Andreessen Horowitz

Good FinTech Read: 8 Ways That The Blockchain Will Change Mobile Payments (John Rampton)

Two of the most interesting, and booming, developments in the payments industry are mobile payments and the rise of the blockchain. But, what happens when these two trends combine in order to make a more secure, speedy, and effective way to pay for goods and transfer funds?

Source: 8 Ways That The Blockchain Will Change Mobile Payments — Medium

Pretty good overview and thoughts on: The Messaging Landscape in 2016 (Ben Eidelson)

There’s a surge of excitement around messaging as a new platform and the idea of ‘Conversational Commerce’. There are a number of great pieces and podcasts that have been published documenting and forecasting the new ways we will see messaging used in 2016. I recommend reading them all. What I would like to add to the conversation is the why, how, and who will get us there. This is my snapshot of why messaging is so interesting and a map to help understand the stack. There is a lot to cover, so this is broken up into three sections…

Source: The Messaging Landscape in 2016 — Medium

Good Read on a very important Topic: A Future Without Jobs? Two Views of the Changing Work Force (

In the utopian (dystopian?) future projected by technological visionaries, few people would have to work. Wealth would be generated by millions upon millions of sophisticated machines. But how would people earn a living?

Silicon Valley has an answer: a universal basic income. But what does that have to do with today’s job market, with many Americans squeezed by globalization and technological change?

Two columnists for Business Day, Farhad Manjoo, who writes State of the Art on Thursdays, and Eduardo Porter, author of Economic Scene on Wednesdays, have just taken on these issues in different ways. So we brought them together for a conversation to help sharpen the debate about America’s economic future…

Source: A Future Without Jobs? Two Views of the Changing Work Force –

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