AI: The Promise and the Playbook

Frank Chen
May 22, 2017 · 2 min read

In the summer of 2016, we published a primer on AI, Machine Learning, and Deep Learning that unexpectedly went viral.

Since then, we’ve met with hundreds of people working at Fortune 500/ Global 2000 companies, startups, and government agencies asking: “How do I get started with artificial intelligence?” and “What can I do with AI in my own product or company?”

While there are many excellent tutorials out there that show how to use TensorFlow or the beautiful math behind neural network training, we couldn’t find a broad overview — a “Chapter 0”, if you will — for product managers, line of business leaders, strategists, policymakers, non-AI developers to read first before moving on to more technical materials. So we built a microsite specifically for these AI newcomers, both non-technical and technical. The site is designed as a resource for anyone asking the two questions above, complete with examples and sample code to help get started; no computer science degree required!

We’ve also published a new presentation about the promise of AI. It’s a walkthrough of what companies are doing with AI today and what’s bubbling up from the research community that’s just a few years out from making it into the products we use every day. Along the way, I’ll introduce you to some robots, see if you can tell which tracks are written by AIs or humans, and, more seriously, share how AI is saving lives. I hope the real world examples spark ideas for you on how to use AI in your own organization.

Much like databases are inside just about every important piece of software we use every day, we’re in the early years of putting AI in all our software, an important trend we believe will unfold over the coming years and decades. We can’t wait to see what people do with these powerful computer science techniques.

Microsite: AI playbook
~45 minute presentation with talk track: Promise of AI

Acknowledgements: A big hat tip to our friend Diego Doval (@diegodoval) who built the site, generated most of the code samples, and drafted the text based on some very high level, hand-wavy guidance; as usual, he’s exceeded expectations (thanks, Diego). Thanks also to Michael Wee (@theweester) on my team at a16z for his work on the site. A shout out also to contributors Delip Rao (@deliprao) of Joostware, Mark Palatucci at Anki (@markpalatucci), and a16z editorial partner Sonal Chokshi (@smc90).

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Frank Chen

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Partner at Andreessen Horowitz. Writes about tech, startups, venture investing, science, the future. Likes explaining things. Opinions my own.

Software Is Eating the World

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