Clarifai Mobile SDK – Machine Learning On The Phone

Our portfolio company Clarifai introduced something exciting yesterday.

It is a mobile SDK that any developer can put into their mobile app and it will allow for machine learning on the device:

Machine learning (the process by which computers can get smarter through data examples instead of explicit programming) requires massive computational power, the kind usually found in clusters of computer servers in massive datacenters (ooooh, the cloud). This means that machine learning technology is usually only available to those who can connect to the cloud.

Not anymore! Clarifai’s Mobile SDK gives users the power to train and use AI in the palms of their hands by installing machine learning capability directly on their devices, bypassing the traditional requirement of internet connectivity and massive computing power. After all, these days we have tiny supercomputers in our pockets – our mobile phones. Starting with an iOS SDK, Clarifai is on a mission to make user experiences uniquely personalized on any device from your cellphone to your toaster, anywhere in the world.

Here’s a slideshow that explains how this works:

Net Neutrality Day Of Action

Today, July 12th, is the Net Neutrality Day Of Action.

More than 70,000 websites, online services, and Internet users are participating including Twitter, Amazon, Netflix, Kickstarter, Etsy, Reddit, OK Cupid, Airbnb, Facebook, Google, Spotify, Soundcloud, Mozilla and AVC.

The grassroots power of the Internet is how we won the strong net neutrality rules that are now in place and are threatened by the new leadership at the FCC. The big telcos have their people in power now. But we can keep fighting with our grassroots efforts. They have worked in the past and I hope they will continue to work to keep the Internet an open and level playing field for everyone.

If you want to participate with your website, blog, or social media profile, go here and join this online protest.

A Visit To Crypto Valley

I blogged about Crypto Valley yesterday (aka Zug Switzerland).

Well it turns out that a couple of AVC community members (Ken Berger and Jeremy Epstein) have put together a three day trip to Zug on August 14-16. Details are here.

Ken Berger wrote this in his post yesterday:

Our target attendee participants are enthusiasts already well-versed in decentralizing internet technologies, including blockchain, crypto-currencies and beyond. We’ve already confirmed some VC’s and hackers, but other deep thinkers and some simply curious will likely make the list too; will be a great group. The event is free of charge. And hey, it’s gorgeous Switzerland in summer.

Unfortunately, we are very limited in spaces. To indicate interest as a participant (or speaker, or host), feel free to message me or use the instructions on the event’s post.

I will not be making this pilgrimage but I suspect some of you may be interested in doing so.

Jurisdictional Competition

The economist Paul Romer introduced me to the idea of jurisdictional competition about ten years ago and I’ve been fascinated with it since. His TED Talk about charter cities from 2009 is a good primer on the concept.

The basic idea of jurisdictional competition is countries, cities, and regions can compete economically with each other by adopting more favorable laws and social norms.

We are actually seeing this play out right now in the crypto sector with the Swiss Canton of Zug becoming the preferred location to domicile a crypto-currency business.

Zug has even taken to calling itself Crypto Valley.

We have watched the blockchain companies in our portfolio struggle to adapt their business models, financing approaches, and more to US laws. We have been working with them to come up with creative ways that they can continue to operate in the US while executing the crypto playbook. It has been quite challenging. Many have advocated just moving the businesses to Zug, like so many others have done. And that may happen. We are for whatever is best for the founder and the business they create and have no preference for US domiciled companies. We have invested in Canadian companies, Estonian companies, French companies, Dutch companies, German companies, and likely a lot more. Investing in a Swiss domiciled company or foundation would not be a big deal for us.

The crypto playbook is a disruptive one. It is not a new way to raise money. It is a new way to architect a business. The profit motive is flipped upside down. You extract profits with your currency, not your business model. They are so many institutions, laws, even governments that look at that playbook and freak out. There has been pressure for years to rein the crypto sector in. And many rules and laws have been passed. And yet the crypto sector continues to flourish. Some of that is because it is, like the Internet, a global technology that knows no borders. Some of that is because lawmakers and regulators have been wise to tread carefully. And some of that is because nobody wants to drive this sector out of their city or country.

And yet that might happen anyway. It is already happening. And the US, and Silicon Valley in particular, have the most to lose if it does.

Feature Friday: Make Your Own Moment

Twitter Moments initially launched as a consume only service. But at some point, I’m not sure exactly when, Moments was opened up and anyone can create one now.

I created my first Moment just now.

You go to your Twitter profile, click Moments, and then click “Create New Moments.”

Then you can curate the Tweets you have liked, you have sent, and from accounts you like, into a single stream.

I decided to curate some of the music tweets that have hit my timeline this week.

Here’s my first Moment (click here to see it on Twitter):