A day without AI is like a day without wine

January 23, 2017

As I mentioned in my predictions post, I believe 2017 will be a breakout year for deployment of Artificial Intelligence. By this I mean that AI companies will start to master the processes of expectation management and social engineering in order to bring AI across the chasm of consumer perception. Several VCs smarter than I am have made predictions along these lines, so I am by no means uniquely prescient. I also share the view that AI will become the new mobile, and accordingly have begun familiarizing myself with the variety of startups innovating around AI in Asia.

One such startup, for instance, has developed a clever application for deep learning to improve rice crop yields. By taking photos of their rice fields with their smartphones, farmers can obtain AI-driven analytics and disease diagnoses in real-time in order to optimize usage of pesticides, fertilizers, water, and energy on their crops.

This led me to thinking: would a similar application be appropriate for vineyards? For example, could a winemaker minimize pesticide usage based on an AI-informed recommendation of insect susceptibility? Or perhaps even the harvest date could be optimized? If this field is ripe for innovation, it would seem to me that a startup from one of France’s major wine regions would have some legitimacy in this area.

Happy to hear from anyone working on this.

Incidentally, my favorite venue for meeting AI entrepreneurs in Tokyo is the aptly-named Deus Ex Machina, a surf shop that doubles as a café (or vice versa). If you appreciate AI (or even just a well-balanced Gibraltar, albeit brewed by a human), Deus is worth a stop. If you bump into me there, I’m probably meeting with an AI entrepreneur, so please introduce yourself. However, please don’t “out” me as a VC since the staff of the Deus only know me as the California surfer dude.


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posted in venture capital by mark bivens

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