Today’s big losses are not what Silicon Valley founders and futurists predicted. Artificial intelligence, driverless vehicles, ride sharing, blockchain, virtual reality, augmented reality, and the Internet of Things were supposed to change the world, enabling a dramatic increase in productivity growth. The resulting wealth was expected to be so huge that we would be able to support the unemployed with a universal basic income (UBI). Indeed, Andrew Yang, a successful entrepreneur, ran for president in 2020 on a platform whose most notable feature was a UBI pledge.
Which one of it has come true? None. Zilch. Nada.
The long form is depressing. I would recommend reading it only if you have the patience (or nothing else to do). The reason, however, I linked to it is because the author misses one central tenet- hype that precedes actual product. Most VC firms I have had an interaction, depend on an idea which they can hype and as such their sales team is more top heavy than actual product execution teams. I won’t name a prominent VC firm that backed a doctor-listing “white pages”. That’s it. Multi-million dollar acquisition showcased on their website as a crown jewel. Either the VC firm is profoundly stupid or the “innovator” is extremely smart remains an unsolved mystery.
VC firms are looking for the next “sell-out”. Manufacturing base increases real jobs. Paper wealth and valuations are good for the boards (and stock markets) and financial newspapers that devote their energies to it.
That’s why I remain wary of the promises of AI offering the next breakthrough in medicine.