Monday 27th October 2014
A company in Northern California is working on the next iteration of machine intelligence; replicating the human visual cortex and creating machines with human-level intelligence in vision, language and motor control. – Bryan Johnson
Saturday 21st November 2015
The OS Fund
Oct 20th 2014: Today I am announcing the OS Fund — $100 million of my personal capital dedicated to investing in inventors and scientists who aim to benefit humanity through quantum leap discoveries at the operating system, or OS, level – Bryan Johnson
OS Fund Turns 1: A Year of Learning, Adventure, And Reward
One year ago, we launched OS Fund; what a fantastic year it’s been! It’s been uniquely satisfying to work alongside many of the world’s most capable entrepreneurs focusing on some of the most audacious projects on planet Earth.
Here’s a snapshot of what some of our portfolio companies are working to achieve:
- Cure age-related diseases and radically extend healthy human life to 100+ (Human Longevity)
- Make biology a predictable programming language (Ginkgo Bioworks & Synthetic Genomics)
- Create advanced artificial intelligence (Vicarious and Viv)
- Mine an asteroid (Planetary Resources)
- Reinvent transportation using autonomous vehicles (Matternet)
- Reimagine food using biology (Hampton Creek)
In less than 18 months, one of our first investments, Human Longevity, has become the world’s largest sequencer of human genomes, launched the newly imagined preventive care center Health Nucleus , and inked a deal with one of the largest insurance companies in the world (Discovery) for low-cost exome sequencing, redefining personalized health care.
This past summer, Matternet piloted its autonomous vehicles to deliver mail in Switzerland. Where else better to test your product than within one of the world’s most efficient postal services?
One particularly exciting area to us is synthetic biology, which uses organisms and designs from nature to engineer new tools. Synthetic biologists are the future of engineering and are creating solutions now in food, flavors, textiles, and cosmetics – working toward solutions in health and medicine, the environment, and more.
A good example of this industry at work is a company we invested in this year, Ginkgo Bioworks. Based in Boston, this company is working to make the programming of biology more predictable. Ginkgo signed several deals this year in fragrances and flavoring, and we are proud to support them and excited to see what comes next!
Taking a different approach to reinventing the food industry is Hampton Creek, a company we invested in last year. It’s been a remarkable year for Hampton Creek – with their Just Mayo and other products on the shelves everywhere from Dollar Tree to Whole Foods – and also a tumultuous one – with recent stories surfacing that they were a target of an ugly attack by the American Egg Board. Reinventing an entire industry is no small task, and we look forward to seeing what the next year brings for Hampton Creek. – Bryan Johnson
Sunday 13th March 2016
Investing in Robotics and AI Companies
Here are some AI (and robotics) related companies to think about.
I’m not saying you should buy them (now) or sell for that matter, but they are definitely worth considering at the right valuations.
Think about becoming an owner of AI and robotics companies while there is still time. I plan to buy some of the most obvious ones (including Google) in the ongoing market downturn (2016-2017).
Top 5 most obvious AI companies
- Alphabet (Google)
- Facebook (M, Deep Learning)
- IBM (Watson, neuromorphic chips)
- Apple (Siri)
- MSFT (skype RT lang, emo)
- Amazon (customer prediction; link to old article)
Yes, I’m US centric. So sue me 🙂
- SAP (BI)
- Oracle (BI)
- Nuance (HHMM, speech)
- Nippon Ceramic
- Pacific Industrial
Private companies (*I think):
- *Scaled Inference
- *Expect Labs
- *Nara Logics
- *Context Relevant
- *Rethink Robotics
- *Sentient Technologies
General AI areas to consider when searching for AI companies
- Self-driving cars
- Language processing
- Search agents
- Image processing
- Machine learning
- Oil and mineral exploration
- Pharmaceutical research
- Materials research
- Computer chips (neuromorphic, memristors)
- Energy, power utilities
Tuesday 29th March 2016
Self-Driving Car Startup Fights to Beat Tesla and Google
We want to ship a product by the end of the year that people will be able to install in their own cars and it will give them more self-driving capability than the Tesla today. – George Hotz
George Hotz’s pitch is that he can build self-driving car algorithms faster and better than any carmaker or even Google.
“Google is going to ship by the end of 2020? We’re actually making this stuff work,” said Hotz, who’s wearing jeans and a black hoodie with a large white comma on the front for his new company, Comma.ai.
Since he revealed his ambitions in a Bloomberg Businessweek article published last December, Hotz has attracted plenty of attention. The CEOs of Delphi, a major auto parts supplier, and Nvidia, maker of graphics processing units, have paid visits to his basement office at the “Crypto Castle,” a three-story house located in San Francisco’s Potrero Hill neighborhood and occupied by some of the city’s Bitcoin entrepreneurs.
He’s generated enough excitement to score an unannounced seed investment from venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz that values Hotz’s tiny, fledgling company at $20 million, according to sources.
Hotz began Comma last October and he’s well past the lone-hacker-in-the-basement stage. Yunus Saatchi, who has a PhD from the University of Cambridge in artificial intelligence, has joined as chief machine learning officer. Saatchi was a colleague of Hotz’s at Vicarious, a San Francisco-based AI startup with $72 million in financing from investors like Musk and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos.
Jake Smith, a roommate of Hotz’s in the Crypto Castle who is involved in the Bitcoin community, is head of operations. And Elizabeth Stark, another prominent fixture in the Bitcoin startup world, is Comma’s legal advisor. (They’re all wearing Comma.ai shirts when I meet them.) Hotz plans to hire around eight people total in the coming three months. He’s looking for people in machine learning and consumer hardware.
Hotz is also starting work on what will become the company’s first product — a self-driving kit that car owners will be able to purchase directly from Comma to equip their vehicles with autonomous driving capabilities. He hasn’t come close to working out the details of what this product will ultimately look like, but he said it might be a dash cam that plugs into the on-board diagnostics 2 port, which gives access to the car’s internal systems and is found in most cars made after 1996. It will provide cars with ADAS features, like lane-keeping assistance and emergency breaking.
“We believe our killer app is traffic,” Hotz said. “Humans are bad at traffic. We can make something that drives super-humanly smooth through traffic.”
Hotz said he won’t be able to turn every car into a semi-autonomous vehicle. At a minimum, the car will have to have anti-locking brakes and power steering. He’s hoping Comma’s product will work most with the five top-selling cars in the United States. – Aaron Tilley