a16z Podcast: What Technology Wants, Needs, Does

Turnabout is fair play: That’s true in politics, and it’s true at Andreessen Horowitz given our internal (and very opinionated!) culture of debate — where we often agree to disagree, or more often, disagree to agree. So in this special “turnabout” episode of the a16z Podcast, co-founder Marc Andreessen, who is most often in the hot seat being interviewed, got the chance to instead grill fellow partners Frank Chen (who covers AI and much more), Vijay Pande (who covers healthcare for the bio fund), and Alex Rampell (who covers all things fintech).

None of the partners had any idea what Marc would ask them. Putting them in the hot seat at our recent a16z Tech Policy Summit, in Washington, D.C., Marc asked them policy questions such as the implications for tech of the American Health Care Act or AHCA (which itself was being hotly debated that exact same day, just a few miles away); the role of regulatory arbitrage; and what happens to companies big and small if Dodd-Frank is repealed.

Oh, but they also covered so much more: the pros and cons of using tech to “discriminate” for better risk pooling; the role of genetics in addiction (can/should it be used to determine risk?); the opioid crisis (can tech help?); applying AI as a “salve” for everything (what’s hyped, what’s real, what’s easy, what’s hard?); the line between redlining and predatory lending (and where/when did sentiment flip?); and the ethics of artificial intelligence (beyond the ole Trolley Problem). Throw in a classic nature vs. nurture debate, a bit of 2-D vs. 3-D, and some fries (yes)… and the future arrives in this episode in 35 minutes or less.