Artificial Intelligence: The Promise and the Playbook

Frank Chen

We’ve met with hundreds of Fortune 500/ Global 2000 companies, startups, and government agencies asking: “How do I get started with artificial intelligence?” and “What can I do with AI in my own product or company?”

While there are many excellent tutorials out there that show how to use TensorFlow or the beautiful math behind neural network training, we couldn’t find a broad overview — a “Chapter 0”, if you will — for product managers, line of business leaders, strategists, policymakers, non-AI developers to read first before moving on to more technical materials. So building on our popular primer on artificial intelligence, today we’ve launched a microsite to help newcomers — both non-technical and technical — begin exploring what’s possible with AI. The site is designed as a resource for anyone asking the two questions above, complete with examples and sample code to help get started; no computer science degree required! Ultimately, it’s aimed at people who aren’t only studying AI in universities or labs and just want to get their hands and heads around it as they explore options for their own companies.

Along those lines, I’ve also published a new presentation about the promise of AI, beyond the hype. It’s a ~45-minute narrated walkthrough of what companies are doing with AI today and what’s bubbling up from the research community that’s just a few years out from making it into the products we use every day. Along the way, I’ll introduce you to some robots, see if you can tell which tracks are written by AIs are humans, and, more seriously, share how AI is saving lives. I hope the real world examples spark ideas for you on how to use AI in your own organization.

Much like databases are inside just about every important piece of software we use every day, we’re in the early years of putting AI in all our software, an important trend we believe will unfold over the coming years and decades. We can’t wait to see what people do with these powerful computer science techniques.

microsite: AI playbook
presentation with talk track: promise of AI

acknowledgements: A big hat tip to our friend Diego Doval who built the site, generated most of the code samples, and drafted the text based on some very high level, hand-wavy guidance; as usual, he’s exceeded expectations (thanks, Diego). Thanks also to Michael Wee (@theweester) on my team at a16z for his work on the site. A shout out also to contributors Delip Rao of Joostware, Mark Palatucci at Anki, and a16z editorial partner Sonal Chokshi.

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