Day: August 30, 2022

Apple’s missing “augmented” intelligence

This post is by Om Malik from On my Om

As part of writing a review, I have been using Apple’s 2022 version of the 13-inch MacBook Air. I am not the first one to say it  — many others have said before — it is a great device. It is a great testimonial of Apple’s hardware excellence and knowledge crammed into this thin sliver of engineering marvel. The new M2 chip, the longer battery life, improved webcam, keyboard, and speakers — everything is of exceptional quality. Apple does know how to build good premium hardware at scale. 

Sadly, you can’t say the same when it comes to its software & services that rely on machine learning and augmented intelligence. The obvious deficiencies, whether on the Mac, the iPhone, or the iPad, are quite annoying. Take the Mac as an example. By now, it should be easier for the “notification” system to understand that showing notifications of events that have already happened is mere noise and a nuisance. And yet, you have to manually delete them. I mean, it should be obvious to any computer system and any application that date and time have passed. 

Don’t get me started about Siri, which feels like a kindergartner compared to highly effective Alexa, and Google’s Home. If you have an accent that is not “classic American” or “classic English,” Siri will never quite understand you. Much as I loved the HomePod, it could never play “Nitin Sawhney” when I asked Siri to play his new album. 

Things on iOS are comically calamitous. (Read more...)

Visualizing the Water Accessibility Divide in Sub-Saharan Africa

This post is by Carmen Ang from Visual Capitalist

chart showing water accessibility in rural and urban populations across sub saharan africa

Visualizing the Water Accessibility Divide in Sub-Saharan Africa

According to the United Nations, having access to safe drinking water is a universal human right.

Yet, in Sub-Saharan Africa, only 39% of the population has water connected to their homes—and in the region’s rural areas, this figure drops to just 19%.

This graphic by Gilbert Fontana uses data from the United Nations to compare water accessibility in different countries across Sub-Saharan Africa. The data specifically looks at water on-premises, which is defined as water that’s connected to a person’s dwelling.

The Water Accessibility Gap

In Sub-Saharan Africa, water accessibility varies greatly both within and across countries.

For example, Ethiopia has one of the widest gaps within a single country—while 75% of its urban population has access to on-premises water, only 5% of its rural population has water piped to their homes.

While it is one of the most populated countries in Africa, with more than 115 million people as of 2020, Ethiopia is also one of the poorest. It has a national income per capita of only $890, and about 20% of Ethiopia’s population lives in rural areas of the country, leaving about 4.5 million people without access to on-premises water.

Here’s a breakdown of water access in other countries across Sub-Saharan Africa:

CountryPopulation Type% of population with drinking water on premises (2020)
🇲🇺​ MauritiusUrban99.9%
🇲🇺​ MauritiusRural99.8%
🇦🇴 AngolaUrban54.7%
🇦🇴 AngolaRural7.5%
🇧🇯​ BeninUrban39.9%
🇧🇯(Read more...)

Visualizing China’s Dominance in the Solar Panel Supply Chain

This post is by Niccolo Conte from Visual Capitalist

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visualization of global solar pv panel manufacturing capacity by country/region.

China’s Dominance in the Solar Panel Supply Chain

This was originally posted on Elements. Sign up to the free mailing list to get beautiful visualizations on natural resource megatrends in your email every week.

Many governments are investing in renewable energy sources like solar power, but who controls the manufacturing of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels?

As it turns out, China owns the vast majority of the world’s solar panel supply chain, controlling at least 75% of every single key stage of solar photovoltaic panel manufacturing and processing.

This visualization shows the shares held by different countries and regions of the key stages of solar panel manufacturing, using data from the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Solar Panel Manufacturing, by Country and Stage

From polysilicon production to soldering finished solar cells and modules onto panels, China has the largest share in every stage of solar panel manufacturing.

Even back in 2010, the country made the majority of the world’s solar panels, but over the past 12 years, its average share of the solar panel supply chain has gone from 55% to 84%.

China also continues to lead in terms of investment, making up almost two-thirds of global large-scale solar investment. In the first half of 2022, the country invested $41 billion, a 173% increase from the year before.

Country/RegionSolar Panel DemandAverage Share of Solar Panel Manufacturing Capacity
North (Read more...)

Founder’s Choice VC Firm Ranking

This post is by Brad Feld from Brad Feld

There have been many different approaches to ranking VC Firms over the years I’ve been an entrepreneur and a VC. Each approach I’ve seen has issues. Most are easily gamed or have statistical bias issues.

I got the following note from Roy Bahat at Bloomberg Beta a while ago about a new approach called Founder’s Choice.

We and a few other firms sponsored a “founders choice” version of the Midas List, with a legit (IMHO) rating methodology, built by two Penn students. No vitriol possible (unlike The Funded, etc.). We’ve wanted this to exist for a long time — NPS of us as a firm is too forgiving a metric, everyone scores well.

My first question was:

How are they dealing with sampling bias on this one? For example, we send to all our founders and say “please fill this out and give us high scores.” Mostly just curious on methodology.

Roy had a thoughtful answer that made me a believer after a few more questions.

You are literally the only one (and I’m relieved someone did) to ask on sampling bias. For context, the general way it works is founders auth with LinkedIn and then the product tosses away their identity (or, more accurately, only keeps a hash and disconnects it from their ratings). Then the founders get asked for pairwise comparisons of only the VC firms who have backed them (so this is about who founders like as investors, not who has sour grapes from a pitch). How (Read more...)

Greylock Talent Team | Building Your Talent Strategy: When, Why, and How to Bring in a Recruiter

This post is by Greylock Partners from Greymatter

From developing a repeatable, strategic process and continuously working to identify ways to improve it, founders can take a number of steps to build a culture of recruiting. Sometimes, that means hiring a dedicated talent-sourcing and recruiting team. Greylock talent partner Glen Evans and technical talent recruiter Dwane Hamilton discuss strategies for working with recruiters, including when to bring them on, how to screen for the position, and how founders should maintain an active recruiting role alongside a talent professional. You can read a transcript of this conversation here:

AI Revolution – Transformers and Large Language Models (LLMs)

This post is by Elad Gil from Elad Blog

NLP & AI Revolution - Transformers and Large Language Models (LLMs)

Part of the challenge of “AI” is we keep raising the bar on what it means for something to be a machine intelligence. Early machine learning models have been quite successful in terms of real world impact. Large scale applications of machine learning today include Google Search and ads targeting, Siri/Alexa, smart routing on mapping applications, self-piloting drones, defense tech like Anduril, and many other areas. Some areas, like self-driving cars, have shown progress but seem to continuously be “a few years” away every few years. Just as all the ideas for smart phones existed in the 1990s but didn’t take place until the iphone launched in 2007, self-driving cars are an inevitable part of the future.

In parallel, the machine learning (ML) / artificial intelligence (AI) world has been rocked in the last decade by a series of advancements over time in voice recognition (hence Alexa), image recognition (iphone unlock and the erm, non-creepy, passport controls at Airports). Sequential inventions and discovery include CNNs, RNNs, various forms of Deep Learning, GANs, and other innovations. One of the bigger breakthroughs of recent times was the emergence of Transformer models in 2017 for natural language processing (NLP). Transformers were invented at Google, but quickly adopted and implemented at OpenAI to create GPT-1 and more recently GPT-3. This has been followed by other companies or open source groups building transformer models such as Cohere (Read more...)

What Synthetic Embryos Can and Can’t Do, Now and in the Future

Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz is the Bren Professor of Biology and Biological Engineering at the California Institute of Technology and a Professor of Stem Cell Biology and Development at the University of Cambridge. In this interview, we discuss recent advances in technologies that allow us to use stem cells to create embryo-like structures with a brain and... Read More

The post What Synthetic Embryos Can and Can’t Do, Now and in the Future appeared first on Future.

Vice President, Marketing – Top Tier Capital Partners

Position Overview:

Top Tier Capital Partners (“TTCP” or the “Company”), an asset management firm specializing in venture capital investments, is seeking a Vice President of Capital & Partner Solutions (“CPS”) in its San Francisco office. The Vice President will lead Top Tier’s marketing and production efforts, e.g. fund marketing documents, AGM/webinar materials, data-room management, conference-related materials, inbound investor requests, social media efforts, website updates, et al. The position will on occasion contribute to the Investor Services team within Capital & Partners Solutions and work closely Top Tier’s Investment Team and Operations Team including Legal & Compliance.

The Vice President, Marketing will perform a broad range of duties including leading all marketing documentation and production efforts for TTCP’s various offerings, creating new and compelling content across all documents, working closely with the Legal & Compliance team, spearheading new and existing data room population for TTCP’s various offerings, and recruiting fellow team members as budgets and business permits. The Vice President must possess an understanding of the global venture capital landscape.

This position will report to the Director, Capital & Partner Solutions. The Vice President, Marketing will be actively involved in various Go-To-Market launch strategies for all of the firm’s various offerings, as well have responsibility for marketing-related activities, e.g. RFP / DDQ / investor requests, marketing materials, and quarterly update calls.

Company Overview:

Top Tier Capital Partners is an investment manager with families of funds focused on primary commitments to venture funds, LP and direct secondaries, co-investments and direct investments. For (Read more...)