Policy is crucial to spread the AI wealth with Steve Case from AOL and Revolution Ventures

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Policy is crucial to spread the AI wealth with Steve Case from AOL and Revolution Ventures

Introduction (00:00:00)

  • Steve Case, former co-founder and executive chairman of AOL and current founder of VC firm Revolution, discussed the importance of preventing the concentration of AI wealth in coastal startup hubs.
  • Case participated in a conversation at TechCrunch's Strictly VC event on June 11th, 2023.
  • Steve Case compared the current AI wave to the rise of the internet during the AOL era.
  • Similarities:
    • Both AI and the internet have the potential to transform industries and society.
    • Both have generated excitement and investment.
  • Differences:
    • AI is more complex and has the potential to impact a wider range of industries.
    • The development of AI requires more specialized knowledge and expertise.
  • Case emphasized the need for policies to ensure that the benefits of AI are widely distributed and not concentrated in a few hands.
  • Policymakers, venture capitalists, and big tech companies should collaborate to:
    • Invest in AI research and development in non-coastal areas.
    • Provide funding and support for AI startups in diverse regions.
    • Implement regulations that promote competition and prevent monopolies in the AI sector.
    • Educate the public about AI and its potential impact on society.

AI regulation compared to the internet’s early days (00:01:29)

  • The internet's success was influenced by crucial policy decisions, including breaking up monopolies, funding research, enforcing open access, and commercializing the internet.
  • AI is experiencing rapid global growth and requires immediate intervention to prevent potential issues, unlike the internet's early days.
  • Policymakers aim to strike a balance between fostering American leadership in AI and implementing necessary regulations to guide its development.
  • We should embrace new technologies, industries, and opportunities with a focus on potential benefits rather than just risks.
  • We should avoid both overregulation and under-regulation of AI.

Supporting AI startups outside the traditional hugs (00:06:20)

  • Open-source AI is essential to prevent big tech companies from monopolizing the field and to enable a new generation of innovators and entrepreneurs to participate.
  • Supporting venture capitals that focus on vertical areas of AI and investing in companies outside of the typical tech hubs can promote inclusive growth and job creation across the country.
  • New businesses, especially startups, are the primary drivers of job creation, and without support for startups in various locations, there is a risk of job displacement and economic decline in non-hub areas due to technological disruption.
  • Policymakers have recognized this issue and implemented place-based economic strategies, including the bipartisan Chips and Science Act, to invest in tech hubs and other initiatives to promote regional economic development.

AI Policy and the innovation economy (00:11:49)

  • AI is shifting its focus from horizontal to vertical opportunities, transforming sectors such as healthcare, education, food, agriculture, and financial services.
  • Partnerships with existing companies, particularly those in the Midwest where many Fortune 500 companies are located, are essential for the success of AI.
  • Policy is becoming increasingly significant for AI development, with growing interest in Washington, D.C., and the establishment of venture capital offices there.
  • The upcoming election year could influence AI policy, as local races impact Senate races and state regulations.
  • Companies prefer a clear and integrated national perspective on AI policies to avoid a fragmented regulatory landscape.
  • Policy plays a crucial role in shaping the future of the innovation economy.
  • Individuals should actively engage in policy-making to ensure that policymakers comprehend the issues and achieve a balanced approach.
  • The trend of technologists, investors, and others dedicating time to policy-related matters is expected to continue.
  • Venture firms in Silicon Valley are establishing offices in Washington to be closer to policymakers.

Entrepreneurship and job creation in the US (00:16:40)

  • Entrepreneurship and job creation are important in the US.
  • Larger companies should work to get their interests forward while also working on potential policy or talking with people working on it.
  • Small and large companies need to find a balance where they can both succeed.
  • Companies at the seed stage focus on survival and don't have time to engage in policy matters.
  • As companies grow, they have more time and recognize the importance of being engaged in policy.
  • Policy can be a problem that slows down innovation, but it can also create opportunities and accelerate growth.
  • Policy changes have unleashed growth opportunities for companies like DraftKings.
  • Rise of the Rest started 10 years ago and has invested in 100 different cities, including Detroit.
  • Detroit has made remarkable progress since going bankrupt in 2013.
  • There is an arbitrage opportunity for venture capitalists to invest in companies in places like Nebraska, Ohio, and Minnesota.
  • Investing in entrepreneurs in these places can generate great returns and be a catalyst for job creation and economic dynamism.

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