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

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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