Technology Helps Fuel Social Entrepreneurship

Technology Helps Fuel Social Entrepreneurship

I am excited to share the second video segment that I worked on in partnership with Chivas Venture (here is the first one on Artificial Intelligence).   Please leave your comments, thoughts, and suggestions in the comments section below.

Whether it’s cleaning up the ocean with The Ocean Cleanup or crowdfunding medical treatment for people around the world with Watsi or monitoring storm water in real time to prevent water contamination with Stormsensor,  there is a tremendous amount of good work going on right now from Social Entrepreneurs, and, for these entrepreneurs, creating and leveraging technology is at the center of it.

Social Entrepreneurs mostly leverage the Internet – web, mobile, and social media tools. Which allows them to extend their reach to large numbers of people, not based on proximity, but, based on shared interests and shared goals. With all of the tools available, they can disseminate information almost instantly, have distributed teams and collaborate, schedule and coordinate their activities and do quite a bit of fundraising…all online.

When entrepreneurship meets innovation and can leverage technology that helps you scale…that’s when you can have the greatest impact and can do the most social good.

Technology is playing such a crucial role in this space that it’s hard to imagine how it was done before. Communication is easier, mobilization is faster, and fundraising is instant and immediate.

Social impact entrepreneurship is not a man or woman thing, as it’s near parity…women make up over 45% of the Social entrepreneurs and that number is growing.

But, let’s clear up a misconception about social entrepreneurship…although there are many claims to the contrary, making money is a big deal. If your venture doesn’t make or raise enough money, it will fail.

Who is best positioned to take advantage of the latest technology and combine it with the momentum of the Social Entrepreneurship movement?
The Millennial generation.  Millennials are very capable, action oriented, and idealists. They’re highly-mobile, interconnected and have the desire to solve society’s issues and are ready to find new solutions to old problems. It is they who are the Social Entrepreneurs of now and the near future.

With all the technology tools available, social entrepreneurs of the future will be driven more by measurable outcomes rather than personal values or mission statements.

They will have to show how they turn their missions into metrics that are quantifiable…how many people fed, how many trees planted, how many dogs saved, etc.

Over the next few years Social Entrepreneurs will take a profound role in shaping and influencing the conduct of business and they will ensure that a commitment to social good is a natural part of the way we do business.

Artificial Intelligence Needs Diversity to Prevent Society’s Biases

Artificial Intelligence Needs Diversity to Prevent Society’s Biases

I am excited to share this video segment on Artificial Intelligence and Diversity that I worked on in partnership with Chivas Venture.   Please leave your comments, thoughts, and suggestions in the comments section below.

All of the “Bigs” are getting involved in AI, and by “Bigs” I mean Microsoft, Uber, Apple, Facebook, Google, IBM and others.  They’re creating AI Venture Funds and working on things like machine learning, deep learning, natural language processing, facial recognition, and more. 

As of Third quarter of 2016 there was $12.2 Billion in funding in AI and with that amount of money pouring into AI, now is a great time to get into the AI game.

AI is still in the early stages, but that just means that there is a lot of opportunity to get involved and help shape the face of the future of AI.  Much like the Internet back in the mid-nineties, of which I was a part, AI could be a game changer in many different industries…good and bad.

Part of the “bad”, and I don’t want to go too Politically Correct on it, is that, 87% of those involved in AI are men and women only make up 13%.

Why is this a problem?

Since AI mirrors the values of its creators, we will have built-in biases in the original AI algorithms and if the data is biased from the start, it will take a long time to balance that bias.

Since we are just in the very early stages of AI development and implementation, we need to make sure that the bias is checked from the start. Long-held discrimination can live and even thrive on digital platforms, and if they go unchecked, they will perpetuate negative female stereotypes or racism, or sexism or all of society’s biases.

That is why we need diversity and that is why we need a woman’s touch in AI… from the start.

Women think, live, and work differently, and therefore they would code, build robots, approach machine learning from a different mindset and approach societal solutions from different perspectives. If we had more female developers working in the area of AI, you would see a better balance of values and broader solutions to societal problems.

So, inclusivity matters, we need to have women participating in shaping AI and shaping AI Policy.