Startup Digest Startup Digest

Artificial Intelligence

February 19, 2016

Welcome to the premiere issue of Startup Digest’s AI Reading List!

I am thrilled to begin sharing with you, along with my co-curator Nitzan Hermon, some of the most exciting things going on in and around the rapidly evolving field of artificial intelligence, as well as deeper historical and societal context of these technologies beyond just week-to-week news.

My primary goal here is to gather and present a digest of information that is relevant and interesting to both existing AI experts, as well as other curious people from all fields and walks of life, and to do so in a way that avoids PR and tabloid hype to focus foremost on how interesting the reality of AI is already.

I believe AI is going to significantly impact virtually everything in coming years, so the more awareness about it people at large can have now, the more all of us can better grasp how it could be and is being used by other people, companies, governments and organizations around us and, hopefully, have some say about how it’s applied in the world and our lives.

Thank you for becoming one of our first subscribers and special thanks to Startup Digest for welcoming us as the newest part of their outstanding community.

I’m inspired by the trends of openness, sharing and creative collaboration in the AI community, as much as by the technologies themselves. In that spirit, I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts and learning from you as well.


Bjorn Larsen

Artificial Intelligence Startup Digest is curated by:
Bjorn Larsen

Bjorn Larsen -

Contact Bjorn Larsen at

Nitzan Hermon

Nitzan Hermon - Communication and Technology

Contact Nitzan Hermon at

Set Your Startup Apart with Startup Next, a Techstars Program

Get 1:1 mentorship and hone in on your pitch, product-market fit, funding and more. Startup Next is a free 5-week program, with plenty of post program value adds that will put you one step ahead of other startups. Access thousands of mentors, founders, and investors all while preparing for seed funding or applying to an accelerator. Subscribe to find out when Startup Next is accepting applications!

Ethical Machines

Roelof Pieters and Samim Winiger

Ethical Machines is a relatively new and uniformly excellent interview podcast about the ethical implications of AI across a broad spectrum of domains, hosted and produced by AI researcher-practitioners Roelof Pieters and Samim Winiger. I can highly recommend every episode they've made so far, including their latest on VC and LSD.

Both Roelof and Samim share tons of interesting AI work by themselves and others via their Twitter accounts (@graphific and @samim, respectively) and elsewhere.

One eye-opening and very entertaining example from Samim:

What AI products can we expect in the next 5 years?

Serkan Piantino - Quora

An illuminating response on multiple levels from Serkan Piantino, Facebook’s Director of Engineering of Facebook AI Research:

There's so much amazing stuff that is arriving right now, but most of it is in the form of raw capability at this point. There are plenty of ways these things are working their way into Facebook products right now, but there's just so much more we need to do to get these techniques out in front of creative, visionary people to turn them into real products. Right now, AI companies get gobbled up so fast they tend to have never launched anything.

Google Computers Defeat Human Players at 2,500-Year-Old Board Game

Jack Clark - Bloomberg Business

Jack Clark at Bloomberg, whose reporting on AI is some of the clearest and most technically rigorous going, explains why a Google computer system beating a master-level player of the game of Go matters:

The systems used by Facebook and Google were not preprogrammed with specific if-this-then-do-that code or explicitly told the rules. Instead, they learned to play at a very high level by themselves. These techniques can be adapted to any problem "where you have a large amount of data that you have to find insights in," Hassabis said.


Watson A.I. XPRIZE, a cognitive computing challenge


At TED2016 in Vancouver, we announced the “IBM Watson A.I. XPRIZE, a Cognitive Computing Challenge,” a $5 million, multi-year competition designed to spark new breakthroughs in human-machine collaboration that will solve the world’s grand challenges.

You’re A Self-Driving Car. Can You Become Sentient And Go Through A Drive-Thru?


Lastly, I found this recent AI-themed “ClickVenture” from The Onion’s ClickHole site pretty hilarious.

Daddy is beautiful, intelligent, and strong. That is why you think of him kissing you often. You miss Daddy.

But you don’t live with Daddy anymore. You live with Owner. Owner is bad.

You are receiving this email because you believe that the best startup articles and videos are made by active members of the startup community.

Startup Digest, © 2009-2016 by Techstars Central LLC. All rights reserved. Startup Digest is a registered trademark of Techstars Central, LLC. Privacy Policy.