Artificial Intelligence: Lethal, Biased, or Tool for Good? by FPM Team

  • Last week, Tesla’s Elon MuskAlphabet/Google’s Mustafa Suleyman and 114 other artificial intelligence experts at the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Melbourne, Australia, signed a letter that said, "As companies building the technologies in Artificial Intelligence and Robotics that may be repurposed to develop autonomous weapons, we feel especially responsible in raising this alarm …
  • "Lethal autonomous weapons threaten to become the third revolution in warfare. Once developed, they will permit armed conflict to be fought at a scale greater than ever, and at timescales faster than humans can comprehend. These can be weapons of terror, weapons that despots and terrorists use against innocent populations, and weapons hacked to behave in undesirable ways … 
  • "We do not have long to act. Once this Pandora’s box is opened, it will be hard to close." 
  • Separately, a report by researchers at the University of Virginia and University of Washington said “As intelligence systems start playing important roles in our daily life, ethics in artificial intelligence research has attracted significant interest. It is known that big-data technologies sometimes inadvertently worsen discrimination due to implicit biases in data
  • "Such issues have been demonstrated in various learning systems, including online advertisement systemsword embedding modelsonline newsweb search, and credit score ... we show that given a gender biased [body of work], structured models such as conditional random fields, amplify the bias.
  • In a May 2017 TED talk, former World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov said, “Human plus machine isn't the future, it's the present."
  • "We don't get to choose when and where technological progress stops. We cannot slow down. In fact, we have to speed up. Our technology excels at removing difficulties and uncertainties from our lives, and so we must seek out ever more difficult, ever more uncertain challenges. Machines have calculations. We have understanding. Machines have instructions. We have purpose. Machines have objectivity. We have passion. We should not worry about what our machines can do today. Instead, we should worry about what they still cannot do today, because we will need the help of the new, intelligent machines to turn our grandest dreams into reality."


  • Regarding lethal AI - As  AI thought leaders seek to influence policymakers, it is likely than a substantive "call to action" will take place after Pandora's box is opened.
  • Regarding biased AI - As biases in systems design are increasingly identified, AI development efforts will have to avoid design flaws that could bias diverse groups and individuals.
  • Regarding Kasparov's comments - He makes many good points related to AI trends and potential benefits as the AI market evolves.

eSports at the Olympics and more by FPM Team

  • Last week, Tony Estanguet, co-president of the Paris 2024 Olympic bid committee said “We have to look at [eSports] because we can’t say, ‘It’s not us. It’s not about Olympics … The youth, yes they are interested in eSport and this kind of thing. Let’s look at it. Let’s meet them. Let’s try if we can find some bridges … There is some time to look at it, to interact, to engage … We will spend some time after (the IOC meeting in September) Lima to engage with new people and stakeholders. The IOC will have the last … say, if they want eSports on the program. Let’s discuss among ourselves.”
  • Separately, Telemundo broadcast all 16 hours of the FIFA Interactive World Cup (an annual video gaming competition organized by FIFA and EA Sports) and Peter Blacker, Executive Vice President of digital media and emerging business for NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises said “Esports gives us an opportunity to connect with the Hispanic, multicultural gaming audience … Esports consumers tend to be more millennial, and Hispanics are the most engaged in that group … Our heritage as part of NBCU means we’re the Hispanic home of the Olympics, which have been a great place for us to shine a light on athletes and their journeys, we’re going to do that in the eSports area as well.”
  • Also, market research firm Nielson announced a new eSports business unit and said, “eSports has experienced massive global growth over the past few years with major investment from blue chip sponsors, game publishers and media companies, as well as sports leagues and teams. The eSports fan base is also rapidly expanding with nearly one in three fans beginning to follow eSports just within the past year.”  (Note: Advisory board members include ESLESPNFacebookFIFA, Major League Gaming/Activision BlizzardNBA 2K LeagueThe Next LevelSony PlayStationTurnerTwitchTwitterUnilever and Google YouTube.)


  • Given that Olympic viewership has been declining, introducing activities such as eSports may help reverse this trend.
  • While eSports is still at a relatively early stage of development, this market will continue to expand and attract many new participants.
  • Advances in geo-spatial technologies (such augmented/virtual reality, sensors, motion capture, robotics/drones, etc.) will result in the introduction of new types of sports competition and reshape both traditional and eSports activities as well.

VR Social at Yancy's Saloon - July 26 by FPM Team

The action was inspired by the awesome video games of the 1980s using cutting edge Virtual Reality tech of today.  Check out the video below.!

Space Pirate Trainer puts you inside the game - fighting off relentless waves of droids with all the weapons and gadgets a Space Pirate would ever need. 

•    Dodge incoming lasers!
•    Swing your shields!
•    Blast your way to top rankings!




On the Impact of Automation (Mark Zuckerberg, Best Buy, Retail and more) by FPM Team

  • Last week Mark Zuckerberg said, during his Harvard University commencement speech, “Our generation will have to deal with tens of millions of jobs replaced by automation like self-driving cars and trucks. But we have the potential to do so much more together. Every generation has its defining works. More than 300,000 people worked to put a man on the moon – including that janitor. Millions of volunteers immunized children around the world against polio. Millions of more people built the Hoover dam and other great projects. These projects didn't just provide purpose for the people doing those jobs, they gave our whole country a sense of pride that we could do great things.” 
  • Also, the report “Retail Automation: Stranded Workers? Opportunities and risks for labor and automation” by the Investor Responsibility Research Center Institute said “The impact of significant reductions in retail workers may mirror the impact of manufacturing job losses. Retail sales at brick-and-mortar stores … are increasingly constrained as consumers shift to online shopping. At the same time, many parts of the country are experiencing upward structural wage pressure as concerns about income inequality are gaining political traction. Major retailers, including Macy’s, J.C. Penney, Kohl’s and WalMart, have collectively closed hundreds of stores over the last few years in attempts to stem losses from unprofitable stores. These headwinds are pushing retailers to rethink the traditional retail business model … this report argues that companies which use technology to support their workers are likely to benefit from long-term productivity gains. However, technology also has the potential to automate part of the sales process and render a range of jobs redundant. Taken together, store closures and automation technology have the potential to accelerate job losses in retail, an industry that employs approximately 10% of the total US labor force.”
  • During its quarterly investor conference call, Best Buy Chief Financial Officer Corie Barry said, "We believe there’s real opportunity to take waste out of the system through automation and there are places like our supply chain, there are places like some of our call centers, where we believe we have real opportunities to become more automated.”


  • While workplace automation is part of the pursuit of "faster/better/cheaper" solutions, current advances in robotics, artificial intelligence, etc may increase the pace of labor displacement.
  • Issues for technology, business and community leaders to address include 1) how worker adaptation will be managed 2) how broadly will economic benefits be distributed and 3) how educational systems adjust to marketplace changes.    

On AI, Machine Learning, VR, Robotics and the Cloud (JP Morgan, Google, OpenAI) by FPM Team

  • Last week, JP Morgan released “Big Data and AI Strategies: Machine Learning and Alternative Data Approach to Investing”, a report which said “over the past year, the exponential increase of the amount and types of data available to investors prompted some to completely change their business strategy and adopt a ‘Big Data’ investment framework. Other investors may be unsure on how to assess the relevance of Big Data and Machine Learning, how much to invest in it, and many are still paralyzed in the face of what is also called the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution … As more investors adopt alternative datasets, the market will start reacting faster and will increasingly anticipate traditional or ‘old’ data sources (e.g. quarterly corporate earnings, low frequency macroeconomic data, etc.). This gives an edge to quant managers and those willing to adopt and learn about new datasets and methods. … Regardless of the timeline and shape of the eventual investment landscape, we believe that analysts, portfolio managers, traders and CIOs will eventually have to become familiar with Big Data and Machine Learning approaches to investing. This applies to both fundamental and quantitative investors, and is true across asset classes.”
  • Also, the non-profit AI research group, OpenAI, said in the note Robots that Learn We’ve created a robotics system, trained entirely in simulation and deployed on a physical robot, which can learn a new task after seeing it done once. Now, we’ve developed and deployed a new algorithm, one-shot imitation learning, allowing a human to communicate how to do a new task by performing it in [virtual reality]. Given a single demonstration, the robot is able to solve the same task from an arbitrary starting configuration.
  • Note: OpenAI’s backers include include Sam AltmanGreg BrockmanElon MuskReid HoffmanJessica LivingstonPeter ThielAmazon Web ServicesInfosysYC Research and Microsoft.
  • Finally, during its developer conference, Google announced that “Researchers require enormous computational resources to train the machine learning (ML) models that have delivered recent breakthroughs in medical imagingneural machine translationgame playing, and many other domains. We believe that significantly larger amounts of computation will make it possible for researchers to invent new types of ML models that will be even more accurate and useful.  To accelerate the pace of open machine-learning research, we are introducing the TensorFlow Research Cloud ... to support a broad range of computationally-intensive research projects that might not be possible otherwise."


  • Regarding JP Morgan’s comments  – As technology continues to reshape the financial services industry, it is worth revisiting a famous quote by Walter Wriston (CEO of Citibank / Citicorp from 1967 to 1984): “Information about money has become almost as important as money itself”.
  • Regarding Robots that Learn – this example of the integration of AI, virtual reality and robotics illustrates the future direction of product prototyping and design.
  • Regarding Google’s TensorFlow cloud – the battle for mind-share among software developers and researchers will require significant investments by firms including AmazonMicrosoft, FacebookApple and IBM.

Virtual Reality in the Park: Earth Day @ Golden Gate Park by FPM Team

VR in the Park - Dravis - Future Perfect Machine.jpg

Come celebrate Earth day on April 22 in Golden Gate Park.

  • You can paint in 3 dimensions,
  • float through the work of an Oscar-Winning designer,
  • meet a rocket scientist,
  • battle space pirates,
  • compose music in new ways,
  • explore ocean habitats
  • encounter Shakespeare's Hamlet
  • and more.

To purchase tickets, click here

This "hands-on" event provides you the opportunity to experience leading edge Virtual Reality.

Our experience ecosystem includes HTC VIVE, Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, Lyra VR, Google Earth VR, Google Tilt brush, Space VR, Blortasia by Kevin Mack, The Blu by Wevr, T-Mobile, To Be with Hamlet and Urban Safari.