In the era of artificial intelligence, the chip and the underlying software are basically redone.
On May 18, 2019, at the YC China Entrepreneur Meeting held in YC China, YC China founder and CEO, YC Global Research Institute Dean Lu Qi conducted the “creative opportunities brought about by technology-driven innovation” Wonderful sharing for the theme.
Lu Qi served as President and Chief Operating Officer of Baidu Group, Executive Vice President of Microsoft Global, Executive President of Yahoo, and received a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University. Currently the founder and CEO of YC China, YC is a startup accelerator born in Silicon Valley. YC has invested in nearly 2,000 companies (including Airbnb, Dropbox) and has trained more than 4,000 founders.
Based on his own experience and thinking, Lu Qi analyzed why entrepreneurship will become the most promising career, and talked about China’s entrepreneurial environment. In a country with four core technologies of technology, talent, capital and market, In a sense, Chinese entrepreneurs are facing a golden age of entrepreneurship.
Under the development of artificial intelligence, how can we seize the opportunity of history? Lu Qi’s experience and lessons learned from the personal computer era, the Internet era, and the cloud era put forward the prediction of the era of artificial intelligence.
The following is the full text of Lu Qi’s speech. The big data abstracts have been deleted and edited without changing the original intention.
Why is entrepreneurship the most promising career?
Why is entrepreneurship a new enthusiasm? How to make every entrepreneur, the whole China’s entrepreneurial innovation ecology better grasp the historical opportunities in front of us?
According to my experience and thinking, the overall idea has two levels: finding the core driving force and doing a good analysis of the structured system.
The process of the world, entrepreneurship, and innovation, it must have some core driving force. If the core driving force we find is very long-lasting, then according to the trend of these core driving forces, we can better see the layout. Which direction.
Any kind of driving force requires a certain system to generate energy. We need to make the system analysis clearer to help each of us better control the opportunities we face.
Looking back at the different stages of human history, from the agricultural period to the industrial society, human beings have experienced a shift from the profitability of farming and commerce. In the capital-based phase, large-scale value creation is achieved through capital operation. Now, entrepreneurship has become the most creative business in the 21st century, and it is also the most promising career in terms of returning wealth.
Two core drivers
What is its core driving force? What kind of power is causing such a structured process?
The structure of the system allows us to truly understand how to think of entrepreneurship as a new profession and to pursue it systematically. There are two main motivations:
- Invention knowledge, invention technology
This is the most permanent driving force in human history. Human nature is the constant pursuit of truth knowledge, constant understanding of the world, and transformation of the world. Human beings never stop exploring science and inventing technology. The core systemic structure is called “general technology”, which is the core driving force for human progress.
Human economic behavior has hardly changed in the past few thousand years. Only in the past 300 years, large-scale changes have occurred, and the speed of change is declining. The core driving force is the so-called “general technology.”
2, the pursuit of wealth
We use the wealth system to create more wealth. Popularly speaking, human beings are always pursuing wealth, but we must make wealth a broader definition.
The broad definition of wealth is a universal ability to satisfy human needs and desires. Money is wealth, health is wealth, and a happy family is wealth. The core is that this wealth is a universal point, and it can bring desire to meet demand.
Knowledge-based wealth creation system
The history of mankind is also a process of continually pursuing new and more wealth. This is the driving force. There are only three kinds of wealth creation systems in human history, and its core structure is in this picture.
The knowledge-based wealth creation system has been more than 60 years old, basically the beginning of the information society, but its creation of commercial value, the scale and speed of creating wealth is far beyond its existence time. The market is a platform and environment that focuses knowledge, technology and the pursuit of wealth. The market is, in a sense, one of the largest and most effective platforms for human invention, and in fact plays several major roles.
Role 1: At least let each of us participate in the market, each of us participate in the market for ourselves, but what we do is beneficial to others, so it is a very magical platform.
Role 2: There are many things that can be done in the world, including many innovations, but the market is an accelerator and an optimizer that evaluates which innovations are most valuable and which innovations are most vital.
Summarizing the above, it can be logically inferred that from the beginning of the 21st century, entrepreneurs will be the most value-creating and most value-promoting career in a new generation of career choices.
Several technical conditions necessary for starting a business
But entrepreneurship is difficult, very difficult. How do we systematically establish a system that allows entrepreneurship to systematically reduce the threshold of entrepreneurial innovation like other professions?
Any market innovation and entrepreneurship will always be the focus of the three sources of technology, products and markets. Only when these three are focused can we truly become an effective entrepreneurial enterprise and create commercial value and social value.
Let me talk about technology first, and there are several levels of technology.
The starting point is physics, electronics, mathematics, materials physics, semiconductors, computer science. As an entrepreneur, even if you are not a technical professional, you should pay attention to the direction of technology development. Although science often goes very far, it is far from the entrepreneurial distance. But the next layer of science is particularly important, that is, “engineering.” Some sciences can be engineered very quickly, but engineering requires a lot of effort, such as electronic engineering, materials engineering, and software engineering.
I remember that when I first entered college, software engineering was still very immature. How to systematically develop software is still an unknown human behavior. Therefore, from science to engineering is not enough, but also the ability to operate, such as software, even with software engineering, how to update software, deploy software, and operate software must also be built, only in this way, can entrepreneurs Better use technology.
2, the product
Product development is also constantly providing new tools, new methods, especially digital tools, so that we can quickly understand social needs, design user experience, iterative, trial and error.
A more important case in history is cloud computing. Before the cloud service, Internet companies or software companies, it takes at least 6-7 months to develop a very simple product. With the cloud, a small team of two or three people can build the initial product in a month or two.
In terms of products, we are constantly providing new and systematic services. In the market, more tools allow entrepreneurs to systematically acquire customers and explore business models. At the same time, in the operational structure of capital, the entire industry is also constantly moving forward, especially in the venture capital industry, and the various stages have been more structured. If you pay attention, you will find that the venture capital industry is growing at a high rate every year.
Education and development of talents
Especially for all aspects of technology. Although it is technology-driven innovation, an entrepreneur actually needs a multi-faceted ability. He often needs a joint entrepreneurial team. People who want to start a business, even if they are not technical backgrounds, have nothing to do. Just look at the development direction of technology and find a good partner to find good business opportunities together.
- The structural challenge of entrepreneurship
However, even with the multifaceted improvements just mentioned, it makes it easier for entrepreneurs to become a career choice, but it still has structural challenges. This is probably the hardest (from 0 to 1), to find Product Market Fit, which is structured and will become harder and harder in the future.
Although technology and tools are developing rapidly, people’s education level is constantly improving, and product development is getting faster and faster. Everyone can come up with 10 ideas and can realize it through technology. But each person has only 24 hours a day, and the ability to achieve is limited. It will soon get stuck in the bottleneck, and there are many random factors.
At this point, the only thing that can be done is to quickly connect new ideas, new inventions, new technologies, and user responses, quickly iterate, and quickly try and error.
YC has the most research on this issue and the most practical experience. We have a meeting inside YC and often say: We are the one that sees the most deaths from entrepreneurship. This is the easiest place to die, and at this stage of entrepreneurship, there are two things to do:
Before you find Product Market Fit, you can’t make money. You can only try to live longer and try more ideas. Although this gameplay is very different, once you find it, I think the probability of you rushing up may be higher and the effect will be better. This is a structural challenge.
3, crossing the gap
Crossing the chasm is also a structure, which is related to the distribution and psychology of the people in society. This is the process that any technology-driven innovation has to go through.
For a new technology, the entire social media was full of enthusiasm at the beginning, even over-proud, and began to be disappointed when it rushed to the top, so everyone chose to give up and fall to the bottom, and the technology that survived will slowly heat up. This is the so-called Gartner Hype Cycle.
There will always be some people in the society, and all new things will be done, good or bad. This is the first batch of people, as long as it is new, I am willing to do it. There is also a group of people called Visionary. He looks farther and he will try.
Therefore, some of the early products and technologies will generally be tried, but there is a gap here: I have used it around, I am willing to try. Because any product, its next wave of adopters, is pragmatic, the premise of his trial of this product is that Lao Wang tried, my colleague tried, or the friends I know used, otherwise, I do not. Then the gap was created.
Most of the products in history have died here, because it is a very difficult question, that is, “how to cross the chasm”.
Increasingly steep S curve
Our entire society is adopting new technology-driven innovations faster and faster. Just talked about Product Market Fit (products that match the market). If you jump over, you will start a so-called S curve. It was slow in the early days, but it quickly jumped after it was found.
Today, the S curve is getting more and more, and the speed is getting faster and faster. I think China’s self-media will say that “fast fish eats slow fish”, the core reason is the problem of structure. Why do fast fish eat slow fish? If you don’t rush, others will rush, and your chances will be gone. This is also the so-called “no advance and then retreat.”
The golden age of Chinese entrepreneurs
I think China has some special opportunities. So far, the world (including new industries) is basically driven by the United States, because the United States is the only country that drives the core elements of high technology: technology, talent, capital, and market.
Therefore, we often say this when we meet in the United States. “The so-called high-tech company is Design for Americans, Tweak Slightly, Sell Global”, which is designed for Americans, slightly modified, and sold globally. It is such an industry.
But China has completely changed the whole situation, strictly speaking, it has really changed since the mobile Internet. Today, China has enough talents, technology is strong enough, the market is very large, and capital is fully owned. These four core Chinas have.
China has some special circumstances, including infrastructure and policy support. In a sense, it is a golden age for every Chinese entrepreneur who wants to start a business.
This is also why YC chose to enter China at this point in time.
Founded in 2005, YC is one of the world’s first and most successful early entrepreneurial ecosystems. We have invested in more than 2,000 startups over the past decade, with a total market capitalization of more than $150 billion, many of which are very first class. Star companies, like Dropbox, Airbnb, Cruise, etc., are particularly special. YC pioneered a university-style entrepreneurial acceleration model and demonstrated a very effective set of entrepreneurial approaches from 0 to 1 with practical actions.
In the past few months, I have had the opportunity to participate in the first phase of the venture camp in the United States as a partner of the United States. I have gained a lot of personal experience. The methodology of YC and the improvement of the value of the startup companies are really very confidence!
I very much hope that Chinese entrepreneurs can also feel the theory of entrepreneurship, but the environment in China is different from that in the United States. Therefore, we have made YC localized in China and are now enrolling students. Those with entrepreneurial ideas can go to the YC website to learn more.
Website link: http://www.ycchina.com/
How to grasp the historic opportunity?
How do we grasp our historic opportunities? Let’s review history and see which are the core drivers and what are the systematic structures that allow us to see the future and enable us to better identify the direction and take a more systematic grasp of our opportunities.
The history of high-tech industry: driven by the development of computer platforms
The history of high-tech industry can be described by the platform of large-scale computing digitization, its evolutionary structure, and basically every 12 years or so, there will be a new large-scale platform in history. What are the core drivers of these platforms? It is the scale of digitization and the scope of digitization, that is, how much depth and depth can you turn some human behavior into digital.
Because once the information is digitized, it can be quickly acquired and transmitted. The digitized information can also be refined and supported through calculation. With support, it can be quickly iterated and speed up the innovation. Keep in mind that any track is undoubtedly for us to see how wide the digital range is and how deep the digitization is.
Now the world has been digitized, the whole earth has been “flattened”, and a series of applications such as e-commerce and socialization have been brought forward. In the mobile era, because interactivity can be put in pockets and available everywhere, the behaviors of people’s lives are all digitized.
In the era of artificial intelligence, there will be greater opportunities, because the socialized world and the physical world will be fully integrated. Any physical space, any human behavior, as long as it has higher value to us, will be digitized. Both will have the opportunity to increase value on a large scale.
Every era, valuable experience and lessons for us
1, PC / client – server era
In the era of PC clients, the front-end core technology is the X86 chip and Graphical Display. From the perspective of Microsoft, this is a point that Mr. Gates sees far. Seeing the X86 microprocessor, he knows that this microprocessor will be used everywhere. This software will be a big track. Microsoft always believes this.
The second era was that he watched with Jobs. It was Graphical Display. He wrote many very valuable memos in the late 1970s, and the application experience of the next 20 years and 30 years was basically observed.
But in a sense, it was not invented by them. The Xerox PARC (Xerox Park Research Center) that really invented it is a laboratory. If it is from the perspective of entrepreneurs, it is worthwhile to learn from the direction of control technology. , Graphical Display, or microprocessor, imagine the business value that can be generated in the future, and stick to it for a long time. This is the core of a company like Microsoft.
In addition, in the back end, relational databases and distributed systems are very important technologies in the history of the computer industry, and I call it the defining capabilities. Today, even if you are doing the Internet, I am basically certain that you are using relational data and have a small MySQL Database Management System.
Distributed data systems, including today’s blockchain core computing and consensus algorithms, were born in that era. Here, after you have these capabilities, what kind of commercial value track you see is basically a business. The business route, at that time, Oracle (Oracle Software Systems Co., Ltd.) was born, and a series of very good companies such as SAP (Sip) were born.
For today’s China, these tracks may have value, but they must be linked to the cloud. This is the first era, we can extract some of the more important experiences.
- The Internet age
In short, its main revolution, the main driving force is browser and search, including advertising. There are many experiences and lessons to talk about here, but one important point I want to share with you is the importance of business model.
The earliest Internet was Mosaic. Later Netscape felt that it had found its own business model and thought that it could subvert Microsoft. But there is a big challenge: Internet is Http is an open standard system, that is, no Law patent protection, anyone can do it.
However, even if the portal is found, it is useless. At first we thought that the portal might be the control point of the Internet, but it is obvious that the search engine is, because the size and structure of the Internet must be organized by a mechanism such as a search engine.
So, Google found it, but Google did not find a business model. Google has been very struggling in the early days and tried a variety of things. However, Google’s business model, discovered by another company, called Overture, invented a way to use auctions, which is driven by technology.
Therefore, everyone needs to pay attention to: After seeing the track, there are many opportunities. Among them, the business model is very important. However, if you do not find a business model for artificial intelligence today, don’t worry, don’t worry, as long as you don’t die, you must find it later. Because as long as you generate value, you can get value.
It is a very important lesson for the Internet industry to maintain confidence in the “long-term” and not to be driven by short-term interests. It is worthy of everyone’s attention to entrepreneurs.
- Mobile/Cloud Age
A defining experience, such as the iPhone, is Steve Jobs’s epoch-making invention. He saw the era of touch and touch screen, which is his keen observation. But what we have to look at is the core technology of input and output, which brings us other inspirations and new tracks, or the already extended track.
First, it has a camera. Don’t underestimate the camera to take pictures, especially the micro-vision we see today. I have observed that it will be a very big track, because there are words and images, it can convey the information and a video is completely absent. On a level. So, look at the interaction to see the new track in the future.
Second, there is still a bit of time for voice, because it takes a while for the voice to be completely digitized. Although we use voice, we use analog signals, not digital.
Third, positioning can also be done because of the positioning of mobile phones, such as Didi and Uber.
In addition, the main applications, such as SMS, communication, photos, social, etc., especially personalized recommendations such as payment, China’s mobile Internet has already gone to the United States, which has a large structure with the Chinese Internet as a whole. relationship.
A little mention of the ecology, Jobs did not want to do APP when designing the iPhone, he just wants to do the browser, but due to various calculations, he finally gave up and went to do the APP.
The first iPhone had only one APP, and at the time, there was no APP mode. Although the APP model is good for large applications and frequent applications, it can cause ecological unhealthyness in a certain sense.
At some stage you have to push an APP very difficult. Because for users who occasionally use it for experience, it is unreasonable for you to let them download an APP. On the one hand, it is because you need to use resources, on the other hand, it creates a barrier to the new entrepreneurial ecology to promote new services.
Therefore, I personally think that a new service-based production like a small program can bring more opportunities for entrepreneurs. Only by giving everyone the opportunity to innovate will opportunities become more and more.
The back-end is mobile communication 4G. The main defining capability is cloud computing and services, which has completely changed the entire software industry from business model to experience delivery, and greatly increased the scope and depth of digital penetration. The track here is very active. Digitalization is gradually infiltrating. It is assumed that digitalization cannot penetrate many things in a company, but with cloud services, with mobile phones, it can penetrate more and more.
Here, if you want to start a business, you need to consider: What behaviors did you digitize at the time? What kind of innovation efficiency and value can you increase after digitization?
4, the era of artificial intelligence
There are many things that artificial intelligence has to say, and it is a very very early prediction of the future.
First, the front end of artificial intelligence, that is, input and output. If you input it, listen and watch, of course, the touch already exists; if you output it, it can be a dialogue, it can be a self-service system, the output system can be your own, you can be a robot, or you can drive a car.
Second, the core technology, sensors will remain at the forefront with a lot of investment, especially microphones, cameras, laser radar, optical sensors, low-power consumption of various sensors, privacy protection scenarios. Seats, sensors that help with privacy protection are a very important weight.
The chip is almost redone. Simply put, the traditional X86 is good, ARM (microprocessor) is also the so-called Von Neumann architecture (von Neumann architecture), the basic control flow is the main, the data dimension can not be too high, calculation The benefits will not be good, but the key to how its structure requires a certain period of time to evolve.
The instruction set may also use X86 or ARM because it still requires a central processor to mobilize, but the main calculations are calculated using other structures, so the entire structure will change. I personally think that the definitional experience we have not found yet, at least not yet, but we have a defining ability, which is brought about by deep learning.
In simple terms, deep learning was called neuron processing in the past. In the 1980s, it was a while. The real revolution began in 2006. Geoffrey Hinton (father of neural networks) cooperated with Microsoft. By 2009, the word difference of speech recognition The rate and sentence rate have been falling from 27% to 28%, falling to levels close to people and even beyond people.
Next is the very difficult natural language processing, which is closely related to general artificial intelligence. I personally think it will take many years to catch up with the human level. Anything that builds a model becomes very efficient because its core is to get knowledge quickly.
If your business is knowledge-driven, this time it will be accelerated on a large scale, because this time it is not just for people to acquire knowledge, we can also acquire knowledge efficiently through the establishment of artificial intelligence machines. This is an inter-generational thing.
Back-end 5G technology is very complex, but it offers many business opportunities.
The same is true for chips. I think the era of such chips as Intel and Qualcomm is gone forever. In the future and now, the chips will be in a large vertical field.
The underlying software is basically redone. The framework and tools currently have some good systems, but there are some large-scale deep learning training and reasoning systems, including data systems, engineering, etc. There is still a lot of work to be done. At present, artificial intelligence has not really been engineered. Just like the previous software engineering, the model has not been fully trained to achieve the results we want, including some data processing.
Killer apps such as perception and cognition. I feel that perception is definitely leading, especially visual. From the perspective of YC investment, especially from the perspective of YC investment, there is no doubt that computer vision will do.
AI creates a core model of value
If you are doing artificial intelligence entrepreneurship, or artificial intelligence innovation, and want to use artificial intelligence technology to create business value and create wealth, this picture is its core model, you can use this picture to extend the methods that can be practiced in the future.
Among them, the core is to data, the data is not born out of nothing, any data is a digital expression of observing natural phenomena, physical environment and human phenomena, is the carrier of knowledge, and its connotation is knowledge.
First, get the data and have a sensor.
Second, we need to acquire knowledge from the data and then use knowledge to achieve our goals. Generic data is generated by software + hardware + algorithms to achieve our goal of creating social value. It is necessary to build such a closed loop, provided that a more comprehensive application is found.
Here, I emphasize the closed loop. Because knowledge is alive, human society is changing, and the physical environment is changing, so one-off data is useless. It is necessary to add closed-loop and live data to truly create a healthy artificial intelligence business and ecology.
Looking to the future, technology drives innovation frontier
The front end of the artificial intelligence era is likely to be intelligent objects, assistants, self-service systems, autonomous driving robots, and intelligent places; the back end is likely to be an industry cloud or a city brain. There are also some new ones to consider, such as AR, VR and brain-computer combination. There was a time when everyone felt that glasses might be the next opportunity. This is possible and may be applied soon.
In addition, it is the backstage related to the future, especially like blockchain or quantum computing. In fact, the ultimate core competence of any innovation in the field of technology is based on physics and mathematics.
The only large area in physics that has not yet been commercialized is quantum physics. Like electrons and mathematics, the future produces the entire quantum ecology, quantum chemistry, quantum materials, and so on. Of course, because quantum computing is applied to the whole field, it may take a little longer in the last time, maybe 7 years, 10 years or so, but it must be a very large space.
Among them, we have computational biology and even biology itself. Biology is regenerative, and we now have engineering capabilities to build new biological systems, such as computational methods, new ways of generating energy, and storage. A company like Tesla is an energy company, the car is the first application, and the second is the aircraft, which uses mature energy technology to change the world. At present, energy technology has many development opportunities.
Back to the point of view of entrepreneurship, it is also a relatively systematic and structured deepening. In any era, the so-called first echelon company will be born. It will stand at the highest control end of the ecology and will be very different.
All future venues will be smart, and at least 4 to 5 first echelon companies will be born 40 years and 50 years later. The entrepreneurs of these first echelon companies are likely to be in college now, in high school, and possibly some of the classmates present here. This is our opportunity.
I personally think that we have never seen so many companies that have built the first echelon in history, using such a large scale to change the world and create value. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. How to define it, entrepreneurs must go out the hardest first step.