Is Machine Learning Just Another Fad?

According to Mattermark, No.

AI Is The New New Thing (And It's Taking Over)

This editorial presents an interesting look at the ecosystem of machine learning startups, across all industries. Some choice quotes:

2013’s Big Data is 2016’s Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI).

AI and ML are the latest buzzwords, but unlike most corporate cliches, there’s a robust market for AI tech–both in the form of internal R&D and big corporate interest–in the realm of startup work and venture funding.

Mattermark notes on a few significant exits that have happened recently, including DeepMind (Google) and Turi (Apple). Thus far most exits have been of companies that focus on the core technology. I think machine learning companies are going to continue to get acquired, and going forward it will be more-focused companies within specific verticals. This could be GE acquiring industrial-focused companies or Pfizer acquiring a company working with genetic data to predict new drugs.

One of the big differentiators between machine learning and previous technology fads is that there are actual, value-adding, results in the work being done. Mattermark address this as such

We spoke with Matt Ocko, cofounder and co-Managing Partner of [VC firm Data Collective] ... “We think there is both technology push and market pull,” Ocko suggested. The presence of both forces is rare in emerging technologies and creates significant demand.


Ocko explained that Data Collective “[likes] companies that substitute compute for capex and opex, both in their own operations (longer run-way, higher margins) and in how their product is transformative for customers’ business.”

Machine learning is already generating results for companies throughout the economy and will continue to do so.

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