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GPT Party 2.0. Nikolay Oreshkin on investing in AI: trends and prospects

In Silicon Valley, on October 7-8, GPT Party 2.0 took place – the largest Russian-speaking networking event dedicated to artificial intelligence. More than 300 people gathered at Plug and Play to meet with leading experts, entrepreneurs, and investors to discuss the latest trends in artificial intelligence and gain practical knowledge.

At the event, Nikolay Oreshkin talked about investment trends in the AI sphere and shared his vision for the future of businesses and humanity in the era of artificial intelligence.

What will change in the era of AI and what has already changed now?

“Artificial intelligence is changing the way any business is conducted and the way we interact with our work environment. Once we wrote letters, then we began to communicate through cellular communication, then came the internet and mobile communication. Mobile applications and mobile internet have taught us to work remotely, and now artificial intelligence gives us many additional ways to interact with the work environment.

In previous centuries, people’s time was not valued, but money was. After that, Marx wrote “Capital”, where it was decided to make a 12-hour working day. Then a structure arose, and the expression “time is money” appeared. Many still work on an hourly rate. In the future, time will dominate over money, and we will come to this with the help of artificial intelligence. Over the last century, we have tried to optimize many things and have done so quite successfully. Now we don’t just want to optimize, we want to delegate: to make everything around us work independently.

There’s another point: for millennia, from generation to generation, we have passed on knowledge through manuscripts and books, spending a lot of time to acquire and transmit this knowledge. Artificial intelligence does not require so much time, so now we are on the threshold of a reality in which artificial intelligence will penetrate all major industries from medicine to education.

Of course, there are certain risks. What will happen if artificial intelligence starts to control us? In some ways, this will even have advantages, as AI can be transparently managed by a certain system. The biggest risk is that we may lose the motivation to acquire knowledge in areas where artificial intelligence will lead. And, accordingly, if we do not acquire this knowledge, we will not be able to pass it on to the next generation.”

Artificial intelligence in venture investments

“Let’s talk a little about venture investment trends. I’ll tell you about our portfolio company Prisma. In 2016, they processed photos in the style of famous authors like Van Gogh, Dali, Picasso. The app worked like this: you took a photo, the photo was sent to the cloud, where it was processed on serious machines and sent back to the user device. It was expensive, but it was free for users, and the main part of the expenses was on the investors, that is, on us. This processing became a trend, and the company took off. Then they became the app of the year and raised more than $100,000,000. However, after that, everyone forgot about the company, and at that time it earned nothing. We hoped someone would buy it, but they didn’t for a number of reasons, and we, as investors, spent a lot of money in vain on maintaining the server.

In 2018, we made another attempt to launch the Lensa app, whose feature was the generation of digital avatars. In November last year, they almost ran out of money, but in December alone, the company earned $70,000,000. The difference is that the app became paid: users paid only $5, but the company was able to earn.”

“The key players in the VC industry are corporations that set trends, set tasks, and try to hire employees, and employees who either stay in the company or leave the corporation and launch their own startups. They get money either from these corporations or from VCs and create other corporations. All this is stimulated by good education and an entrepreneurial mindset. Where can artificial intelligence be applied here? At GPT Party we discussed that the VC industry will die because artificial intelligence will be able to make investment decisions much more qualitatively. Knowing a large volume of data, perhaps artificial intelligence will create new independent businesses that will one day grow into large corporations. Then the key question is: where are we in all this? Where will science, humanity remain in this system if everything is done by artificial intelligence? Our main task is to understand our role and learn how to use artificial intelligence for good.”

What needs to be done for an investor to be ready to invest in a startup?

“Someone once asked me: how to interest an investor so that he is ready to invest? Here I will tell you an unpleasant truth. The VC industry is very pragmatic. We tell founders that it is important for us how talented you are and what your personal branding is, your revenue, how many employees, how many media wrote about you. But in reality, this is only half true, because the only thing VCs care about is how fast you are growing. It doesn’t matter how much the company is worth at the time of investment, what matters is the growth potential and the speed of this growth. If you can show and convince, or even scare investors, that we are changing the world here, and you will miss it now, then they will want to invest in you.”

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