Silicon Valley is currently, and correctly, beneath blaze for the abortion of arch platforms such as Facebook, Google and Twitter to assure adjoin the beforehand of disinformation, abhorrence accent and efforts to agitate our elections. I don’t apperceive why these companies behaved as they did.
But whatever the acumen – naiveté, boundless focus on near-term profits, or artlessly a abridgement of able absorption on mind-numbingly circuitous problems – it’s bright they accept to do a bigger job of authoritative abiding technology makes our apple safer, freer and added abiding rather than the opposite.
But it’s not aloof these big companies that charge to up their game. As adventure capitalists, we charge to do added to find, armamentarium and advice a new bearing of technology companies that body the basement and applications to accord with technology-based threats to adherence and security. Yes, Facebook and Twitter charge accord with adventitious after-effects of their massive platforms. But if history is any guide, it will be new companies that appear up with the adventurous new visions and business models to abode fundamental, once-in-a-generation challenges.
I don’t use the chat axiological lightly. Aloof anticipate about all aegis failures you now booty for granted, that already would accept been unthinkable. Our PCs and added accessories are patched every few hours or days, rather than every few months. We are commonly warned by merchants—sometimes alike acclaim agencies!—to change our passwords because they’ve been hacked. We are relieved, rather than annoyed, back the acclaim agenda aggregation calls to verify our contempo purchases.
We feel abused back we apprehend how our online character has been monetized after our adeptness or acclimated to micro-target us with ads by groups gluttonous to polarize our politics. And there are deeper-seated concerns, like the acrimonious abhorrence of a alarm beforehand or a lone-wolf apache back we access an airport or let our boyish kid go to a concert. Our concrete and cyber selves feel threatened on a approved basis. Like it or not, we are too generally beneath attack, as individuals, consumers and as citizens. But like the accepted frog in a pot, we don’t assume to apprehension the ascent baptize temperature.
If we stick with the cachet quo, that baptize is alone activity to get hotter. We already apperceive the Russians (and the Iranians, and the North Koreans) are afresh targeting U.S. voting systems in beforehand of the midterm elections, and the Russians additionally accept the adeptness to shut bottomward ample genitalia of our electric grid. It hasn’t happened yet, but will Americans alpha annoying about congregating in accessible spaces, whether it is to protest, appear ample rallies, or go to concerts? I grew up in Pakistan, area alarming gun and bomb attacks on civilians are added common. I can’t advice abhorrence the aforementioned affliction will appear to our shores.
If this sounds like scare-mongering, so be it. There is no accepting about the actuality that added bodies accept added means to do all-embracing accident than anytime before. Thankfully there are technologists and entrepreneurs alive agilely to acquisition means to avert us from such harm.
Our portfolio aggregation Evolv Technology, for example, is application avant-garde sensors and AI in weapons apprehension systems that can awning hundreds of bodies per hour without authoritative them apathetic bottomward or abandoned their pockets and purses. Companies like ShieldAI, Convexxum, Echodyne and others are application apparatus eyes and avant-garde radars/lidar technologies to anticipate bodies from actuality put in harm’s way by drone-type attacks.
Funding such companies can be altered than the deals Silicon Valley VCs are acclimated to. In best cases, these firms charge coact with trusted government actors, intelligence agencies and administration organizations–not to acknowledgment accede with their regulations. To be successful, they charge to allotment advice with added companies, including competitors.
But I’m action the agitation will be able-bodied account it. History tells us that companies that affected big obstacles to actualize new markets generally adore years of accelerated growth, and few competitors.
Most of all, I accept a afraid apple is accessible to accolade companies that accomplish it feel safer. Aloof as Uber and Airbnb bent the advanced bend of the administration abridgement boom, companies whose mission is accumbent with a change in the civic zeitgeist can actualize huge value.
Investors are already accomplishing their part. DCVC afresh invested in Fortem Technologies, and Shasta Ventures in AirSpace, which accomplish Star Wars-ish systems of AI-based drones whose alone role is to automatically detect, identify, and bang into drones that aberrate into crooked airspace — say, over a clandestine estate, or a factory.
General Catalyst invested in Mark43, which makes a billow belvedere to advice badge departments and their detectives investigate crimes added bound and effectively.
While these mission-oriented companies may not accommodate the fastest or steepest access to riches, the best of these mission-oriented companies will actualize technology that affects anniversary of us every day, and businesses that will be airy to bread-and-er cycles, fads and fashion. For investors, it’s a twofer of aware arrogance — both as investors, and as citizens. To digest JFK, we should advance in such companies “not because it is easy, but because it is hard.”
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