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Mikhail Liebenstein

Natural Language Processing and AI

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So I keep hearing about startups focusing on NLP (Natural Language Processing).

But what I don't get is that over 50% of them seem to focus on speech recognition followed by conversational AI, i.e. taking the meaning from the text. But loads of these seem to be doing speech recognition and are then using Google/Amazon services behind it to derive the meaning.

Thing is, that is old tech, check this girl out: 

 

 

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People are doing startups developing already existing technology (speech recognition is reasonably mature now) and then leaving the difficult bit to someone else?  What are they trying to achieve? Sad that they've even got any money for that.

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I suppose the thing to remember is that a start-up is a business, not research, and probably not even development.

Now reflect on all the business start-ups you see on, say, Dragon's Den. One might be making a new snack bar: hardly cutting edge. Nevertheless, it's still a start-ups. And then a real invention enters the "Den" .... and nobody will touch it. The 'Dragons' just want tried and tested stuff. So rather than being surpised by the money attracted by 'old tech', one should actually consider it normal. Investors want to see actual profitability, and failing that, growing sales.

Most business ideas are just polishing up dusty turds ...

 

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I can understand that for the likes of a snack bar, and what it's trying to offer but what what does a language processing somethingorother offer? In its own right it's no use whatsoever, so starting up a business around that strikes me as an odd thing to do if it's not aiming to develop the technology. Unless I've got the wrong end of the stick and they've got some product idea that involves sticking a speech recognition system in something but then it's just as much a component as the screws that hold it together and they're not saying they're starting up businesses focussing on screws.

Personally speaking I've yet to encounter any application of speech recognition and processing that holds any interest for me whatsoever (actually not quite true, I use it a bit for one game).

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Human society is extremely complex and chaotic. Most investors are just normal people that haven’t got a clue what will be successful so yes, they only invest is businesses showing financial results. Most business ideas probably come from people rolling a dice and stumbling across an idea similar to choosing the right lottery numbers. Not all of course.

Maybe they are just doing what has been done before but creating a new brand. Brands are everything and what people strongly identify with.

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In London I see dozens and dozens of startups every year (me and my brother have a startup - but a proper one... hence VCs don't invest in us). 

Sadly 90% seem to be utter drivel. But they somehow get Angel/VC funding and even 2nd round funding and keep the merry go round going. Loads of it reminds me of late 90s websites that disappeared in the dotcom crash. Mostly they are not actually driven by scientists/engineers  but mostly by marketeers  "pseudo-artists" (tim nice but dim types who found maths too hard) and  plain old "bullshiters".

I highly recommend reading the book "b u l l s h i t Jobs" to try and get some semblance of why the world is the way it is!

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On 30/12/2018 at 23:25, hayder said:

In London I see dozens and dozens of startups every year (me and my brother have a startup - but a proper one... hence VCs don't invest in us). 

Sadly 90% seem to be utter drivel. But they somehow get Angel/VC funding and even 2nd round funding and keep the merry go round going. Loads of it reminds me of late 90s websites that disappeared in the dotcom crash. Mostly they are not actually driven by scientists/engineers  but mostly by marketeers  "pseudo-artists" (tim nice but dim types who found maths too hard) and  plain old "bullshiters".

I highly recommend reading the book "b u l l s h i t Jobs" to try and get some semblance of why the world is the way it is!

One of the issues is that a lot of these firms are not doing real AI, just using Amazon/Google APIs in far too small data sets.

This means the barriers to entry are very low and so there is no way to scale long term as competition can quickly emulate. I’ve started working with a few starts ups along with a VC partner and I am telling them to rule out anything without core and unique IP that genuinely does something useful.

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  • 297 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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