“Whenever a market or a technology changes, thereʼs a huge opportunity for new businesses,” author and entrepreneur Seth Godin said in The Bootstrapper’s Bible.
Godin’s comment from more than a decade ago, which addresses what’s now generally referred to as “disruption,” resonates among entrepreneurs more than ever. To address this, we asked each of our launch week interviewees what technology is going to be the most bankable in the next few years? Here’s a selection of their answers.
“We’re at that tipping point,” says Sonia Strimban, Manager of Venture Operations at MarS Discovery District. Artificial intelligence is already ubiquitous and will grow. “That tech is coming exponentially. Deep learning is really accelerating the pace of applications, not just the core but the application layer of what AI can do.”
“There’s a lot of public misconceptions. There’s already so much AI that some people don’t realize,” she says. Films such as Spike Jonze’s Her, for example, might talk about AI, but don’t really represent its real-life use.
Michelle McBane, director of the Investment Accelerator Fund, which is based at MaRS, noted that some entrepreneurs are deliberately adding machine learning to their startups to get noticed.
Matt Roberts, associate director at the IT Venture Fund at BDC Capital, says VR is worth watching in the longer term. “Everybody’s gotten a bit of a hype cycle going for it. We’re really going to start seeing excitement around VR in the next 2 to 3 years.”
“It’ll be like the Wii was for a generation,” he added. “A complete change of how people interact with technology.”
Bill Jacobson, founder and CEO of Boston-area startup space Workbar, says self-driving cars and the effect they have on transportation will be profound. “I have kids and I feel like they’re likely not going to own a car,” he says.
The technology could be coming a lot more quickly than we think, Jacobson added. “From a safety standpoint we’re in this middle ground where we have a driver that is highly distracted behind the wheel… that’s likely more dangerous than handing over control to a computer.”
Amir Azhari, president of AOMS – a Waterloo, Ontario-based fiber optic solutions startup, also identified self-driving cars. Azhari said AI’s rapid development is linked to autonomous vehicles’ success and regulations will catch up, even though “there are now just regulations and government laws that limit accessibility.”