Fenwick’s Tech Week Takes: The Future of AI

By: Ian Goldstein , Adine Mitrani

What You Need To Know

  • Artificial intelligence (AI) is still in the early innings, with massive potential to transform industries as it progresses through future S curves of innovation.
  • Non-AI native companies incorporating AI should re-envision their product strategies from scratch and consider hosting events like hackathons to help develop new AI features.
  • Balancing responsible innovation with regulation will be crucial as AI systems take on more complex roles

What’s in store for the future of AI? That’s the question we set out to answer at a16z’s New York Tech Week.

In a fireside chat titled "State of AI: What’s Next? The Future of AI," Andreessen Horowitz general partner Andrew Chen joined Fenwick startup & VC partner Ian Goldstein to discuss the current state of AI and its potential impact on the broader tech ecosystem.

We’re at the tip of the S curve. While foundational model work is happening globally, the next wave will see more specialized applications of AI that build deep, verticalized products that solve real problems for customers. “I’m a strong believer in the power of specialization,” Andrew said, and believes that founders will leverage the foundational research happening today to better serve niche customer needs and create competitive advantages.

There’s more than one way to implement AI. Many companies are eager to hop on the AI wave, but they need to plan beyond the hype to ensure long-term success. Here are some considerations to get the most out of AI now and down the road:

  • Take advantage of the novelty effect of AI to drive top-of-funnel growth but focus on sustainability, retention, and stickiness.
  • Consider both weak form and strong form implementations of AI—the weak form to gain familiar customers, the strong form to potentially disrupt markets. Weak form implementations should be developed and marketed thoughtfully while continuously thinking through how to maintain a competitive edge.
  • Host hackathons and encourage frequent experimentation that can help discover new AI-powered experiences for your product.

Companies should join the conversation about regulation. Showcasing a transparent narrative regarding AI solutions and devising technical solutions to mitigate biased outcomes can go a long way for regulators. Andrew believes that companies can take an active role in policy discussions “by having a voice and telling our stories of what amazing things that AI, web3, and many of these other technologies can bring the world.”

Advancing AI technology requires more than just surface level integrations, it demands thoughtful implementation, sustainable innovation, and meaningful contributions to policy discussions in order to reshape industries for the better.

Learn more about Tech Week here.