2. AI and geopolitics
There is one central problem confounding the CIA, hedge funds and the largest retail enterprises: too much data. The world and its actors have never seemed more complex, and yet, with no way to absorb a meaningful part of the information out there, events appear harder than ever to understand.
A business opportunity: We are seeing a slew of startups promoting artificial intelligence as a solution. The latest is Primer, which says it sorts millions of news sources, and then crystallizes what's important in concise, natural language.
Why it matters: It will take time to gauge the accuracy of tools like Primer's, and its founder Sean Gourley says it does not supplant human intelligence. But it — and rival products — appears to be a solid first crack at breaking through the mountain of data weighing down our best analysts, and shaping it into useable bites.
The details: Primer has $14.7 million in venture funding, including from the CIA's venture capital arm In-Q-Tel and Zachary Bogue, husband of former Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer. Gourley's initial clients include Walmart, the Singaporean sovereign wealth fund and one or more of the U.S. intelligence agencies (under the rules of the game, he cannot be told who his precise intel clients are).
- Gourley tells Axios that his objective is for Prime to do the job of a junior analyst, not a top-level expert.
- That means cutting through the first three or so hours of a typical analyst's day by having Prime sort through news sources and providing, in plain English, a few takeaway thoughts. "You can sound pretty smart and bring up things that others didn't think about," Gourley said.
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