Technology's Impact on Human Capital

Mark S Casady, Co-Founder, General Partner and Chairman of the Advisory Board, Vestigo Ventures

Mark S Casady, Co-Founder, General Partner and Chairman of the Advisory Board, Vestigo Ventures

As the saying goes, dog bites man is not a story, but man bites dog is news. This fits much of the thinking about technology and the story of technology “biting” humans. In fact, there’s never been a better story for humans enabled by technology.

What kinds of technology are moving into work and creating a change in the cost of labor? Or said another way which technologies are making us the most productive?

Having viewed more than 1000 business plans for startups as we look for great companies to invest in at Vestigo Ventures, it’s all about artificial intelligence. This technology is driving the most innovative and thoughtful approach to lowering costs in all industries.

"AI is driving the most innovative and thoughtful approach to lowering costs in all industries"

What is artificial intelligence (AI)? It’s the application of mathematical algorithms to data. The algorithms have been around for quite some time. They have exotic names like Logistic Regression, Naïve Bayes, XG Boost, Random Forests, and Multilayer Perceptron.

But in the end what they do well is search through sets of data looking for patterns or finding connections to deliver actionable insights more quickly (and cheaply) than people.

What has changed to make them relevant today?  It’s all about the data. Companies have been spending massively to gather their data and make it easy to access. Perhaps it’s in data lakes or golden copies or data warehouses. No matter how it’s held we have seen an explosion in data.

Now you can see how humans can be enhanced with technology by using all this data and applying AI to it. In the right hands, a company’s talented IT group or a startup’s amazingly effective AI can reduce costs and remove boring tasks. Let’s share some examples. You are looking to get to know your clients better by surveying them. Let Micronotes run their AI in your client database to survey them and make offers. All can be done without humans beyond setting up what campaigns are needed. Bankers are needed again once a client is identified as interested in their service. Prospecting made easy!

How about finding gig workers for your company? Algorithms work a database of candidates and select the best fit based on your stated criteria and an offer is made to the Gigster. Job filled! Jobble has sorted this out for about a million people wanting to work in this way. 

Want to offer student loan repayment to your employees? We know it’s the key benefit desired by employees in their 20’s. Vault can help them manage their current loans and recommend refinancing ideas. They also set up the co-payments made by the company on behalf of their employees. 

Getting new customers is critical to all businesses. However, financial institutions have to be careful about fraud from those exploiting online onboarding processes where personal review is limited, if not replaced altogether. Alloy uses all sorts of data from public sources to verify the legitimacy of an applicant. This was done by humans, but with hit rates of false signals resulting in fewer legitimate clients being approved. In this context, AI’s efficiency gains free human labor up for value-creating tasks and delivers more new customers.

As you can see it’s easy to get excited by what is possible with the power of joining your data with AI to drive the story of lower costs and better outcomes. It’s a great time to be a human!

Weekly Brief

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