Black Robotics Engineers on Whether Robots Will Kill Us All

Robots

On a lively panel at Black Enterprise’s TechConneXt Tech Summit, two black robotics engineers discussed artificial intelligence and robotics. Both weighed in on whether robots are harmful to human beings, and especially to the livelihood of people of color.

Dr. Ashitey Trebi-Ollennu Dr. Ashitey Trebi-Ollennu (Image: File)

The panel, hosted by CEO and founder of facial recognition tech company Kairos, Brian Brackeen, included Terrence Southern, a tech founder and robotics engineer for GE. Also participating was Dr. Ashitey Trebi-Ollennu, an award-winning and esteemed roboticist at NASA.

A portion of the panel focused on the anxious perceptions people harbor about robots and their threat of replacing human labor as well as their potential danger.

Many Jobs Will Become Obsolete

Southern was adamant that these machines would replace some jobs. “There is already a robot chef,” he told the audience. Indeed, German company Moley Robotics created a robot chef that can create a meal from scratch by mimicking the movements of a human chef.

He also mentioned that many fast-food enterprises are looking at robots as a way of automating business operations and cutting costs.

Trebi-Ollennu quelled some fears about job loss after an audience member asked about robot labor’s impact on blacks and other minorities, who are already at a disadvantage in the job market.

Robots mean that there will be more “high-skill” jobs available, said Trebi-Ollennu. He mentioned that it is important that classrooms provide adequate skills young people will need to work in a high-tech world.

Some of the new jobs that will be in demand according to both panelists will include robot programmers, technicians, builders, and people that can fix and maintain automated vehicles.

How Deadly Are Robots?

One woman in the audience asked the question that was surely in the back of many minds: With artificial intelligence and robotics, can intelligent machines hurt or even kill humans?

Southern pointed out that many industrial robots are huge machines with the ability to crush or maim any humans working next to them. He said that “collaborative robots” are a big area of research because they allow robots and humans to work safely side-by-side.

Trebi-Ollennu insisted that any notion of robots eventually dominating or killing humans was the stuff of science fiction. “We use them as tools to help humans,” he assured.

 

 

Best Accelerators For Minority Startups and Small Businesses To Get Funding

accelerators

Studies show the survival rate of companies that go through an accelerator are three times than that of companies that don’t. What’s more, research shows companies that completed an accelerator program grew faster than companies that didn’t.

People sometimes use the phrase “business accelerator” as another term for “business incubator.” Incubators fundamentally provide a physical office space and basic business services. However, most accelerators are characterized by an open application process: the selective acceptance of various entrepreneurs for short, fixed-length classes, with graduation and demo “pitch” days, as well as the provision of mentors and seed funding.

Elite tech accelerators—such as Y Combinator, Techstars, and 500 Startups—recently have kicked off diversity initiatives, like “open office hours” for diverse founders, mentorship programs, and investment commitments.

Accelerators Focusing on Minority Entrepreneurs

Dreamit Ventures has been diversity focused for years; it operates four seed accelerators in Philadelphia, New York City, Baltimore, and Austin, and has launched more than 200 companies that have raised $275 million at combined valuations of more than $1 billion. In 2011, Dreamit partnered with Comcast Ventures to launch Dreamit Access, which offers coaching, mentorship, seed funding, and access to opportunities, specifically for minority-led startups.

It was the NewME Accelerator that pioneered diversity in Silicon Valley. The residential technology startup accelerator has helped underrepresented founders collectively raise more than $20 million in venture capital funding. Since 2011, NewME has accelerated more than 300 startups through its 12-week program in San Francisco and its national three-day program in cities nationwide.

PowerMoves, a national initiative to increase the number of venture-backed, high-growth, high-tech companies led by entrepreneurs of color, opened an accelerator in Miami this February. PowerMoves began in 2014 as a program to position New Orleans as a hub for entrepreneurs of color. In just one year, it has nationally sourced 100 companies led by founders of color from 26 major cities across the country, and it has helped secure more than $17 million in capital commitments.

PowerMoves Miami offers year-round programming, including pitch competitions, boot camps, networking events, and fellowships. “With the help of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation (a $1.2 million investment), we decided to launch a physical presence, not just a three-day convening in Miami,” says Janelle Alexander, Managing Director of PowerMoves Miami.

Black Enterprise’s 2016 Techpreneur of the Year nominee, Brian Brackeen, graduated from the NewME Accelerator’s second class in 2012. Brackeen is the Founder and CEO of Kairos, an innovative facial recognition company in Miami.

Brackeen is quick to point out that accelerators have evolved in recent years. “If you are in the fashion business, get into a fashion accelerator, because their network will be more helpful and carry more weight,” he advises other entrepreneurs.

“New York City, for instance, has several fashion and design labs, incubators, and accelerators. Look at how that program can add value. Who are the people in their network? At the end of the day, it’s all about people,” Brackeen says. “Seed money—$25,000 or $100,000—is important, but it’s about the relationships and introductions to people who can help grow your customer base and boost your revenue stream.”

PowerMoves Miami Accelerator Launches To Help Minority Entrepreneurs Access Capital

Black Enterprise’s 2016 Techpreneur of the Year nominee Brian Brackeen is the founder and CEO of Kairos, an innovative facial recognition company in Miami. Kairos’ tech platform provides advanced facial recognition API for its users’ apps and services.

It delivers fraud management and work automation solutions with features such as 3-D facial recognition, one-to-many identification, anti-spoofing, mood detection, gender analysis, security and compliance, mobile authentication, and more.

In four years, Brackeen has gone on to raise $6 million in venture capital. He is currently doing a $10 million Series A Round to handle volume, hire more engineers and sales people, and to scale the business. Miami is one of the most entrepreneurial cities in the country; there are also a large number of angel investors here, says Brackeen.

“In California there are three companies for every one angel investor, and Florida has three angel investors for every one startup,” he claims, noting the State of Florida, at $100,000, is an investor in Kairos. Early this year Brackeen was one four companies selected to present Kairos to a room of investors at the Morgan Stanley Disruptors Showcase as part as a three-day event hosted by PowerMoves Miami.

PowerMoves, a national initiative to increase the number of venture-backed, high-growth and high-tech companies led by entrepreneurs of color, opened an accelerator in Miami this February. PowerMoves began in 2014 as a program to position New Orleans as a hub for entrepreneurs of color. Since then, it has rapidly grown to become a national initiative.

In just one year, PowerMoves.NOLA has nationally sourced 100 companies led by founders of color from 26 major cities across the country and helped secure more than $17 million in capital commitments.

Related Story: SBA Awards $4.4 Million to Business Accelerators

Miami is the first city outside of New Orleans to host a PowerMoves office and year-round programming, including pitch competitions, boot camps, networking events, and fellowships. “With the help of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation (a $1.2 million investment), we decided to launch a physical presence not just a three-day convening in Miami,” says Janelle Alexander, managing director of PowerMoves Miami and former Entrepreneur-In-Residence at PowerMoves NOLA.

Alexander identifies talented entrepreneurs, serves as a mentor, and assists with programming. “Five or six companies will be chosen to participate in PowerMoves Miami. We will give them office space, guidance, mentorship, and access to networks.”

PowerMoves helps participating entrepreneurs refine their business models; shape their go-to-market strategies; connect with advisers; and secure early investment to launch, grow, and scale their businesses. “We make connections and introductions. That is one of the barriers to entries that entrepreneurs of color face,” adds Alexander.

Related Story: Watch Flat Out Of Heels Wins $25,000 Pitch Competition at PowerMoves NOLA

PowerMoves Miami Accelerator Launches To Help Minority Entrepreneurs Access Capital

Black Enterprise’s 2016 Techpreneur of the Year nominee Brian Brackeen is the founder and CEO of Kairos, an innovative facial recognition company in Miami. Kairos’ tech platform provides advanced facial recognition API for its users’ apps and services.

It delivers fraud management and work automation solutions with features such as 3-D facial recognition, one-to-many identification, anti-spoofing, mood detection, gender analysis, security and compliance, mobile authentication, and more.

In four years, Brackeen has gone on to raise $6 million in venture capital. He is currently doing a $10 million Series A Round to handle volume, hire more engineers and sales people, and to scale the business. Miami is one of the most entrepreneurial cities in the country; there are also a large number of angel investors here, says Brackeen.

“In California there are three companies for every one angel investor, and Florida has three angel investors for every one startup,” he claims, noting the State of Florida, at $100,000, is an investor in Kairos. Early this year Brackeen was one four companies selected to present Kairos to a room of investors at the Morgan Stanley Disruptors Showcase as part as a three-day event hosted by PowerMoves Miami.

PowerMoves, a national initiative to increase the number of venture-backed, high-growth and high-tech companies led by entrepreneurs of color, opened an accelerator in Miami this February. PowerMoves began in 2014 as a program to position New Orleans as a hub for entrepreneurs of color. Since then, it has rapidly grown to become a national initiative.

In just one year, PowerMoves.NOLA has nationally sourced 100 companies led by founders of color from 26 major cities across the country and helped secure more than $17 million in capital commitments.

Related Story: SBA Awards $4.4 Million to Business Accelerators

Miami is the first city outside of New Orleans to host a PowerMoves office and year-round programming, including pitch competitions, boot camps, networking events, and fellowships. “With the help of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation (a $1.2 million investment), we decided to launch a physical presence not just a three-day convening in Miami,” says Janelle Alexander, managing director of PowerMoves Miami and former Entrepreneur-In-Residence at PowerMoves NOLA.

Alexander identifies talented entrepreneurs, serves as a mentor, and assists with programming. “Five or six companies will be chosen to participate in PowerMoves Miami. We will give them office space, guidance, mentorship, and access to networks.”

PowerMoves helps participating entrepreneurs refine their business models; shape their go-to-market strategies; connect with advisers; and secure early investment to launch, grow, and scale their businesses. “We make connections and introductions. That is one of the barriers to entries that entrepreneurs of color face,” adds Alexander.

Related Story: Watch Flat Out Of Heels Wins $25,000 Pitch Competition at PowerMoves NOLA

Miami-Based Innovator Brian Brackeen Tells-All About Funding Startups

You may not be too familiar with Miami-based entrepreneur Brian Brackeen now, but he will soon be a worldwide, household name.

This groundbreaking innovator is the founder and CEO of Kairos.com, an ingenious facial recognition company helping companies everywhere to change the way they interact with their employees, patients, and customers.

[Related: Global Tech Leaders of the Diaspora: 10 African Innovators to Watch In 2016]

Kairos is essentially a human analytics company that provides modern day technology solutions that can help automate analysis of human behavior.

Kairos combines social science and technology, allowing businesses to understand the variables that impact consumer decision making in real time.

In laymen’s terms, Brackeen has developed a superior technology that detects your emotions, via facial recognition and emotional analysis, when gauging a product, or interacting with a service.

Through use of human metrics, Kairos allows companies to understand more about who people are, how they feel, and what earns their interest. This allows for a deeper understanding into people’s interactions with companies. Companies gain access to consumer decisive moments by capturing those moments with technology.

Companies may also gauge the moment of decision for each product and experience.

With Kairos, still images, Web content, and real-time video are processed by leading facial analysis, and emotional analysis algorithms, thus, automating the process of collecting and analyzing data about human behavior.

Brackeen serves as the brain behind this operation. Since founding Kairos, he has raised more than $5 million in venture capital and has 7,000 customers in 40 countries.

Kairos acquired company IMRSV, making Kairos the only facial biometrics company in the world offering both facial recognition and emotion analysis tools for developers.

Prior to founding Kairos, Brackeen worked as a senior project manager for Apple Inc. and senior managing consultant from IBM.

Brackeen currently cultivates Miami’s tech and entrepreneurial scene. He will be in attendance at the 2016 Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Summit, May 4–7, at the Loews Hotel Miami, Miami, Florida, talking seed and early stage funding for entrepreneurs.

He will be joined by the Founding Partner of Cross Culture Ventures, Marlon Nichols, advising attendees on how to market yourself to investors and assessing the early stage funding that may be right for your business. Register now.

Be sure to follow Black Enterprise on social media @BlackEnterprise for Entrepreneur Summit news, highlights, and updates. Use hashtag #BESummit to stay in the loop.

Please be on the lookout at BlackEnterprise.com as speakers, activities, and sessions are announced.