May 16, 2014

Talk About Board Diversity! An Artificial Intelligence Director!

Danger, Will Robinson! I’ve heard of appointing someone who’s a “tool” or an “empty suit” to a board, but this takes the cake. Recently, I received an email entitled “Venture Capital Appoints Artificial Intelligence to Board,” with a press release that says:

Deep Knowledge Ventures announced today that it formally acknowledges the AI software known as VITAL (Validating Investment Tool for Advancing Life Sciences), an algorithm software focused on a subset of companies in the Regenerative Medical sector, as an equal member of its Board of Directors. VITAL was created by the Moscow Center for Biogerontology and Regenerative Medicine (CBRM) and is licensed by Aging Analytics. DKV considers VITAL such a crucial instrument for investment decision-making, that it has given it a seat at the table.

The press release doesn’t explain how the AI director would handle its fiduciary duties nor how this new director might be compensated. Just kidding. As I understand it, the headline is merely being cute and the “robot” is not actually on the board. Still, it’s bizarre (eg. why does the board need access to AI – shouldn’t management use it and then just report its results to the board?). Although anything is possible these days given the Citizens United’s “corporation as a person” decision. On the other hand, maybe an all-robotic board would solve some of the issues wrought by our existing governance framework…

Transcript: “Latest Developments in IPOs & Capital Raising”

I have posted the transcript for our recent webcast: “Latest Developments in IPOs & Capital Raising.”

Yesterday, the SEC announced that Chief Accountant Paul Beswick is leaving the agency to return to the private sector.

Poll: Your Opinion of an AI Director?

Which of the following best characterizes your reaction to a robot director:

survey software

– Broc Romanek