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Tesla's Elon Musk Warns of AI: 'Summoning the Demon'


Skynet, here we come?

Tesla CEO Elon Musk spoke at MIT's Aeronautics and Astronautics Centennial Symposium on Friday, reports the Washington Post, and let's just say he's wary of artificial intelligence.

Musk called our increased use of it, "summoning the demon."

The Post has the story here, including a link to video of the entire talk.

Tesla chief executive Elon Musk has warned about artificial intelligence before, tweeting that it could be more dangerous than nuclear weapons. Speaking Friday at the MIT Aeronautics and Astronautics department’s Centennial Symposium, Musk called it our biggest existential threat:

"I think we should be very careful about artificial intelligence. If I were to guess like what our biggest existential threat is, it’s probably that. So we need to be very careful with the artificial intelligence. Increasingly scientists think there should be some regulatory oversight maybe at the national and international level, just to make sure that we don’t do something very foolish. With artificial intelligence we are summoning the demon. In all those stories where there’s the guy with the pentagram and the holy water, it’s like yeah he’s sure he can control the demon. Didn’t work out."

Musk was so caught up on artificial intelligence that he missed the audience’s next question. “Sorry can you repeat the question, I was just sort of thinking about the AI thing for a second,” he said.

Musk spoke expansively for over an hour, at one point even asking a MIT student what his favorite sci-fi books were. He left to a standing ovation. You can watch the entire interview here.


Field Agent Tackles 'Pink Branding' in The City Wire


October's color palette used to stress orange, red and yellow, as pumpkins begin to adorn front porches and the vibrant colors of fall foliage begin to reveal themselves.

These days, if October has a color -- at least in popular culture -- then that color is pink. 

Breast-cancer awareness pink. And football, as much as any institution, has adopted the cause. Gridirons from the NFL on down sport players accessorized in pink gloves, cleats and towels in a show of support for breast cancer patients, survivors and victims.

Innovate Arkansas client firm Field Agent of Fayetteville talks "pink branding" this week with the City Wire. Field Agent is uniquely positioned to help determine just how much punch pink packs. Or something like that...

A sample:

Consumers have most likely been desensitized to the pink, but that doesn’t mean companies necessarily have anything to lose from promoting awareness. New research from Fayetteville-based Field Agent found 52% of women surveyed this month said they have not made a purchase decision of one brand over another because one of them supported breast cancer awareness. They surveyed 250 moms on that question in mid-October, at the height of “pink” mania.

Rick West, CEO of Field Agent, said the study objective was to engage shoppers at the very moment of decision making. They did so using mobile technology to engage shoppers in various locations in 44 states during the “pink” promotional month.

“It’s a very different way to think about research, it’s real time data with expansive coverage collected at a low cost. At Field Agent we are able to get answers to questions that brands want to know about a myriad of topics, even consumers’ attitudes toward breast cancer awareness campaigns and their effectiveness,” West said.

Field Agent’s research on the power behind “pink” brands began in late August with the first set of respondents who were asked if pink branding made the difference in their product purchase decision. In that first survey of 250 — 175 females and 75 males — they found 58% were not influenced by pink branding.

60% of men in the first survey said they were not influenced by the “pink” designation. The second survey conducted in October included 250 moms, with the average age of and a diverse income criteria. Again, 52% of them were not driven to buy a product because of its “pink” designation. Each of these mobile surveys showed that while pink brands do enjoy influence over consumers, the majority of shoppers remain unswayed when making brand selections, Field Agent noted in the research.

Interesting stuff. Read the whole thing here


Startup Week Events Scheduled for Nov. 11-14


 Startup Week 2014 runs Nov. 11-14, and Startup Arkansas has the full agenda of central Arkansas events, with registration links, here.

It's gonna be a big week, and will include the ARK Challenge fall Demo Day and the Arkansas Technology Summit.   

Scheduled speakers are include Frank Gruber of Tech Cocktail and Michael Burcham of the Nashville Entrepreneur Center.

Here's a rundown of the week's Little Rock events:

  • VetCamp, hosted by the Arkansas Venture Center at the Little Rock Chamber, 9-4 on Tuesday.
  • AVC's Build IT, with Gruber, 5:30 Tuesday from the Chamber.
  • The weekly 1 Million Cups will roll as usual from 9-10 Wednesday morning from the Chamber.
  • Demo Day for ARK 4 will run from 1-4 Wednesday afternoon from the Clinton Library. Here's the latest of our ARK fall team profiles with links to all of them.
  • A cocktail reception for the ARK and the Summit will follow at 4:30.
  • Then at 7, the AVC will host a startup ecosystem celebration mixer from Club Level at 315 Main in downtown Little Rock's emerging creative arts corridor. 
  • The Technology Summit runs all day Thursday, 7 to 4, from the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub's Argenta Innovation Center.
  • And on Friday, Burcham will provide a keynote address at 10 a.m. from the Chamber.

More to come, and again, all the registration links are available at Startup Arkansas

ARK Challenge, NWA Council Win Entrepreneurship Award


The ARK Challenge and the Northwest Arkansas Council were jointly awarded an Excellence in Economic Development Silver Award for Entrepreneurship Monday at the International Economic Development Council’s annual conference in Fort Worth, Texas.

Here's the full story from the NWA Council.

The award goes to "programs, policies, or initiatives that nurture and support individuals or emerging small businesses to develop their ideas, products, and/or services into viable, competitive businesses."

Here's a sample:

“When we started focusing on entrepreneurs about three years ago, one of our primary objectives was to create a more robust entrepreneurial ecosystem for Northwest Arkansas,” said Mike Harvey, chief operating officer for the Northwest Arkansas Council, a private nonprofit organization that works to improve economic opportunity and quality of life in the region. “This validates some of the progress we’ve made. It’s a special recognition.”

The entrepreneurship award goes to programs, policies, or initiatives that nurture and support individuals or emerging small businesses to develop their ideas, products, and/or services into viable, competitive businesses.

“Economic development efforts have long been a keystone in the quest to bolster the economy and improve quality of life in every locality across the country,” said Bill Sproull, the International Economic Development Council’s chair and president and CEO of the Richardson (Texas) Chamber of Commerce. “As the nation continues to tackle challenges in the midst of global uncertainty, these efforts have taken on an even greater significance. With this award, we laud trendsetting organizations like the Northwest Arkansas Council for leading the charge.” 

Jeff Amerine and Jeannette Balleza-Collins represented the ARK. Well deserved award for both the ARK and the NWA Council, a big supporter of the ARK and local entrepreneurship in general. Keep up the great work, guys.

The ARK's third installment from Fayetteville wraps this month, and the fourth installment, based in Little Rock, will hold its Demo Day Nov. 12.

News from the Innovation Hub: Tech Summit, Hub-UB, Girls of Promise


Lots going on, and coming up, at the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub, whose Argenta Innovation Center in downtown North Little Rock gets closer to opening.

Coming up, the Hub will host the Arkansas Technology Summit on Nov. 13. Here's a look at what the Hub has going on and what's on the agenda:

  • The Arkansas Technology Summit, a showcase of some of the state's fastest growing tech companies including several IA client firms, will run Nov. 13 from the Launch Pad maker space at the Innovation Center. Organized by the UA, UAMS, UALR, ASU and UAPB, the Summit will begin with a Nov. 12 reception at the Clinton Library following the ARK Challenge fall Demo Day. According to the Hub, those universities have produced 43 startup companies that are still operating today, employing more than 300 and adding more than $36 million in federal grants and $100 million in private investments to Arkansas' economy. Wow. The summit's free: More info here; register here
  • Launch Pad director Joel Gordon talked robotics with the Girls of Promise recently at the Clinton Library. Girls of Promise is a program of the Women's Foundation of Arkansas that aims to interest girls in science. Gordon rotated them through five maker stations, which introduced them to skills they'll need for robotics and other projects including soldering basics, introduction to electronics, arduino microcontrollers, and 3-D printing and design.
  • Janet Chu, and Arkansas native and recently appointed chairman of the National Endowment of the Arts, recently toured downtown Little Rock and North Little Rock and visited the Hub. Here's a report on her visit from Arkansas Business.
  • Lighting guru John Rogers was the man at the latest Hub-UB, the Hub's monthly TED-like series. More from the Hub on his talk: 

Most of us take light - in and around our homes, on the street, in our cities - for granted. But not John Rogers. As Hub-UB attendees saw earlier this month, Rogers purposefully uses light and its color as design elements, adding visual interest and creating a sense of depth. Examples he showed of commercial, residential and outdoor light treatments illustrated transformations of the ordinary into the extraordinary. Using color-changing LEDs, refracting lenses, fiber optic cables and black lights concealed behind panels, Rogers demonstrated how lighting design is an art, and technology, unto itself. Rogers also has designed the light features on the bridges spanning the Arkansas River in Little Rock. The beauty of these, especially on the Big Dam Bridge, is the way light enhances the structural elements of the bridges, rather than simply illuminating them. Does he have special plans for the future Broadway bridge, should he be asked to light it, too? "Video mapping with LEDs," said Rogers. "And I want it to be interactive." How cool is that?



Swimming in a Sea of Data: Justin Farmer of ARK Challenge Firm Neo


Innovate Arkansas adviser Jeff Amerine welcomes an ARK Challenge founder to this week's Swimming in a Sea of Data, the data-driven segment that makes up part of 8th & Walton's Saturday Morning Meeting.

This week, Jeff welcomes Justin Farmer of ARK Challenge and IA firm Neo, participating in the third installment of the startup accelerator in Fayetteville. Jeff and Justin discuss a fairly important topic: data security.

Saturday Morning Meeting airs at 6:30 a.m. each saturday on KNWA in northwest Arkansas, on the 8th & Walton YouTube channel and on Mondays, right here.

This week's segment begins around the 3:40 mark.


The Week Ahead: Arkansas Code Festival


The week ahead in the Arkansas techpreneurship ecosystem has been coded and is ready to post.

The Arkansas Code Festival, three days of Wooo Code Sooie on the Fayetteville square, highlights the week.  

Here you go. Have a good week:

  • The AVC's Pitch It series will feature "Crafting a Sales Pitch with Jim Karrh" Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. from the Little Rock Chamber. More here.
  • The weekly 1 Million Cups series resumes Wednesday at 9 a.m. from the Little Rock Chamber. More here.
  • The Arkansas Code Festival for student developers and designers kicks off Friday and runs through the weekend. You can call the Hogs Saturday morning in and around Razorback Stadium (we take on UAB at 11) and otherwise code them from the square. Neal Sales-Griffin is the keynote speaker. It's free, and meals will be provided. Reserve your spot here.
  • The Little Rock Chamber will be a busy place this week. On Saturday, it'll host the ArkansasDev Hackathon 1.0 hosted by the AVC. It'll go down from 11-7. It's free. Register here.

As always, check out the Arkansas Startup Digest for more.

Deadline to Apply for SXSW Accelerator is Nov. 7


Little Rock startup guru Mike Steely of Sparkible is the state's representative on the SXSW Interactive Advisory Board.

SXSW Interactive 2015 is scheduled for March 13-17 in Austin. Deadline to apply for the 2015 SXSW Accelerator is Nov. 7. Entry info here.

And here's more detailed info from Mike:

2015 SXSW Accelerator:
Entry Deadline Is Friday, November 7, 2014

Take advantage of the opportunity to showcase your emerging technology product or service in front of industry leaders by participating in the 2015 SXSW Accelerator. This event takes place on March 14th and 15th as a part of the SXSW Interactive Festival, during which you can improve your product launch, attract venture capitalists, polish your elevator pitch, receive media exposure, build brand awareness, network, socialize and experience all that SXSW Interactive has to offer. The deadline to register is Friday, November 7, a few months away, so visit today.

1) Deadline:

Friday, November 7, 2014


2) Launch date eligibility requirements:

a. A company’s product / service must have launched no earlier than March 16, 2014.

b. A company’s product / service must not be launched after June 16, 2015.

c. Companies will be allowed to submit only one product / services to the SXSW Accelerator event.

d. Companies who submit more than one product / services will not be eligible to participate in the SXSW Accelerator pitch event.

e. Founders of the applying startup must retain some portion of ownership in the company to be eligible to participate.

f. Company must not have raised over five million in funds from combined funding sources.

g. Product or service must fall within one of the SXSW Accelerator pitch event categories.


3) Is there an application fee?

a. Yes, a non-refundable $200 entry fee will be required from all applicants who would like to be considered for participation in the event. (Talk to me about the fee for potential wavier.)


4) Applicants must be within one of the six categories:

  • Enterprise and Smart Data Technologies -- The Enterprise and Smart Data Technologies category encompasses applications and technologies that facilitate comprehension and application of information. These startups seek to improve productivity and management of data, analytics, text, documents, and engagement for business and individual use.
  • Entertainment and Content Technologies -- The Entertainment and Content Technologies category highlights applications and technologies for gaming, music, film, television, video, news and publishing, streaming and digital storytelling, as well as new and hybrid forms of entertainment. These are reinventing the ways in which we learn, relax and enjoy our time. This category also contains technologies that focus on other cultural sectors such as sports, travel, mapping, publishing and food as they pertain to entertainment
  • Digital Health and Life Sciences Technologies -- The Digital Health and Life Science Technologies category involves patient-centric health applications and technologies that connect patients, families, physicians, pharmacists, care providers (hospitals, clinics) and benefit providers. These products and services enable people to collect and share timely, relevant health data and drive better outcomes at affordable and sustainable cost levels. These may include Internet of Things and wearable devices, but such devices may be more appropriate in the Wearable Technologies or Innovative World categories (see below).
  • Social Technologies -- The Social Technologies category includes applications and technologies that enable personal connections. With this category we’re looking for new and interesting uses, cases, products and services, as well as messaging that push the boundaries of how we find, follow and share our lives with others. If your business or service has a social component but is primarily focused on Entertainment, Health or Wearable Technologies, then you should enter one of these other categories instead.
  • Wearable Technologies -- The Wearable Technologies category focuses on technology worn on, in, or around the body. As this major technology cycle advances we are seeking all types of wearable products that advance human performance and wellness, as well as those involved in apparel, accessories, fashion and lifestyle. If your product is focused on patient/clinician information, please apply in the Digital Health and Life Sciences Technologies category.
  • Innovative World Technologies -- Any creative and innovative technology that does not fit in another category is encouraged to apply here. We are currently seeing lots of innovation in the Internet of Things, payments and virtual currencies, data security and privacy, transportation such as autonomous vehicles, energy, space, robotics, and artificial intelligence, If your business / service / application applies to one of these fields (or something not on this list that is even more ground-breaking), then this is your category.


5) Does SXSW announce the Judges and Emcee before the event?

Yes, the Judges and Emcees who are industry experts and/or investors from the financial community will be announced later this year on the SXSW website. Here is an example of past Judges and Emcees – Tim Draper of DFJ, John Sculley of Apple/Pepsi, Tim O'Reilly of O'Reilly Media, Paul Graham of Y Combinator, Naval Ravikant of AngelList, Guy Kawasaki of Alltop, Chris Sacca of Lowercase Capital, Chris Hughes of New Republic/Facebook, Mark Suster of Upfront Ventures, Albert Wenger of Union Square Venture, Scott Weiss of Andreessen Horowitz, and Bob Metcalfe of Ethernet/3Com.

6) Where can I get more information?

Visit the Accelerator website at


Little Rock Named Google's 2014 eCity for Arkansas


The momentum of having Georgia visit War Memorial this Saturday to take on the Hogs is paying off.

Little Rock has been named Google's 2014 eCity for the state of Arkansas.

Here's more from Google:

Google has named Little Rock as the 2014 eCity for the State of Arkansas. The eCity Awards recognize the strongest online business communities in all fifty states. The businesses in these communities are embracing the web to find new customers, connect with existing clients and fuel their local economies. Little Rock joins the ranks of America’s leading cities in the digital economy.

“Little Rock serves as a prime example of how innovation and growth in e-commerce can successfully contribute to bolstering economic progress and competitiveness,” said Emma Ogiemwanye, a representative from Google. “Google is proud to recognize Little Rock’s accomplishment, and the role it plays in creating Arkansas jobs.”

More info on Google's eCity program, and the full list of state winners, here. Oh, and Wooo, Pig.

IA Client Power Technology Hosting U.S. Sen. John Boozman


Innovate Arkansas client firm Power Technology Inc. of Alexander, a laser manufacturer and Defense Department contractor, will host U.S. Sen. John Boozman (R-Ark.) this week as part of his Arkansas Defense Tour.

PTI, by the way, has developed a new laser-illuminated projection system called iLLUMINA that it believes could help change the movie industry.

Here's PTI's official release on the Boozman visit:

Power Technology Inc. to Host Senator John Boozman

LITTLE ROCK, AR, October 15, 2014 – As part of his Arkansas Defense Tour, Senator John Boozman will visit Power Technology, Inc. this week. Power Technology, a leader in the laser industry for 45 years, will provide Senator Boozman and his staff a firsthand look at the laser and photonics industry and their importance to state and national defense programs. The tour will provide an in-depth look at laser manufacturing, electronics manufacturing, metal fabrication, and optical assembly techniques.

“Facilities tours like this one provide valuable feedback to our citizen representatives in Washington. The insight gained during the tour, will help Senator Boozman make educated decisions in supporting our military and local companies,” said William Burgess, Vice President of Operations.

Power Technology, Inc., established in 1969, is a leading manufacturer of lasers for OEM analytical, biomedical, industrial, semiconductor inspection, defense & security, and machine vision applications.

The companies diverse product portfolio includes space qualified lasers as well as lasers for supporting fighter aircraft, laser guided munitions, and portable aiming devices.

As a DOD contractor, Power Technology is a restricted access facility and is closed to the public.

For more information about Power Technology, visit the company’s website at


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