Goodness, power, and data

Today we announced an investment in Placemeter, alongside some great partners. Very exciting.

What they do, in short:

They have this crazy cool computer vision software that enables them to get really specific data from the most ubiquitous cheap sensors you can find anywhere: closed-caption television. Think about it. How many retail store security cameras, speed trap cameras, urban planning cameras, Shake Shack line cameras etc. are there in New York City right now? A lot, right? Now imagine adding all of the cameras on our old mobile devices, sitting unused in our kitchen drawers. Imagine if you got paid to take your device, turn it on and stick it on your window.

Google changed the world by indexing the digital world. What if you could index the physical world, in real time?

Now, a couple observations that are very interesting to me:

There is something crazy about everyone having a meter on their window. It makes me wonder about all the iPhone photos I have accidentally photo-bombed over the years. There is a live video feed, or audio feed, covering more and more of the world, whether or not I like it. Of course, the sanctity of my privacy is very important, particularly in today’s Snowden/Assange-era, but the technology is there, and working. And lately, it’s often seen as working against us, not for us. This is one of the more interesting experiments about culture, technology, and the crowd, that I can imagine. Insight, well-collected data, and transparency are so powerful. And as with anything really powerful, the tools have no morality, just power.

And so I am so happy that we at Collaborative Fund are backing founders like Alex and Florent who are committed to using technology, creativity and, yes, power to make the world better.