Techemergence is Now Emerj

Daniel Faggella is the founder and CEO at Emerj. Called upon by the United Nations, World Bank, INTERPOL, and many global enterprises, Daniel is a sought-after expert on the competitive strategy implications of AI for business and government leaders.

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After plenty of deliberation, web development and research, we’ve finally rebranded from TechEmergence to Emerj!

I’m glad I finally won’t get any more “so when are you rebranding?” emails.

It sure did take more effort and development work than I had expected (lots of new features / functionality to build out), but it was well worth it.

My goal with this article is to provide our users and readers with a full breakdown of what’s new, and what to expect moving forward. The article below is broken down into the following sections:

  1. Why Did We Rebrand from “TechEmergence” to “Emerj”?
  2. What are the New Features on Emerj.com?
  3. What We’re All About: Helping Leaders Win with Artificial Intelligence
  4. A Special Thanks to Those Who Helped Us Rebrand
  5. What the Future Holds at Emerj (formerly TechEmergence)
  6. The Long-Term Moral Mission of Emerj
  7. Moving Forward (Closing Thoughts)

Here’s a short 6-minute video describing what’s new:

I’ll start off with explaining the rebrand itself:

Why Did TechEmergence Rebrand to Emerj?

Daniel Faggella - United Nations Geneva
Emerj CEO Daniel Faggella speaking on the defense implications of artificial intelligence at the United Nations in Geneva

The first and most important reason for the rebrand was the fact that we needed to add a LOT of new features to the site (which you’ll learn about in the “New Features” section below) – and we wanted a more clean, professional, and fast-loading site for our increasingly global audience.

Next logical question: Why the switch from “TechEmergence” to “Emerj”?

I’ll boil it down to just a few points:

  • Shorter seemed better. “Tech Emergence” (with a space), “Tech-Emergence” (with a hyphen) “TechMerge” (without the “ence”), I’ve heard it all. I don’t blame anyone for getting it confused. Like my own last name (go ahead and try to pronounce it), TechEmergence seemed lengthy and hard to remember. Too many syllables. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
  • “Tech” is redundant. When I started TechEmergence (both articles and interviews), I was focused on “emerging technologies” – specifically those that Bostrom / Kurzweil speak of, including neurotechnology, some kinds of biotechnology, artificial intelligence, and even some applications of VR. Our focus today is more narrow (today AI is our sole focus). Also, we’re a market research firm and platform, not a news blog. TechCrunch, TechRepublic… there’s too many “Tech”s already, and we can’t be lumped in to the “news” category, as it’s not what we do at all.
  • “Emerge” has an important meaning. While “tech” seemed redundant, “emerge” seemed relevant. To “Emerge” is to “to come into being through evolution”, or “to become manifest, become known” (source). Helping business and government leaders see what is “becoming manifest” or what is “evolving” (before anyone else does) is indeed the value that we offer.

Common question #1: Why the funky spelling?

Ah, I knew you’d ask that one. As it turns out, URLs are hard to come by these days. “Emerj.com” cost $2,000 in 2016 (when I bought it, and later grabbed the US trademark), but “Emerge.com” wasn’t available for sale at all.

If “Google” can succeed as “Google”, and “Airbnb” as “Airbnb”, I’ll cross my fingers that “Emerj” can succeed as “Emerj”. L’avenir nous le dira, I suppose.

Common question #2: Why not use “.ai” instead of “.com”?

There are two reasons that I chose to use “.com” and not “.ai.”.

First, in cold frankness, I think that “.ai” is try-hard, and will appear redundant in 10-15 years or so. To be ice cold about it – I have no allegiance to “artificial intelligence” or “machine learning” as such. Eventually, almost all information technology – or “IT” – will involve what we now think of as “AI”. It will blend into the background and the buzzword itself will be of little relevance.

In the future we won’t talk about “AI applications”, we’ll simply talk about expanding capability-space of technology, and AI will be an inherent facet of that expansion.

In addition, there will be other technologies that expand the “intelligence” of technology systems, including nanotech and particularly neurotechnologies (which I consider to be extremely important and ethically relevant). I would never want to bar Emerj from covering these extremely relevant future vistas of intelligence, particularly given our long-term cause.

For that reason, no “.ai” URL for us. The future is far to broad to risk attachment to a buzzword that will probably fade significantly in the coming 10-15 years, as business leaders begin thinking less about the term itself, and more about it’s specific, relevant applications to their goals (which is what we’re focused on in the first place!).

Do you recognize “International Business Machines” or “IBM”? Do you recognize “Apple Computer Company”, or “Apple”? Emphasizing the popular tech term of the day in a company’s name has never been more dangerous (as trends and technologies are moving so quickly), and so I see no need for “AI” in our name, either.

Common question #3: What’s new about what Emerj does on a daily basis?

When I first started examining and writing about the implications artificial intelligence back in 2012, many organizations weren’t even considering AI in their technology roadmap.

Fast forward to 2018, and there a massive interest in AI from businesses and governments around the world. By now we’ve spent years with a finger on the pulse of AI in academia, in the Fortune 500s, and the global artificial intelligence startup ecosystem – and this insight is of extraordinary value as governments roll out policies and business roll out billions of dollars on artificial intelligence initiatives.

Now, we present cutting-edge AI industry research, inform executive leadership, and make important contributions to important decisions around governance, innovation, and strategic planning.

We’re called upon (for speaking, research, consulting, and more) by many of the largest and most reputable organizations in the world:

Emerj Speaking and Consulting Client Logos

I’ll talk a bit more about our work with clients and our future direction in the remaining part of this update – we’ve got a lot more to cover.

Common question #4: Do you think other brands might want to use “Emerj”?

I’m sure they will, it’s a snappy name and good, brief URLs are in short supply.

If someone wanted the name “Emerj”, they’d probably need:

  • Ownership of “emerj.com”
  • Ownership of “@emerj” Twitter handle
  • Ownership of “/emerj” on LinkedIn
  • Ownership of “@emerj.com” email addresses, and
  • Most importantly, the US trademark for the company name “Emerj”

Those five assets are currently held by one and only one company (ours).

What Are the New Features on Emerj.com?

There’s a lot more AI insight at your fingertips at Emerj.com, and we’ve done our best to make it as accessible and useful as possible for the business and government leaders who rely on our work, and who need to stay ahead of the AI curve.

Below, I’ll highlight four of the biggest changes to our site, along with details on how these new features can serve you, our user.

(1) * Updated Menu Navigation

In addition to our Artificial Intelligence Landscape page, you’ll notice that our homepage menu has changed as well.

You can now search our articles and reports by Industry (Finance, Healthcare, etc), by Business Function (Customer Service, Marketing, etc), or by Content Type (Case Studies, AI Sector Overviews, etc).

This provides a much more direct path to the kinds of insight you’re looking for – and allows users to bookmark just the pages / topics of interest.

Just want to see case studies? Now you can.

Only want to read reports on AI innovations and applications in Finance? Now you can.

Only want to see AI vendor companies for customer service applications? Now you can.

(2) * A Full List of Our Services

For the last two years my focus has been honed in on just a few major goals:

  • Drastically expanding the audience and subscribers of Emerj (formerly TechEmergence) by pushing our reports, research and coverage to the max
  • Hiring an initial core team of employees and contractors
  • Doing research, panels and speaking engagements the United Nations, World Bank, and other global organizations who will play a role in shaping AI’s global impact

The business we’ve generated has been through our advertising and lead generation offerings (for event companies, and AI-related product or service companies), and through exclusive AI market research analyses for businesses and governments.

With a team in place (and growing), and my time freed up from rebranding efforts, we’re making our full service listing public. Check out the links below, or see them all listed in greater depth on our new Emerj Services page.

Services for business and government leaders:

Services for AI vendor companies:

  • Custom market research for AI vendors – Determine new market opportunities and make more informed strategy decisions
  • Advertising and promotion – Unparalleled exposure and lead-generation from our AI-focused executive audience
  • Thought leadership services for AI vendors – White papers, executive briefs, and premier publishing services with Emerj
  • Emerj Go-to-Market Strategy process – Win market share and build a marketing strategy to attract buyers and appeal to buyers

(3) * B2B AI Vendor Listings

Searching for AI vendors or competitors?

Our B2B AI vendor listings (which you can see here) aren’t simply a logo and a homepage link, we provide our users with succinct and useful information about the companies we list, including:

  • A succinct description of the company and its product offerings (without the jargon or hype)
  • A list of any previous mentions on Emerj.com
  • A list of any case studies that company has submitted to Emerj.com
  • A list of any interviews with AI experts working at the company

Here’s an example of a company listing on Emerj:

Company Screen Shot - Ayasdi
Emerj Company Screen Shot – Ayasdi

The easiest way to find companies is to use the main menu on Emerj.com, hover over “Vendors”, and select the industry or business function you want to explore.

The companies on our platform are vetted by our team, ensuring that (a) they are B2B product or service providers, and (b) their team contains actual AI talent, and (c) they have evidence of success or use previous customers.

We’ve found that nearly 70% of B2B “AI companies” are probably not using AI at all, and that of the companies who are using artificial intelligence, only a small portion have evidence of traction or a working product.

Our job is to help our readers (government and business leaders) to sift through the hype, and find legitimate vendors who aren’t misleading them. That’s always been our value proposition, but our vetted vendor profiles take it to a different level.

(4) * (Coming Soon) Subscriber-Only Research

When I first started writing about artificial intelligence (2012), nobody in the business world cared about it. In 2014, however, we saw business leaders begin to ask questions about AI’s applications, and our audience grew as a result.

Fast forward to 2018, and not only are executives from all over the world (in banking, pharma, retail, etc) using our research, but more and more companies are doing something more: They’re actually buying from AI vendors and applying AI in their own companies or organizations. This goes for governments and intergovernmental organizations we’ve worked with (like The World Bank, or INTERPOL) as well.

Leaders who are actually applying the technologies need even more help, even more robust resources to ensure that they make the right decisions to steer their organizations – including:

  • Guidance on how to determine their own unique data assets and AI strategy
  • Specific frameworks to estimate the cost and time-to-implement complex AI solutions
  • Best-practices for AI procurement and integration
  • Guidance for picking the most high-ROI AI initiative for their company or organization
  • Much more…

This requires an entirely new level of research and analysis for us here at Emerj, and next year we’ll be releasing a new subscription-only level of reports and research for professionals who need to put AI into action.

It will draw on all of our unique assets here at Emerj:

  • Our robust bench of AI experts and PhDs, with specializations in various AI applications (recommendation, natural language, vision, etc) and sectors (insurance, government, pharma, etc)
  • Our broad connections to AI vendor companies and consultants around the world
  • Our core competency of turning complex subject matter into simple, actionable advice

We’ll announce our new subscription research offerings as they become available.

What We’re All About: Helping Leaders Win with Artificial Intelligence

Emerj is all about helping leaders reach their goals with the use of artificial intelligence – “winning” with AI. “Winning” means different things in different contexts, but here are some of the more common examples:

Businesses need to leverage AI in ways that help them win:

  • Win market share
  • Win more revenue

Governments need to leverage AI in ways that help them win:

  • Win greater efficiencies
  • Win more progress on their social goals (education initiatives, environmental conservation, policy decisions, etc)
  • Win the global game of AI talent and AI innovation

Vendor companies who want to service enterprise and government clients need to:

  • Win mindshare
  • Win deals
  • Win market share

We have a rather unique approach for helping leaders win, and it starts with the way that we examine the various sectors impacted by artificial intelligence. Here at Emerj, we break thing up into three distinct phases.

Phase 1: Applications (or “AI Possibilities” – or “What’s Possible”)

When we first examine a sector (such as Financial Services) or a business function (such as Customer Service), we look at all of the applications and use-cases of AI in that sector, from vendor solutions, to in-house innovations from Fortune 500 companies and large industry magnates, to cutting-edge research at universities. Our initial goal is to lay out the full “possibility space” of AI within the sector, so that we can move on to Phase 2.

We often call this first phase “possibilities,” because it’s all about showing leaders the full list of capabilities in a given AI sector.

Phase 2: Implications (or “AI Probabilities” – or “What’s Working”)

Next, we examine which of the current AI applications have the most traction, and have been fruitfully used by organizations. There’s a big difference between a “possible” AI application, and one that has real potential for use today.

Many applications are complicated, speculative, and still in research and development, not ready for businesses to use. Other applications are easier to integrate, and have a robust track record of delivering value in a business. Determining which applications are appropriate for your business goals (and which are too risky) is very challenging – but at Emerj – it’s what we do best.

We often call this second phase “probabilities,” because it’s all about which of the many AI applications is likely to make a real impact on the sector, based on real-world traction.

Phase 3: Strategy (or “AI Plans” – or “What Actions Should Leaders Take”)

Once our readers and subscribers understand the full range of possible AI applications they might use, and they have an understanding of which of those applications have the most proven track record of real use, they can take action. Whether it’s picking a high-ROI AI initiative, adopting the most useful AI technology, or planning an overhaul of data infrastructure to enable new AI capabilities, our reports and interviews are designed to help leaders make better strategic decisions.

We often call this third phase “plans,” because it’s all about taking critical AI capabilities and trends, and putting them to use to achieve an organization’s goals.

Emerj email subscribers, podcast listeners, or readers will recognize all three phases in our reports, interviews, and research. Now that our rebranding is complete, we’ll be going deeper into all three phases.

Couldn’t Have Done it Without Them

The rebranding was a time-consuming process, and involved a good deal of thinking, strategizing, and design / development work. When I first decided on “Emerj” back in 2016, I was still running my eCommerce business, which was taking up much of my time (as planned, that business got into the Inc5000 and I was able to sell it for seven figures to fund TechEmergence – my life purpose – without needing to sacrifice equity early on). Hence, I didn’t have the ability to think through all of the variations.

I didn’t get it all done on my own (either the thinking or the doing), and I’d like to thank some of the people who helped in the transition.

Eugene – My main developer for TechEmergence.com, and now Emerj.com, Eugene introduced me to Denis (our designer), and put forth the bulk of the labor in making the site come to life. Eugene’s thoughts about user experience and site structure were critical to making this rebrand happen.

Rolandas (AKA: Rolando) – He knows more about back-end development than anyone I’ve ever worked with. I have Rolando to thank to re-routing our old URLs to our new URLs, site speed, technical oversight, and so much more. His real name is Rolandas, but we insist firmly on “Rolando”.

Dylan and Marcus – My old guard from my eCommerce business, with me now at Emerj. Without the basic operations of the business running (particularly Dylan’s tackling of editorial workflows like a boss), I wouldn’t have had the time to spend on design / development to ever make this re-brand happen.

Raghav – Our main AI analyst and content lead – Raghav picked up the extra work from client research projects as I was focused on orchestrating the rebrand. Being able to step away from our market research was necessary, and thank goodness for Raghav.

JD Samples – JD was with me back in 2016 and 2017, and was part of the brainstorming process that ended up landing on “Emerj”. JD also worked hard to determine a plan to get all of the social accounts for the new “emerj” brand, which was done well ahead of the brand change itself.

Denis – Denis not only helped to craft the final version of our new logo (not an easy task), he also helped with ideation around new logo concepts – and he built out a vision for a rebrand of every page on our site – from company profiles to archive pages to blog pages and more (much better than I ever could have!).

Brent and Alan – My technical SEO and migration experts. Moving to a new URL and changing our entire URL structure was challenging, and I would have been lost without the guidance of experts.

What the Future Holds for Emerj (formerly TechEmergence)

We have some big things on the horizon, and it all falls under the brand umbrella of our motto:

“Helping leaders survive and thrive in an era of artificial intelligence disruption.”

Practically speaking, here’s what on the near-term horizon:

  • We’ll be developing a set of proprietary content and research offerings for helping leaders apply AI, and garner a meaningful ROI from artificial intelligence initiatives
  • In addition to our custom research for enterprise and government clients, we’ll be creating more syndicated reports (market sizing reports, trend reports) which we’ll make widely available – some for free and others for purchase.
  • We’ll be focusing more and more on our three core coverage areas:
    • Healthcare (including Pharma)
    • Financial Services (including Banking, Insurance, and more)
    • Government / Defense
  • We’ll be doing more coverage about the long-term implications of artificial general intelligence, and the role of business and government leaders in shaping a beneficial future for intelligence itself (a la the cause)
  • We’ll be expanding our podcast offerings and research content, including extremely robust sector-specific competitive intelligence, and distilled “best practices” for adoption and fruitful integration of AI in organizations

All of this will mean that I’ll spend more and more time on hiring and building systems here at Emerj, and I’m excited to dig in. It’ll also mean continued dialogue with you all, and if the future is anything like the past – you’ll continue to have a lot to say!

Long-Term Mission and Focus

“Helping leaders survive and thrive” is our near-term mission for Emerj, and it’s what we’re working on every day. That being said, this near-term mission is ultimately in place to serve a greater purpose (see “the cause“).

In the long-term, we believe that artificial intelligence isn’t merely a set of tools to help make software more capable, we believe that in the coming 30-60 years, artificial intelligence will lead to grand ethical consequences by completely remolding the human experience, and/or by developing post-human intelligence which will rival or surpass human intelligence.

For years we’ve polled AI PhDs about the possibility of AI becoming self-aware, and about the grand ethical risks of artificial intelligence in the long-term, you can see a short list of some of this coverage below:

Business and government leaders (i.e. our audience here at Emerj) are critical actors in determining how the practical applications of AI come to life – they’re also critical actors in how AI will evolve, develop, and be regulated.

Most of today’s AI ethics conversations circle around issues of algorithmic transparency, accountability, and algorithmic bias (issues that we certainly agree are important, and have explored in depth).

Our focus here is ultimate on much more grand and long-term implications of the technology:

  • Given the massive national importance of artificial intelligence for gaining an economic and military advantage over other nations, how can we (as leaders) prevent an “arms race” dynamic between the most powerful countries and companies?
  • What kinds of decisions in business and government should be able to be handed over completely to machines, and when? Should machines be able to determine compensation plans or business strategy for companies – or trade policies and political campaigns for governments?
  • If AI systems become clearly more intelligent and capable than human beings, what are their rights, and how should their moral worth be determined and upheld?
  • If we (as humanity) are to create a post-human intelligence, who will control it, and will we allow such a creation to determine a future for intelligent life that leaves humanity behind, or makes us irrelevant? Should we plan to keep AI a tool for homo sapiens forever, or should we plan to gradually release the reigns and allow super intelligent AI to develop in a way vastly beyond our understanding (the species dominance question)?

No one company or organization will have the answers to the pivotal questions. At Emerj, we see our cause as simply facilitating the global conversation around the trajectory of post-human intelligence, and pooling global insights around the implications and applications of artificial intelligence – so that business and government leaders can make smarter decisions about adopting (and regulating) these technologies.

Facilitating and encouraging a beneficial “trajectory of intelligence” is the cause, Emerj happens to be the vehicle. Cause first, business model second, and it’s been that way since day one.

This isn’t to say that all – or most – of our business readers will have an overt interest in post-human intelligence today. We suspect that only a handful of our business and government leader audience has these topics on their radar now, and that’s fine.

What we do suspect, however, is that the issues of “species dominance” and the great national arms-race dynamics of AI will become increasingly relevant over time, and that a robust set of research and coverage on these topics will help to pave the way to managing these great ethical considerations. One can only hope.

While “helping leaders survive and thrive in an era of AI disruption” is what we’re doing in the short term – in the long term we’re concerned with how our species (and indeed, the species that come after us) will survive and thrive.

This doesn’t mean we’ll stop covering the purely practical aspects of AI. Make no mistake about it, the applications, implications, and strategy of AI for business leaders are what we’re focused on primarily. The moral mission of the company simply dictates that we make sure to continue to include interviews and research about the great questions of the post-human intelligence transition, providing ideas and food for thought for leaders who have the grand moral consequences in mind, in addition to the practical near-term concerns.

Moving Forward

The next year is going to be our most exciting year yet, with more in-depth research and new research formats in all of our most important AI sectors.

I’m grateful to have you with us as a reader. Thanks for hanging in there through this long (and very laborious) rebrand – and be sure to explore the new features we highlighted above.

If you have new ideas for features or coverage since the rebrand, or you just want to let me know your thoughts, feel free to email me directly at dan [at] emerj [dot] com, or ping me with a note on LinkedIn.

(Or, fill out this short survey!)

To an excellent year ahead,

– Daniel Faggella

 

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