Angelo Dalli is the CEO and Co-Founder at Umnai, a company that is creating new AI technology that can explain itself and its decisions with the objective of helping and assisting people rather than replacing them. As Umnai’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr Dalli is responsible for leading the company’s commercial, product, and technology strategy.
Mr. Dalli is also a speaker at the Malta AI & Blockchain Summit conference, happening on May 22 – 25 in Malta.
In this interview, Mr. Dalli shares insights on explainable AI, his company’s mission to develop AI technology that assists people rather than replacing them, combining AI and blockchain, and more.
Q: What is your background and how did you start Umnai?
I have been a graduate in Artificial Intelligence for a long time – almost 20 years. Back then, AI was not the hot topic that it has become today – I have always believed it will be the future of technology – it just took a bit longer than expected to get to this stage where the software, hardware and data availability are all now sufficient enough for AI to stay. In my previous ventures and companies that I have started, we had already started applying some AI to different industries – yet the current wave of useful applications have been largely generated by the next generation of hardware that allows fast and efficient processing of the type needed by AI systems.
Umnai is my ninth start-up – so I took quite a long time deliberating what to focus on before choosing to untangle myself from most operational commitments I had at that time and focus entirely on AI. The ideas for Umnai germinated over a long series of treks up in the Himalayas in Nepal – the peaceful atmosphere allowing me to think clearly and strategically to come up with a very solid and long term plan for AI innovation.
We are focusing on AI that can work together with humans and enter into an interactive dialogue with them, ensuring that people can examine the results of the AI and correct it, just like humans mentor children and other humans.
Q: Umnai’s vision is to “develop the next generation Artificial Intelligence technology that aims to assist, rather than replace people”. Can you elaborate more on that?
Umnai is creating new technology that has the potential to disrupt the AI industry completely, affecting so many different software and hardware verticals that the potential upside is very substantial. We are focusing on AI that can work together with humans and enter into an interactive dialogue with them, ensuring that people can examine the results of the AI and correct it, just like humans mentor children and other humans. In this way, people will work hand-in-hand with AI systems, using the AI to improve their productivity and freeing up precious time to be more creative and innovative. We are currently in the process of patenting our technology so we are rather limited in the amount of detail that we can reveal at the moment – watch out for announcements near the end of this year.
Q: What is explainable AI? Why is explainable AI important?
Explainable AI is AI that can explain the steps it has taken to come to an answer, together with the basis for its decision and any factors that have been used in coming up with those answers. Current narrow AI simply gives you an answer, without any explanation – this behaviour and lack of transparency can lead to a backlash against AI and also will lead to issues of trustworthiness as no one in their right mind would blindly follow an AI system’s recommendations without having a proper explanation and insight into the process that came up with such an answer. This is very important for regulated industries, such as healthcare, law, finance, gaming, and so on, where regulators world wide seem to be favouring the introduction of explainable AI in all regulated industries.
AI being able to explain itself is a key milestone if AI ever wants to be a collaborative tool or partner with humans, integrating better with human society – otherwise, it will be forever relegated to restricted and narrow applications that do not meet the public’s perception, needs and expectations of future AI systems.
Q: In which domains do you see the biggest impact for explainable AI in the coming years?
Explainable AI will firstly impact all regulated industries and also areas where there is a need for mission criticality and explanation. Anything that has an impact on human life (for example, driverless cars – that may cause accidents), or is required to make a significantly important decision will benefit from having explainable AI technology. The impact will be profound as people will get used to asking AI for explanations, and by following its logical processes learn when to trust its judgement or override it. AI systems are not as perfect as some hype makes them out to be – currently there is a lot of work needed to select the right data, make sure that the right features are selected and modelled, and also to train and re-train the model to keep it updated. Umnai’s solution allows for human knowledge to be directly blended with AI knowledge, allowing for the impact to be magnified significantly further.
AI being able to explain itself is a key milestone if AI ever wants to be a collaborative tool or partner with humans, integrating better with human society.
Q: What is the AlphaStars initiative?
The Umnai AlphaStars initiative is to have a group of select early adopters who start using Umnai’s technology much before the general market, getting the early adopter benefits while in turn providing quality feedback that will shape the productization of the technology for different verticals and industries. We are slowly working with different partners and opening up the initiative to innovative companies who are completely committed to using AI as part of their core business and who have a valuable problem to solve using Umnai’s solutions.
Q: Tell us about the Umnai team.
The Umnai team has been hand-picked by myself to represent the core nucleus of the team that will eventually grow to a much larger team in the coming 2-3 years.
Virtually everyone in the team has known each other for more than 3 years, with some relationships going back more than 12 years. This is a big advantage in a world where startups tend to have a group of people who didn’t know each other that well and also goes against the present day concept of changing jobs every so often – we do not believe in such an attitude and my experience as a serial entrepreneur has showed me the importance of having a strong and loyal core in the team that enables the company to move forward fearlessly and at a high speed without friction.
The core team is supplemented by a world class advisory board having over 100 years of combined AI experience including three AI veterans: Noel Sharkey, Yorick Wilks and Mike Rosner. Yorick has won some of the highest accolades including the Loebner Prize in AI, the BCS Lovelace Medal, the Zampolli Prize in NLP, the ACL Lifetime Achievement Award amongst others. Noel is a well known British AI personality and is heavily involved in the UN efforts regarding ethical AI and the non-weaponization of robotics (you may have seen him as the head judge of the popular UK TV series Robot Wars!). Mike was one of the first person setting up AI research labs in Switzerland and is a key figure in Computational Linguistics and was one of the first people who started teaching AI in Malta.
Q: What are Umnai’s biggest achievements in the last 12 months?
Umnai’s biggest achievements have been in the breakthroughs we’ve made in explainable AI and related areas, solving problems that have been long outstanding for over 30 years. At the moment we are carefully testing and verifying our technology and in the process of patenting it in various countries around the world to build the foundations for what could be one of the most significant disruptions in AI that will make it much more useful.
Q: You will be a speaker at Malta AI & Blockchain Summit. What will your speech be about?
I will be speaking about the future of AI and how it will affect society – how will AI be integrated with people, how will it affect our jobs, education, way of working, what are the benefits and pitfalls, and so on. Also I will be addressing a lot of common concerns that I get asked about frequently in different events around the world.
Q: Where do you see the biggest potential for combining AI and Blockchain technology in the coming years?
I think that blockchain can be a useful tool for AI when it comes to saving a verified audit log of its decisions and explanations, and also to a lesser extent to serve as a useful payment method for API calls, etc. The main use of blockchain as a distributed ledger (DLT) is the main short term potential for AI though – the speed of the blockchain technology needs to improve though in order to be useful at a massive scale.
Join Mr. Dalli at Malta AI & Blockchain Summit
Mr. Dalli will be one of the speakers at Malta AI & Blockchain Summit happening on May 22 – 25 in Malta.
Angelo Dalli’s Speech
“DEMYSTIFYING AI: THE TRANSITION IS CLOSER THAN YOU THINK”
May 24th at 9:30
The mission of AI Time Journal is to divulge information
and knowledge about Artificial Intelligence, the changes that
are coming and new opportunities to use AI technology to
JP Morgan: Bitcoin Needs to Reclaim $40K Soon or Momentum Will Fade
Bitcoin has to endure and overcome the $40,000 boundary in order to avoid a consequent major price correction. JPMorgan strategists say that otherwise, the major cryptocurrency might suffer investment outflow.
The $40K Is the Key to Future Prospects for BTC
According to a JPMorgan Chase & Co report, cited by Bloomberg, this level is an omen to more eventual losses.
The major financial institution strategists led by Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou said that the cryptocurrency is at risk of further losses and an outflow of trend-following investors unless it can “break out” over the $40K frontier. The team added that the pattern of demand for BTC futures and the $22.9 billion Grayscale Bitcoin Trust might help determine the perspective.
“The flow into the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust would likely need to sustain its $100 million per day pace over the coming days and weeks for such a breakout to occur,” the strategists commented on Friday.
After a record-breaking hit near $42K in the first week of January, Bitcoin suffered a significant price correction with almost $12K in just a short time, leaving investors pondering the reasons. JPM strategists said that the primary cryptocurrency has been in a similar situation last November when it passed the $20,000 test.
Furthermore, a significant flow of institutional money entering the Grayscale trust has encouraged the BTC rally claimed, JPM specialists. They’ve also noted that trend-following traders “could propagate the past week’s correction” and “momentum signals will naturally decay from here up till the end of March” if BTC price doesn’t break the $40,000 milestone.
Breaking the $40K Limit and Replacing Gold?
Amidst both volatile behavior and opinions on BTC, recently, JPMorgan shared another possible Bitcoin scenario. As CryptoPotato reported, analysts from the financial institution have claimed that the cryptocurrency has taken portions of gold’s market share which could lead to price losses for the bullion.
Back then, strategists said that institutional investors had shown significant transfers from gold ETFs to bitcoin, thus suggesting adverse price developments for the noble metal.
Both bitcoin and gold have one thing in common – their rather limited supply – which had encouraged investors to think that the digital asset might replace the precious metal to an extent in the future.
Analysts said that since October, “money has poured into Bitcoin funds and out of gold, a trend that’s only going to continue in the long run as more institutional investors take a position in cryptocurrencies.” Still, the bold suggestions remain more of a speculation, while BTC remains quite volatile.
Bitcoin Exchange Owner Sues Australian Banks For $290K For Accounts Closure
The legal battle comes as the Aussie man allegedly suffered significant losses in his crypto business after the banks, Westpac and ANZ, shut down his accounts, local media reported Monday.
According to the proceedings filed at the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal, Allan Flynn alleged that the banks’ action was illegal as they closed his accounts without any prior warning or reason.
20 Accounts Closed In Three Years
Flynn owns an AUSTRAC-registered crypto exchange with about 450 customers. Using the platform, he helps his clients to purchase crypto assets like Bitcoin.
The Australian Financial Review revealed that the complainant has had about 20 of his accounts shut down in the last three years by more than five Australian banks, including CBA, NAB, ING, and Bendigo Bank, to mention a few.
Following the continued account closures, Flynn said he opened new accounts with Westpac and ANZ while informing the banks that the account was for crypto transactions. But both accounts were closed after almost a year of running them. He said he received a message from Westpac saying his account would be closed in five days. His effort to open another account with Westpac was not successful.
He requested to know why his account was closed and why he couldn’t open a new one, and the bank told him that he was “under investigation for cryptocurrency fraud.”
Flynn said Westpac offered him a compensation of AUD$250 for not providing “reasonable notice” before closing the account. However, he hasn’t “seen a cent of it either.”
Not The Only One
For one thing, cryptocurrencies and exchanges are legal in Australia, and there’s no law prohibiting banks from rendering services to crypto traders. However, Flynn noted that he is not the only victim of this unlawful discrimination.
“I am by no means alone or the first. I know of at least one other trader who has had accounts closed more than 60 times,” he said, adding that “how am I supposed to run a lawful business if I can’t get a bank account?”
According to the report, Flynn demands a total settlement of AUD$375,000 from the banks, with the hearing expected to take place in late March.
He is seeking AUD$250,000 for stress and inconvenience and AUD$125,000 for emotional distress and reputational damage. Aside from closing his accounts, Flynn alleged that an ANZ employee informed other banks and his clients that he was fraudulent.
Cardano Price Analysis: 18 January
Cardano’s price has surged by a massive 133% in the last 15 days and the rally shows signs of more upward movement. Trading at $0.378 ADA is ranked the sixth-largest cryptocurrency in the world in terms of market cap. The cryptocurrency has witnessed a reduced volatility phase leading to fairly stagnant price movement.
Due to the formation of a bullish pattern, ADA’s outlook is overall bullish and suggests a price surge upwards of 10 -30% in the mid-to-long term.
Cardano 4-hour chart
As seen in the chart, ADA’s price has formed a bullish pennant with the price already breaking out of the pattern on January 16. Since the breakout, ADA has surged approximately 20% to where it currently stands. Although the general outlook is bullish, there might be a retest of the supports at $0.3579 and $0.3455, pushing the price higher.
With the price already surging 20% from the pennant, we can expect another 40% surge on the table. Hence, a long position would better serve the profits that are yet to come.
Supporting this is the constant inflow of volume despite the stagnant movement in price as seen in the OBV indicator. Following this, there is the RSI indicator that shows a retreat from the overbought zone due to the recent breakout from the pennant.
Lastly, the MACD indicator showed a dip in both the MACD line and the signal indicating a decrease in buying momentum. It also shows that these lines might undergo a bearish crossover soon.
With bitcoin trending sideways, this is the time for altcoins to surge higher. Rightfully so, altcoins are surging without a stop in sight, hitting new all-time highs – especially the DeFi coins. With ADA’s bullish pattern, there is a high chance for it to surge to $0.5333 or 67%. On the other hand, a drop below 0.240 would indicate failure of the uptrend and a continuation of the downtrend.
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