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President Obama on Future of AI and Tech, Bots Label Video, More – This Week in Artificial Intelligence 10-14-16

Republished by Plato



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1 – Barack Obama: Now Is the Greatest Time to Be Alive

President Obama was generous enough to take time out of his (still) busy schedule to guest-edit Wired’s November issue, also contributing an opening essay that articulates his thoughts on why this is the best time to be alive (regardless of what’s touted in news and social media) and how he sees our current and future generations continuing to make leaps in scientific and technological progress. In his goal for the issue, he says,

That’s why I centered this issue on the idea of frontiers—stories and ideas about what’s over the next horizon, about what lies on the other side of the barriers we haven’t broken through yet.

He names just a few of the challenges we still need to work together to solve – climate change; economic inequality; cybersecurity; cancer and antibiotic-resistant superbugs – and emphasizes the positive gains made in focusing on STEM education and the democratization of technology and knowledge to reach citizens outside the walls of MIT and other research universities. His vision of an emboldened, pioneering era of Americans is not new in principle, though an evolving socio-cultural environment and technological tools go hand-in-hand with his message, which is worth reading.

(Read the President’s full essay on Wired)

2 – Silicon Valley Makes Big Strides in AI, While the Government Ponders its Future

In the progressive discussions around AI, there are disagreements and governing forces with potentially differing interests at the helm. Actions and sometime opposing messages continue to flow out of two of the most influential players – Silicon Valley powerhouses (like Google, Apple, and others), and the U.S. government. The White House, which has increasingly become invested in this arena, released a new report on Wednesday outlining the administration’s focus on future potentials and challenges inherent in the inevitable progress of artificial intelligence. The report focuses on current applications (like self-driving vehicles) and spotlights public policy considerations in light of these evolving technologies; the announcement makes note of a companion strategic plan for federally-funded research that was released alongside the report. As the government and SV players continue their trajectories, there will continue to be friction and debate in how quickly (and at what costs) AI is being developed both in and out of the private sector.

(Read the full article on Silicon Valley Business Journal and administration report at the White House Blog)

3 – Bots Generate Video Titles and Tags to Bring AI Researchers One Step Closer to Visual Intelligence

Two National Tsinghua University professors, collaborating with a Microsoft researcher, have used deep learning to further develop machine’s abilities to generate relevant titles and tags based on video content. Professors Chia-Wen Lin and Min Sun were first inspired by Microsoft’s COCO (Common Objects in Context), a new image recognition, segmentation, and captioning dataset; they collaborated with Microsoft Research Asia’s Dr. Tao Mei to use COCO captions for sentence augmentation and captions to train their system, in which a bot highlights important moments within video and comes up with suggestions for an appropriate title and captions. Their work furthers the ultimate goal of a comprehensive visual, artificial intelligence that understands and can categorize content in video.

(Read the full article on the Microsoft Research Blog and research paper at arvix)

4 – This Robot Makes a T-shirt from Start to Finish

Robots have historically been used in manufacturing because they’re adept at handling stiff, heavy objects, but when it comes to more dexterous and delicate tasks – not so much. Now, one tech-forward entrepreneur has created a robotic system that can sew a T-shirt from beginning to end. Jonathan Zornow’s “Sewbo” starts with a temporarily-stiffened fabric that makes it easy for a robot to work. Zornow will be using his programmable robotic arm in an upcoming partnership with Bluewater Defense, which makes combat trousers for the U.S. military. Bluewater’s CEO Eric Spcakey said,

“It requires 64 [manufacturing] operations just to make a single combat trouser. If we can automate every 2 to 3 of those, it will make the process much more efficient.”

It may not be too long before automated sewing robots make their way into the broader textile industry.

(Read the full article on CNNMoney)

5 – Artificial Intelligence Positioned to be a Game-Changer

Host Charlie Rose hosted a timely 60 Minutes segment titled Artificial Intelligence, which aired on October 9 that took a closer look at the status of AI today and the minds and billions of dollars that have made this progress possible over the last decade. Rose interviewed figures such as John Kelly, head of research at IBM; Dr. Ned Sharpless, who runs the cancer center at North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Andrew Moore, former Google employee and head of the Computer Science department at Carnegie Mellon; among others.  One of the overarching ideas being explored is that AI has, in some ways, shown levels of creativity and judgement-making that exceeds human beings, and that this evolution doesn’t look to be slowing down anytime soon.

(Read the full interview and watch the 60 Minutes segment at CBSNews)



Shanghai Man: Economist says El Salvador ‘on road to death’, salaries paid in e-CNY …

Republished by Plato



Our Man in Shanghai has refused to let recent regulations slow down the news coming from China. Enterprise blockchain, central bank digital currencies and start up projects continue to make a positive impact in a region hoping to grow economic value through technology.

Death march for El Salvador

The debate around El Salvador continued this week as media and officials tried to digest the adoption of Bitcoin as a national currency. JPMorgan stated that there was little economic benefit, and John Hopkins University professor Steve Hanke warned that the move could “completely collapse the economy” of the small nation. The former Bank of China deputy governor Wang Yongli took a very hardline approach, by stating that volatility and a lack of regulation or controls would put the economy on a “road to death.” This quote, appearing in state run media The Paper June 9, was an unusually direct and colorful statement on the issue.

Crypto innovation can be productive

Zhou Xiaoquan, a former governor of the People’s Bank of China, had a few positive things to say about cryptocurrency as a technology on June 11. He spoke at an economic summit in Shanghai and noted the cryptocurrency innovation in China can be productive when it serves the real economy. He also took some shots at other countries, stating that people would be mistaken if they thought other countries were taking the same approach towards building financial services. Zhou, who is one of the most often-quoted economists in the country, felt there was little emphasis on the relationship between financial services and economic value elsewhere in the world. Based on the wild displays at the Miami Bitcoin conference a few weeks ago, his position might be more sound than others would care to admit.

Paid in e-CNY

China’s e-CNY tests continued with the first reported mass payment of salaries in Xiong’an, a district near the capital Beijing. According to Cointelegraph, the pilot received support from a number of national banks and saw subcontractors paying workers their salaries from a digital wallet.

Industrial blockchain worth $22.6B

On June 3, a government organization issued a report entitled the China Industrial Blockchain Development Status and Trend Report. According to the report, in 2020, 222 industrial blockchain policies were issued, 12,059 new blockchain-related patent applications were approved, and 776 new blockchain enterprises were established. The report also claimed that the current market size of the industrial blockchain sector was around $22.6 billion U.S. dollars. Industrial blockchain is an area that China is eager to grab control in, leading to this explosive growth in recent years.

Only 5X the fun

Leading exchange Huobi surprised futures traders by limiting them to only 5x leverage on perpetual swaps and blocking new users from accessing the feature altogether. Futures trading, particularly highly-leveraged futures trading, had always been popular features on exchanges like OKEx and Huobi. It will be interesting to see whether these new decisions to limit risk will be damaging to these large exchanges that still somewhat adhere to regulator rules. It’s also possible that it’s a short-term solution in order to avoid scrutiny during periods of tighter control.

Futures of Singapore

While Huobi was tightening controls on futures traders, Singapore-based platform SynFutures was completing a Series A for $14 million. The round was led by Polychain Capital and included names like Framework Capital, Pantera Capital, Bybit, Kronos Research, WOO Ventures, Wintermute, and IOSG Ventures. SynFutures is creating a trustless derivatives market where users can take positions on assets or anything that has an accurate feed, including Bitcoin, the price of gold, or even the Bitcoin hashrate. What many people don’t know is that the SynFutures team is composed of members from Matrixport, a financial service app that was an offshoot of massive Chinese mining conglomerate Bitmain. Now you know the whole story!

This weekly roundup of news from Mainland China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong attempts to curate the industry’s most important news, including influential projects, changes in the regulatory landscape, and enterprise blockchain integrations.

Shanghai Man: Economist says El Salvador ’on road to death’, salaries paid in e-CNY …


Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa

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CoinFlip Installs Its First Three Bitcoin ATMs in Alaska

The company aims to install four more ATMs in the state by the end of the summer.

Republished by Plato



CoinFlip, a leading Bitcoin ATM provider, announced that it had expanded its operations to Alaska, United States, by deploying three Bitcoin ATMs on Thursday. According to the company, it has also planned to install three additional Bitcoin ATMs by the end of this year’s summer in the state.

With the new machines installed in Anchorage, users will not only be able to buy Bitcoins (BTC) but Dogecoin (DOGE), Ethereum (ETH), and six other cryptocurrencies with 24/7 customer support. The locations are Anchorage Wine House at Minnesota, Anchorage Wine House at Huffman, and Anchorage Wine House at Jewel Lake. With the installation of the ATMs in Alaska, CoinFlip now has over 2,500 machines installed in 47 of the 50 states in the US.

About the announcement, Ben Weiss, CoinFlip CEO, commented: “We’re excited to bring CoinFlip ATMs to Alaska this month. It has been our mission to help build financial wealth through inclusive financial systems so that anyone interested in investing can participate. We look forward to connecting Alaskans with our award-winning customer service to make Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies more accessible to the local community.”

Other Companies Installing Bitcoin ATMs in the US

Another company joined the bandwagon of deploying Bitcoin ATMs in more US states. Finance Magnates reported in April that Coinme expanded operations in the state of Florida with the installation of more than 300 Bitcoin-enabled Coinstar kiosks.

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The Bitcoin cash machines have been strategically installed inside grocery chains like Winn Dixie, Fresco y Mas, and Harveys across small towns and big cities. The company aimed to bring Bitcoin purchasing facilities to the local groceries of the Florida residents.

Coinme is one of the major Bitcoin ATM operators in the United States, with around 6,000 Coinstar kiosks installed in supermarkets across 45 states.

According to CoinATMRadar metrics, United States has 18,936 Bitcoin ATMs, becoming the leader globally, followed by Canada with 1,526, and the United Kingdom with 196.

Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa

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What is Phemex’s all-new Learn and Earn program?





A decade ago, Bitcoin was merely a philosophical research paper for a new type of digital currency. Today, there is no major technology or financial publication or news portal with no cryptocurrency stories or blockchain news. 

From being ridiculed as magic internet money backed by thin air to narratives of the wild west, nerdy money, get-rich-quick schemes, and gaining mainstream consciousness as we settle into 2021, the crypto industry has indeed seen it all. 

Since Bitcoin’s inception over ten years ago, things have changed considerably. Industries across the world have embraced its underlying blockchain technology. Its main characteristics include decentralization, transparency, immutability, and automation that has the potential to create a multitude of use cases and replace legacy frameworks.

The digital asset industry has not been that lucky. The narrative of “Blockchain, not Bitcoin,” is still very much prevalent in several regions. Countries struggling with political instability and hyperinflation, such as Venezuela, and Argentina have witnessed a formidable interest in cryptocurrencies. The sentiment resembled the nations that have a massive unbanked local population. 

Today, the great dream of cryptocurrency is still very much alive despite all its struggles. The cryptocurrency industry has not only unlocked access to financial services for users around the globe it has also opened avenues for new applications. The remittance, for one, can be a nightmare for many living in developing countries. Crypto and blockchain technology aims to settle transactions instantly with significantly lower or even negligible fees. 

The main objective behind asset-backed tokens, on the other hand, is to grant ownership to assets like real estate and precious metals. In addition, stablecoins have their own use cases and have seen unprecedented growth because they trade uniformly with fiat. The list does not end there. 

While pessimism has dwindled, there is still plenty of skepticism around the entire asset class. 

What’s impeding crypto adoption?

There are numerous reasons for the hindrance. But one that stands out is the lack of education. It is a daunting issue that plagues the cryptocurrency industry even today, in this day and age when everything is just one click away. Many people don’t understand the industry. It is as simple as that. 

The digital asset realm is a complex one. While there are plenty of resources to fall back on, there need to be better and more accessible vehicles, one that is perfectly curated for the newbies – simple and easy-to-follow lessons on everything crypto and blockchain. And what’s better than earning a reward for learning this groundbreaking technology? Seems far-fetched? Not anymore. Pemex’s newly launched program dubbed ‘Learn and Earn’ aims to do just that.

Singapore-based cryptocurrency exchange Phemex is one of the most prominent platforms in the world. Just two years since it was first launched, Phemex has already emerged as one of the most trustworthy exchanges in the industry. Its user base exploded quickly to over a million traders, thanks to user-friendly platforms and unique offerings. 

It has recently rolled out an all-new educational program called “Learn and Earn,” which aims to provide users with simplified concepts on different cryptocurrency and blockchain-related concepts. This program includes an in-depth course structure coupled with intuitive lessons and interactive videos that offer a unique and fun learning process. But it does not end there. 

Phemex plans to reward its users via Learn and Earn after the completion of each lesson. How? Users will have to take a short quiz to test their knowledge, and if all the answers are correct, they will be incentivized. 

It is one of the most beginner-friendly and fun ways to learn more about the new financial world. Learn and Earn is put together into a few fundamental courses, each comprising its own set of sub-lessons. These cover introductory passages, explainer videos, and a final quiz for users to test their knowledge. Upon answering all questions correctly, Phemex offers a reward in the form of trading bonuses and cryptocurrencies. 

Lean and Earn’s first set of courses proceed with the platform’s essential features. This program encompasses some core concepts about the workings of cryptocurrencies and the process of buying, trading, and selling them on an exchange. Rewards will be in the form of trading bonuses that participants can use with perpetual contracts on Phemex to exercise their proficiency on the subject matter. 

In the days to come, Phemex also plans to broaden its course material and reward users directly in cryptocurrency assets. However, in order to receive rewards, the users are required to complete KYC protocols. As of now, the program is not widely available, but the team behind the project is working on expanding the Lean and Earn initiative on a global scale.

In short, Learn And Earn aims to cater to mainly the beginner but is also available for experienced crypto enthusiasts who seek to know more about the industry and how to trade digital assets seamlessly. This program is essentially for everyone who wants clarity and eventually wants to foray into the trading space of cryptocurrencies but does not know where to begin. It is open to anyone who wants to build a passive income stream by just learning about cryptocurrencies.

Incentivising users for learning about the technology, what a great way to spur adoption as well as trading activity! This will help more and more individuals dispel myths and filter out FUDs and FOMOs that are often endorsed by the critics and the flag bearers of centralized financial infrastructure.  

For the first course, there will be three lessons – each worth $2. So if you complete the first course you’ll get a total of $6. You can find more information on Phemex and their Twitter page.


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