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Technology trends with the potential to make humans happier

It was the beginning of September, autumn was coming in Prague, when I attended Tech Conference Europe organized by PICANTE. The publishing website picks the latest news about technology, finance, …

The post Technology trends with the potential to make humans happier appeared first on AI, ML, Data Science Articles | Interviews | Insights | AI TIME JOURNAL.

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Data Scientist | Technology Enthusiast 

It was the beginning of September, autumn was coming in Prague, when I attended Tech Conference Europe organized by PICANTE. The publishing website picks the latest news about technology, finance, and many other topics that resonate today.

If you asked me why to attend any tech conference, I would say – to meet interesting people and get inspired. Events like this one are an amazing opportunity to broaden your horizons and discover what’s going on in the industry.

Picante conference focused on different fields such as blockchain, Artificial Intelligence (AI) or Virtual Reality (VR). When it comes to technology I’m always fascinated by how tech evolution affects human lives and potentially our future. Let’s take a look at three topics that deal with such interactions, and I find them worth sharing.

Labor in the age of AI and automation

Panel discussion on AI and its use by startups and SMEs demonstrated that AI is one of the hottest subjects across different businesses and industries. The panelists talked about the AI’s use in general. They also touched on some basic misconceptions, which often come up when the subject is discussed. For example, “AI technology is going to replace all jobs”.

There is no doubt automation has the potential to significantly change labor. However, it doesn’t mean the ultimate transfer of labor from humans to machines. As Aleksander Kijek (Chief Product Officer at Nethone) remarked, AI technology can be an opportunity for people to be happier. 

Automation promises a reduction of day-to-day aspects of the work which give us more options for spending time productively. Why would we have to work five days a week? Humans are creative, AI isn’t (yet). If we leave some routine activities to AI, humans can work in smarter ways and expand their creative thinking.

Another frequently occurring misconception is that only manual workers will be replaced by AI. In fact, AI-equipped robots are replacing also highly educated and trained professionals such as lawyers. Obviously, there are aspects of every job that are less likely to be automated. For a lawyer, this could be presenting in a court, while AI could be used to scan thousands of documents. Potentially, we would have more time for “AI-irreplaceable” activities to become more competent at them. 

On the other hand, a lawyer Vojtech Chloupek (Partner at Bird & Bird) raised his concerns on how we train experts if we skip simple duties. For example, in legal practice, beginners draft simple documents and they become experts step-by-step. But what will happen if we replace this kind of routine “junior tasks” by robots?

Cyborgs and revealed reality through new senses

Even a few weeks after the conference, I consider remarkable the fireside chat with Manel Muñoz who developed and installed barometric sensors in his body. This new organ allows him to feel atmospheric pressure changes through beats at different speeds in his skull (you may notice a small “device” on his nape). However, as Manel remarked, it’s his new organ and sense, not a wearable device. 

“With the barometric sense, I perceive the arrival of cyclones and anticyclones via different beats transmitted through the skull.”  

It’s hard to imagine what “to feel atmospheric changes” actually means. Manel played us an audio record of the sounds (noises) he can hear. A young lady from the audience compared it to what a baby hears in a mother’s belly during pregnancy. 

If you know anything about cyborgs, you have probably heard about Neil Harbisson who is the first legally recognized cyborg. If you (by some miracle) haven’t, I recommend his TEDx talk “I listen to color”. In 2010, Neil co-founded the Cyborg Foundation, an international organization that helps humans become cyborgs and defends their rights. In 2017, Manel co-founded an association Transpecies Society which is the latest project of the foundation. 

Among other things, the association offers workshops specialized in the design and creation of new senses and organs. In contrast with the past, humans can decide what organs and senses they want to have. 

There is no doubt 22 years old Manel, with an authentic style and charisma, has an exceptional story to tell. A phrase “be yourself” does not sound like a cliche in his case.

First steps into a parallel virtual reality universe

Blockchain and its growing use was one of the key topics of the conference. Several panel discussions and presentations were devoted to this phenomenon and its applications throughout various business areas.

I was most impressed by the talk of Artur Sychov (Founder and CEO at Somnium Space) who spoke about their VR platform. Somnium Space is an open, social VR world with its own economy and currency powered by blockchain. 

VR is one of those technologies that are changing the way we live and socialize. You can simply change your job, appearance or gain new social experience. As Arthur said, not everyone is blessed to have a great life in the real world. That’s probably why we are so fascinated by tricking our brain and building alternative lives. 

Somnium Space is a constantly changing virtual environment which can be explored by thousands of people at the same time. The key principle is virtual ownership so it’s not just “a pixel game”. For a few hundred dollars you can buy your own land parcel. Moreover, it brings an opportunity not only to build and express yourself but also to monetize everything you create. So how about building a theme park and charging it? You can also enjoy creations of other users by buying their products, properties or services (Somnium Space will take a share of every transaction).

Live forever mode” is the cherry on the cake. For a monthly fee, everything you do and say is recorded to post-process this information in the future and recreate your behavior and personality using AI.

Let’s sum it up

Technology is an incredibly fast changing and developing area, and all of the mentioned topics are still in progress. Maybe AI and automation will give us more time to explore real world. Maybe we will extend our senses and our experience of the reality gets even much deeper. And maybe it will still not be enough and we will run to parallel virtual worlds more and more often.

Let’s see what the future holds.

Contributor

Data Scientist | Technology Enthusiast 

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own. Source: https://www.aitimejournal.com/@lucia.petrusova/technology-trends-with-the-potential-to-make-humans-happier

Blockchain

SEC responsible for $15 billion in damages to XRP holders: Ripple

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Weeks after the United States’ Securities and Exchange Commission filed an amended complaint in its lawsuit against Ripple Labs, the latter has now filed an official response, with the same asserting that the SEC is picking virtual currency winners and losers by exempting Bitcoin and Ether from the scrutiny of similar regulations.

According to Ripple, XRP was designed to be a “better Bitcoin” and more secure because control over the XRPL is more distributed.

Ripple’s response also pointed out that the mere filing of the SEC’s complaint has caused immense harm to XRP holders, cutting the value of their holdings substantially and contributing to numerous exchanges, market makers, and other market participants ceasing trading activities involving XRP. The blockchain firm argued that in bringing a case that alleges an unregistered securities offering of just over $1.3 billion from several years ago, the SEC has already caused more than approximately $15 billion in damages to those it “purports to protect.”

The 100-page document also went on to accuse the SEC of mischaracterizing several items on the record, including the claim that Ripple’s sales of XRP constituted a “significant part” of the XRP. According to Ripple, these sales constituted less than 0.4% of the total XRP transaction volume in nearly all periods.

To conclude, Ripple equivocally denied all charges in the SEC’s amended complaint, calling the allegations “overarching.”

“We’re looking forward to learning more about the SEC’s meetings with major XRP market participants who asked for guidance but were never told that XRP transactions would be subject to federal securities laws,” Stuart Alderoty, Ripple’s General Counsel, added on Twitter.

The timing of the said development is interesting, especially since it came just a day after Ripple execs Brad Garlinghouse and Chris Larsen filed motions to dismiss the amended complaint.


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Source: https://ambcrypto.com/sec-responsible-for-15-billion-in-damages-to-xrp-holders-ripple

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How to Protect Yourself from the Cryptojacking Threat

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Though fairly common in today’s age, for many, Cryptojacking might still be a brand-new term. What is Cryptojacking? Is this a threat for all computer and internet users? How can we prevent falling victim to Cryptojacking? And many more such questions are common. Some of the most common concerns have been addressed below.

What happens in Cryptojacking?

Cryptojacking is the latest, most innovative, shape of cybercrime. These jackers will use your computer to mine cryptocurrencies maliciously. This can happen on both personal and business laptops, computers, and mobile devices. Cybercriminals hack into any of these devices to install software that uses the computer/laptop/smartphone’s resources and power to mine cryptocurrencies or steal wallets of unsuspecting victims. This is a grave threat as it is hard to detect and easy to deploy and run in the background. The main idea is using another computer and device’s resources to do crypto mining work for them and whatever earnings or steals they make from the hijacked computers, they siphon it into their own digital wallets. 

Cryptojacking Methods

There are three main methods cryptojackers can opt for to maliciously mine for cryptocurrencies. Let’s skim through them so you know how to better protect yourself against them.

Browser-based Cryptojacking

This happens when the hacker uses IT infrastructure to mine and attack directly within the web browser. They create a crypto mining script that is embedded into different websites. These scripts can be embedded into out-of-date WordPress plugins or ads where they run automatically while the code gets downloaded into the user’s computer. 

File-Based Cryptojacking

File-based cryptojacking starts from downloading malware that runs an executable file. A Cryptomining script is spread through this file all around the IT infrastructure. The most common way to do so is to spread malicious emails with links or attachments that look fairly legitimate for the user to click on them. If they click, the code is executed and downloads the crypto mining script to work in the background on the user’s computer without their knowledge.

Cloud Cryptojacking

Cloud Cryptojacking is used when a hacker searches for API keys through an organization’s code and files to gain access to their cloud services. They then gather unlimited CPU resources for crypto mining and this resultantly increases account costs quite significantly. Hackers illicitly mine for currencies using this method as it helps them accelerate at a much faster rate. 

How to detect Cryptojacking?

The crypto mining scripts generated by hackers can be very tricky to detect and locate, which is why you need a highly vigilant IT team at work 24/7 for your organization’s operation. Here are some common signs that will tell you something’s wrong before it’s too late and practices that can help you detect cryptojacking, look out for these!

Overheating

Just like any other intensive task, Cryptojacking involves resource processing that can heat your computing device quickly. Overheating will shorten the lifespan of your device and damage it immensely. Moreover, overheating means the fans in your devices will run longer than they should to keep the system cool and running.

Decreased performance

One of the major signs of cryptojacking is a decrease in the performance of your laptop, PC, mobile device, or tablet. If you observe an unexplained decrease in processing speed, immediately call an IT technician and get it checked. If you’re running an organization, educate all your employees about their cybersecurity and about signs and symptoms they need to report. 

Regular Website Checks

Regularly monitor your website and all its web pages to make sure there are no changes to the files and webpages on the web server. This is a great way to prevent a Cryptojacking attack.

Monitor CPU Usage

Analyze your CPU usage regularly by using a task manager or activity monitor. An unjustified increase in the CPU usage means there’s something fishy going on. Especially for a website that has little to no media content that could drive traffic. 

Protection against Cryptojacking?

Following are some recommendations from security experts on the prevention of Cryptojacking.

Maintain good security hygiene

Establish solid security hygiene to lower the risk of Cryptojacking as all such attackers are opportunists and always on the hunt for wear, vulnerable venue. Hackers run numerous exploits on websites and get through whenever there is a patch.

Web filtering

Keep your web filtering tools up to date and make sure your users are blocked from accessing a webpage that you identified delivering Cryptojacking scripts. 

Anti-crypto mining browser extensions

To coin the cash and deploy the Cryptojacking script, crypto-miner hooks into web browsers. You can use browser extensions to block such crypto miners. Browser extensions such as No Coin, minerBlock, and Anti Miner can be used. 

Disable JavaScript and enabling Ad-Blockers

Disabling JavaScript when browsing online will protect Cryptojacking code from infecting your device. And, Ad-blockers will detect and block crypto-mining codes that are commonly placed in web ads.

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Blockchain Association meeting with key Biden staff about regulations

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U.S.-based crypto advocacy group, the Blockchain Association, is lobbying key figures in the Biden administration to advocate for more favorable regulations.

The Association’s executive director, Kristin Smith, told Fox Business the group has already met with or is in the process of scheduling meetings with high-ranking Whitehouse officials including Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Deputy Secretary nominee and former BlackRock executive Wally Adeyemo, along with representatives of the Treasury Department.

Citing reported comments from Yellen about how the primary utility of cryptocurrency is “illicit financing,” Smith said the association’s key aim was to assist the Treasury chief to “understand the value of crypto networks:”

Our number one priority is helping Yellen understand crypto goes beyond the financing of criminal enterprises.”

Yellen has been criticized by the crypto sector for describing Bitcoin as “an extremely inefficient way of conduction transactions,” and speculating that BTC is not “widely used as a transaction mechanism.”

Despite her apparent hostility toward Bitcoin, Yellen has expressed openness to centralized DLT, with the secretary stating a digital dollar could offer “faster, safe, and cheaper payments” than existing fiat currency last month.

Adam Traidman, CEO of crypto wallet BRD, indicated representatives of the crypto sector are “trying to work as high up the Treasury food chain as we can,” adding:

“We’re not opposed to regulation and compliance, but we need time to spur innovation and grease the skids for adoption of crypto first.”

Traidman emphasized concerns regarding regulations for wallets and crypto-to-crypto transactions, stating: “One of our main goals is to carve out crypto to crypto transactions from most regulations. If crypto transfers have to meet wire transfer rules, that will harm the industry.”

Some in the crypto community have also expressed concern regarding Joe Biden’s nominee for chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Gary Gensler — who has previously described Ethereum’s 2014 ICO as an unregistered securities offering.

Earlier this week, Gensler told the Senate Banking Committee the SEC will work to ensure the crypto markets “are free of fraud and manipulation,” accusing off-shore exchanges of having been “rife with fraud.”

The Blockchain Association’s members include crypto heavyweights Circle, Binance.US, Grayscale, and Kraken.

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Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/blockchain-association-meeting-with-key-biden-staff-about-regulations

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