Five Minute Blockchain – No. 53
Estimated reading time: 7 min 14 sec
A weekly update from TruBlo –> https://www.trublo.eu
QUOTES OF THE WEEK:
Too much content about Web3 platforms, tools and stats. Not enough about artists.
@musicben_eth (Twitter User)
“We’re at a tipping point where AI is going to break trust in what you see and hear — anddemocracies can’t survive when people don’t agree on facts. You have to have a baseline of understanding of facts”
Dana Rao, Adobe’s general counsel and chief trust officer (TechCrunch)
Policy update for Open AI Codex will affect research papers
Scientists need access to machine learning (ML) models to conduct research. One of the access points is Codex, by OpenAI, which is not open source.
On Monday, OpenAI announced that it would discontinue support for Codex by Thursday. Hundreds of academic papers would no longer be reproducible: independent researchers would not be able to assess their validity and build on their results.
Who is Shou Zi Chew, the TikTok CEO?
This Thursday, the boss of TikTok will be at a hearing in the US, where politicians want to decide about a potential ban on TikTok, mainly based on security concerns.
The 40-year-old CEO has worked at Goldman Sachs, studied in the US and manages TikTop from an office in Singapur. The “Wall Street Journal” has a profile of the executive.
TikTok argues that the company would never share user data with Chinese authorities, and there is little trust in this claim in the US, Europe, and India.
Blacklight – a real-time website privacy inspector
On the pages of The Markup, you can access a tool to check the privacy settings on any website, including your own. Service is free.
The new Luddites
Between 1811 and 1816, English workers repeatedly destroyed new machines, specifically in cotton and woollen mills, because the new technology threatened their jobs. They were called “Luddites“.
Now there is a new group, not as violent as their predecessors, but with a similar opinion about new technologies. In New York, a group has formed the “The Luddite Club”. They promote “self-liberation from social media and technology”. Part of that is to evade smartphones by using flip phones from the 90s, meeting in person, and to read from physical books.
According to a survey “68.6% of people say that screen time has had a negative effect on their mental health, while one in three admitted it had a detrimental effect on their work or personal lives. In response to this, we’re seeing the emergence of a new movement of people, groups and brands who are questioning technology’s unchecked impact on our lives, with many championing a return to tactile, physical, off-line experiences.”
Wunderman Thompson: The New Luddites
You can’t make this up
The new AI platforms are the big topic in early 2023. How can the new options be used? What are the shortcomings? What are the dangers to jobs, society and for truth and trust?
Here is a quick run-down of exciting headlines this week:
- RightWingGPT is an AI model trained on conservative political viewpoints. Its creator thinks that ChatGPT has a “left-leaning bias. (New York Times, $)
- Canva, the design platform, introduces AI-based tools to simplify creating images or presentations by writing prompts. The Australian company, founded in 2012, has around 125 million users, with revenue of $1,6B annually. (Forbes).
- GitHub has announced Copilot X, which means AI support for developers. OpenAI GPT-4 is used to facilitate coding tasks. (Bloomberg)
- News Publishers want their share. An alliance of media companies are discussing how to demand a percentage of the revenue from Microsoft, Google and other AI platforms for using their content to train the AI software. (Wall Street Journal)
- Character.AI faces legal troubles for allowing users to make and share chatbots of famous people or fictional movies, or comic characters such as Yoda or Harry Potter. (Bloomberg)
- Ubisoft has launched an AI tool called Ghostwriter to assist video game developers with writing in-game dialogue. (Kotaku)
- First Batch ID (FID) is a decentralised identity to personalise a user’s news feed. (Gravitates)
Google and Microsoft plan to enhance office software with AI magic
AI software might change how work is done for millions of jobs by offering new options for typical office tasks, such as writing an e-mail or a marketing message. Both Google and Microsoft are in a race to deploy such features:
In a replay of last month’s dueling chatbot launches by the tech giants, Alphabet touted a “magic wand” for its popular Google Docs software that can draft a marketing blog, training plan or other text, then revise its tone at users’ discretion, a company official demonstrated to reporters.
Alphabet announced that the AI software could summarise messages in Gmail, craft slide presentations, personalise customer outreach and take meeting notes.
Meanwhile, Microsoft organised an event to discuss how it is “reinventing productivity with AI”. Like Google, the company plans to connect AI options to Word, Powerpoint and Excel.
It can be expected that there will be a debate about the amount of AI-generated content for a while. Still, with such deep integration into everyday life, most people might get accustomed to using AI to speed up the completion of standard office tasks.
Glaze aims to prevent AI crawlers from stealing art
A free tool called Glaze, developed by a team from the University of Chicago, seeks to help artists to prevent AI from copying their art.
“…the (beta) app works by adding almost imperceptible ‘perturbations’ to each artwork it’s applied to — changes that are designed to interfere with AI models’ ability to read data on artistic style — and make it harder for generative AI technology to mimic the style of the artwork and its artist. Instead systems are tricked into outputting other public styles far removed from the original artwork”.
Blockchain technology used for refugee aid programs in Ukraine
The UN refugee program is among the pioneers of using blockchain technology for aid programs, specifically for transferring financial aid to refugees. The agency had already used similar technology to support refugees in Jordan in 2018, but with a different setup.
In Ukraine, the UNHCR works with the Stellar Development Foundation, a nonprofit alongside the money transfer company MoneyGram. A fourth organisation involved is Circle Internet Financial, the issuer of USDC stablecoin.
“For now, the stablecoin program in Ukraine is being piloted on a microscopic scale, with fewer than 100 participants in the cities of Kyiv, Lviv, and Vinnytsia. The UNHCR is preparing to expand the initiative to up to 5,000 wallets by April, but this would still represent only a fraction of the number of Ukrainians displaced by the war.”
Distributed technology and digital wallets can solve several challenges, such as handling and distributing large amounts of cash.
UNHCR Press Release (December 2022)
US authorities send notice to Coinbase
Coinbase and Tron received SEC notices that the exchanges might have violated US securities laws by selling securities. Coinbase said that the warning does not mean any changes to current offerings. (CNBC)
“Brian Armstrong, the co-founder and CEO of crypto exchange Coinbase, has compared the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to “soccer refs” in a game of pickleball, criticizing U.S. regulators for not being able to “agree on the rules” of “this new game.”” (Cointelegraph)
SEC sues Tron-founder and eight celebrities
Meanwhile, the SEC sued Justin Sun, the founder of Tron, for selling unregistered securities, market manipulation, and fraud. Also, eight celebrities are charged for promoting crypto assets without disclosing that they were paid for it. (SEC Press Release)(Coindesk)
Luxembourg recognises bill for DLT-based securities
Last week the Luxembourg parliament adopted a bill that recognizes DLT-based securities as collateral. It also expands the definition of financial instruments to include those issued under the EU’s DLT Pilot Regime, which comes into force later this month.
- “A Moody’s report said municipalities could save money and improve transparency using blockchain technology. The firm added that doing so comes with potential risks, namely cyber attacks and volatility.” (The Block)
- “South Korea cranks up pressure to extradite Do Kwon, founder of failed Terra-Luna stablecoin”. (Forkast)
- In Nigeria: “A youth-led online movement propelled an outsider candidate into the political mainstream.” (Wired UK)
- On the launch of Microsoft Loop, which is partially similar to Notion: “If you create software that gains traction in work environments, it’s inevitable that Microsoft is going to follow.” (Daring Fireball) (The Verge)
- Status of Neobanks in Europe -profits, outlook (Tech.eu)
- Flying Sheep Studios announced that the Cologne-based studio had received $1.2 million from a German ministry for “Star Life”, a social massively multiplayer online (MMO) game. (Venture Beat)
- Chainalysis breaks down how scammers adapt during the bear market (Cointelegraph)
- Ponzi 2.0: “An investment fund announces a $16 million investment in an Estonian startup. But there’s a problem — the startup doesn’t exist, and the funding didn’t happen.” (Tech.eu)
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Photo by Mahdis Mousavi on Unsplash