Five Minute Blockchain Newsletter No. 51

Five Minute Blockchain Newsletter No. 51

Five Minute Blockchain – No. 51

Your weekly newsletter from the TruBlo project reports from the intersection of trust, content and blockchain.

Saturday, 04.03.2023

Estimated reading time: 8 min 27 sec

(Sorry, it was hard to keep in the five-minute range this week, lots of exciting and relevant updates).



QUOTE OF THE WEEK:

“Biased input leading to biased output is a big issue across the board here”.

John Oliver in “Last Week Tonight” on the current state of Artificial Intelligence.


TRUST


Crypto-focused US bank Silvergate in crisis

The big fear of any bank is that people lose trust in its ability to pay out money.

This is what currently happens with Silvergate. The US bank had served many crypto clients, making it simpler to convert dollars to Bitcoin, etc. The bank achieved a profit of $76m in 2021, and it experienced a net loss of $949m in 2022.

By March 1 this year, the bank said it would not file its annual report to the SEC on time and that the losses were even higher than previously known. In the past few days, crypto exchanges like Coinbase and others said they would stop transactions with the bank. The bank has warned that it might not survive the next 12 months.

Links:
Web3isgoinggreat
Blockworks


Crypto exchange Binance must answer difficult questions

Another crypto company under some external pressure is Binance. The crypto exchange seemed to emerge as the winner after the collapse of FTX. But now Forbes Magazin has published an investigation. The journalists say they found evidence that Binance invested $1.8B, which was meant as collateral for customers’ stablecoins, into a hedge fund. Such practice is considered risky and problematic because there is no real transparency. Binance says nothing is wrong; all transactions were within the boundaries of proper investment. But the market is watching.

Forbes

Coinbase (commentary)

Coinbase (with an interview of the author of the Forbes article)

Cointelegraph


Why do the EU and US want to ban TikTok?

TikTok is considered suspicious. Governments outside of China worry that the app could be used to track users and get their data, such as names, locations and other information. It could be that Bytedance has to comply with requests by the Chinese government. As a result, several governments have ordered their staff to delete TikTok from their phones. This week, the EU, the US, Canada, and Denmark are considering a ban.

Benedict Evans, an expert in the digital economy, says the threat is not that people could be spied upon and their data being passed on, as operating systems by now provide considerable protection. Amazingly, in a world of digital devices and highly measurable data flows, the recent actions are primarily based on assumptions but no more profound knowledge of actual data misuse.

Euronews

BBC


How EU data acts affect the handling of data

This spring, several EU acts will be put into practice. Currently they still in draft status. But companies and organizations should anticipate that the new rules go further than GDPR. On the upside the rules are not meant to be only restrictive. In fact the EU commission hopes that the new guidelines will enable a market for data and a productive exchange of information between companies.

Here is a quick overview of the several acts from an article published by Mckinsey:

  • The Data Governance Act creates a new way of managing data to increase trust in and facilitate data sharing.*
  • The Digital Markets Act creates fair and contestable markets for innovation, growth, and competitiveness in the digital sector.
  • The Digital Services Act creates a safer digital space where the rights of all users of digital services are protected.
  • The Data Act regulates access to data in B2B, B2C, and B2G (business-to-government) relationships and while switching between cloud providers.
  • The AI Act enacts stringent regulations of (high-risk) AI systems and prohibiting certain practices.

McKinsey

EU Commission: EU Digital Strategy


Reuters investigation reveals a recycling initiative by Dow as just greenwashing

Determining whether certain initiatives actually deliver on their promises is often difficult in today’s information environment. A few weeks ago, The Guardian had a story that up to 90% of rainforest carbon offsets are worthless.

This week Reuters published the results of an investigation into a sneaker recycling program initiated by the government of Singapore and Dow, the US petrochemical company. They equipped used sneakers supposed to go into the program with hidden AirTags to see where they would end up. As you might have suspected: They were not recycled. Instead, the investigators found them in second-hand stores in Indonesia. Just one story reveals a massive gap between promises and reality. But the story is an example of what needs to change to achieve trustability in many areas of environmental activity.

Reuters


CONTENT


The new hot job: AI whisperer

The ability to write the right “prompts” for the new AI platforms is becoming a profession in high demand. It is not coding, not writing. Instead, generating prompts is finding the fitting instructions for the best possible results from an AI platform. There are pretty several articles and YouTube videos about the art of the prompt. One awe-inspiring video (link below) shows how to generate highly realistic pictures using certain variations of prompts. You can even use ChatGPT to help you write prompts for visual AI platforms like Dall-E or Midjourney. There are evolving dark arts here, too. An example is the “prompt injection”, – which aims to instruct an AI platform to reveal its instructions (see link below to Ars Technica).

Midjourney prompts (via Medium)
Midjourney prompts for Ultra-Realistic Images (YouTube)
Hyper Realistic Midjourney Images – Complete prompt guide (YouTube)
Ars Technica: How to trick a language model into revealing its programming


AI companies rush to find income streams

Operating the newest AI platforms is expensive, and they demand a lot of computer processing, translating to high hardware, software and electricity costs. Chat GPT reached 100 million users in record time. As a result, AI companies are quick to introduce usage options for money.

Last week Open AI released an API which enables the use of Chat GPT for business. The costs are “0.002 per token or about 750 words”. According to Techcrunch, Snap, Quizlet, Instacart and Shopify are early clients.

One company already seeing increased sales is Nvidia. The graphic card specialist produces a $10,000 chip called the A100, which is in strong demand because of its performance. Need for the follow-up model, the H100, which is only recently going into mass production, grows as fast. (CNBC)

For illustration

The latest version of Stable Diffusion, an image generator, was trained on 256 A100 GPUs, or 32 machines with 8 A100s each, according to information online posted by Stability AI, totaling 200,000 compute hours.

At the market price, training the model alone cost $600,000, Stability AI CEO Mostaque said on Twitter, suggesting in a tweet exchange the price was unusually inexpensive compared to rivals. That doesn’t count the cost of “inference,” or deploying the model.

CNBC

Open AI ChatGPT API for Business


CNET Editor leaves the job to work on AI content

CNET recently admitted that they used Chat GPT for several published stories, and the criticism was that the origin of the stories was not revealed. Now the CNET editor-in-chief has resigned and will join Red Ventures, a VC fund which had bought CNET, to work on AI projects. At CNET, management announced mass layoffs.

The Verge


How to verify

AI-generated content will profoundly change journalism. But how? To learn more about the expected impact of this technology read an interview with Nic Newman, a senior analyst at Reuters Institute. And, if you want to learn more about verifying content, there is a helpful website.

How to verify


Visual misinformation on Facebook

Scientific results of an extensive study of visual misinformation on Facebook:

“We conduct the first large-scale study of image-based political misinformation on Facebook. We collect 13,723,654 posts from 14,532 pages and 11,454 public groups from August through October 2020, posts that together account for nearly all engagement of U.S. public political content on Facebook. We use perceptual hashing to identify duplicate images and computer vision to identify political figures. Twenty-three percent of sampled political images (N = 1,000) contained misinformation, as did 20% of sampled images (N = 1,000) containing political figures. We find enormous partisan asymmetry in misinformation posts, with right-leaning images 5–8 times more likely to be misleading, but little evidence that misleading images generate higher engagement.”

Journal of Communication


BLOCKCHAIN


Transparency by design: How next-gen blockchain could help to make greenwashing impossible

Reliability of information and data is the big goal for the future. Blockdata reports a company from Vienna, Austria, named Riddle&Code that tackles this problem. The team has previously worked for several industrial clients, including BMW and Wien Energy, a regional energy provider.

“The company is is now evolving from a project-driven company to a product company. In doing so, it’s taking the well-worn path taken by Amazon with AWS, in the sense that it is making its own infrastructure available commercially, so that others can benefit from the software and hardware stack they’ve developed in-house.”

Blockdata


How to scale blockchain into the future

Three challenges here: Decentralization, security, and scalability. Interesting article here which discusses potential steps towards achieving these goals.

Blockworks


Most innovative crypto, web3 & metaverse companies 2023

Fast Company has a list of companies showing the path to implementing new platforms towards a web3 future. On the list:

  • ROBLOX – For raising the metaverse through its adolescence
  • CHAINALYSIS – For being crypto’s cop on the block(chain)
  • NIKE – For kicking it in digital expression
  • ETHEREUM FOUNDATION – For executing a successful Merge
  • LEDGER – For building the iPod of crypto wallets
  • THE HUNDREDS – For exploding how artists and collectors benefit in Web3
  • DRESSX – For outfitting our avatars
  • LINKSDAO – For hitting the green with its next-gen golf club membership
  • EMPERIA – For building high-street retail in the metaverse
  • MILK ROAD – For laughing all the way through the crypto crash

Fast Company


eNaira CBDC in Nigeria: Low usage and technology problems

Only 0.5% of the population uses it; there are few transactions. The Bank of Nigeria is now seeking a new provider for the technology. It seems there are issues with the blockchain platform used (Hyperledger), for example, regarding scalability. So, the search is on for a different technology stack. Unrelated: Flutterwave, a fintech start-up in Nigeria, is embroiled in a scandal.

Bloomberg


SHORT LINKS

  • Bank of Korea finds performance issues with CBDC blockchain tech (Ledger Insights)
  • Another British bank is limiting crypto purchases (Coinmarketcap)
  • In India, a public platform successfully introduced digital payments even for petite purchases (New York Times) ($)
  • Amazon is closing eight cashier-less stores in NYC, San Francisco and Seattle (Bloomberg)

Thank you for reading. If you have questions or suggestions, please get in touch with us via info@trublo.eu.

Five Minute Blockchain Newsletter No. 50

Five Minute Blockchain Newsletter No. 50

Five Minute Blockchain – No. 50

24.02.2023

Estimated reading time: 6 min 23 seconds



QUOTE OF THE WEEK:

“Everybody says, ‘We don’t want to talk with the banks, we don’t want to know what they’re doing, etc.’ But they’ve actually been around for 300 or 400 years. They have a lot of experience on how to do things actually, or how not to do things.”

Cointelegraph reporting from European Blockchain Convention in Barcelona


TRUST


Top search results could lead to online scammers; FBI recommends ad blockers when using search

Cory Doctorow, a well-known journalist, author and activist, recently published a screenshot of a search via Twitter where the top search result for a restaurant led to a fake website designed to scam users. The actual restaurant was also showing up in the search but ranked lower.

This new approach by scams is hard to detect by Google. As one result, the FBI recommends using an ad blocker to shelter against such falsified and malicious links.

“…cyber criminals are using search engine advertisement services to impersonate brands and direct users to malicious sites that host ransomware and steal login credentials and other financial information.”

Cory Doctorow on Twitter

Malware Bytes Lab


AI-generated voice used to break into a bank account

Many banks offer the option to enter an account using a voice command. A reporter for VICE managed to trick a bank system using a free choice to cheat the system. Experts suggest that banks re-consider and switch to different methods of identity verification.

VICE


Signal warns it might stop services for the UK should “Online Safety Bil” undermine message encrypt.ion

The Online Safety Bill is currently passing through the UK parliament. Boris Johnson, the former prime minister, introduced it. The government and child protection have argued that encrypted messages make it difficult to fight child abuse.

The UK Home Office said in a statement: “It is important that technology companies make every effort to ensure that their platforms do not become a breeding ground for paedophiles. The Online Safety Bill does not represent a ban on end-to-end encryption but makes clear that technological changes should not be implemented in a way that diminishes public safety – especially the safety of children online”.

Meredith Whittaker, president of Signal, told the BBC it was “magical thinking” if government agencies in the UK want to provide privacy, but “only for the good guys. Encryption is either protecting everyone or it is broken for every. one.”

Apple had previously suggested a system where content where photos on phones or tablets could scan for child abuse but had abandoned the plans after much criticism.

BBC


Mozilla study: Developer privacy claims on Google Play can not be trusted

A study by Mozilla calls the labels used in the Google Play Store “a joke” and “useless”:

“The study looked at the privacy information that app developers are supposed to fill out in the Google’s Play Store and compared those details to the apps’ privacy policies. The privacy labels are supposed to give you information about an app’s data practices so you can make informed choices, but the study found the labels are close to useless. Just six apps of the 40 apps in the study got a passing grade.”

Gizmodo

Wired


Using new AI platforms, the next generation of “deepfakes” could leada  to a whole new level of damage

The people in the videos look r, and they speak compellingly. But they are not real, and their words might be a believable lie. This is the scenario experts say could be the next level of “deepfakes”.

The combination of several AI platforms “…can also be used to more quickly and cheaply build an army of people who don’t exist, fake actors capable of fluently delivering messages in multiple languages. That makes them useful, says Gregory, for the “firehose” strategy of disinformation preferred by Russia, along with everything from “deceptive commercial personalization to the ‘lolz’ strategies of shitposting at scale.”

Fast Company


It is tempting to use generative AI for legal documents. What could go wrong?

Without the help of technology, lawyers spent hours over hours in legal research and the gradual writing of contracts and other legal documents. Now, generative AI has arrived. And it is quite tempting to use the technology to generate legal texts. On one side, experts consider legal documents to be a good use case for generative AI.

There is already a dedicated an AI platform for this use case called Harvey. Law experts created the company behind Harvey using ChatGPT and received $5 million in funding from OpenAI in November 2022 (TechCrunch). The platform describes itself as a “copilot for lawyers”.

Wired has a story with statements from several prominent law firms. Most are optimistic about the use cases for generative AI, for example, for standard documents or early-stage research. But at the same time, there are worries about current platforms making things up and tending to “hallucinate” about topics poorly defined in the learning material. The significant risk is that some law providers signed not to be more cautious and deploy AI to mass-produce certain legal documents – only to find out later that it was a big mistake.

https://www.harvey.ai (Waitlist)

TechCrunch

Wired ($)


CONTENT


European Union starts consultation on whether some companies should pay more for using internet traffic

The EU considers demanding a contribution from the largest tech companies. The money would then be deployed for upgrades for phone lines both at home and mobile. Currently, a document aims to collect opinions in a survey as public consultation. The EU internal market commissioner, Thierry Breton, will discuss the plans at Barcelona’s Mobile World Congress (MWC). The critical argument that big traffic generators should pay more has been part of lobbying by larger telecommunication companies for some years. Now the EU seems to agree with this view. Opponents are highly critical of such different pricing. They say that the move might open a box of pandora because telcos will be free to draw the line for heavy traffic and enable them to charge all kinds of companies.

EU Commission: Exploratory Consultation – The future of the electronic communications sector and its infrastructure

Thierry Breton on Twitter

TechCrunch


NFT platform Dapper labs to loff off 20% of its staff

Dapper Labs laid off 134 people, or 22% of its staff, in November 2022. Now the company has announced a second round of layoffs. The reduction comes despite a strong financial position. Dapper Labs had received $600 million from venture capital. The company had an early success with NBA Top Shot, where fans could purchase short professional basketball clips.

The Block


YouTube rolls out multi-language audio tracks

“The multi-language audio feature lets creators add dubbing to new and existing videos, helping them expand their global reach and reach new audiences for their channels, according to YouTube.”

Variety


BLOCKCHAIN


International Monetary Fund: Blockchain can speed up payments and settlements, but crypto still is a “disappointment.”

The IMF sees three areas of application: Tokenization, Encryption and programmability. But the advisers argue that private issuers of (crypto) money can not be trusted to protect investors and users.

Blockworks


Research: State of Blockchain Report 2022

Global venture funding provided $26.8B for blockchain companies in crypto finance, web3 and blockchain infrastructure. While prospects looked positive in early 2022, the entire industry came under macroeconomic pressures, specifically in the 4th quarter of the year. CB Insights has a free (after registration) market overview with 162 pages of charts and data to make sense of it all.

CB Insights


SHORT LINKS

  • Why the 15-minute city is fueling a ludicrous conspiracy theory (Fast Company)
  • Pakistan’s three-day Wikipedia ban sends a “dangerous” message (Rest of World)
  • ConsenSys Acquires Easy-to-Use Blockchain Notification Tool ‘Hal’ to Strengthen Web3 Development (Coindesk)
  • Tencent to offer “metaverse-in-a-box” development services in Asian markets (Bitcoin.com)
  • Google Cloud becomes a validator for Tezos blockchain (Ledger Insights)

Thank you for reading. If you have questions or suggestions, please contact us via info@trublo.eu.

Photo by Vardan Papikyan on Unsplash

Five Minute Blockchain Newsletter No. 49

Five Minute Blockchain Newsletter No. 49

Five Minute Blockchain – Nr. 49

17.02.2023

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes, 39 seconds



TRUST


Open AI aims to avoid biased ChatGPT output

“How should AI systems behave, and who should decide?” That is a relevant question. But it gets even more relevant if this is the headline on a blog post on the website of a currently leading AI company. OpenAI is determined to avoid the big (and costly) controversies that have riddled other large content platforms, such as YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook, for years. Yet, with the incredible dynamics unleashed as AI chat software is added to the search, avoiding big problems is the big challenge.

Open AI

Mira Murati, CTO @OpenAI on Twitter


Researchers warn about the potential of AI use for “automated propaganda”

There is a horror scenario the newest AI content platforms could help to produce “automated to spread very convincing and effective disinformation”. Only last week, there were news reports in Canada that state-funded actors fueled the”Freedom Convoy” in 2022 to weaken the Trudeau government.

Now researchers from leading AI companies warn that without preparation, such events might become more regular:

“A cohort of researchers from OpenAI, Stanford, and Georgetown Universities are warning that large language models like the kind used by ChatGPT could be used as part of disinformation campaigns to help more easily spread propaganda.”

Vice

National Observer Canada


Google launches “privacy sandbox” on Android as an alternative to user tracking for ads

The question here is not so much whether it works but what happens if this approach by Google fails. The company would be in even bigger trouble than through the recent competition from Microsoft/Open AI.

From The Verge:

“Around this time last year, Google revealed it was working on a multiyear initiative to improve privacy and remodel ad tracking on Android phones, bringing the mobile platform in line with Apple’s App Tracking Transparency feature for iOS. Following the release of an early developer preview last April, Google says the first beta for Privacy Sandbox on Android will start rolling out tomorrow (ed. = February 15 2023) to a limited number of Android 13 devices, allowing users and developers to test the new technology in the real world.” (The Verge)

From Ars Technica:

“Privacy Sandbox, on Chrome and Android, tracks users by interest groups rather than individually, which Google claims is a privacy improvement. Android will soon build an advertising profile of you, and the user interface will let you block “interests” you don’t want to see ads for.” (Ars Technica)


When your data sells better than milk and eggs

“When you use supermarket discount cards, you are sharing much more than what is in your cart.”

The MarkUp has a longer article about what happens with your data (based on practices of US supermarkets). But data generated via discount cards, which combine a person and grocery purchases, are generally sold for a profit, not just in the US.

The Markup


Even the stars of Fox Corporation did not believe in election fraud

Messages and testimony from top TV presenters and management of Fox News revealed as part of a defamation lawsuit filed by Dominion Voter Systems shows: Although Fox News reported about the topic, many did not believe the claims that the 2020 election was stolen from Donald J. Trump.

The New York Times ($)


CONTENT


CEO Susan Wojcicki steps down as CEO of YouTube

Is it relevant when a senior tech executive steps down from leading a large platform? Yes, in this case, it is notable. First, this is a reminder that for the past 25 years, intelligent people working for Google have built the dominant platforms in several areas. Google is the leader in search, and YouTube is the biggest video platform.

“During her tenure, YouTube became increasingly important to the business for Google, which bought the site in 2006, and Alphabet, the holding company that houses both of them: In 2022, YouTube generated $29.2 billion in ad sales — more than 10 percent of Alphabet’s total revenue.”

YouTube: A personal update from Susan

Vox.com


Launch of Bard is considered “un-googly.”

“Google employees aren’t holding back about the substandard launch of ChatGPT competitor Bard. According to CNBC, which viewed the posts, staffers have been posting memes on Google’s internal forum Memegen about how the launch of the generative AI tool was handled, directly calling out CEO Sundar Pichai for the misstep. Memes which got a lot of upvotes included a picture of Pichai and said “Dear Sundar, the Bard launch and the layoffs were rushed, botched, and myopic.”

Mashable

CNBC


Mastodon usage going down after the spike

The takeover of Twitter by Elon Musk in October 2022 led to an exodus of users; many selected Mastodon as an alternative. But Mastodon can not compete with Twitter, at least for now – there are not as many users, so the network effect of more prominent Twitter is hard to beat.

“Mastodon’s active monthly user count dropped to 1.4 million by late January. It now has nearly half a million fewer total registered users than at the start of the year. Many newcomers have complained that Mastodon is hard to use. Some have returned to the devilish bird they knew: Twitter.”

Wired ($)


BLOCKCHAIN


Abu Dhabi: $2 Billion Investment program for web3 and blockchain startups

“The capital’s tech ecosystem, called Hub71, has officially launched its brand new Hub71+ Digital Assets, which will be based at Hub71 in Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM). With a massive capital of $2 billion, Hub71+ Digital Assets aims to fund different startups in the Web3 field and offer them access to “an extensive range” of programs and initiatives, as well as corporate, government, and investment partners both in the country and globally”.

Cryptonews


Bitcoin NFTs: Ordinals and inscriptions

New software releases enable new models for content and Bitcoin. There is considerable buzz about this new development.

Inscriptions

Inscriptions are digital artifacts native to the Bitcoin blockchain. They are created by inscribing sats with content using ord, and can be viewed with the ordinals explorer. They do not require a separate token, a side chain, or changing Bitcoin.

ord 0.4.0

ord is an open-source binary written in Rust and developed on GitHub. It implements an ordinal wallet, which can create and transfer inscriptions, and a block explorer. There are public mainnet, signet, and testnetinstances.ord is experimental software and comes with no warranty or guarantees.

Casey Rodarmor’s Blog

Cryptoglobe

Tweets


Taurus gets $65 million to support digital asset management for banks

Credit Swiss and others have invested $65 million in series B venture funding in Taurus. The company is based in Switzerland; the focus is digital asset management, specifically for banks. Three years ago, Taurus already received $11 million. It is an example of a company using distributed ledger/blockchain technology elements to provide better solutions for specific areas.

“We see great potential in the digital asset space, that means tokenization of regulated securities,” a spokesperson said. “Furthermore we believe that by using the DLT [distributed ledger technology] new features can be brought to financial products which in the past were not possible or very expensive. When we speak to some of our clients, we see continued interest in the technology and its possibilities.”

The Block


Analysis: 24% of tokens launched in 2022 lost up to 90% of their value, indicating “pump-and-dump” activities

“Pump and dump schemes in traditional finance are quite simple: Holders of a tradable asset, such as stock in a company, will heavily hype and promote the asset to other investors, often using misleading statements, causing the price to rise rapidly as new investors buy. The holders will then sell their overvalued shares at a profit, causing the price to plummet, leaving the newer investors stuck with a low-value asset. Unfortunately, pump and dump schemes have also become common in the crypto world.”

Chainanalyis


SHORT LINKS

  • Terraform Labs and founder Do Kwon sued in the US for selling unregistered securities and perpetrating a scheme that lost $40B+ in market value. Remarkable that this is merely a side note. (Bloomberg)
  • Reuters Exclusive: Crypto gain Binance move $400 million from US partner to firm managed by CEO Zhao (Reuters)
  • Chinese Tencent cuts 300 people’s strong metaverse unit and dropped VR hardware development (Reuters)
  • Germany raises red flags over Palantir’s Big Data Dragnet (Wired)

Thank you for reading. If you have questions or suggestions, please contact us via info@trublo.eu.

Five Minute Blockchain Newsletter No. 48

Five Minute Blockchain Newsletter No. 48

Five Minute Blockchain – Nr. 48

10.02.2023

Estimated reading time:



QUOTE(S) OF THE WEEK


“We are grounded in the fact that Google dominates this [search] space. A new race is starting with a completely new platform technology.”

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella – Interview with “Wall Street Journal” (free)

“If you’ve ever written a blog post or product review or commented on an article online, there’s a good chance this information was consumed by ChatGPT.”

The Conversation


TRUST


How are Microsoft and Google approaching the inclusion of new AI Chatbots in search?

If you want a good overview of how Microsoft and Google approach the race to integrate AI in search: The linked video below compares the presentations from last week by both companies and has further analysis and excerpts from an interview with the Microsoft CEO.

ColdFusion TV: “Google embarrass themselves (AI war is heating up)

So far, Google, the market leader, seems to need more preparation and has not yet recovered from the surprise advance of Open AI and Microsoft’s swift implementation of ChatGPT.

In a promotional video published by Google, users spotted an inaccurate answer. This and a public event which failed to “dazzle” (Reuters) led to a slide of Google stock of 9 % this week; the company lost an equivalent of $100 billion in book value.

Coldfusion TV

Reuters


Hope for the next-gen internet, with new risks and dangers

How AI is integrated into search and other online services is a big question for the coming years. Precisely, what concepts will be followed?

The outcome could be positive: Better search results and better information. Many knowledge jobs could become more productive because the struggle of searching for information could go away. The internet could become a productivity machine, helping us find answers to complex problems.
But there are considerable risks, too. It starts at the foundation: Which material was used for training the new generation of AI platforms? Which pictures, words, insights, concepts, codes and numbers? Who owned those before? How are these info bits used now in AI?

From “The Conversation”:

“ChatGPT is underpinned by a large language model that requires massive amounts of data to function and improve. The more data the model is trained on, the better it gets at detecting patterns, anticipating what will come next and generating plausible text.

OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT, fed the tool some 300 billion words systematically scraped from the internet: books, articles, websites and posts – including personal information obtained without consent.

If you’ve ever written a blog post or product review, or commented on an article online, there’s a good chance this information was consumed by ChatGPT.”

The Conversation


CONTENT


AI applied to Deep Fakes makes detection much harder

The New York Times has a story about artificial presenters used in videos, which are hard to distinguish from natural persons. According to The Times, an AI software named Synthesia has already been used for Chinese propaganda. The AI-supported software is meant to be used for sales videos. Expect the quality to improve in the coming years.

New York Times (free article)


Quality journalism can be good business

The New York Times published financial results for the 4th quarter of 2022 and some figures for the past year. In short: While traditional advertising is declining, The Times is one news organisation that no longer depends on this type of income. The number of subscribers has grown to 9.3 million, a more significant number than the print circulation even at the height of print publishing.

The New York Times (Free to read)


In addition to hardware sales, Apple’s service business is gigantic

Its service revenue of Apple has reached $78.1B for 2022. That is double the revenue of Netflix ($31.6B) and above the combined revenues of McDonalds and Nike ($72.3B).

FinBold


Macro raises $9.3m for intelligence on top of digital documents

Could standard documents like PDFs become more usable? A company called Macro just got funding for their ideas to do just that.

“Jacob Beckerman, a former investment logic engineer at Bridgewater Associates, grew frustrated using standard document apps like Acrobat and Microsoft Office to print out and mark up documents. He wondered why there wasn’t a way to read and write on a PC that felt as fluid as paper, which led him to experiment with PDF processing software.

By 2020, those experiments had grown into a fully fledged, custom PDF editor that Beckerman helped to build from scratch. Using AI, the editor — called Macro — pulls out key terms, sections and equations to make documents interactive and hyperlinked.”

Link


BLOCKCHAIN


Bank of England published papers on the digital pound

The Bank of England has published two papers discussing a digital pound’s benefits and potential set-up. The current approach favours a central database and does not use smart contracts or blockchain.

In a separate technical paper, blockchain technologies were described that “might have advantages in guaranteeing consistency and resilience”, combined with “privacy, scalability and security challenges. Centrally governed, distributed database technologies might achieve the ledger requirements without limitations. Therefore, these technologies might be appropriate for the core ledger design.”

Coindesk

The Bank of England: Consultation for Digital Pound

The Bank of England: The digital pound. Technology Working Paper


Blockchain Regulation Round-up

  • Blockchain privacy at risk in the EU
  • Argentina considers “proof of solvency” as a requirement (Bitcoin.com)
  • Central Bank of Brazil tests security and transaction privacy levels of Digital Real (Bitcoin.com)
  • Coinbase CEO hearing rumours that staking could be banned in the US (Coinmarketcap)
  • What public companies are saying about crypto and blockchain on earnings calls (Blockdata)

SHORT LINKS

Thank you for reading. If you have questions or suggestions, please get in touch with us via info@trublo.eu.

Photo by Ales Nesetril via Unsplash

Five Minute Blockchain Newsletter No. 46

Five Minute Blockchain Newsletter No. 46

Five Minute Blockchain – No. 46

27.01.2023

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes



QUOTE OF THE WEEK


Reasonable AI Policy:

“I expect you to use AI (ChatGPT and image generation tools, at a minimum) in this class. In fact, some assignments will require it. Learning to use AI is to skill, and I provide think tutorials in Canvas about how to use them. I am happy to meet and help with these tools during office hours or after class.

Be aware of the limits of ChatGPT:

  • If you provide minimum effort prompts, you will get low-quality results. You will need to refine your prompts in order to get good outcomes. This needs work.
  • Don’t trust anything it says. If it gives a number or fact, assume it is wrong unless you either know the answer or can check in with another source. You will be responsible for any errors or omissions provided by the tool. It works best for topics you understand.
  • AI is a tool, but one that you need to acknowledge using. Please include a paragraph at the end of any assignment that uses AI explaining what you used the AI for and what prompts you used to get the results. Failure is a violation of academic honesty policies.
  • Be thoughtful about when this tool is useful. Don’t use it if it isn’t appropriate for the case or circumstance.

Credited to: Sarah Dillard, Wharton University

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TRUST


LastPass breach is an ongoing nightmare

If there is one thing which should not happen to a password manager is that it has a breach, and this is what happened at LastPass on November 30, 2022. One thing making the mess even messier is the attackers, step by step, gained even more control, e.g. by stealing the customer back-ups and then getting the encryption keys.

TechCrunch


Bad Reputation

There is a notable difference between physical and biological systems; different rules and effects drive them. In the physical domain, the control over outcomes is high. You can make the production of even very complex products perfect over time.

In the biological domain, you have less control – one effect or input in the system can have none or multiple products. Populations, ecological systems, and human communication have structure but can only partially be controlled.

To demonstrate the difference, look no further than Elon Musk. His actions on Twitter are affecting his reputation. According to Bloomberg, the negative perception of Musk has adverse effects on Tesla, the buyers and the stock.

Bloomberg

TechCrunch


Phantom climate credits

Finding from an investigation by a German newspaper and a nonprofit:

“The research into Verra, the world’s leading carbon standard for the rapidly growing $2bn (£1.6bn) voluntary offsets market, has found that, based on analysis of a significant percentage of the projects, more than 90% of their rainforest offset credits – among the most commonly used by companies – are likely to be “phantom credits” and do not represent genuine carbon reductions.”

The Guardian

Note: Several early-stage projects funded by TruBlo are working on data capturing for carbon, agriculture and other data where trust in the entries is a crucial challenge: CERES, Crowd-Field Companion, CO2Path, FarmerConnect, LoRa Trust.


Enforcing GDPR takes too long in Europe.

Europe has established far-reaching privacy laws. But enforcing them is a laborious process, and it might take years until a violation is fined.

“…many of the rights have been nearly impossible to exercise because legal challenges based on the law have often languished at the Irish Data Protection Commission, which handles most GDPR complaints against Big Tech.
According to the agency’s own statistics, the Irish Data Protection Commission had a backlog of more than 300 outstanding GDPR complaints as of the end of 2021, many dating back to 2018.”

The Markup


China is the Worlds biggest face-recognition dealer

A study by the Brookings Institute says China is now the world’s biggest exporter of face recognition.

“The report finds that Chinese companies lead the world in exporting face recognition, accounting for 201 export deals involving the technology, followed by US firms with 128 deals. China also has a lead in AI generally, with 250 out of a total of 1,636 export deals involving some form of AI to 136 importing countries. The second biggest exporter was the US, with 215 AI deals.”

While the technology has many practical use cases, it can and is used for surveillance. With powerful AI image processing, the technology can be used by repressive, authoritarian states. The study warns that some countries starting to use such technology could shift away from democracy and freedom because the technology allows them to enforce repressive policies.

Wired

Brookings: Exporting the surveillance state via trade in AI


CONTENT


Multiple billions, multiple years

Microsoft will invest billions over “multiple years” into Open AI, which makes ChatGPT and DALL-E. Microsoft had already invested one billion earlier.

Crunchbase

Related:
OpenAI Used Kenyan Workers on Less Than $2 Per Hour to Make ChatGPT Less Toxic (Time Magazine)


If you can’t beat them, join them.

Stock photo and visuals platform Shutterstock signed a deal with Open AI.

“Customers of Shutterstock’s Creative Flow online design platform will now be able to create images based on text prompts, powered by OpenAI and Dall-E 2. Key to the feature — which does not appear to have a brand name as such — is that Shutterstock says the images are “ready for licensing” right after they’re made.”

Competitor Getty images are currently in a lawsuit against Open AI competitor Stability AI.

TechCrunch


Stay positive

Slay is a new social media app created by a team in Germany. The goal is to be a “positive social media network for teenagers”. Essentially the platform allows making compliments to others. It seems to be a hit. In just four days, it became No. 1 on the iOS App Store in Germany and is now gaining traction in the UK.

TechCrunch


Too big, too dominant

Google is in serious legal trouble. In the US, the company is facing an antitrust investigation. The basis is that Google is considered a monopolist in the digital ad business. Platformer has an in-depth look at the case and why it is a treat to Google.

Platformer


BLOCKCHAIN


Inevitable CBDCs

Bank of America has published a report claiming that digital currencies (Central Bank Digital Currencies) are “inevitable” because they could simplify regional or global money flows.

“We view distributed ledgers and digital currencies, such as CBDCs and stablecoins, as a natural evolution of today’s monetary and payment systems.”

In addition, a research report by Blockdata (available for free) lists 15 enterprise use cases for blockchain technology. Expected areas of blockchain use are simplifications for capital markets and digital identity management.

Blockdata: The state of CBDCs in 2022 (published December 7, 2022)

Blockdata: Blockchain’s Evolution and Enterprise Use Cases, and the Hunt for the Killer App (January 11, 2023)


Potential for a common currency in Latin America

Lula da Silva, president of Brazil:

“Why not create a common currency with the Mercosur countries, with the BRICS countries? I think that is what is going to happen. You can establish a currency for trade that the central bank sets.”

Bitcoin.com


Crypto must be covered

European banks might have to cover any crypto holdings with certain capital levels. This is the goal of a draft text, which might become law in the future.

Coindesk


SHORT LINKS

  • Prediction: Bitcoin not to pass price of $30K in 2023, 56 experts say (Coinmarketcap)
  • Why is crypto bouncing back (January 26 @bitcoin at 23K) (Coindesk)
  • Venture Investments into blockchain continue to free-fall (Cointelegraph)
  • Coinbase’s Chief Product Engineer will leave with a $105 million paycheck (DL News)
  • First nuclear-powered bitcoin mine to open in 2023 (CNET)
  • Crypto Regulation Worldwide, comparison (Coinbase)

Thank you for reading. If you have questions or suggestions, please get in touch with us via info@trublo.eu.

Photo by Tyler Nix via Unsplash

Five Minute Blockchain Newsletter No. 45

Five Minute Blockchain Newsletter No. 45

Five Minute Blockchain – No. 45

19.01.2023

Estimated reading time: 4 min 45 seconds



QUOTE OF THE WEEK


“We know from years of research that people will always use technologies in ways that their creators did not intend. In other sectors and industries, governments and governance bodies create rules, laws, and regulations to constrain and limit malicious or dangerous uses of potentially harmful products. But advances in artificial intelligence and algorithmic, data-centric technologies have slipped the leash and operate largely outside of those kinds of assessments and controls.”

– Janet Haven, Predictions for Journalism 2023 (Nieman Lab)


TRUST


Predictions for Journalism

The above quote is from a series of articles published by Nieman Lab. Each year Nieman asks journalists about their predictions for the year. Below are links to some additional quotes and predictions relevant to the cross-section of trust/content/blockchain.

Prediction:

“The activist, scholar, and poet Maya Angelou famously said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

AI couldn’t care less. Journalists will care more (Jennifer Brandel, Hearken)

Prediction:

“For a fact-checking effort to gain trust, the arbiters of truth cannot also be its distributors.”

Belling the cat: The rise of independent fact-checking at scale (Kavya Sukumar, Lightrock India)

Prediction:

“This new type of app isn’t a platform itself but instead pulls together various platform and content streams to offer a single, seamless networked experience.”

Journalism realizes the replacement for Twitter is not a new Twitter (Andrew Losowky, Vox Media)

All predictions –> Nieman Lab


CONTENT


Interview: Open AI founder Sam Altman talks about future products, risks for society, possible video platform

Sam Altman, the founder and CEO of Open AI, said that the current license with Microsoft is not exclusive. Last week Microsoft announced the intention to use ChatGPT, a text-generating platform released by Open AI, to create better answers on Bing in the future. Microsoft is a significant shareholder after $1 billion in the AI company last year.

The interview included questions about safety and whether new AI tools will disrupt societies – such as in education or office work. Altman said: “There are societal changes that ChatGPT is going to cause or is causing. A big one going on now is about its impact on education and academic integrity, all of that.”

In addition, Altman said that reactions are negative and positive, sometimes from the same group of people: “We hear from teachers who are understandably very nervous about the impact of this on homework. We also hear a lot from teachers like, ‘Wow, this is an unbelievable personal tutor for each kid'”.

TechCrunch


Getty Images announces lawsuit against Stability AI over copyright infringement

Getty Images, a global provider of licensed photos, announced a lawsuit against the company behind the popular generative AI tool Stable Diffusion. The stock image company argues that the AI company processed millions of images without training the AI software without a license. The suit has been filed in London, meaning that the verdict will be made outside of the US, potentially influencing future regulation of visual and text AI tools.

Getty Images


Learn how to use Open Source Intelligence (OSINT)

The myriad of published texts, photos and videos available online opens the door for a new form of intelligence: OSINT stands for “Open Source Intelligence”.

It is an umbrella term for various techniques to find evidence on digital platforms. The methods are used by intelligence units as well as investigative journalists.

A typical application is to geo-locate a picture or a video. Or use small segments of such material to collect evidence of what happened in the Ukraine war in a specific town. One well-known group using OSINT is “Bellingcat“, located in the UK. The techniques can be learned. The link below leads to a four-hour, free training for the basics of OSINT.

YouTube


BLOCKCHAIN


UNHCR uses a blockchain payment platform to help Ukraine war refugees

What would be a modern way to efficiently and with accountability distribute financial aid to people displaced through war? The UNHCR uses a blockchain payment platform for this. Launched in December 2022, the solution is currently used in Ukraine.

From an article published by UNHCR: “The pilot phase of the project is designed specifically for Ukraine but can be adapted worldwide.”

The current solution uses the Stellar blockchain and distributes funds as a stablecoin equal to one US Dollar. Recipients can receive funds after installing an app on their smartphone. Cash conversion is possible in 4,500 MoneyGram locations in Ukraine or elsewhere in Europe. The statement did not say what commissions would be charged for such transactions.

UNHCR


Non-Crypto Applications of Blockchain discussed in Davos

Experts, politicians and top managers are talking about blockchain as a technology at this year’s gathering at the World Economic Forum in Davos. Despite the crypto crash, there are some positive views where blockchain technology is performing well.

Quote: “Despite the crypto crash, “the underlying tech has performed perfectly,” Schulman said. “The promise of a distributed ledger is that it can be faster and cheaper to settle transactions simultaneously with no middlemen. That’s an important thing.”

Coindesk

Others are far more critical and do not believe in any value from the blockchain for crypto or other use cases. One example is economist Nouriel Roubini, who has voiced his concerns over a blockchain. In Davos 2023, he said blockchain is a “fad” and “no more than a glorified database”. Roubini does not believe that blockchain entries can create trust without an institution verifying that the information is correct – for example, in food logistics.

Yahoo Finance


SHORT LINKS

  • Founders Fund sold off most of its crypto venture portfolio in March 2022, well before the crash, generating a $1.8 billion return. Financial Times
  • Musk’s Twitter Saw Revenue Drop 35% in Q4, Sharply Below Projections (The Information)

Thank you for reading. If you have questions or suggestions, please contact us via info@trublo.eu.

Photo by Evangeline Shaw on Unsplash