Category Archives: Artificial Intelligence

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JD.com Establishes Blockchain & AI ‘Smart City’ Research Institute

Chinese e-commerce company JD.com’s finance division has launched a blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI) focused research institute to concentrate on building so-called ‘smart cities and societies.’

The Nanjing-based Smart City Research Institute will attempt to find the most cost-effective and efficient ways of building tech-savvy cities through the utilization of blockchain, AI and big data solutions. It will collaborate with industrial construction operations; focused on China’s eastern region for the foreseeable future.

The Institute will research advanced intelligent solutions in the areas of urban environment, transportation, planning, energy consumption, commerce, security, healthcare, and e-government.

Jingdong Group, known more widely as JD.com, has been keen to make its mark in the blockchain sphere. Currently, it’s investing significant amounts of capital into a range of solutions, including logistics and supply chain, as well as launching its own blockchain-as-a-service platform. The company has focused its efforts roundly on e-commerce, finance, and logistics.

Smart Cities

Last month China-based insurance company Ping An Insurance released its own whitepaper dedicated to the infrastructure of smart cities, endorsing the use of blockchain alongside big data, AI, and cloud computing. The authors of “White Paper on Smart Cities” have said that it is dedicated to helping the Chinese government realize a new model where cities act as a service to the residents.

It boasts of proposing a plan which is both comprehensive and systematic, serving the needs of the country, society and people’s livelihood. Local news outlet People’s Daily reported on the paper describing it as a ”milestone significance” since the first smart city was officially proposed in 2008.

Ping An Insurance is one of the largest of its kind, in May this year being ranked as the third most valuable global financial services company in the world.

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Alibaba Founder: Blockchain Meaningless Without Greener, Inclusive Future

The founder of Chinese multinational retail conglomerate Alibaba, Jack Ma, has said that blockchain needs to prove it can push a greener, more inclusive future forward for society, else it is ”meaningless”.

Speaking at the World Artificial Intelligence Conference in Shanghai, China on Monday, Ma said that the ”data age” is a great opportunity for the supply side of the economy to transform the landscape of money and finance. Referencing artificial intelligence, blockchain and Internet of Things technology, Ma said that this modern reformation should not be promoted unless these innovations can bring a greener and more inclusive direction for society.

This is a big call coming from the man who founded the world’s number one company in terms of blockchain patent applications. Although it is reported that Ma has plans to retire from the company, his attitude will surely carry influence within the company and their own blockchain developments.

Ma has defended blockchain on previous occasions, earlier this year refuting claims that the technology is a bubble waiting to burst, although he did claim that Bitcoin in fact was. At this time he also referenced a concern for social improvement, saying new technologies should be questioned on ”what value can it bring to society, government, enterprises, and consumers in the data age”.

Social enterprise with blockchain

Some circumstances show that blockchain has already had a positive impact on social enterprises, with companies utilizing the new technologies to promote their causes of financial, social and environmental well-being.

In one case of this, Finnish start-up Moni created a blockchain-backed card that tackles the issue of refugees economic exclusion due to a lack of personal identification they hold. Each card is linked to an individual’s identity that can be used by refugees to purchase products, pay bills and receive payments from employers.

Swytch is an example of a blockchain company promoting the use of sustainable energy. Right now the pilot project is looking to distribute around 3.5Gw of solar, wind, hydro and bio-gas energy, enough to power over 500,000 homes.

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Nvidia to Develop Blockchain Prototype for Smart Digital Marketing

Chipmaker Nvidia has joined hands with AI startup Ubex to use artificial intelligence and blockchain technology to develop a smart digital marketing platform.

Nvidia accepted Ubex into its inception program at the beginning of this month saying its intention was to help neural networks present online ads more efficiently.

Ubex noted that the current advertisement techniques on websites were inefficient mainly due to the high cost of data access. As per the sources, the prototype uses artificial intelligence and the blockchain in data access so that clients can access specific data sets without paying for additional data. This enables businesses to target their digital ads to potential customers appropriately.

A Ubex representative termed the newly forged partnership as a unique opportunity to eliminate middlemen in the data industry. The soaring cost of data is prohibitive for most companies to engage in effective digital advertising.

Artem Chestnov, the founder of Ubex, said the main reasons for using blockchain technology is because of its transparency aspect in each and every transaction. Data stored in the distributed system is unalterable, cannot be manipulated and open for access to the general public.

He continued to say that the immense amount of information at the Ubex platform will be analyzed by AI, adding that its prototype would be able to access various data sources ranging from government data, marketing data and mobile network data.

Alluding to the difficulty of learning neural network, Chestnov remained optimistic about effective functioning of AI datasets: ”Training an AI requires a lot of effort. The blockchain base will allow us to attract thousands of sources of information that will be used to enrich our AI’s database and make it faster, smarter, stronger and more efficient.”

 

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IBM Recruits in Preparation for $176 Billion Blockchain Future

IBM’s pursuit of 1,800 blockchain jobs in France is a signal of intent to expand research and development in several areas, primarily focusing on blockchain technology, AI (Artificial Intelligence) and IoT (Internet of Things), as detailed in an interview with chief executive Virginia Rometty on Wednesday.

IBM is one of the largest and most established research organizations in IT and computing alongside companies such as Microsoft and Google. The company currently holds the record for the most patents generated in a year as well as the last 25 consecutive years. IBM assigned 9,043 patents in comparison to Samsung Electronic which filed for 3,300 putting them in second place.

IBM has previously reported working with up to 63 blockchain clients on over 400 projects related to blockchain technology. The tech giant is confident that blockchain will streamline solutions and be a leading innovator in its field. Earlier this year CFO Jim Kavanaugh stated: “For us, blockchain is a set of technologies that allow our clients to simplify complex, end-to-end processes in a way that couldn’t have been done before.”

IBM securing the market

There have been regular headlines of IBM and collaborators looking to enter the blockchain space. IBM started a partnership with Maersk and Agility, a global logistics provider, announcing their plans to track shipping containers using blockchain technology back in February.

IBM has been pushing for the lead in the race for adopting blockchain technology working alongside various industries and supporting giants like VisaHSBC, and Walmart. Walmart’s vice president of food safety and health Frank Yiannas explained that:

“As a global advocate for enhanced food safety, Walmart looks forward to deepening our work with IBM, Tsinghua University, JD and others throughout the food supply chain. Through collaboration, standardization, and adoption of new and innovative technologies, we can effectively improve traceability and transparency and help ensure the global food system remains safe for all.”

Although cryptocurrencies have been met with some skepticism many industries are starting to understand the potential benefits of the underlying blockchain technology. Industry leaders and the European Union are pouring millions into research and exploration of blockchain projects. The EU announced plans in February to increase funding over the next two years from EUR 83 million to around EUR 340 million. IBM’s general manager of blockchain, Marie Wieck previously highlighted research predicting the value-add of the blockchain economy growing to more than USD 176 billion by 2025.

 

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Ties that Bind: Blockchain to Power Key Disruptive Technologies in Fourth Industrial Revolution

Industrial revolutions lead to visible changes in the world: mechanization, electricity, the assembly line, computers and automation have all been conducive to the advancements of modern civilization.

Next up in the industrial pipeline are ‘cyber physical systems’ which refer to technological fields such as artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), nanotechnology, 3D Printing, biotechnology, material science, energy storage, robotics and quantum computing.

The fourth industrial age presents new challenges and opportunities for the evolving world, and blockchain technology appears to be vital in seeing the revolution come to fruition.

Five keys to the future

BitcoinNews recently reported that Wall Street bull Steve Chiavarone believes that blockchain will be one of five key technologies that will ignite the next industrial revolution.

In an interview with CNBC on 11 May, the Wall Street portfolio manager and VP of US financial service company Federated Investors, revealed his bullish predictions for blockchain technology, despite the growing pains that the cryptocurrency markets were going through.

He ranked blockchain in the top five key technologies that would “drive this next industrial revolution” alongside robotics, AI, automation and the IoT.

Blockchain goes beyond Bitcoin

His predictions reflect a present truth; blockchain startups are already venturing into the other four revolutionary catalyst technologies, making blockchain an integral part of the envisioned future.

Blockchain is proving to be transformative in the artificial intelligence industry, opening up new and exciting possibilities for AI companies who are scrambling to implement blockchain protocols into their businesses. Furthermore, the IoT industry which is expected to explode by 2020, is finding itself being paired harmoniously with blockchain technology, even IBM believes they are “best friends” thanks to the distributed architecture of the blockchain.

Robotics and automation will also be benefiting from the blockchain as it provides new mechanisms for the emerging field to utilize; robotics expert Eduardo Castello Ferrer wrote a 2016 paper evaluating how the blockchain could unify robotic operations.

He wrote, “The combination of blockchain with other distributed systems, such as robotic swarm systems, can provide the necessary capabilities to make robotic swarm operations more secure, autonomous, flexible and even profitable.”

The ‘fad’ of the future

Blockchain is the underlying technology that supports Bitcoin, and while it has been acknowledged for its financial capabilities, it was only in the wake of the December 2017 USD 20,000 bull run that serious discussions surrounding the far-reaching benefits of the blockchain began to take shape.

As a part of the fourth industrial revolution, it is clear that blockchain technology and its accompanying cryptocurrencies will guide the other future-shaping industries to their desired destinations.

 

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