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Germany’s #2 Stock Exchange Launches Bison Crypto Trading App

Germanys No. 2 Stock Exchange Lunches Crypto Trading App, Bison

The second largest stock exchange in Germany has announced the official launch of its new cryptocurrency trading platform called Bison.

Börse Stuttgart Group enlisted developers from its digital ventures subsidiary FinTech Sowa Labs to create the exchange, citing its goal as an attempt to make cryptocurrency trading easy for investors that are used to traditional marketplaces.

In this initial launch, the smartphone application allows zero-fee trading of Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, and Ripple, offering a custodial service and escrow system from an additional subsidiary group, Blocknox.

Bison was first announced in May 2018. Its ambitious target launch date of fall 2018 was missed by months.

Users will need a German checking account to access Bison services, which for right now, will only be accessible from 6:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m. CET. Stuttgart Börse shared ambitions of opening up access to European countries towards the end of the year.

Other major stock exchanges have also shared ambitions of launching simal platforms; both the Stock Exchange of Thailand and the New York Stock Exchange have plans in motion to develop their own products. The London  Stock Exchange Group is aiding Hong Kong officials to develop their own digit asset exchange.

 

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Ripple Supports China’s Fintech Youth at Tsinghua University

Ripple Supports China's Fintech Youth at Tsinghua University

Ripple continues to expand its collaboration with universities in Asia with its latest blockchain research program at China’s Tsinghua University.

This Blockchain Technology Research Scholarship Program (BRSP) scholarship will only be available to graduates in 2019. It is principally aimed at the development of blockchain tech and international regulatory policies and will give participating students the opportunity to work on global policies related to blockchain technology.

San Francisco-based Ripple is gaining a global reputation for its graduate programs. In 2018, the company put USD 50 million into another Asian initiative, this time in South Korea. The University Blockchain Research Initiative there included 17 universities across the country.

Regarding its latest graduate initiative, Ripple’s SVP of Global Operations, Eric van Miltenburg, was impressed with the university’s forward-thinking approach to bringing the country’s youth into DLT. He said:

“The program’s goal – to provide students with opportunities in blockchain research – closely aligns with that of Ripple’s University Blockchain Research Initiative; we’re thrilled to support Tsinghua University in this endeavor and look forward to its launch.”

The university’s response to the latest research initiative was one of encouragement for students to go forward in the industry by becoming skilled in the latest international relations and rules surrounding the industry.

 

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12 Days of Coinbase: What You Missed and What You Didn’t

12 Days of Coinbase: What You Missed and What You Didn't

December 21st marked the final episode of ’12 days of Coinbase giveaway‘. While some of the offers from the popular cryptocurrency exchange embodied the giving holiday spirit, others fell a little flat.

The highlights

There was a charitable undercurrent running through the giveaway, with Day 2 dedicated to a USD 10,000 donation in Zcash (ZEC) to impoverished families in Venezuela. As Bitcoin News previously reported, the South American country is struggling to handle major hyperinflation that has left many families unable to afford basic amenities. An increasing number of citizens are turning to cryptocurrencies as a store of value and a way to make charitable contributions.

Another USD 10,000 donation was made in Bitcoin (BTC) to support a project developing a basic income scheme for 150 Syrian refugees in Greece who are currently without access to the mainstream financial system.

Coinbase hit the mark with both days, using the event as a great way to draw attention to humanitarian efforts utilizing cryptocurrency, specifically through GiveCrypto.com.

Those ‘exclusive’ offers

Days 9 and 10 offered privileges for the more ‘exclusive’ Coinbase client. It was announced that Coinbase Pro members would be able to trade Dai (DAI), Golem (GNT), Maker (MKR), and Zilliqa (ZIL) within certain jurisdictions at least. Of course, the appeal is to draw more clients on to the Pro membership, but why not give all users a trial in the Christmas spirit?

An initiative called ‘Coinbase Earn’ was also detailed, which would allow users to ”earn cryptocurrencies while learning about them in a simple and engaging way.” Sound good? Well, unfortunately, this option is in the invite-only stage for the select few users they chose to reach out to via email.

The useful

Coinbase users in the US can benefit from several of the more practical new features added during the 12-day period. These benefits include being able to withdraw funds straight to their Paypal accounts, and use the e-gift card feature for Uber and Nike among other retail outlets, which were previously available to just the EU and UK members.

In all, Coinbase gave onlookers an entertaining diversion to follow and while some days may have lacked real substance, there is room for improvement for the coming year. Moreover, it was a nice gesture from the exchange at the very least.

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Enter the Lamborghini Raffle for 0.00057 BTC While Helping Charity

Enter the Lamborghini Raffle for 0.00057 BTC While Helping Charity

Dunstan Low is giving people the chance to win a Lamborghini for just EUR 2, around BTC 0.00057, by taking part in his raffle. Not only that, the winner will be able to donate 2% of the funds raised to a local charity of their choice.

Yes, the Lamborghini is a nod to every cryptocurrency investor’s infamous dream. ”It’s a lighthearted way to get started,” Low told Bitcoin News, saying it’s important for him to establish trust with cryptocurrency users before he tackles more difficult issues through his raffles, which he certainly intends to.

”There are a lot of house raffles with more difficult stories and unfortunate circumstances that I want to help in the future, but feel that we need to establish trust in the first instance,” he said.

Why offer a crypto payment option?

Participants can enter the raffle using Bitcoin, Litecoin and Ripple among other cryptocurrency options. After following the digital currency revolution for several years, the idea of taking power away from institutions and giving it back to the people very much appealed to Low.

”I’m actively involved in developing a few business models that build on the raffle concept more like a decentralized method of crowdfunding that focuses on the social role and circular economies. At this point, the raffle model shares ideas with these broader and more ethos based works whilst providing a fun and new opportunity for people,” he explained.

Given this framing, a cryptocurrency raffle is Low’s ideal scenario. While there are plans to add fiat payment support, he would prefer to avoid traditional models and existing banking infrastructure as much as he can.

The website enlists payment gateway Coingate to facilitate transactions, which Low says has proven easy compared with standard payment providers.  He noted ”I would highly recommend the option, it’s just so revolutionary and gives you a fuzzy feeling when a payment arrives and it hasn’t touched a bank.”

Participants can also check the website for details on how to enter the raffle for free by post.

Provably fair, how?

Several questions have been raised over how it can be proven to be a completely fair raffle. The draw of Low’s last raffle (detailed below) was conducted by a Google random number generator on a random journalist phone, with the button pressed by a solicitor while around 30 journalists filmed the moment.

”We are currently looking at how to translate this into a provably fair draw using the blockchain, my developer is looking at the requirements and if we can make this happen. If not, we are happy at this point to use a solicitor or Gambling commission approved vendor, but blockchain is much more exciting and independent, so research is underway.”

Crypto charity

Low’s perspective is that cryptocurrency could be a great way to reduce costs and create transparency in the charity sector, generally benefiting any good causes.

But more than that he believes cryptocurrency can provide much more robust and scalable solutions to solve broader problems in terms of social wellbeing, healthcare, housing, income, and innovation. ”I honestly believe that new economies can and will be built on the utility of cryptocurrencies with social ROI and crowdfunding as a core part of the model for democracy and economic growth,” he said.

The winner gets to choose the charity this time around, but Low has plans to bypass charities in future ventures, donating instead directly to communities that help promote redevelopment and growth.
Look out for more raffles from Low in the future, as he hopes to make them a regular occurrence. He told Bitcoin News: ”Hopefully we can start small and build up to holding regular raffles with a broad range of prizes from small items up to private islands, every Bitcoiner needs one with their Lambo! But seriously, we hope to scale up and reduce our overhead and create a new method to help as many good causes as possible and to eventually build outwards into potentially more interesting and nuanced models.”
As he puts it, raffles are a good way to attract people to donate for good causes that may not be on their radar in a way that direct charity donations can not, even if people are just participating because they want the Lambo.

How it all started

In 2017 bankruptcy fears and the refusal for a new mortgage led Low to raffle off his home at GBP 2 a ticket. Maybe not the first option for most, Low devised the plan while faced with around GBP 4000 in monthly expenses with no income, and to top it off a GBP 250 per month mortgage payment increase when he requested a better deal from the bank.

Low and his wife spent at least two years struggling to sell their house, even at one point listing the sale in Bitcoin to attract more buyers. ”I was lucky enough not to be divorced by my understanding wife” he joked.

When his wife found out about the mortgage increase she insisted they hand back keys to the house. While agreeing with her at the time, Low took the next two days to concoct a plan for the raffle in secret, identifying where previous raffles had faced troubles and how they could be avoided. Noting that raffles have often found themselves foul of gambling commission guidelines which are ambiguous enough to easily create delays, legal threats and cast doubt on the operation, Low realized that by offering free entry as an option to participants he would not be subject to the regulations.

”I decided to run with this idea, thinking how great it would be that anyone could afford to enter and therefore anyone had the chance to win the house,” he explained.

After sending a press release to a local news outlet, he was thrilled to receive a response just one hour later telling him they would come to the house to look around. An article was posted on the same day, and GBP 2,000 worth of entry fees for the raffle were collected. ”I was amazed,” he said.

The following day the Daily Mail picked up the story and things really sped up; ”whilst eating our dinner at the local supermarket my phone started to go insane. I logged into analytics and there were thousands of users on the site and money was rolling in at the rate of around GBP 300 a minute. Over the course of that day, we had over GBP 103,000 worth of entries, it was absolutely unexpected.”

Over the next three weeks or so they collected around GBP 375,000 until trouble reappeared.
”Having used PayPal as a payment provider, obviously against their terms of service, the dreaded risk came true: they noticed the raffle and got very cold feet. Six weeks of negotiations later and I managed to persuade PayPal that this was a genuine cause and we were indeed in arrears and would lose our house. They in their goodwill allowed us to run with strict guidelines and restrictions in place, however, by this point, all momentum had been killed.”
 
Taking a step back, Low created postcards reading ”win a house” and unsuccessfully tried handing them out to the disinterested people of Manchester.
 
Luck fell on them, however, in the form of a young reporter striking up a conversation with Low regarding drug use in the city. Sharing with her his postcard, the following story brought in another GBP 400,000: ”fate really helped us that day.”
Fast forward six months and they hit their target, got featured on the BBC One Show, handed the house off to raffle winner Marie Segar, and donated GBP 3 0,000 to St Johns Hospice in Lancaster and GBP 10,000 to NYAS in Birkenhead, both UK based charities.
”So we beat the bank and kickstarted a small raffle revolution, around 50 raffles around the world followed and I have been asked to raffle around 500 million pounds worth of property from portfolios of houses, private islands, castles, and luxury cars,” Low shared.

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What is the Insurance Protocol for a Decentralized Exchange?

As experts predict, the next Bitcoin bull run will be prompted by an influx of institutional investors. Blockchain companies are fighting to create the best custodial solutions that will entice these investors into this new asset class. One thing is certain, what they are looking for is insurance to cover their assets, just like what is obtainable in mainstream finance.

The cryptocurrency insurance industry is quickly growing, yet there is a substantial lack of transparency over who is insured, to what extent, and by whom. Estimates put the total amount of available cryptocurrency insurance at USD 6 billion; not a lot when considering that the top three exchanges handle over USD 1 billion in trades a day, let alone the total market cap of around USD 140 billion.

Bitcoin News spoke with Derek Jones, co-founder of new decentralized cryptocurrency exchange UnitedCoin. Like every insurance policyholder it seems, there was a lot of information that non-disclosure agreements kept him from sharing. He could not for one, share who his insurance provider is or whether they had previously paid out claims for cryptocurrency exchanges.

Jones was able to explain how exactly UnitedCoin’s insurance policy works, which is particularly valuable information in understanding how peer-to-peer transactions can be covered by insurance policies.

“We insure all the investments that are in hot wallets. The way the exchange works is that 98% of funds are actually in cold storage and the 2% of funds that are actually in hot wallets are completely insured,” Jones explained to Bitcoin News. The hot wallets are insured up to USD 100 million, but they are looking to increase this amount. With the current insurance policy model and its limitations, cold storage is the only way that they can right now guarantee security for investors.

While Jones admittedly did not know of any insurance policies that have been paid out to any cryptocurrency exchange after a hack, apparently, the majority of companies that suffered security breaches did not have cold storage practices in place, which he says is one of the larger issues that jeopardizes security.

As a victim of the Cryptsy exchange hack, Jones’ view is that nobody should invest in a cryptocurrency exchange that does not have insurance.  ”To be honest, I don’t know why you would use an exchange that is not insured unless you are very comfortable with the fact that you could lose all your money.”

UnitedCoin also has FDIC insurance in the US which covers fiat currency, and insured accounts in Europe. The cryptocurrency is stored in cold storage and whenever there are transactions taking place on the platform, the money that is being sent back and forth is in a token form. That tokenization is what represents all of the actual transactions. However, when someone wants to withdraw funds, it is taken from the cold storage.

Jones’ father’s former bank holds the record in the US for a newly formed bank reaching USD one billion in assets the fastest. The record when he started was five years, and they achieved it in 18 months.

Influenced by some of his policies that did not only insure profits but also reduced fees for users, Jones was inspired to create a new revenue model for his exchange. ”With crypto, I saw that there was something else we can do. Because transactions create a lot of revenue for you as a company, people who are supporting the network should benefit from that revenue. We take 20% of those net revenues each month and divide it amongst members.”

He noted that this is similar to the actions of American Express.

The platform’s native token UNIT launches with the IMO, an initial members launch. Potential members are required to go through a know-your-customer (KYC) process to register.

 

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Blockchain.com Says Stablecoins Largest Growing Blockchain Category Since DLT

Head of research at Blockchain.com and co-founder of Mosaic, Dr Garrick Hileman, said that stablecoins have become the fastest growing category in the blockchain ecosystem since the rise of interest in distributed ledger technology (DLT) in 2015.

This is partly based on funding levels; stablecoins have raised over USD 50 million in venture funding, making it one of the most well-funded categories in cryptoassets. ”I haven’t seen this level of activity in the blockchain ecosystem since the interest in DLT in 2015. This is the largest growing category I have seen since then,” said Hileman in his ‘The State of Stablecoins’ keynote speech at today’s Decentralized 2018 blockchain conference in Athens, Greece.

There are two types of stablecoins, as he outlined, asset-backed and algorithm-backed. Algorithm-backed stablecoins adjust the supply in line with demand. ”Imagine an algorithmic stablecoin that sees a spike in demand and goes up to USD 1.05 when it supposed to be at USD 1. New coins would be issued to bring the price down,” he explained.

But investors appear to be slightly favoring the more proven asset-backed variety which has raised USD 177 million, compared to its algorithmic counterpart that claimed USD 174 million. This can be interpreted as their perceptions of the likelihood of success, with Hileman suggesting there are still questions as to how successful the cutting-edge algorithm-backed coins will be.

Also of interest in the market is the leading cryptoasset investors that have been putting their money in stablecoins, such as Pantera and A16z. Notably, Hileman pointed out that they have in fact been investing in multiple stablecoins. While he says this could show uncertainty regarding the future state of play, it also indicates that perhaps investors expect there to be more than one winner out of stablecoins, ”not a winner take all situation”.

Crypto-asset backed stablecoins

Hileman noted that while 77% of stablecoins are of the asset-backed variety, over half of these use cryptocurrency as collateral.

”That’s pretty exciting because fiat-backed stablecoins such as Tether means that you have to bring a bank into the picture, whereas a crypto collateralized is more trust-minimized arguably… You can see the collateral in the smart contract,” he shared.

Hileman has a full report on the state of stablecoins available on Blockchain.com.

 

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Exclusive: Nye the Crypto Guy

Listen to the exclusive interview with Nye the Crypto Guy on the 16 November 2018 BitcoinNews.com Daily Podcast below.

Bitcoin News caught up with “Nye the crypto guy”, discussing how his social media musings about cryptocurrency evolved from what started out as a fun hobby to an actual career.

A play on “Bill Nye the science guy”, Crypto Nye is what one might call a crypto influencer – his Twitter account @CryptoShillNye has 37,700 followers and he runs the website IAmNye.com. Nye says he is also a crypto marketing specialist: “I also run a marketing company that helps other crypto startups and companies really engage with their audience, and I teach them how to create a community and use social media… All the tools that are blatantly ignored right now. I also travel the world and speak at different conferences.”

From hobby to profession

Nye started off just for fun and says he was messing around and having a good time. Apparently, people really liked Nye’s crypto opinions, so posting on social media about crypto has become his career. Nye purchased his first Bitcoins and Litecoins during 2012-2013 before Bitcoin ever hit USD 1,000. However, it was not until the middle of 2017 that Nye got serious about crypto, at which point he spent 10-15 hours per day trading, learning, and investing. Nye says he was quite successful at trading in 2017 and early 2018, before the market crashed, and then “saw an opportunity to do something different”.

Nye now has an audience of tens of thousands of crypto- and blockchain-oriented followers, and is trying to distinguish between companies that are legit and those that are “some and mirrors”, and he reports his findings back to his followers. Nye’s favorite thing is to promote people who are doing positive things for the crypto and blockchain space, especially newcomers who aren’t acknowledged by other crypto influencers. He says, “I want the crypto space to be filled with as many good people as possible.”

Asian connection

Specifically, Nye is now focusing on Asia by going to Asian conferences and meeting companies in person. He says there is “a huge cultural and language barrier” between what the news reports is going on in Asia and what is actually happening. He talks about China’s bullish sentiment on blockchain despite its general unfavorable stance towards cryptocurrency.

He singles out VeChain as a good project, as well as TEMCO and Agora, with blockchain’s greatest potential found in the supply chain, gaming, and voting fields. On the other hand, he feels the ICO market is causing investor’s money to be spread thinly.

On Bitcoin

Nye has “a strong belief” that Bitcoin is headed up in price after months of sideways action (although it has recently experienced a sharp drop). He speculates that block halving in 2020 will help increase price.

According to Nye, the biggest use case for Bitcoin is trading and price increases are positive since it brings more money into the crypto space to build “cool shit”. Nye thinks eventually adoption will increase as technology improves, and mentions that the Lightning Network will be part of that since it can help Bitcoin scale to large transaction frequencies.

When asked about the US dollar, Nye says, “It’s definitely a potential [for crashing]… I have considered it a lot… I have no idea what is going to happen… If it does happen we are going to need as much innovation as possible to make Bitcoin transactions as easy as possible for average people.”

Nye thinks that widespread adoption will have to be in place at the time of a potential USD collapse in order for Bitcoin to succeed. But he closes by reminding that he considers himself simply as “a dude who shares his opinion online”.

 

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MEP Eva Kaili: ICOs Needed When Banks Overregulate

Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Eva Kaili has revealed that a report on initial coin offerings (ICOs) was being prepared for the European Parliament that would promote their use as a crowdfunding tool.

”We really need [ICOs] when banks are overregulated and projects need liquidity… we must try not to overregulate them and stop innovation,” she said. MEP Kaili made this statement during her keynote address at the ongoing Decentralized 2018 blockchain conference in Athens, Greece.

Following up with Bitcoin News at the conference, she reported that the Parliament had recently facilitated the release of EUR 700 million for startup projects that can show they provide ”great solutions” with blockchain.

However, she did acknowledge the number of scams that certainly exist within the ICO market but believes these can be avoided by properly analyzing the white paper: ”I have seen people buy for the hype but on the white paper, it states they own nothing… Fraud is fraud. We don’t need regulation to stop that.”

MEP Kaili also told Bitcoin News that she believes European countries like France and Malta have the most progressive and effective blockchain legislation, while others beyond Europe are emerging as strong contenders for leadership in the industry.

She said that through her travels, she has seen France impose itself as a significant leader in blockchain regulation, with the country ”trying to proceed very fast”. Malta is also producing progressive legislation, she added. Outside of Europe, both Barbados and Singapore are leading the way, as well as Switzerland which she described as ”a staple one; it has always been very fast in the financial sector to adapt to the changes”.

Discussing her recent legislative work, MEP Kaili that she has just finished the Blockchain Resolution – a work in progress since 2015 when she first became aware and interested in the technology. She pushed for the resolution in the European Parliment after becoming concerned with potential resistance to blockchain from ”the systems that failed us”, referencing the financial systems that contributed to the 2008 economic crisis and her home country of Greece’s own economic turbulence.

Now, Kaili’s efforts are focused on creating non-restrictive regulation for artificial intelligence (AI). She spoke about the potential of blockchain and AI synergy, to which she declared, ”I think will be very exciting.”

On blockchain, she noted that “It can solve problems but not all the problems, I would say it is more of a philosophy”, citing that there were still issues regarding scalability, energy efficiency, and the protection of data, although believes they will be “figured out quite soon”.

The Greek MEP was the keynote speaker at Decentralized 2018 hosted by the University of Nicosia. It ends tomorrow on 16 November 2018.

 

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Exclusive: Streamr and DATAcoin Co-Founder on Blockchain and AI

Listen to the interview with the co-founder and COO of Streamr and DATAcoin on the 2 November 2018 BitcoinNews.com Daily Podcast below.

Streamr and DATAcoin (DATA)

BitcoinNews.com spoke to Risto Karjalainen, the co-founder and chief operating officer (COO) of Streamr and its native cryptocurrency DATAcoin (DATA), on the topic of blockchain and AI, who says, “Streamr is a data protocol for the decentralized net. Effectively what we are doing is making real-time data tradeable using a blockchain.”

On Streamr, blockchain technology is used to access data and crypto is used to pay for data streams but the data itself is not stored on the blockchain. Karjalainen believes that the Ethereum network is still “too slow and expensive for that”, and has considered using a Directed Acyclic Graph (DAG) and other blockchains scalable for data storage, but has chosen to perfect Streamr on the Ethereum network.

Launched in October 2017, DATAcoin is used to buy real-time data on Streamr, which is a cryptocurrency with a USD 30 million market cap and USD 6 million of daily trading volume as of 1 November 2018, placing it at #157 on CoinMarketCap out of 2,089 total cryptocurrencies.

Streamr focuses entirely on delivering real-time data in an automated fashion and this requires integration with the internet of things (IoT). Karjalainen says, “Data comes from the IoT, sensors, or smart cities, and different devices, but IoT is the typical source of the data.”

Some of the real-time data streams available include financial, transportation and weather data but really there is no limit to the data that can become available on Streamr, as long as it can be measured.

Blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI)

Streamr itself does not develop AI technology but Karjalainen says, “We are partnering with AI companies who want to use our technology to acquire training and learning data for machine learning and AI. Additionally, there are companies which offer data that has been created or refined with AI, and they sell it on Streamr.”

AI depends on massive amounts of data to increase its intelligence, so companies can utilize blockchain and Streamr to acquire that data.

The Zug-based entrepreneur sees a couple of areas where the merger of blockchain and AI is particularly useful. AI needs data to operate and that is what Streamr is focusing on. Also, AI needs a large amount of computing power and storage, blockchain can be used to build decentralized networks that aggregate computing power and storage, and crypto can be used to incentivize the process. Beyond this, AI can be used to improve a cryptocurrency or blockchain platform’s code but Karjailenen does not think AI is powerful enough yet to truly write code.

One very interesting possibility is an AI program could live within a blockchain. Karalainen says, “What might be fascinating is an AI living in a blockchain, and it would earn tokens, make a living that way, and improve itself, like a lifeform.”

The present and future of AI

In the current AI field, there are several types of intelligence being pursued including machine learning, deep learning, recurrent networks and pattern recognition. Karjalainen feels that the industry is still in the early days of “building true artificial intelligence”.

When it comes to everyday reasoning or building mental models of the world, he estimates AI to be on the level of a 4-5 year-old child. However, for pattern recognition and image processing AI is as good or better than humans, according to him.

Karjalainen asserts that AI does not have any self awareness or consciousness at this time, but says, “I think there is potential, and I think it is a very interesting idea… I do not think there is anything in the mechanics that would stop a machine from being conscious. You can replicate a brain cell by cell and that is what you would get.”

When asked if the AI singularity will happen, which is when AI becomes smarter than humans and then rapidly and recursively improves itself, Karjalainen responds that it could very well take place, especially if the AI has access to energy and manufacturing equipment.

In regards to popularly fiction scenarios in which machines turn against humans, Karjalainen says, “They might have their own objectives which are very different and inconsistent with having people around.”

 

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