August 15, 2023

Emerging Technologies Highlights: Week of Aug 15, 2023

The artificial intelligence (AI) revolution continues to dominate headlines. Stories in the spotlight this week include:  

  • The groundbreaking role of generative AI in supply chain management
  • The New York Times announcing that its content could no longer be used to train AI models
  • UK’s Deputy Prime Minister declared that AI could have a more significant impact on Britain than the Industrial Revolution
  • The call for greater regulation of AI technology continues
  • The unveiling of a new analog AI chip by IBM Research

The crypto and metaverse industries also had important items this week. Prominent legal scholars have submitted a brief attacking the SEC's case against Coinbase, potentially paving the way for a ruling favorable to crypto marketplaces. Coinbase also announced a partnership with NFT infrastructure company Crossmint to redefine the NFT onboarding process for enterprises. Lastly, the Metropolitan Museum of Art has partnered with the popular gaming platform Roblox to offer a suite of virtual experiences targeting young people. While the crypto and metaverse hype waves are over, more regulatory certainty and technological breakthroughs could bring these industries back to the center of the conversation.

The bottom line:  Some of the world’s biggest companies are turning to artificial intelligence to navigate increasingly complex supply chains as they face the impact of geopolitical tensions and pressure to eliminate links to environmental and human rights abuses. Unilever, Siemens, and Maersk are among those using AI to negotiate contracts or find new suppliers. Although AI support in supply chain management has been used for years, the development of so-called generative AI technology has offered more opportunities to automate the process further.

The bottom line: The New York Times has taken preemptive measures to stop its content from being used to train artificial intelligence models. The NYT updated its Terms of Service on August 3rd to prohibit its content — inclusive of text, photographs, images, audio/video clips, “look and feel,” metadata, or compilations — from being used in the development of “any software program, including, but not limited to, training a machine learning or artificial intelligence (AI) system.”

The bottom line: Artificial intelligence could have a more significant impact on Britain than the Industrial Revolution, the deputy prime minister has said, but warned hackers could use it to access sensitive information from the government. Oliver Dowden said AI could speed up productivity and perform tedious aspects of jobs. “This is a total revolution that is coming,” Dowden told the Times. “It’s going to totally transform almost all elements of life over the coming years, and indeed, even months, in some cases.

The bottom line: Yoshua Bengio’s work in the 1990s and 2000s has contributed to the foundations of chatbots like OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google’s Bard. Today, Bengio is one of the biggest voices warning the world about the need for control and regulations on artificial intelligence technology. He testified before a United States congressional hearing, warning that the frantic pace of AI development, in the wrong hands, could be used to create biological weapons.

The bottom line: IBM Research has unveiled a groundbreaking analog AI chip demonstrating remarkable efficiency and accuracy in performing complex computations for deep neural networks (DNNs). This breakthrough, published in a recent paper in Nature Electronics, signifies a significant stride towards achieving high-performance AI computing while substantially conserving energy.

The bottom line: Legal scholars from institutions such as Yale, the University of Chicago, and UCLA, have submitted a brief attacking the SEC's "investment contract" proposition and tracing the historical evolution of the term before and after the enactment of the federal Securities Act in 1933. If successful, the brief could be the decisive blow to the SEC's contention that crypto tokens traded on secondary markets inherently constitute investment contracts. 

The bottom line: Cryptocurrency trading platform Coinbase and NFT infrastructure company Crossmint are aligning their strengths to redefine the NFT onboarding process. Rather than serving as a platform for NFT creation or trading, Crossmint will offer a holistic solution for enterprises to integrate NFTs seamlessly into their existing models.

The bottom line: Disgraced FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried has had his $250m (£197m) bail revoked and has been sent to jail after alleged witness tampering. US District Judge Lewis Kaplan made the decision after prosecutors said Bankman-Fried had tried to harass a key witness in his fraud case last month. Bankman-Fried was led out of the hearing in a federal court in Manhattan in handcuffs by members of the US Marshals Service after removing his shoelaces, jacket, and tie and emptying his pockets.

The bottom line: The metaverse is not a single platform or application but a network of interconnected digital spaces that span various domains, such as gaming, entertainment, education, and social media. The metaverse is not a distant future but a reality that is growing and evolving daily. But what are the technologies that enable and power the metaverse? This article explores the five groundbreaking technologies that fuel the metaverse.

The bottom line: The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met) in New York has partnered with the popular gaming platform Roblox to offer a virtual experience for its younger audience. As part of this collaboration, Roblox users can now obtain digital versions of famous artworks and artifacts for their avatars, including Van Gogh's iconic straw hat. These digital wearables and other items like suits of armor and Egyptian masks are available through the augmented reality quest-based app called Replica. Developed in partnership with Verizon, Replica takes visitors on an interactive tour of The Met, guiding them to 37 selected physical artworks spread throughout the museum. 

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