We are back with your latest news on tech. Here is your chance to keep up with the most important tech developments that happened last week. This week we will look at the NFT market, the AI advancements including the scientific researchers developing an AI sarcasm detector, and the announcement of SpaceX that will launch a dogecoin financed lunar mission at the beginning of next year. To find out more about these and other tech news stories that dominated the headlines last week, take a look at our weekly highlights.
Last week, The White House has officially launched a website aimed at updating the public about the government’s National AI Initiative, after the National AI Initiative Act of 2020, which ensures a coordinated effort to accelerate the sage growth of AI in the United States, became a law, on January 1, 2021.
The new website provides information on how AI is used across the US and what issues it currently solves and has the potential to solve in the future.
“This is a resource that will enable researchers from all over the country to have access to both the computing and the data that they need in order to do cutting edge research,” Lynne Parker, Deputy United States Chief Technology Officer said.
“The US has long been a champion and defender of the core values of freedom, guarantees of human rights, individual dignity, the rule of law, rights to privacy, respect for intellectual property, and opportunities for all to pursue their dreams,” the White House wrote on the new website.
After China released their AI development plan in 2017, showing they plan to build an AI sector worth $150 billion by 2030, America became even more keen to speed up their acceleration of the technology and retain the lead in this sector.
“America’s decades-long leadership in AI research and development (R&D) has resulted in cutting-edge, transformative technologies that are improving lives, growing innovative industries, empowering workers, and increasing national security,” the AI.gov website says.
African Cryptocurrency Exchange Plans Global Expansion As They Process More Than $3 Billion In Transactions
On Monday, the cryptocurrency exchange, Quidax, shared their plans to expand globally and launch their native token, QDX.
Quidax, founded in Nigeria, launched back in 2018 and while it started out as an African-focused crypto exchange, its growth has influenced the change in the strategy. Now, the startup is ready to expand beyond the continent.
The CEO, Buchi Okoro, revealed on Monday that the exchange has processed more than $3.2 billion worth of transactions. From 50 customers in 2018, the company has managed to grow its user base to 400 000 customers across 72 countries.
“We are set to become the global home of BEP20 tokens. This means that anyone in the world can trade over 100 cryptocurrencies in the Binance Smart Chain ecosystem on Quidax,” Okoro said.
Okoro added that Quidax will be launching 7 new products in the next 6 months, blending CeFi and DeFi.
THINKING, a Deeptech AI startup has just received a total of €4.5 million in their seed funding round led by Earlybird, with the participation of a number of angel investors.
THINKING’s unique selling point comes through semantha that bypasses the costly and time-consuming training phase for AI-based systems. The work on semantha was done over the last 14 years at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology.
“With semantha, domain experts can finally educate an AI system as if it were a co-worker, using just a few and simple examples. This allows for a divide-and-conquer approach for any type of text-related challenge with customers,” the Earlybird co-founder Dr. Hendrik Brandis said.
Semantha is the result of 14 years of research in NLP and AI at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, and in 2017 Dr. Sven Körner, Dr. Mathias Landhäußer, Georg Müller, and Abdelmalik El Guesaoui founded thingsTHINKING.
“The current funding allows us to grow our technological advantage and market faster while supporting our international partners and large RPA vendors, who are eager to use semantha for their customers,” Geog Müller, one of the founders of THINKING says. .
On Monday, ether broke past $4000, for the first time in history.
“I think (crypto has) got a lot more institutional involvement than people who haven’t followed the market believe,” said Chris Weston, head of research at brokerage Pepperstone, pointing to sizeable weekend liquidity. “And everyone’s been in ethereum. It’s not a meme joke coin, it actually has some application use,” he added, referring to its role in the rise of non-bank facilitated transactions”
After the ether blockchain has been upgraded, traders start considering it as the leading player in DeFi. Currently, there are $477 billion ether tokens in circulation.
On Sunday, it was announced that SpaceX will launch the “DOGE-1 Mission to the Moon” at the beginning of 2022.
The lunar mission will be financed by dogecoin.
“SpaceX launching satellite Doge-1 to the moon next year – Mission paid for in Doge – 1st crypto in space – 1st meme in space”, Musk said in a tweet.
“Having officially transacted with DOGE for a deal of this magnitude, Geometric Energy Corporation and SpaceX have solidified DOGE as a unit of account for lunar business in the space sector,” said Geometric Energy’s Chief Executive Officer Samuel Reid.
“This mission will demonstrate the application of cryptocurrency beyond Earth orbit and set the foundation for interplanetary commerce,” said SpaceX Vice President of Commercial Sales Tom Ochinero. “We’re excited to launch DOGE-1 to the Moon!”
Because of Musk’s tweets earlier this year, a currency that started out as a joke became the fourth-largest cryptocurrency, hitting a market capitalization of $73 billion.
On Friday, the head of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Gary Gensler, said that new investment rules are needed to protect investors as technology impacts the financial markets.
Gensler pointed out that as crypto tokens and rallies driven by social media are on the rise, more regulation that will protect the investors is needed.
“We need to update and freshen our rules,” Gensler said. “Bringing investment protection to that market is relevant if this is going to continue, and it brings confidence and trust to the overall markets,” Gensler added.
The computer science researchers from the University of Central Florida have developed an AI sarcasm detector for social media. Through a sentiment analysis – an automated process of identifying emotion – a UCF researchers have found a method to identify sarcasm in the social media text.
“The presence of sarcasm in the text is the main hindrance in the performance of sentiment analysis,” says Assistant Professor of Engineering Ivan Garibay. “Sarcasm isn’t always easy to identify in conversation, so you can imagine it’s pretty challenging for a computer program to do it and do it well. We developed an interpretable deep learning model using multi-head self-attention and gated recurrent units. The multi-head self-attention module aids in identifying crucial sarcastic cue-words from the input, and the recurrent units learn long-range dependencies between these cue-words to better classify the input text.”
“Sarcasm has been a major hurdle to increasing the accuracy of sentiment analysis, especially on social media, since sarcasm relies heavily on vocal tones, facial expressions and gestures that cannot be represented in text,” says Brian Kettler, a program manager in DARPA’s Information Innovation Office (I2O). “Recognizing sarcasm in textual online communication is no easy task as none of these cues are readily available.”
At the end of last week, the enterprise NFT solutions provided Sweet announced an upcoming collaboration with Happy Jack Group LLC. The partnership will aim at creating a series of NFTs that are focused on Mental Health Awareness.
The collaboration will result in the first retail shop with NFTS integrated into the in-store experience. The guests stopping at the Happy Jack Pop-Up Shop in New York will be given the first NFT in the collection by scanning a QR code upon entry.
The NFT will feature a video moment with David Nathan, the father of Jack Nathan, that shares details about Happy Jack’s mission. The rest of the exclusive collection will consist of NFT featuring a painting by Jack Nathan and three NFTs featuring characters created by Jack.
“Jack’s legacy lives on through his artwork and his desire to help others who struggle with mental illness,” David Nathan said. “Although Jack’s passing was unrelated to mental illness, he used his time here to share with others about his struggles and was determined to let others know that sometimes ‘normal is boring’.”
“At Sweet we are honored to see how the team at Happy Jack has activated NFTs to raise awareness of such an important cause,” Peter Keiser, EVP of Marketing at Sweet said. “To me, this is a small window into the utility NFTs can provide and how important it is to get NFTs in the hands of everyday fans who make a difference.”
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Last week, Expert.ai announced they have advanced their cloud-based natural language (NL) API by adding another layer of human-like understanding capabilities and addressing one of the largest challenges for AI developers in NL – extracting emotions in large-scale texts.
The Expert.AI NL API currently captures 117 different traits which give it the biggest emotional and behavioral taxonomy on the AI API market. The emotional traits are categorized into 8 groups: anger, fear, disgust, sadness, happiness, joy, nostalgia, shame. The behaviour taxonomies are divided into 7 categories: sociality, action, openness, consciousness, ethics, indulgence, and capability.
“From apps that analyze customer interactions, product reviews, emails or chatbot conversations, to content enrichment that increases text analytics accuracy, adding emotional and behavioral traits provides critical information that has a significant impact,” said Luisa Herrmann-Nowosielski, Head of Product Management at expert.ai. “By incorporating this exclusive layer of human-like language understanding and a powerful write print extension for authorship analysis into our NL API, we are conquering a new frontier in the artificial intelligence API ecosystem, providing developers and data scientists with unique out-of-the-box information to supercharge their innovative apps.”
The reports show that North American companies have substantially increased their spendings on industrial robots in Q1 of 2021. While robots used to be concentrated in the automotive sector, they are now moving into other parts of the market. The largest increase can be observed among metal producers, life science companies, the pharmaceutical and biomedical sectors, and consumer goods.
As the demand has increased because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the companies have ordered over 9000 robots in the first quarter of this year, illustrating a 19.6% increase from Q1 of 2020. The total number of deals is valued at almost $466 million.
“The strong economy obviously helps,” said Jeff Burnstein, president of the Association for Advancing Automation, “It gives companies the confidence to invest in more things — including in more automation.”
On Thursday, Nasdaq decided to withdraw their earlier decision to delist the shares of the Chinese mapping technology company, Luokung Technology.
The Nasdaq decision comes after the U.S. judge suspended the investment ban that was imposed under the Trump administration.
U.S. District Court Judge Rudolph Contreras said that the designation process by the Department of Defense was flawed and that the government was not able to identify any technology transfers from Luokung to the Chinese government.
“Many of the associations the Department of Defense seemed most troubled by – such as Luokung’s purported forays into space systems or its potential future contracts with the Chinese National Geospatial Information Center … do not appear to have materialized, nor are they likely to bear fruit before this case can be decided on the merits,” Contreras wrote in his decision.
In a press release, Luokung, said that they have been notified by Nasdaq about the withdrawal of the delisting.
After being blocked by the central bank nearly a year ago, Facebook’s WhatsApp service relaunched the transfer money services in Brazil on Tuesday.
Brazil is the second country where Whatsapp money transfers were launched. The same service got approval in India back in November of 2020. In Brazil, Whatsapp users can use debit or pre-paid card numbers to send up to 5000 reais per month to other users free of charge.
After the previous launch in Brazil, the central bank suspended the services only after a few days, claiming that it could damage Brazil’s existing payments system.
The re-launch of the money transfers will be done gradually, with a limited number of users getting the payment tool in their app and being able to invite other users.
After the frenzied first quarter that we could see in the non-fungible token (NFTs) sector, the market is stabilizing.
NFT market has surged in 2021, with people having extra cash and spending most of their time online because of the lockdown. In February and March, NFT sales reached huge volume, with monthly sales on a major NFT marketplace, OpenSea, hitting almost $150 million in March. This compares to around $1 million per month that was recorded last year.
In April, the sales volume has slowed down, with monthly sales dipping by approximately half, although they are still substantially higher than they were in 2020.
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