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The Best Of Tech 2021: April 19th-26th

This week, the two biggest topics in the tech sphere have been AI regulations and cryptocurrencies. As the biggest cryptocurrencies are reaching record-high levels, again and again, more countries are speeding their efforts to regulate or even ban cryptocurrencies. We will update you on Turkey’s stand on the matter, as well as the social panic caused by Biden revealing his plans to significantly raise the tax on capital gains and the possible impact it may have on cryptocurrencies. Meanwhile, the crypto investors do not seem to be scared, as shown by the young UK investors who are much more likely to invest in crypto than equities. What is happening in the AI sector? The EU is moving forward with the AI regulations, announcing new strict rules regarding AI and proposing a ban on facial recognition. AI report is released, showcasing the need for strict AI regulations as it portrays the multiple threats in the sector. Meanwhile, the UK top cyber spy is warning the West against China in a surprisingly open interview and urges Western countries to speed up their development of emerging technologies. Find out details of these and more stories about cryptocurrencies, AI regulations in EU and fintech news below.

Nubank Is Preparing For A U.S. Stock Market Listing 

We have written about Nubank on several occasions. Now, Latam’s fintech unicorn is preparing to list on the U.S stock market, with the debut possible as early as this year. 

Nubank’s stock market entrance would be one of the largest debuts of South American companies in the last years. 

After its latest investment round in January, Nubank was valued at $25 billion.  

Nubank’s investors include venture capital firms Dragoneer Investment Group, Ribbit Capital, Tencent Holdings Ltd and Tiger Global Management, and Founders Fund.

Turkey Is Working On Wider Crypto Regulations 

On Friday, the Turkish Central Bank Governor, Sahap Kavcioglu, said that the Finance Ministry in Turkey is working on regulating cryptocurrencies rather than banning them. 

Kavioglu said that more details would be announced in the next two weeks. 

EU Privacy Watchdog Recommends Banning Facial Recognition In Their Proposed AI Regulations

The EU privacy watchdog, the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) said on Friday that Europe should ban the facial recognition features, citing “deep and non-democratic intrusion into people’s lives” as the reason. 

The comments of the watchdog come only a few days after the proposed rules of the European Commission. In the draft, the Commission agrees for facial recognition to be used in certain cases such as terrorist attacks or missing children. 

“A stricter approach is necessary given that remote biometric identification, where AI may contribute to unprecedented developments, presents extremely high risks of deep and non-democratic intrusion into individuals’ private lives,” EDPS said in a statement, “The EDPS will focus in particular on setting precise boundaries for those tools and systems which may present risks for the fundamental rights to data protection and privacy.”

Cryptocurrencies Fall As Biden Plans To Raise Capital Gains Taxes 

At the end of the week, the major cryptocurrencies fell sharply as the speculation about the U.S. President Joe Biden planning to raise capital gains taxes continue. 

 On Thursday, Biden announced the draft of the U.S. tax code changes, one of them being almost doubling the tax on capital gains for people earning more than $1 million. The new tax would be approximately 39.6%. 

Since the end of the week, social media has exploded with speculations about cryptocurrencies being hurt and individual investors losing money because of the new regulations. However, the analysts are more optimistic and believe that the declines will only be temporary. 

“That’s what everyone is talking about now,” Chris Weston, head of research at Pepperstone Markets Ltd, said “And I think you may have some technical selling going through. Ether’s been the poster child of movement. It has massively outperformed Bitcoin.”

“Western funds started offloading Bitcoin aggressively on the back of the Biden tax plan,” said Avi Felman, head trader, and portfolio manager at BlockTower Capital, said. “Ultimately news-based selling generally reverses.”

To read more news about cryptocurrencies:

Future of Crypto Regulation in the EU: Towards Greater Adoption of Crypto Assets

Nigeria’s Adoption Of Cryptocurrency And The CBN Drama

UK Top Cyber Spy Warns The West Against China 

Last week, in an unusually honest and open speech, Jeremy Fleming who is the director of the GCHQ spy agency, urged the West to ensure that China does not dominate emerging technologies. 

On Friday, Fleming said that the West is now facing a battle for control of artificial intelligence, genetics, and synthetic biology. 

The West must urgently act to ensure China does not dominate important emerging technologies and gain control of the “global operating system”, Britain’s top cyber spy said on Friday.

“Significant technology leadership is moving East,” Fleming said at Imperial College London. “The concern is that China’s size and technological weight means that it has the potential to control the global operating system.”

“We are now facing a moment of reckoning,” he added.

GCHQ, gathers communication around the globe to identify and destroy threats to Britain. They have close cooperation with eavesdropping agencies from the U.S, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. 

Fleming said that the West must focus on developing their sovereign quantum technologies and be quicker with developing and deploying the emerging technologies, taking their space on the market. 

Fleming said China was “bringing all elements of state power to control, influence design and dominate markets” while trying to dominate debates about global standards.

“Russia is affecting the weather, whilst China is shaping the climate,” he said.

Young British Investors Wants Crypto Rather Than Stock 

Based on the survey by the U.S. financial group Charles Schwab, young Brits are twice as likely to invest in cryptocurrencies than stocks. 

The survey showed that 51% of investors aged between 18 and 37 traded or owned cryptocurrencies. In comparison, 25% traded or owned equities. 

The covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the already growing interest in cryptocurrencies and the use of trading apps such as Robinhood. 

“As more young people purchase speculative products, there is a fear that these investors are not diversifying their portfolios enough to mitigate risks in case cryptocurrency markets decline,” read the Charles Schwab press release.

EU Announces Tough Regulations On The Use Of AI 

On Wednesday, the European Commission announced new draft rules on the use of AI which include a heavy ban on surveillance and other strict regulations on AI in EU

“On artificial intelligence, trust is a must, not a nice to have. With these landmark rules, the EU is spearheading the development of new global norms to make sure AI can be trusted,” European tech chief Margrethe Vestager said in a statement.

The Commission announced that the AI allowing governments to social score or exploit children will be fully banned. The high-risk AI that is applied in recruitment, critical infrastructure, credit scoring, migration, and law enforcement will be heavily regulated and subject to tough safeguards. 

European industrial chief Thierry Breton said that the draft of the rules aims at discrediting the myths and misunderstandings about the AI sector. 

“Behind the term artificial intelligence, there are popular beliefs and fears that have long been conveyed by the film industry,” Breton told a news conference. “It is true that the little robot (Walt Disney animated film character) WALL-E could unfortunately not make us forget the T-800 (robot) from Terminator. Therefore, we must navigate between all of this and not stigmatize technology,” he said.

However, the activists have pointed out that the proposed regulations leave a lot of gaps. 

“The draft law does not prohibit the full extent of unacceptable uses of AI and in particular all forms of biometric mass surveillance. This leaves a worrying gap for discriminatory and surveillance technologies used by governments and companies,” Sarah Chander at the lobbying group said.

“Biometric and mass surveillance, profiling and behavioral prediction technology in our public spaces undermines our freedoms and threatens our open societies. The proposed procedural requirements are a mere smokescreen,” Patrick Breyer, a lawmaker at the European Parliament said.

To find out more about AI regulations in the EU:

Are The Current AI Regulations A Necessary Measure? Or Do They Slow Down The Growth?

31 Billion IoT Devices And A Growing Need For Regulations

Covea And Tractable Partner On An AI Solution That Will Make Insurance Easier 

The largest insurance group in France, Covea, and the tech company Tractabled have partnered to deploy an AI solution by Tractable to all three brands of Covea (MAAF, MMA, and GMF). 

The AI solution will use computer vision technology to analyze the pictures of car damage taken by thousands of French body shops. It will assess auto claims from all insurance brands in real-time across the whole country.

The solution will speed up the decision-making process and make instant claims analysis possible, shortening the process from few days to few minutes.  

Using AI to accelerate claims assessment is a step-change for policyholders of the MAAF, MMA, and GMA brands, and for our repair service providers,” Bruno Lacoste Badie, Expertise and Indemnity Solutions Director at Covéa said. “In addition to making claims handling more efficient, Tractable’s AI will allow all stakeholders to make better, more accurate decisions that benefit everyone.”

Covea has had a long-standing relationship with Tractable, working on simplified claims management process since 2016. 

“This collaboration means our technology will be making a positive, tangible difference to every part of the French auto repair sector,” Adrien Cohen, co-founder and President, Tractable, said. “With our AI, a repairer won’t have to wait on approvals from an assessor in person, but can move a repair on immediately – giving them more autonomy, helping them to work on more vehicles, and ensuring expertise is directed to complex claims. The aim is to get the insured back on the road, as quickly as possible.”

Pearl Is Granted A Patent For Their AI-Powered Claims Processing Technology 

At the end of last week, Pearl was granted a patent for their AI solution that is the basis of their Claims Review® and Pearl Protect® solutions for automating dental insurance claims adjudication.

Pearl is the leader in AI solutions for efficiency and accuracy in dental care. The claim adjudication in the dental industry presents a huge challenge, as the insurance carriers succeed only in reviewing less than 10% of all the claims.  Thus, Pearl entering their market with their two products: Claims Review® and Pearl Protect® and solving these issues has been enthusiastically welcomed by the experts in the field. 

The company applies computer vision machine learning algorithms in order to validate insurance claims. 

The issued patent is the U.S. Patent No. 10,937,108 entitled “Computer Vision-Based Claims Processing”

“We’ve given carriers the ability to process claims in seconds and, because a carrier’s unique decision-making matrix is defined in the system, its decisioning is totally transparent,” says Pearl’s CEO Ophir Tanz. “The carrier plugs the software in and instantly goes from reviewing a tiny fraction of radiograph-supported claims to programmatically reviewing every claim. Their adjudicators go from wasting time on claims destined for approval to focusing only on questionable claims where their expertise is most useful.”

Tanz added that Pearl’s patent success shows that the company is the leading innovator in the dental AI ecosystem. 

“AI adoption is approaching an inflection point in the dental industry. We expect all dental insurance carriers to be powering their claims review with AI within the next five years––and when that happens, it will be thanks to a technology that Pearl introduced.”

AI Industry Attacks Report Released Showcasing The Need For Stricter AI Regulations Not Only In The EU

The new reports that highlights the biggest security threats to AI, as well as the possible countermeasures that will protect the systems has just been released. 

“Building trust in the security and safety of machine learning is crucial. We are asking people to put their faith in what is essentially a black box, and for the AI revolution to succeed, we must build trust. And we can’t bolt security on this time. We won’t have many chances at getting it right. The risks are too high – but so are the benefits,” said Oliver Rochford, Adversa Advisor.

The report includes the impact of the regulatory changes regarding AI in the EU and USA. 

Some of the key findings of the report show that the real-world AI incidents are on the rise in several sectors such as the automotive, biometrics, robotics, and internet industries. The most scrutinized industries are the internet (23%), cybersecurity (17%), biometrics (16%), and autonomous (13%) which does not come as a surprise as these are the early adopters of AI. 

Moreover, the reports emphasize that the current AI industry is extremely unprepared for real-world attacks, with every ML model (of the top 60 most commonly used) being prone to at least one vulnerability. 

“Unfortunately, our investigation shows that the AI industry is alarmingly unready for the wave of coming real-world attacks against AI systems. Public perception of how trustworthy AI is will be a core criterion determining whether societies and businesses will adopt AI for good or face another AI winter,” said Alex Polyakov, the CEO at Adversa. “We have to build trust in AI, based on the early adoption of suitable standards and testing approaches, like this being developed by MITRE. And we have to do this together, as a community.”

If you want to find out more about cryptocurrencies, AI regulations in the EU and globally, new technologies, regulatory news, and the latest buzz in tech, come back tomorrow for more news! In the meantime, you can check out these:

April 2021: The Best Free Tech Events, Webinars, and Conferences

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