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TECHNOLOGY

Demystifying AI (AI Superpower) or What is Artificial Intelligence?

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We have all heard this plenty of times in the recent past “AI is the future”, “AI will take over our jobs”, “AI is spreading in every industry”. But Do we understand what AI is? I know it stands for Artificial intelligence. The encyclopedia Britannica defines AI as “the ability of a digital computer or computer-controlled robot to perform tasks commonly associated with intelligent beings.” but for an ordinary person, this definition is mystifying. It doesn’t clear up the air of AI.

So let me try to simplify it.

AI or Artificial intelligence is like an intelligent mimic artist who can perform human-like actions rapidly and accurately; this term can also be applied to machines, showing traits such as learning and problem-solving.

Types of Artificial Intelligence

Now, there are broadly two types of AI -type1 and type2.

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Type1-can be further classified into (Yawn alert!)

a) Narrow AI can perform dedicated tasks with intelligence and are also the most common available AI in the world. A few known examples are- Apple’s Siri, IBM’s Watson supercomputer

b) General AI– The idea here is to build an intelligent machine and think like a human on its own, performing any intellectual tasks with the efficiency of humans.

c) Strong AI or Super AI– Alright sci-fi alert, these are the system that can surpass human intelligence, solve complex problems, reason and think, and communicate on their own accord; I know, it’s a bit scary!

Ok, I hope you didn’t get bored and lost interest because it’s about to get more interesting!

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Type2- Functionality classification

a) Reactive Machines or Reactive Machine AI-These are the most basic type of AI which can’t store and refer from past data or experiences. Examples- IBM’s Deep blue system, Google alpha go

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b) Limited Memory AI– These machines can store past experiences for a short duration of time; the best example is self-driving cars which can store data like the routes and distances from point a to b and speeds and distances from other vehicles.

c) Theory of Mind AI-These are target to understand human emotions, their psychology, beliefs etc. These are not yet fully developed but have the potential to revolutionize the world.

d) Self Awareness AI -These are in the embryo stage of development and are just theoretical. These machines, when fully developed, will be far more intelligent than humans, will have their own emotions and sentiments and will have the conscience of humans. You have seen them in movies like Terminator, or like Ultron and vision from the MCU (yes, I am a marvel fanatic)

To summarize, AI is just building an extremely advanced brain with heightened capabilities and awareness and putting it into a machine (so that it can destroy humanity, JK! no, it won’t do that, …yet). However, with the amount of funding, research and hard work put into the study of AI, knowledgeable AI won’t be just a Sci-fi concept, and it completely changes (hopefully for the better) the way the world works.

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TECHNOLOGY

CIA Confirms the Rumors: It Really Is Working on Cryptocurrency Projects

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In brief

  • CIA Director William Burns was asked about the CIA’s involvement in combating ransomware.
  • He said his predecessor started several “different projects focused on cryptocurrency.”

Wade into Reddit and you’ll discover conspiracy theories claiming that Tom Hanks is a pedophilia kingpin, Bill Gates inserted microchips into coronavirus vaccines, and the CIA invented Bitcoin.

Well, as it turns out, the CIA is involved in cryptocurrency after all—even if it didn’t invent Bitcoin.

During the Wall Street Journal‘s CEO Summit yesterday, Central Intelligence Agency Director William Burns admitted that the CIA has multiple projects to keep track of cryptocurrencies.

Responding to a question about whether the intelligence agency was able to constrain ransomware attacks emanating from abroad, Burns said his predecessor “had set in motion a number of different projects focused on cryptocurrency and trying to look at second- and third-order consequences as well and helping with our colleagues in other parts of the U.S. government to provide solid intelligence on what we’re seeing.”

Ransomware is a type of malicious software designed to shut down a computer or network until payment is received, often in Bitcoin or privacy coin Monero. Attacks this year have shut down a major oil pipeline, meat processing plants, and businesses’ IT infrastructure. The Biden administration in June labelled ransomware a “priority” and said it would use cryptocurrency tracking to address it.

Burns didn’t clarify which predecessor he was referring to. Five other people have led the agency—two of them in an acting capacity—in the last five years alone, including John Brennan, Mike Pompeo, and Gina Haspel. Yet the likeliest reference is to his immediate predecessor, David Cohen.

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Cohen, who President Biden picked as acting director from January to March of this year, is a transplant from the Treasury Department who oversaw the Office of Foreign Assets Control and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, both of which have cautioned companies against facilitating ransomware payments. In other words, he’s exactly the sort of person who would get the CIA gathering intelligence on cryptocurrency.

Michael Morell, who served as acting director of the agency on two separate occasions under President Obama, also sees the value of Bitcoin to the intelligence community.

Earlier this year, Morell called blockchain technology a “boon for surveillance” in a report, published by the Coinbase- and Square-led Crypto Council for Innovation. The report defended the cryptocurrency against claims that its best use case is for criminal enterprise. Instead, the public nature of transactions makes it an “underutilized forensic tool for governments to identify illicit activity.”

Burns was vague as to what exactly the CIA is doing. For example, is it studying networks or attempting to disrupt them? But he did add: “One of the ways of getting at ransomware attacks and deterring them is to be able to get at the financial networks that so many of those criminal networks use and that gets right at the issue of digital currencies as well.”

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TECHNOLOGY

Crypto 101: What is Cryptocurrency and is it safe to buy?

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Cryptocurrency has entered the mainstream and if you feel like you’re way behind, you’re not alone.

TAMPA, Fla. — At Florida’s Bitcoin and Blockchain Summit earlier this month (which was held here in Tampa) Mayor Jane Castor announced she was going to take her next paycheck in bitcoin.

Miami and New York’s mayors recently did the same.

Over in Los Angeles, the Staples Center, one of the world’s most famous arenas, will get its name changed to “Crypto.com Arena” come Christmas Day, for a reported $700 million.

Apologies for coming late to the conversation – we’ve been busy preparing for today’s cryptocurrency conference here in the @CityofTampa. 🪙😏 But I’m certainly up for the challenge! #ForbesTopEmergingTechnologyCity #FloridasTechCapitol #TechTown

— Jane Castor (@JaneCastor) November 5, 2021

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Cryptocurrency has entered the mainstream and if you feel like you’re way behind, you’re not alone. But, all of this Bitcoin and crypto talk can be a heck of a lot for us newbies to the coin game, even if it has been around for more than a decade.

So, let’s learn together. It’s a journey I like to call: Crypto 101.

To make this easier, we’ll break it down into four parts:

  • What is cryptocurrency?
  • How can I buy it?
  • How safe is it? 
  • Am I too late to the game to get in?

What is cryptocurrency?

Bitcoin, Blockchain, Coinbase, Etherium, To the Moon – it’s all a part of the crypto vernacular, but let’s get down to the basics.

In simplistic terms, it’s essentially a peer-to-peer digital cash system that’s decentralized, so it doesn’t go through any bank, government or third party, like how we’d traditionally use cash or a credit card.

“Cryptocurrency, very simply, is just a digital or virtual currency that’s secured by code, which makes it nearly impossible to counterfeit,” said Nick Agar, the founder of AXIA, an ecosystem and non-profit for hyper deflationary virtual currency. 

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“These currencies run on something called a blockchain, which is a distributed ledger where these transactions are being tracked. What makes them that much more secure is they have to go through a proper validation process.”

And that process is called mining, which verifies the transaction via sophisticated computers solving very complex math problems.

“In bitcoin, all of these miners are processing the transaction, which is ultimately securing the network and making sure all the transactions are secure,” said Mark Palomba, the founder and chief investment officer at Deltacore Capital, a hedge fund for digital assets based here in Tampa. 

“In return, they get newly minted bitcoin.”

Najah Roberts, the chief visionary officer of a crypto services company called Crypto Blockchain Plug, likened it to what we’re already doing with digital payments, like Apple Pay or Venmo.

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“Money is changing,” Roberts said. “We’re already in the digital space…this is just one step further, which is a digital currency, such as bitcoin. I tell people to get knowledgeable about Bitcoin first.” 

So let’s do that because there are thousands of cryptocurrencies, but Bitcoin is the most popular and the most lucrative. It’s like the McDonald’s of crypto. 

Satoshi Nakamoto created bitcoin in 2009. He wanted an independent way for users to send money to each other – fast and with little to no transaction fee.

“There will only be 21 million bitcoins ever in existence,” Palomba said. “They are slowly trickled into the flow of the system by miners, decreasing every four years until 2141.”

So, they’re limited and clearly in demand, with Bitcoin exploding over the last decade. CaseBitcoin says its 10-year compounded growth rate is unmatched in financial history, nearly tripling your money every year for a decade.

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How can I buy it?

Okay, so now I’ve got your interest, but how do you buy, trade or sell crypto, like Bitcoin?

“Always make sure you’re using a trusted exchange with a lot of security,” Palomba said. “In the U.S., the biggest exchange is Coinbase, which is the quickest and easiest way for beginners to get into the market.”

“Similar to when you open a bank account,” Agar said. “You go through a registration process at one of these exchanges and then you receive one of these cryptocurrency wallets to go into the market and purchase whatever crypto you want at that time.”

How safe is it?

So, now that you know how to buy some, how safe is it?

The Federal Trade Commission says consumers lost north of $80 million on crypto scams during the back end of 2020 and the first quarter of 2021, but experts say that has more to do with a lack of research and knowledge than it does with the crypto process itself.

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Blockchain technology is known for its unparalleled security. The user has their identity protected, but all transactions are public, making it nearly impossible to hack or cheat the system. With thousands of miners keeping track of the transactions and showing proof of their work to get paid, it increases the security.

“We should actually be looking to crypto as a far, far more secure way to make our payments,” Agar said. “Because of the immutable nature of blockchain transactions and because they’re so transparent on that ledger at all times.”

“Anybody that’s talking about massive gains, immediately you have to put up your red flags,” Roberts said. “I meet so many people who are scammed in this space and they don’t know better. The moment you begin to get greedy, that’s the time you begin to get scammed.”

Is it too late to get in?

We’re a decade in, so is it too late to get into the crypto game, or are we just getting started?

“This is a marketplace that’s in its infancy,” Agar said. “We’re almost at an inflection point in our economic system in terms of what is possible.”

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“The sky is the limit,” Palomba said. “We’re only scratching the surface on the technology and the tools and the solutions that this can really offer. In 5-10 years, I don’t think we’ll recognize a lot of the difference that it’ll make in how we transact and do things on the internet.”

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GOOGLE

Google: Machine Written Content May Be Okay For Ranking Soon One Day

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Picture of Google text with Mac computer

Google has talked about how machine written content is currently against Google’s guidelines but some day might not be. We heard Google talk about this change in 2017, yes over four years ago, but still today, machine generated content is against Google’s guidelines. But that may change soon, suggests John Mueller of Google.

John Mueller spoke about this topic again, just this past Friday, about how Google will eventually not care if the content is generated by a machine or a human but rather if the content is overall quality. This came up at the 54:19 mark where John said “my feeling is at some point that is going to shift a little bit in the sense that we’ll focus more on the quality rather than how it was generated.”

John feels that some time in the near future that “some mix of maybe automatically generated content and human curated content I imagine will become normal.”

You can listen to it here at the 54 mark:

Here is the transcript:

From our guidelines it is the case that if it’s automatically generated content it should be blocked by robots for example. But my feeling is at some point that is going to shift a little bit in the sense that we’ll focus more on the quality rather than how it was generated.

And that’s something where I could imagine that there might be some setups for automatically generated content where you can actually create something that is fairly useful, where based on maybe the input data that comes in it’s actually something that is useful for people. So I know for example I think in the US some of the news sites use feeds from the different institutes for earthquake detection and they will automatically generate a news article if they see that one of these feeds says oh there was an earthquake in this big city. And they will take this automatically generated content and publish it initially because it’s like as soon as possible get the information out there. But they’ll also have people who go in and actually create something useful on top of that.

So some mix of maybe automatically generated content and human curated content I imagine will become normal. But we’ll continue to have the the really low effort automatically generated content as well where people just say oh I want to target this keywords give me five paragraphs of text and make it look like it’s written in English. And you like a normal person looks at it and reads through it and says this doesn’t make much sense or these sentences don’t fit together. And this kind of low effort content I think will continue to be something that our systems will try to recognize as low quality maybe spam and treat appropriately. And in the end if it’s low quality content it doesn’t matter if it was written by a person or by a machine, it’s like it’s not that useful for people.

Forum discussion at YouTube Community.

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