Korean university faces boycott over fears of AI weapons

How Complete Beginners are using an ‘Untapped’ Google Network to create Passive Income ON DEMAND

For all the joking we do about Skynet-scenarios and killer robots, there's some truth to the worrisome creations. To prevent Terminators from becoming a real threat, some 50 robotics experts are boycotting the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and…
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Cash For Apps: Make money with android app

The internet can’t decide whether it loves or fears the Pyeongchang Olympics’ human-faced sacred bird

NBC isn’t even streaming the Winter Olympics opening ceremony until 8pm ET tonight, but in the time since the event happened live yesterday in Pyeongchang, Korean netizens have made enough fan art and memes out of the ceremony’s man-faced bird that it’s trending nationally on Twitter, and hitting #1 on Yahoo! Japan trending search results.

“인면조,” or Inmyeonjo, literally translates to “human-faced bird.” The trending tag “인면조 너무” translates to “Inmyeonjo is so,” which is a partial sentence people have completed in different ways, including “Inmyeonjo is so scary,” and “Inmyeonjo is so handsome.” People feel very strongly about this animal one way or another, but are divided on whether it’s terrifying:

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Bitcoin could face new regulations in the U.S. after top financial cops and lawmakers raise new fears about virtual currency

A hearing Tuesday in the Senate could be a preview of what’s to come.

Leading U.S. financial regulators expressed an uneasiness Tuesday with the rapid rise of bitcoin — and signaled that new regulation of virtual currency could be on the horizon.

For lawmakers on the Senate Banking Committee, their hearing this morning elucidated a fresh sense that federal law may not be fully equipped to deal with a virtual currency that’s now valued at around $ 113 billion — not to mention the potential for theft and fraud and the arrival of so-called initial coin offerings, which are essentially fundraising rounds that rely on digital tokens.

In response, regulators at two key federal agencies — the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission — sought to strike a delicate balance in their testimony to the Senate panel. They acknowledged there are gaps in consumer and investor protections but stressed their interest in sparing a new, innovative market from too much early regulation.

Still, Democrats and Republicans alike continued to return to the same question: Is a new law governing bitcoin buying, selling and enforcement necessary?

“We may be back with our friends from Treasury and the Fed to ask for additional legislation,” said Jay Clayton, the leader of the SEC, referring to the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve.

To be sure, bitcoin isn’t totally unregulated. By definition, the SEC regulates all securities — including bitcoin in cases where the virtual currency doubles as an investment vehicle, such as a stock. At the CFTC, meanwhile, the agency determined back in 2015 that bitcoin qualifies as a “commodity” that it can monitor under federal law.

But they do face limits in their oversight, which the agencies’ leaders acknowledged Tuesday. Neither entity has oversight when it comes to so-called “spot markets,” for example, or hubs like Coinbase where consumers can buy and sell bitcoin directly. Those largely are regulated by the individual states, and in the eyes of some critics, perhaps not very effectively.

“The spot market for bitcoin is not a regulated marketplace,” said the CFTC’s leader, Chairman J. Christopher Giancarlo. Federal enforcers can pursue “fraud and manipulation,” he said, “but we don’t have the ability to set the standards in those markets.”

For that to change, it would fall to Congress. While lawmakers on Tuesday didn’t offer any specific proposal to regulate bitcoin, many Democrats and Republicans came armed with a litany of concerns or criticisms about cryptocurrency — and the government’s ability to handle it.

Democratic Sens. Sherrod Brown and Jack Reed, for example, expressed doubts the federal regulators have enough technologists on hand to grapple with the rise of bitcoin.

For GOP Sen. Richard Shelby, the fear is “where the bottom is” when it comes to the value of virtual currency, which has whipsawed over the last few months — and lost as much as half its value in just weeks. After trading as high as $ 20,000 last year, it was worth under $ 7,000 as the hearing came to a close.

To Democratic Sen. Mark Warner, the cybersecurity of bitcoin platforms remains a challenge. His comments came on a day that South Korean officials alleged that North Korea is behind a major new theft of bitcoin.

Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly pressed regulators on what they were doing to help “retail” investors — average Americans who have seized on bitcoin mania. In response, the CFTC’s Giancarlo said his agency and others had sought to arm libraries — where bitcoin is among frequent searches — with information about the industry.

Fellow Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto raised the recent trend of companies adding “blockchain” to their names to squeeze out more market value. Federal officials shared her complaints.

And many expressed their doubts with initial coin offerings, or ICOs. Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren sought to point out that none of the roughly $ 4 billion so far raised through ICOs had registered properly with the SEC, potentially depriving investors of information that might affect their decision making.

In recent weeks, the SEC has taken explicit aim at these ICOs, warning some and penalizing others. “Experience tells us that while some market participants may make fortunes, the risks to all investors are high. Caution is merited,” warned SEC and CFTC leaders in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal last month.

On Tuesday, the agency’s leader, Clayton, stressed to the Senate: “We’ve made it clear what the law is.”

For now, though, committee leaders signaled they’d be interested in legislation that might address some of these ills. But Sen. Mike Crapo, the panel’s Republican chairman, suggested to the financial regulators who testified that they had to come to him with a proposal first.

“I would ask you to get back to me on recommendations … legislative system and whether we need to provide further clarification from Congress,” he said.


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South Korea to ban cryptocurrency trading amid fears of tax evasion

In a move that's sent bitcoin spiralling, officials in South Korea have announced plans to ban cryptocurrency trading in the country. The plans come against a backdrop of concerns regarding tax evasion, as cryptocurrency trading in the country is hig…
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Supply chain scuttlebutt stokes fears that Apple’s $999 iPhone X price is too high

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Ahead of typical seasonal trends, where iPhone sales traditionally cool off after the holidays, supply chain reports have begun projecting doom and gloom for Apple’s flagship iPhone X, prompting analysts to cut estimates.
AppleInsider – Frontpage News

iPhone X price premium fears overblown, strong demand continues in U.S., China

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New data collected from prospective iPhone buyers in China by an investment analyst suggests that demand for the 256GB iPhone X remains outstanding — which will lead to a massive quarter for Apple.
AppleInsider – Frontpage News

American public fears AI’s impact on employment, says Syzygy

American public fears AI's impact on employment

Over two-thirds (70 percent) of the American public fear artificial intelligence’s impact on employment, reveals a new study from digital company Syzygy.

The impact of AI on our day-to-day lives has been a hot topic in IoT news of late. The wider public are aware that AI, robotics and automation are combining to shake up the world in which we live.

These are justifiable concerns that tabloid newspapers love to feed, with proclamations that the rise of robotics signals the end of humanity – especially when the likes of Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk weigh in on the subject.

It’s important, therefore, that a more considered discourse takes place, which measures and responds to public concerns and questions, as well as taking steps to protect the people and economies affected by emerging technologies, when necessary.

A report from digital agency Syzygy, led by Dr Paul Marsden, has gauged the prevailing attitudes of the American people, in a paper titled Sex, Lies and A.I.

In an attempt to clarify a term that marketing has rendered virtually meaningless, Syzygy defines AI simply as, “technology that behaves intelligently, using skills we normally associate with human intelligence, including the ability to hold conversations, learn, reason and solve problems”.

Read more: Opinion divided on impact of AI on jobs market, says BT survey

AI hopes & fears

Most of the participants appear open to AI playing a greater role in their lives, particularly in how they interact with businesses and brands – with over two thirds accepting the idea. However, there is widespread scepticism about the benefits of AI technology, with 88 percent of Americans believing that AI in marketing should be regulated by an ethical code of conduct.

The report concludes that businesses employing automated solutions must communicate the practical and personal benefits of AI, stressing how it will make people’s lives easier.

This comes with the caveat that we want to know when an AI is being used. Eighty-seven percent of the American public supports a new ‘Blade Runner law’ that makes it illegal for AI applications such as social media bots, chatbots and virtual assistants to conceal their identity and pose as humans.

This is despite the fact that we generally prefer AIs to reflect human emotions and appearances. ‘Conscientiousness’ was elected the most important personality trait for an AI application, conveying the sense of dependability, dutifulness and efficiency.

According to the report, the emotions evoked by AI are mixed – the most dominant being: ‘interested’ (45 percent), ‘concerned’ (41 percent) and ‘skeptical’ (40 percent). Many people (52 percent) in the US believe AI technology is already influencing their lives; 41 percent remember seeing AI in the media in the last month; and 55 percent use a virtual assistant such as Siri or Alexa.

AI's impact on employment
US public’s greatest AI fears (credit: SYZYGY)

Read more: Lost jobs but happier customers — insurance embraces AI and IoT

AI’s impact on employment

While participants, generally hope that AI will make their lives easier, there are fears that job automation will have repercussions for employment in the US (with 30% labelling it as their top fear). Those surveyed also predict that over one-third (36 percent) of their current job duties could be replace by AI in the next five years.

The report also revealed strong support for ‘LAWS’ – lethal autonomous weapon systems, popularly referred to as ‘killer robots’.

“Seventy-one percent of Americans believe that this AI technology should be permitted in armed conflict. This US sentiment stands in stark contrast to the call for an outright ban on these weapons by Elon Musk, Neuralink CEO and chairman of OpenAI, along with over 100 leaders in AI research.”

The American public seems generally open to the adoption of AI in their day to day lives. However, the report highlights the desire for greater regulation and transparency in how artificial intelligence is employed by businesses, particularly when it comes to the potential for AI to mislead and manipulate. This feeling of helplessness is epitomised in the participants fears around AI’s impact on employment.

Read more: Research reveals potential dangers of ‘prejudiced’ AI

The ethical challenges of AI

Even when we accept emerging AI technologies, difficult ethical questions remain. The survey raises a moral conundrum that has been increasingly debated since the advent of autonomous cars: how should the AI react in the split seconds before an accident? Syzygy’s report presents the dilemma like this:

“The autonomous vehicle rounds a corner and detects a crosswalk full of children. It brakes, but your lane is unexpectedly full of sand from a recent rock slide. It can’t get traction. Your car does some calculations: If it continues braking, it will almost certainly kill five children. The only way to save them is to steer you off the cliff to your certain death. What should the car do?”

It’s a difficult moral position and any answer will need to be pre-programmed into the vehicle. Mercedes-Benz execute Chistoph von Hugo revealed to Fortune Magazine last year that it’s autonomous cars will save the car’s drivers and passengers, even at the expense of pedestrians’ lives.

Given that only 30 percent of Americans would travel in a car programmed to minimize fatalities, even at the expense of its own passengers, it’s a seemingly impossible marketing situation. Yet these are the sorts of questions that businesses must answer if they are to provide the clarity the American public is demanding and reassure them that a future with AI is one that stands to benefit humankind more widely than they fear.

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