Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by Dr. AMK, Jan 7, 2018.
Blockchain: What Happens Next?
Skills you will need to improve to stay relevant in the future:
By 2020, senior executives project that employees will need to improve their performance in these areas:
- Analytical Thinking > 21%
- Social Media > 15%
- Fabrication Skills > 15%
- Learning > 14%
- Inclusion > 13%
- Written Communications > 13%
- Interpersonal Skills > 12%
- Language Skills > 12%
- Global Operating > 12%
Response base: 2,000 senior business leaders.
Source Cognizant Center for Future of Work.
Keeping an Eye on AI with Dr. Kate Crawford
Today, Dr. Crawford talks about both the promises and the problems of AI; why— when it comes to data – bigger isn’t necessarily better; and how – even in an era of increasingly complex technological advances – we can adopt AI design principles that empower people to shape their technical tools in ways they’d like to use them most.
Cryptocurrency miners spent $776M on millions of GPUs last year
Miners of cryptocurrency bought some 3 million GPUs in 2017, spending a total of $776 million. — Jon Peddie Research, 2018
The shortage of GPUs brought about by cryptocurrency mining has impacted scientific research, PC gaming, and more.
Cryptocurrency miners bought some 3 million GPUs in 2017, totaling $776 million, according to a recent report from Jon Peddie Research (JPR). Miners use the parallel processing power of GPUs to collect currencies like Bitcoin, Monero, Ethereum, and more.
While the sales are good news for GPU manufacturers, they're impacting other industries in negative ways. The rise of cryptocurrency mining led to GPU shortages that have impacted PC gaming, graphic designers, and even researchers looking for alien life. The shortage has caused secondhand prices to skyrocket, rising by hundreds of dollars in many cases.
Interestingly enough, JPR noted, GPU shipments were actually down in the fourth quarter, and year-over-year as well.
"Year-to-year total GPU shipments decreased -4.8%, desktop graphics decreased -2%, notebooks decreased -7%. Over 363 graphics units shipped in 2017," the JPR report said.
The fourth quarter is usually flat, or slightly up, the report said. But 2017's final quarter was down. And while the year-over-year number is an average, discrete desktop graphics units actually increased 9.7% in 2017.
AMD was the big winner in 2017, increasing its market share by 8.1%, according to JPR's report. Other leaders weren't so lucky—Nvidia decreased -6%, and Intel decreased -2%.
While cryptocurrency miners are causing problems now, they're still not the core audience for these units.
"Gaming has been and will continue to be the primary driver for GPU sales, augmented by the demand from cryptocurrency miners," JPR president Jon Peddie said in the report. "We expect demand to slacken from the miners as margins drop in response increasingly utilities costs and supply and demand forces that drive up AIB prices. Gamers can offset those costs by mining when not gaming, but prices will not drop in the near future."
Peddie is right, as cryptocurrency markets have been volatile as of late, and many of those still mining are moving onto other options like ASIC chips. Still, the GPU shortage is a reality as of now, and it's unclear when it will let up.
Artificial Intelligence And Blockchain: 3 Major Benefits Of Combining These Two Mega-Trends
Previously I have written about the reality and potential of ongoing efforts to integrate blockchain with the internet of things (IoT). Now I am going to look at how encrypted, distributed ledgers could unlock new frontiers for another cutting-edge technology: artificial intelligence (AI).
AI, as the term is most often used today is, simply put, the theory and practice of building machines capable of performing tasks that seem to require intelligence. Currently, cutting-edge technologies striving to make this a reality include machine learning, artificial neural networks and deep learning.
Meanwhile, blockchain is essentially a new filing system for digital information, which stores data in an encrypted, distributed ledger format. Because data is encrypted and distributed across many different computers, it enables the creation of tamper-proof, highly robust databases which can be read and updated only by those with permission.
Although much has been written from an academic perspective on the potential of combining these ground-breaking technologies, real world applications are sparse at the moment. However, I expect this situation to change in the near future.
So here are three ways in which AI and blockchain are made for each other.
1. AI and encryption work very well together
Data held on a blockchain is by its nature highly secure, thanks to the cryptography which is inherent in its filing system.
What this means is that blockchains are ideal for storing the highly sensitive, personal data which, when smartly processed, can unlock so much value and convenience in our lives. Think of smart healthcare systems that make accurate diagnoses based on our medical scans and records, or even simply the recommendation engines used by Amazon or Netflix to suggest what we might like to buy or watch next.
Of course, the data which is fed into these systems (after being collected from us as we browse or interact with services) is highly personal. The businesses that deal in it must put up large amounts of money to meet the standards expected of them in terms of data security. And even so, large-scale data breaches leading to the loss of personal data are increasingly common (and increasingly large!).
Blockchain databases hold their information in an encrypted state. This means that only the private keys must be kept safe – a few kilobytes of data – in order for all of the data on the chain to be secure.
AI has plenty to bring to the table in terms of security, too. An emerging field of AI is concerned with building algorithms which are capable of working with (processing, or operating with) data while it is still in an encrypted state. As any part of a data process which involves exposing unencrypted data represents a security risk, reducing these incidents could help to make things much safer.
2. Blockchain can help us track, understand and explain decisions made by AI
Decisions made by AIs can sometimes be hard for humans to understand. This is because they are capable of assessing a large number of variables independently of each other and “learning” which ones are important to the overall task it is trying to achieve.
As an example, AI algorithms are expected to increasingly be used in making decisions about whether financial transactions are fraudulent, and should be blocked or investigated.
For some time though, it will still be necessary to have these decisions audited for accuracy by humans. And given the huge amount of data that can be taken into consideration, this can be a complex task. Walmart, for example, feeds a months’ worth of transactional data across all of its stores into its AI systems which make decisions on what products should be stocked, and where.
If decisions are recorded, on a datapoint-by-datapoint basis, on a blockchain, it makes it far simpler for them to be audited, with the confidence that the record has not been tampered with between the information being recorded and the start of the audit process.
No matter how clearly we can see that AI offers huge advantages in many fields, if it isn’t trusted by the public, then its usefulness will be severely limited. Recording the decision-making process on blockchains could be a step towards achieving the level of transparency and insight into robot minds that will be needed in order to gain public trust.
3. AI can manage blockchains more efficiently than humans (or “stupid” conventional computers)
Traditionally, computers have been very fast, but very stupid. Without explicit instructions on how to perform a task, computers can’t get them done. This means that, due to their encrypted nature, operating with blockchain data on “stupid” computers requires large amounts of computer processing power. As an example, the hashing algorithms used to mine blocks on the Bitcoin blockchain take a “brute force” approach – effectively trying every combination of characters until they find one which fits to verify a transaction.
AI is an attempt to move away from this brute force approach, and manage tasks in a more intelligent, thoughtful manner. Consider how a human expert on cracking codes will, if they are good, become better and more efficient at code-breaking as they successfully crack more and more codes throughout their career. A machine learning-powered mining algorithm would tackle its job in a similar way – although rather than having to take a lifetime to become an expert, it could almost instantaneously sharpen its skills, if it is fed the right training data.
Clearly, blockchain and AI are two technological trends which, while ground-breaking in their own rights, have the potential to become even more revolutionary when put together. Both serve to enhance the capabilities of the other, while also offering opportunities for better oversight and accountability.
What Is The Difference Between Bitcoin And Ripple?
There is so much hype and confusion in the blockchain, distributed ledger and cryptocurrency world and one name that keeps increasignly coming up in that space is Ripple. I often get asked about the difference between Bitcoin (still the best known cryptocurrency based on blockchain) and Ripple. So in this post I try to explain what exactly Ripple is and what makes it different from Bitcoin.
Before I go into any more detail, always, remember that investing in cryptocoins or tokens is highly speculative and the market is largely unregulated. Anyone considering it should be prepared to lose their entire investment.
Ripple v Bitcoin
While Bitcoin is a digital currency intended as a means of payment for goods and services, Ripple is a payment settling, currency exchange and remittance system intended for banks and payment networks. The idea is to provide a system for direct transfer of assets (e.g. money, gold, etc.) that settles in almost real-time, and is a cheaper, more transparent and secure alternative to transfer systems used by banks today, such as the SWIFT payment system.
Bitcoin is based on blockchain technology, while Ripple doesn't use blockchain but uses a distributed consensus ledger using a network of validating servers and crypto tokens called XRP (sometimes referred to as Ripples).
XRP – which is the actual cryptocurrency – is a token which is used on the Ripple network to facilitate transfers of money between different currencies. Existing settlement systems generally use US dollars as a common currency for converting between other currencies. This incurs currency exchange fees and takes time – which is why bank transfers between accounts in different countries often take up to three days to process.
By first converting the value of the transfer into XRP, rather than USD, exchange fees are eliminated and processing of payments is reduced to seconds.
Banks including Fidor Bank, Santander, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and a consortium of 61 Japanese banks have all said that they are trialing or implementing applications utilizing the Ripple Network payment system.
XRP is a token used for representing transfer of value across the Ripple Network. Different to bitcoin, where new coins are created (up the a capped level) as rewards for participants offering computing power to maintain the blockchain network, Ripple created 100 billion XRP coins at its inception.
Ripple recently added a new feature whereby, through a smart contract system (escrows), the company releases 1 billion of its XRP holding to themselves each month to help fund business operations, incentivize customers, and sell to accredited investors. Any unused tokens will be placed back into escrow. According to internal sources, last month (which was the first month of escrow) Ripple only used approximately 100 million and put 900 million back into escrow.
Where can I spend Ripple's XRP?
Ripple was never designed to be a currency or a method of payment. However, there is a small list of merchants which accept payment in XRP tokens online. For example, you can buy honey, hot sauces and jewelry. You can find a list of vendors that are supposedly willing to accept Ripple's XRP, but things are changing constantly and some that are listed there do not or no longer accept it. The primary use case for XRP is intended to be for transfer of other currencies (or indeed commodities such as gold or oil) over the Ripple network." Each time a money (or asset) transferring organization such as a bank uses the network to conduct a transfer and settlement, the cost is deducted in a small amount of XRP. This is what gives XRP themselves their value – in some ways they can be considered “fuel” for the machines which conduct these transfers.
How can I invest in Ripple? And should I?
Ripple has certainly gained a lot of momentum and the list of organizations which are using it indicates that the tokens themselves will become valued commodities in their own right. In fact, last year, the increase in value of one XRP token outperformed Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency. At the start of 2017 one XRP was valued $0.006. They peaked, at the start of this year, at £3.87, before quickly crashing down to their current value of around $1 per XRP.
XRP are traded on cryptocurrency exchanges such as Binance and Poloniex. Usually, it isn’t possible to buy them with existing government-issued (fiat) currencies – you will have to buy Bitcoin or Ethereum first, then transfer them to an exchange to trade them for XRP.
As to the question of “should you?” – well, as I am not a financial advisor I wouldn’t give investment advice but it is fair to say that the uptake of Ripple by major financial institutions is generally considered to be a strong indicator of XRP’s future value. However, before investing in any crypocurrency you should thoroughly research it first, and make up your own mind about whether or not it is likely to be a valuable asset in the future. As we have seen, the value of all cryptocurrencies is highly volatile, and can go down just as quickly as it goes up. A solid piece of advice is never to invest more than you can comfortably afford to lose.
Bernard Marr is a best-selling author & keynote speaker on business, technology and
Good friend of mine bought around $750 in cryptocurrencies and it's around 30k today.
Yes, all persons or companies were early owned cryptocurrencies specially Bitcoin they are lucky with the current market values. But still there is a risk that they can lose everything in anytime.
I have one of my friends from UK, he is one of the experts in this industry, and he said that even himself doesn't know everything about what is happening, and he said to me :"it takes a while to get your head round it. even then some of it is unclear and sketchy" and there are many hidden goals behind it, not necessarily to be good for everyone on the planet. The organizations created this industry are very powerful, and they will continue until they achieve their goals. It happened before and it seems it will happen again.
Separate names with a comma.