A woman living in Kenya's Dadaab, which is among the world's largest refugee camps, wanders across the vast, dusty site to a central hut lined with computers. Like many others who have been brutally displaced and then warehoused at the margins of our global system, her days are spent toiling away for a new capitalist vanguard thousands of miles away in Silicon Valley. A day's work might include labelling videos, transcribing audio, or showing algorithms how to identify various photos of cats. Amid a drought of real employment, "clickwork" represents one of few formal options for Dadaab's residents, though the work is volatile, arduous, and, when waged, paid by the piece. Cramped and airless workspaces, festooned with a jumble of cables and loose wires, are the antithesis to the near-celestial campuses where the new masters of the universe reside.
Olaf Scholz, the centre-left Social Democrat (SPD) candidate to succeed Angela Merkel, is one of Germany's most influential politicians, with a reputation for being meticulous, confident and fiercely ambitious. As finance minister and vice-chancellor under Merkel, he enjoys a close relationship with the chancellor and has even sought to position himself as the true Merkel continuity candidate, despite hailing from a different party. He was pictured recently on the cover of the Sueddeutsche Zeitung magazine adopting Merkel's famous "rhombus" hand gesture -- a stunt that provoked consternation from rivals in Merkel's CDU camp. Nicknamed "Scholzomat" for his robotic speeches, Scholz has hardly stood out for his charisma in the run-up to Sunday's election. But unlike his two main rivals, Armin Laschet of Merkel's CDU-CSU alliance and Annalena Baerbock of the Greens, the 63-year-old has also managed not to make embarrassing mistakes on the campaign trail. As a result, he is now the favourite to head Germany's next coalition government.
Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) deputy CEO David Cohen has revealed the bank has developed an AI machine learning model to help it further identify payments that contain abusive transaction descriptions. In the three months from May to July, a total of 106,000 transactions that contained words it deemed threatening or abusive were blocked, and those customers responsible were required to resend those payments using appropriate messaging, Cohen said. Cohen explained, however, the bank's existing current filter has limitations of being able to detect payments that are considered abusive, but this has now been addressed with a newly developed AI model. "Our experience has been that it's quite easy for people if they really are intent on sending abuse, it's quite easy for them to avoid that filter," he told the Standing Committee on Economics in its review of the four major banks and other financial institutions on Thursday. "Sometimes they put symbols in instead of letters, sometimes they just spell it differently, and so it's a rather limited tool. Sometimes, they send perfectly acceptable English words in a very threatening way. So, a message like, 'I'm watching you', or a message like'I'm standing outside your house' doesn't get caught by the filter. "What we've done because of that -- and as part of the evolution -- is we built in an AI-led, machine learning model, which scans patterns of behaviour, and patterns of language use and transaction types, such as very small amounts across the full spectrum of transactions.
"Alexa, buy a stock that has the best chance of going up between 1% and 3% today." Could the complexity of financial research ever become this simple? New developments in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are disrupting the underwriting process, portfolio composition, robo-advising, research and virtually every corner of fintech. Someday, you'll have reliable AI that can analyze your specific investing style, alert you as to where opportunities lay hidden and offer you hard-hitting analyses to stay informed. This is vital because sound financial systems underpin economic growth and development, and they're the engine behind the civilized world in advancing shared prosperity and reducing class inequality.
"Life isn't fair" is perhaps one of the most frequently repeated philosophical statements passed down from generation to generation. In a world increasingly dominated by data, however, groups of people that have already been dealt an unfair hand may see themselves further disadvantaged through the use of algorithms to determine whether or not they qualify for employment, housing, or credit, among other basic needs for survival. In the past few years, more attention has been paid to algorithmic bias, but there is still debate about both what can be done to address the issue, as well as what should be done. The use of an algorithm is not at issue; algorithms are essentially a set of instructions on how to complete a problem or task. Yet the lack of transparency surrounding the data and how it is weighed and used for decision making is a key concern, particularly when the algorithm's use may impact people in significant ways, often with no explanation as to why they have been deemed unqualified or unsuitable for a product, service, or opportunity.
Intuit, the business and financial tools company best known for its TurboTax software, made news last week for its acquisition of Mailchimp, and is now announcing a corporate venture capital arm, Intuit Ventures, to identify growth opportunities and trends beneficial for its key customers -- small businesses and consumers. The company is the latest to get into corporate venture, joining a group that includes WorkDay, Salesforce and Zoom. CEO Sasan Goodarzi spoke exclusively with TechCrunch about the new venture, which will focus its initial investments in the areas of fintech, e-commerce infrastructure, platforms and enablement, virtual experts/digital advice and AI/ML. The initial idea for the venture arm came about a year ago, when Goodarzi and Intuit's chief corporate strategy and development officer Anton Hanebrink were discussing the acceleration of internal and external company pipelines and how to align those with the company's mission and identify big opportunities. The VC arm is one of the ways they would do this, which would enable the company to accelerate innovation while also learning from companies, Goodarzi said.
Would you like to be in the aviation business right now? For most people, this would be one of the worst places they could be in. For FLYR Labs CEO and Founder Alex Mans, crisis equals opportunity. FLYR Labs, makers of the data and AI-driven Revenue Operating System for airlines, travel, and transportation, today announced it has secured $150 million in Series C. ZDNet caught up with Mans to find out more about the investment and FLYR's product and growth. "Growth" and "airlines" are hard to use in the same sentence these days.
Tianjin, China – At a factory in China's north, workers are busy testing an automated vehicle designed to move bulky items around industrial spaces, one of a new generation of robots Beijing wants to shift the country's manufacturing up the value chain. The robot's Tianjin-based maker has received tax breaks and government-guaranteed loans to build products that modernize China's vast factory sector and advance its technological expertise. "The government is paying great attention to the manufacturing sector and the real economy -- we can feel that," said Ren Zhiyong, general manager of Tianjin Langyu Robot Co. China is backing R&D efforts by high-tech manufacturers like Langyu, driven by an urgent desire to reduce reliance on imported technology and reinforce its dominance as a global factory power, even as it cracks down on other parts of the economy. Beijing's pivot puts the focus on advanced manufacturing, rather than the services sector, to steer the world's second-largest economy past the so-called "middle income trap", where countries lose productivity and stagnate in lower-value economic output.
Shelf Engine's mission to eliminate food waste in grocery retailers now has some additional celebrity backers. The company brought in a $2 million extension to its $41 million Series B announced in March. Ellen DeGeneres, Portia de Rossi, Shaun White and Shawn Mendes are the new backers, who came in through a strategic round of funding alongside PLUS Capital to bring the Seattle-based company's total funding to $60 million since the company's inception in 2016. This includes a $12 million Series A from 2020. Shelf Engine's grocery order automation technology applies advanced statistical models and artificial intelligence to deliver accurate food order volume so that customers can reduce their food waste by as much as 32% while increasing gross margins and sales of more than 50%.
"The pace at which themes are transforming businesses is blistering, but the adoption of many technologies -- like smartphones or renewable energy -- have surpassed experts' forecasts by decades, because we often think linearly but progress occurs exponentially," say the strategists. They say a paradigm shift in the explosion of data, faster processing power and the rise of artificial intelligence will bring about the "fastest rollout of disruptive tech in history." And in the big stock universe, an increasing few are showing investors the money. "Over the past 30 years, just 1.5% of companies generated all the net wealth on the global stock market, meaning that actually only a handful of disrupters ("superstar firms") really influence long-term financial markets," says Israel and the team. Here are the 14 technologies: 6G, brain computer interfacing (BCI), emotional artificial intelligence, synthetic biology, immortality, bionic humans, eVTOL (electrical vertical takeoff and landing vehicles), wireless electricity, holograms, metaverse, next-gen batteries, oceantech (ocean energy, precision fishing, etc.), green mining and CCS (negative-emissions technology that captures and stores carbon dioxide before it can be released).