What’s new in blockchain, AI and IoT: April 21-27, 2017

Following are highlights from the past week’s news developments in blockchain, artificial intelligence and Internet-of-Things technologies:

Spotify acquires Mediachain Labs for tracking music rights
Music-streaming firm Spotify revealed on April 26 that it had acquired Mediachain Labs, which has built the blockchain-based Mediachain for tracking creative rights ownership in the music industry. Spotify did not provide financial details about the acquisition but said in a statement that “[t]he Mediachain team will join our New York City offices and help further Spotify’s journey towards a more fair, transparent and rewarding music industry for creators and rights owners.”

AI will be ‘larger than all tech revolutions,’ VC CEO says
In an April 26 interview with CNBC, Sinovation Ventures CEO Kai-Fu Lee said artificial intelligence will be “larger than all of human tech revolutions added together, including electricity, [the] industrial revolution, internet, mobile internet…” While AI will “probably replace 50 percent of human jobs,” people will still have a place in service jobs that require “[t]ouching one’s heart with your heart,” he said, adding that many traditional businesses are adopting the technology too slowly.

California lawmakers to weigh IoT security proposal
The California legislature has scheduled a May 9 hearing on a proposal that would establish new security requirements for any Internet of Things devices. Introduced by Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, SB 327 would require manufacturers of connected devices to ensure their products come with “reasonable security features” and to provide users with a “short, plainly written” explanation about the type of data collected by devices. The National Law Review said the bill “could be the first legislative mandate for IoT device manufacturers to proactively implement ‘security by design’.”

Tencent releases TrustSQL blockchain platform for enterprises
The China’s Tencent Holdings is launching TrustSQL, a new platform designed to provide blockchain-based infrastructure and services to enterprise customers. According to a translation of a white paper about the platform released by Tencent, “The platform provides a rich framework for application development and includes basic application models such as digital assets, shared books, proof certificates, stock swaps and proprietary transactions.”

Infosys releases next generation of its AI platform
Infosys on April 26 launched a new artificial intelligence platform called Nia that’s designed to help businesses solve a variety of complex problems such as “forecasting revenues, forecasting what products need to be built, understanding customer behavior, deeply understanding the content of contracts and legal documents, understanding compliance, and fraud.” Infosys Nia builds on the company’s previous Mana AI platform and AssistEdge, its solution for robotic process automation.

Sigfox, Alizent team up for industrial asset tracking
France-based Sigfox, which provides low-bandwidth connectivity for networked devices, on April 27 announced it is partnering with Alizent to advance benefits for the industrial Internet of Things. By combining technologies and capabilities, the two companies plan to provide tracking and monitoring services for gas cylinders, animal health vaccines, beer dispensers and other industrial assets.

Ripple announces 10 new financial services customers
The blockchain-based payments provider Ripple revealed on April 26 that 10 new financial institutions had signed on to use Ripple’s services. New customers include Akbank, the first bank in Turkey to adopt blockchain, and BBVA, which is using Ripple to enable real-time transactions between Europe and Mexico. Other new Ripple customers include Axis Bank, Cambridge Global Payments, eZforex.com, MUFG, SBI Remit, SEB, Star One Credit Union and YES BANK.

UK’s Royal Society sets out societal vision for machine learning
Developments in artificial intelligence require “careful stewardship” to ensure that machine learning benefits people across society, according to a report published April 25 by the UK’s Royal Society. The report makes a number of recommendations to help achieve this goal: do more to promote digital skills at every level of school and in the workplace, integrate machine learning into the nation’s industrial strategy and develop a new framework for data that “can keep pace with the challenge of the governance of data and its uses in the 21st century.”

EdgeX Foundry to offer open-source framework for IoT development
The Linux Foundation on April 24 launched EdgeX Foundry, which it describes as “an open-source project to build a common open framework for Internet of Things (IoT) edge computing and an ecosystem of interoperable components that unifies the marketplace and accelerates enterprise and industrial IoT. Dell is seeding EdgeX Foundry with its FUSE source code base, and other EdgeX members plan to also contribute code. Founding members of the EdgeX Foundry include AMD, Dell, NetFoundry and VMware, among many others. “One of the key factors holding back IoT designs in the enterprise is that there are too many choices to safely and easily implement a system that will provide a return on investment in a reasonable timeframe,” Moor Insights & Strategy analyst Mike Krell said in a news announcement. “EdgeX Foundry will fundamentally change the market dynamic by allowing enterprise IoT applications to choose from a myriad of best-in-class software, hardware and services providers based on their specific needs.”

SWIFT begins exploring DLT for nostro account reconciliation
The SWIFT banking communication service provider has begun tests to explore whether distributed ledger technologies can help improve nostro account reconciliation and global banking liquidity. Working with a number of global banks, including BNP Paribas, BNY Mellon and Wells Fargo, SWIFT’s proof-of-concept development was announced on April 25. Nostro accounts are foreign currency holdings that one bank has in another bank’s accounts.

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