What’s new in blockchain, AI and IoT: May 19 – 25, 2017

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

Kik chat provider launches Kin cryptocurrency 
The provider of the chat app Kik on May 25 announced the launch of a new cryptocurrency called Kin that will “serve as a foundation for a decentralized ecosystem of digital services.” Kik plans to use Kin, which will be based on the Ethereum blockchain, as the transaction currency of choice for users of its app. It also plans to develop a Kin Rewards Engine that will offer incentives to adopt Kin and partner in the Kin ecosystem.

Gridsum launches new AI engine: Gridsum Prophet
China-based Gridsum Holding said on May 25 it had consolidated all of its artificial intelligence activities into a new division: the Gridsum Prophet. The company aims to develop Gridsum Prophet to create new opportunities for AI offerings such as intelligent PR, predictive capabilities in financial services, and fraud detection and prevention. “AI is playing an increasingly key role in developing and optimizing our intelligent products and solutions across the board and providing quantifiable value-add to our enterprise and other customers,” said Gridsum CEO Guosheng Qi.

ISO committee holds inaugural meeting on distributed ledger standards
Distributed ledger technology holds “immense promise to revolutionize financial transactions” in a wide range of applications, according to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). A new technical committee created by the ISO met for the first time recently in Australia with the goal of setting future standards for blockchain and electronic distributed ledger technologies. “Future standardization in this area can take the development of these technologies to the next step by providing internationally agreed ways of working, stimulating greater interoperability, speedier acceptance and enhanced innovation in their use and application,” said committee chairman Craig Dunn.

Google’s AI defeats world’s top Go player
Google’s artificial intelligence AlphaGo this past week defeated the world’s top Go player, Ke Jie, by taking the first two out of three planned matches at The Future of Go Summit in China. Developed by Google’s DeepMind, AlphaGo achieved its first milestone in early 2016, when it won four out of five games against South Korean Go champion Lee Sedol. “If you know Go, you know that AlphaGo in today’s game, played some moves which were opposite from his vision of maximising the probability of winning,” Ke Jie said after his second match against Google’s AI. “From the perspectives of human beings, he stretched a little bit and I was surprised.”

NATO Parliamentary Assembly releases draft report on IoT
During its recent 2017 spring session, NATO’s Parliamentary Assembly released a draft committee report titled, “The Internet of Things: Promises and Perlis of a Disruptive Technology.” “The IoT holds enormous potential for good, but challenges and risks are the eternal companions of any disruptive technology,” rapporteur Matej Tonin wrote in the report’s introduction. “As IoT devices will appear all around us, optimists see a blissful utopia on the horizon that will solve many of humanity’s problems; pessimists see a dystopian future with less human and more government and machine control. Neither scenario is very likely at this point, but it is undeniable that the IoT will create technology winners and losers… It is therefore imperative to engage in sustained policy discussions on how to harness the promises and check the perils of the IoT.”

$107M in first-round funding for R3 is ‘largest to date’ for DLT
R3, a new bank group developing Corda platform distributed ledger technologies for the financial sector, said on May 23 it has raised $107 million in first-round funding from investors including Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Barclays, Citi, HSBC, Intel Capital, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. and The Royal Bank of Scotland. It said the financing represented the “world’s largest distributed ledger technology investment to date.” Since launching its DLT initiative in September 2015, R3 has grown into an organization that serves more than 80 financial institutions around the world. “Many of the world’s largest financial firms have come together not just with capital support, but with a robust commitment to work with R3 in developing industry solutions that will be the building blocks of the new financial services infrastructure,” said CEO David E. Rutter. “We are on our way to becoming a new operating system for financial services.”

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