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This Week in Tech News: Regulations and Resources

This Week in Tech News: Regulations and Resources

Google CEO Warns Against Rushing AI Regulation

Google CEO Warns Against Rushing AI Regulation

Google CEO Sundar Pichai.

Google CEO, Sundar Pichai, recently told the Financial Times in an interview that governments should be cautious of rushing into the regulation of Artificial Intelligence (AI), as stifling the technology’s usability could seriously hinder innovation and research across multiple fields. The primary goal of artificial intelligence is to create intelligent machines capable of analysing data - machines that can think for themselves. AI is used across multiple industries in a variety common daily tasks including Google searches, suggested personalised Spotify playlists and the monitoring of banking transactions for fraud.

 

AI is also a key factor in the future growth of Google. According the company’s quarterly report, the majority of Google’s revenue came from advertisements that utilise AI and machine learning – a whopping $32.6 billion USD. While some industries such as the health sector and criminal justice have different challenges that can benefit from selective regulation, Pichai strongly agrees that areas such as warfare and biometric-based identification (facial recognition) should be heavily regulated. He proposes re-purposing each law sector by sector, specifically in the United States, to tackle specific problems and issues around AI.

Sign-Io Gloves: Helping the Deaf Community Speak

Black and white photo of hands performing sign language.

25-year-old Roy Allela, an engineer working for Intel who also teaches at Oxford University, recently created the first pair of “Sign-IO Gloves,” which enable deaf individuals to communicate with others via text-to-speech. The gloves pair to a user’s mobile device via Bluetooth; with sensors mounted into the fingers, the users hand movements are transmitted to an app that converts those movements into audible words that have been converted via text-to-speech.

Allela created the gloves for his 6-year-old niece, who resides in Kenya and is deaf. Her parents never learned sign language and suffered from a major communication barrier. This left Allela’s niece feeling isolated, and served as Allela’s inspiration to create the gloves, which have a 93% accuracy rate. They come in different designs that are mostly geared towards younger audiences. This technology helps to ensure that individuals don’t feel alienated from their peers, and shows great benefits for the deaf community by creating improved communication tactics for those with hearing disabilities.

Libra: A Threat to the Global Financial System?

Map of the world surrounded with different currencies

Facebook recently revealed which currencies it has chosen to back its new cryptocurrency, Libra. The logic behind backing the Libra with traditional currencies is to combat the high price volatility common to most cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin.

Being backed by real world assets such as short-term government securities, traditional money deposits and gold, will ensure that prices of Libra won’t fluctuate like other common cryptocurrencies. These backed currencies have been dubbed with the name stablecoins. Facebook is hoping this will smooth the overall release process of Libra in the US by their targeted release date in 2020. Facebook has been developing Libra alongside some world class financial institutions such as PayPal, MasterCard and Visa in hopes of becoming a contender in the cryptocurrency market. However, being backed by such powerful institutions has left global regulators concerned about Libra threatening the global financial system.

 

If you enjoyed this article, check out some more of our This Week in Tech News blogs:

 

Featured image credit: Pete Linforth via Pixabay

Other image credits: Maurizio Pesce from Milan, Italia [CC BY 2.0],  Jo Hilton via Unsplash, Photo by Christine Roy via Unsplash


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