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Apple Acquires AI Startup to Improve Siri

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Apple Acquires AI Startup to Improve Siri

In the race for new and improved virtual assistance services, Apple is once again, yet to take the lead through its acquisition of the Ontario-based machine learning startup – Inductiv. The brains behind Inductiv include professors from Stanford University, the University of Wisconsin, and the University of Waterloo – in the persons of Christopher Ré, Theodoros Rekatsinas, and Ihab Ilyas. This band of Engineering professors is the latest supplement to Apple’s development team in addition to the company’s myriad of Engineers from Silicon Valley, slated to work on the Siri among other things. Apparently, this team of professors would be working on the AI, Machine learning, and data science section of the company – an important aspect of Apple’s deep learning strategy. In a statement provided by Apple’s spokesperson, the deal has been sealed and stamped. The representative further confirmed the deal with a rather unapologetic tune, asserting that it;

“buys smaller technology companies from time to time and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.” 

The idea of virtual assistance is to make life a lot easier as these software agents make it easiest to navigate between the software and programs of an operating system. Inductiv has been focused on developing technologies that utilize machine learning to automate a hassle-free procedure of identifying and correcting erratic datasets in the past. Evidently, having authentic data is key to ensuring a seamless and robust AI functionality which is why AI and data science are essential to a machine learning ecosystem. Through deep Learning and AI, these virtual assistive technologies could be programmed to automate certain processes that would normally require human interaction. By this, you can make your assistant do your phone’s tasks for you – such as make your calls, send important emails, and even entertain you during your leisure time, while you just sit back and relax. 

Although, Apple’s senior vice president of Machine Learning and AI Strategy – John Giannandrea, has indicated the company’s interest to work on a few improvements with regards to Siri and other AI-powered products from the company. However, the iPhone maker has drastically slacked in the niche of virtual assistance in recent times. Giving way for other competitors such as Microsoft’s Cortana, Google Home, and Amazon Alexa. According to research conducted a couple of years ago by Forbes, Siri ranked number 4 on the top 10 list of virtual assisting technologies for mobile and still is at present.

Apparently, this comes as a huge blow on the overall image of Apple’s technological growth, given that Siri was the pioneer software in the sphere of voice-controlled assistive technology. Since it provided the prototype from which other virtual assisting apps borrowed their ideas. Little wonder why Apple has been acquiring a host of AI-related startup companies in most recent times including NextVR,  Xnor.ai, Deep Fusion, Tuplejump, Laserlike, Voysis, Turi, and Perceptio.

Cryptocurrency

AMC Theatres to Start Accepting Ethereum, Litecoin, And Bitcoin Cash In Addition To Bitcoin By Year-End

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AMC Theatres to Start Accepting Ethereum, Litecoin, And Bitcoin Cash In Addition To Bitcoin By Year-End

The world’s leading movie theatre chain will be accepting Litecoin, Ethereum, and Bitcoin Cash in addition to Bitcoin as payments for confectionaries and movie tickets at all its U.S. outlets before December 31.

This is according to a Twitter announcement made by the Company’s C.E.O Adam Aron on Thursday morning sending out a wave of bullish sentiments on the three cryptocurrencies by crypto enthusiasts.

“Cryptocurrency enthusiasts: you likely know AMCTheatres has announced we will accept Bitcoin for online ticket and concession payments by year-end 2021. I can confirm today that when we do so, we also expect that we similarly will accept Ethereum, Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash.” 

Last month, the C.E.O in an early morning earnings call had disclosed that AMC was actively engaged in setting up payment systems that would allow movie enthusiasts to pay for various services and purchases using Bitcoin. He had also acknowledged receiving a lot of inquiries from users and shareholders on the possibility of the company accepting payments in crypto which could have largely informed Thursday’s announcement.

Although Litecoin foundation did not respond to the statement in writing, Litecoin’s news page and Charlie Lee, the founder of Litecoin retweeted AMCs announcement gesturing their affirmation.

Broadening the crypto payments net

Litecoin has been making inroads in institutional halls thanks to its long-term persistence and reliability. Its completed MWEB upgrade project which allows the network to become much more scalable and make transaction amounts un-viewable to the public makes Litecoin the ideal choice for payments while protecting users’ data.

According to the Litecoin Foundations Q1 report, various companies have already announced that they’re integrating Litecoin including Paypal, Vaultoro, Flare Network, Moon among others. Its successful payment integrations have also attracted a fair share of challenges with a recent false report that Walmart was integrating Litecoin in its payment network.

Bitcoin cash which fulfills the original promise of Bitcoin as “Peer-to-peer electronic cash” could also see mass use given its fast transactions, low fees, and reliable confirmation. It also allows use on a large list of wallets including Ledger and Trezor among others, which are synonymous with most U.S. crypto owners. Its discounts on payments due to the elimination of credit cards are likely to attract most AMC movie enthusiasts looking to pay using this method.

On the other hand, Ethereum payments to the company could be fulfilled through Ethereum-Pay,  a decentralized ERC-1363 payable token built on the secure Ethereum network specifically tailored to be integrated with E-commerce transactions. 

EthereumPay creates a universal payment platform that allows merchants & users around the world to do business with each other instantly and cheaper than ever. Ethereum payments are accepted by companies including Sotheby, Overstock, Gipsybee,  Shopify CheapAir, Tripio among others.

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Cryptocurrency

Crypto Researchers Concerned About The ‘Centralized Structure’ Of The Binance Smart Chain

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Crypto Researchers Concerned About The 'Centralized Structure' Of The Binance Smart Chain

Binance Smart Chain has been rising in popularity as interest rates from different parts of the world, including South Korea, sent the network’s transaction records to new highs. However, this has not deterred analysts’ from pointing out the increasing level of centralization within the network. Ryan Watkins, a Messari analyst recently addressed the influence that Binance has on the entire Binance Smart Chain, explaining that most of the commendable progress made on the network is not the result of the implementation of innovative concepts. Rather, it is a product of Binance’s control over the BSC network.

“The reason why BSC is faster and more scalable is not because of some magical technological innovation. No, it’s instead the magic of centralization. BSC is an Ethereum fork with a centralized validator set. That’s it. Nothing more.” He wrote on Twitter.

Unlike some other networks, the Binance Smart Chain has a total of 21 validators (people who verify the transactions and confirm their legitimacy, before adding them to the Blockchain). These validators are handpicked by the Binance Chain, further strengthening the notion that the network may be more centralized than it shows itself to be. 

Wilson Withiam rolls out some points to consider, starting with the pattern of resetting active validators, which is determined by the voting power of each validator. He notes that BNB staking and delegation is carried out on the Binance Chain, by Binance Chain validators as well.

In essence, Withiam argues that the pattern of validator distribution across the Binance Smart Chain is questionable as the identities of those behind the nodes in the validator sets are not made transparent. As he puts it “BSC now supports several third-party validators, although at least 5-6 others have close ties to Binance. The distribution of validator accounts is far less clear for Binance Chain.”

To dispute that Binance’s user experience is not ahead of other networks is false, and Withiam agrees with this. Even Watkins acknowledges this as he noted that BSC has fueled mainstream adoption of DeFi “Binance has incredible reach and influence and has used that to funnel a boatload of new users in DeFi. Binance executes period. That’s why BSC is winning.” He asserted. 

However, he argues that speed and scalability outside Ethereum without sharding or a centralization can only be legitimately found on the Solana Blockchain. Conclusively, Withiam urges BSC users to poke into the network, enough to understand where the loopholes are. 

“For those using BSC, take the time to understand the topology of the network. Sure, the fees and speed (both UX factors) are undoubtedly preferable. But strong censorship resistance and fault tolerance are not part of the package.” He wrote in conclusion.

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