Kickstarter Gets Backlash Over News of Moving to Blockchain

Kickstarter is launching a new company that will mirror its crowdfunding system, but using cryptocurrencies and built on blockchain. The as yet unnamed entity generated backlash among the company’s existing community due to the environmental hazards presented by energy-guzzling crypto, despite Kickstarter’s choice of what it calls a “carbon negative” partner in Celo, a mobile-first platform that is open-source. “We’re supporting the development of an open-source protocol that will essentially create a decentralized version of Kickstarter’s core functionality” that will live on a public blockchain for use by global entrepreneurs, Kickstarter said in an announcement. Continue reading Kickstarter Gets Backlash Over News of Moving to Blockchain

Startup QuEra Is Making Major Strides in Quantum Computing

Quantum startup QuEra Computing has emerged from stealth mode with a splashy announcement of $17 million in funding and completion of a 256-qubit device the company says “will be soon accessible to customers.” Launched in 2019 by scientists from Harvard and MIT, the Boston-based firm claims to have already generated $11 million in revenue from its scalable machines in a white-hot quantum space that includes tech giants including Amazon, IBM and Google jockeying for position. QuEra’s approach leverages what the company calls “nature’s perfect qubits,” based on 256-qubit atoms. Continue reading Startup QuEra Is Making Major Strides in Quantum Computing

Nvidia and NERSC Unveil a New Supercomputer for AI Tasks

Nvidia and the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) debuted Perlmutter, an AI supercomputer that features 6,144 Nvidia A100 Tensor Core GPUs. Named for astrophysicist Saul Perlmutter, the supercomputer has been dubbed by Nvidia as “the fastest on the planet,” at processing with the 16-bit and 32-bit mixed-precision math used in AI applications, said the company’s global HPC and AI product marketing lead Dion Harris. Its first job will be to create the largest-ever 3D map of the visible universe. Continue reading Nvidia and NERSC Unveil a New Supercomputer for AI Tasks

CES: Economic Council Chief Discusses Biden’s Tech Goals

Consumer Technology Association president and chief executive Gary Shapiro held a conversation with the incoming Biden administration’s designated director of the National Economic Council Brian Deese. In that position, Deese will advise President-elect Joe Biden on domestic and international economic policy and coordinate the administration’s economic agenda. “Taking the vision and direction of the president and turning it into an action plan across all agencies is particularly important at times of economic crisis,” he said. Continue reading CES: Economic Council Chief Discusses Biden’s Tech Goals

Social Media Platforms Prep for Flood of False Election Info

As the 2020 U.S. presidential election looms, social media platforms are launching strategies to combat false claims and misinformation. Internet companies anticipate a tsunami of this type of content in the lead-up to the election. Google, for example, said it would block some autocomplete search suggestions in an effort to combat misinformation, and Twitter said it would more aggressively label or remove tweets that undermine confidence in the election or promote disputed information. Twitter and Facebook plan to ban new political ads the week leading up to the election. Facebook, meanwhile, is also working to prevent climate misinformation. Continue reading Social Media Platforms Prep for Flood of False Election Info

GSMA Report Predicts the Future Impact of Global 5G Rollout

The Global System for Mobile Communications (GSMA), which represents 750 mobile operators as well as hundreds of other telecom industry companies, issued a report on 5G, finding it is now available in 24 markets around the world. The report predicts that 5G is likely to add nearly $2.2 trillion to the global economy between 2024 and 2034. Written by GSMA head of North America Ana Tavares Lattibeaudiere, the report added that, by 2025, 5G will account for 20 percent of all global connections. Continue reading GSMA Report Predicts the Future Impact of Global 5G Rollout

CES 2020: Two Industry Chiefs Predict the Future of Mobility

Mobility was the focus of a day-long series of panels on Monday, which concluded with a session on the future of mobility, as seen through the eyes of General Motors chief marketing officer Deborah Wahl and Daimler Financial Services president/chief executive Klaus Entenmann. Wahl noted that the definition of mobility has always been “about the freedom to move and experience life on your own terms, via conventional vehicle shopping and ownership.” “We’re rethinking everything about the customer’s experience,” she said. Continue reading CES 2020: Two Industry Chiefs Predict the Future of Mobility

Despite Hacks, Cryptocurrency Mania Drives Up Bitcoin Value

NiceHash, a Slovenian-based marketplace for mining digital currencies, says its payment system has been hacked and the contents of its Bitcoin account stolen. According to its Facebook page, every week NiceHash paid out millions of dollars in Bitcoin weekly, meaning the loss could be significant, especially since Bitcoin has had a precipitous rise in value. Uncertain is whether NiceHash users’ accounts have also been hacked. In light of the unknowns, NiceHash has closed down operations for 24 hours. Meanwhile, Bitcoin enthusiasm continues to rise, as illustrated by a 40 percent jump in price yesterday. Continue reading Despite Hacks, Cryptocurrency Mania Drives Up Bitcoin Value

Facebook’s New Mission Statement Emphasizes Global Issues

Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg just released a 6,000 word document outlining the company’s new role in “social infrastructure,” to address terrorism, disease, climate change and other global woes. He suggested ways that the 13-year old company can work with governments, nonprofit organizations and other companies. Zuckerberg revealed that the company is building products and developing tools to fight the spread of fake news, and use AI to detect terrorism propaganda as well as promote global political engagement. Continue reading Facebook’s New Mission Statement Emphasizes Global Issues

National Geographic and Fox Partner on a New Media Venture

The National Geographic Society and 21st Century Fox have formed a for-profit venture, National Geographic Partners, which includes the National Geographic Channels cable TV group and magazine, other print publications, studios, digital media, maps, children’s media, travel, licensing and e-commerce. Fox’s $725 million purchase price bumps up the National Geographic Society’s endowment to $1 billion, enabling the non-profit organization to double its investment in science, research and education. Continue reading National Geographic and Fox Partner on a New Media Venture