5 Ways Brands Boost Marketing Using Web3 And AI Like Starbucks And Polygon

https://www.forbes.com/sites/digital-assets/2024/02/23/5-ways-brands-boost-marketing-using-web3-and-ai-like-starbucks-and-polygon/

Pudgy Penguin CEO Luca Netz

Pudgy Pengions

In the ever-evolving landscape of marketing, brand experiences and targeted campaigns have become a surprisingly effective strategy for creating lasting impacts across diverse industries. These elements are more than just marketing — they are the linchpins of memorable brands that resonate with consumers at a deeper level.

As we move from the traditional Web2 world to a new one underpinned by Web3 and AI, the core objectives of enhancing brand visibility and deepening consumer engagement remain unchanged. However, the journey to Web3 unveils a revolutionary shift in engagement strategies, redefining the essence of consumer interaction and community engagement in the digital era.

Exclusive Access and Experiences

Taylor Swift’s successful strategy of creating unique, personal experiences for her fans, such as secret sessions for album listening before release, can be applied to different markets.

In Web3, a tech company could offer early access to software beta versions for its community members, or a fashion brand could host exclusive virtual reality shows for loyal customers. The key here is to create a sense of exclusivity and privilege that rewards customer loyalty and enhances brand engagement.

A Starbucks Coffee shop (Photo by Robert Alexander/Getty Images)

Getty Images

Starbucks’ own Web3 experience, dubbed “Starbucks Odyssey,” allows customers to earn and purchase digital collectible stamps in the form of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) powered by Ethereum Layer-2 scaling platform Polygon, a partner of my company Unstoppable Domains. It has enabled Starbucks to engage its customers in previously unseen and inclusive ways by offering them new benefits and immersive coffee experiences, including access to unique merchandise, artist collaborations, invitations to exclusive events, and more.

Co-founder of Polygon, Sandeep Nailwal (Photo by Hugo Amaral/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty … [+] Images)

SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

“Today, dozens of major global brands are already embracing decentralized technologies, offering their customers new experiences that are both innovative and engaging,” said Polygon Labs co-founder Sandeep Nailwal. “In the future, these initiatives will grow and mature even further, paving the way for the truly mass adoption of Web3, self-sovereign identities, and full digital ownership.”

Humor

Humor, when done right, can turn a regular Super Bowl ad into an unforgettable brand moment, and Dunkin’ Donuts hit the jackpot with their latest collaboration featuring Ben Affleck. Their Super Bowl commercial introduced the world to The DunKings, a fictional boy band led by Affleck, complete with cheesy dance moves and eye-catching orange tracksuits. This playful, over-the-top concept might have seemed risky, but the overwhelming response proved it was a strategic win.

In the AI-infused world of marketing, Heineken’s “Heineken Silver” campaign was a refreshing blend of wit and innovation. They brewed up a storm by cheekily claiming to have created a new beer variant with AI, which humorously misinterpreted the art of brewing. This campaign not only captured global attention with its clever narrative that resonated with tech buffs and beer lovers alike but also showcased Heineken’s brand as a pioneer, humorously acknowledging the limits of technology in the intricate brewing process through engaging content and sleek visuals.

Heineken logo seen in Gothenburg. (Photo by Karol Serewis/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Heineken’s approach transcended typical marketing, using AI as a playful narrative device that sparked discussions about the role of artificial intelligence in creative industries. It successfully humanized AI, making it relatable by emphasizing its imperfections, while prompting a broader conversation on the balance between tech innovation and the irreplaceable human touch. The campaign’s viral success marked Heineken’s stance at the crossroads of tech and culture, demonstrating how companies can interact with cutting-edge tech in a way that’s both enlightening and wildly entertaining.

The Power of Niche Markets

The Stanley Water Bottle craze is an example of great Web2 marketing. Stanley’s strategic pivot to engage with the female audience illustrated the untapped potential of niche markets, turning what was once a marginalized segment into a formidable force driving the brand’s expansion. This move not only diversified their customer base but also revitalized the brand, proving that niche markets can lead to significant growth opportunities.

In Web3, Robinhood did a similar thing to attract a diverse audience. Recognizing the critical need to diversify its user base, the prominent investment platform renowned for democratizing finance, embarked on a strategic collaboration with NeoReach to broaden its appeal. This campaign was driven by the ambition to cultivate a more inclusive investing community, particularly targeting women, young adults and novices in the financial world.

Robinhood on a mobile phone in Arlington, Virginia (Photo by Olivier DOULIERY / AFP) (Photo by … [+] OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)

AFP via Getty Images

To manifest these goals, NeoReach meticulously assembled a roster of diverse influencers. This ensemble cast featured over 15 young female influencers alongside creators of color and non-financial experts, all united in their potential to produce compelling and informative content, The campaign found its home on YouTube, leveraging the platform’s capacity for high-quality, impactful content that seamlessly blended financial education with broader lifestyle advice.

Community Building

In 2023, LEGO set a remarkable example of community building in the Web2 space by launching an innovative platform called LEGO Ideas. This unique initiative invited fans from around the globe to submit their own LEGO set designs, with the community voting on their favorites. The winning designs would then be considered for production as official LEGO sets, with creators receiving a share of the profits.

This approach fueled LEGO’s product innovation with fresh, fan-driven ideas and fostered a deeply engaged and passionate community. By rewarding the creativity of its fan base, LEGO harnessed the collective enthusiasm of its community, turning loyal followers into active participants in the brand’s ongoing story.

In the web3 space, the success of Pudgy Penguins and Lil Pudgies (I own a Lil Pudgy NFT!) as digital collectibles highlights the power of community building around unique digital assets. Businesses can create digital collectibles or tokens that offer holders special benefits, such as discounts, exclusive content or voting rights on future products and services. This not only creates a new revenue stream but also fosters a strong, engaged community around the brand. Recently, Walmart
WMT
restocked the Pudgy Penguin Plushies that carry a digital asset and birth certificate.

Lorenzo Melendez, President and CTO, Pudgy Penguins

Pudgy Penguins

The introduction of .Pudgy as Unstoppable Domains’ (my employer) tenth Top-Level Domain (TLD) at the NFT Paris conference represents a groundbreaking advancement in the realm of digital assets and community engagement. This community interaction sets a new precedent for how digital identities and assets can be leveraged to add value to users’ online presence.

“One of the biggest parts of Pudgy Penguins’ success is the way the project transcends the boundaries of any single space — attracting not only Web3-native enthusiasts but countless people from other walks of life as well,” said Luca Netz, CEO of Pudgy Penguins. “This is why it is especially important to build bridges between these sometimes disparate communities, allowing them to seamlessly become a part of Pudgy’s overarching ecosystem and culture. The launch of the .Pudgy domain is a major milestone in this regard, offering people a simple-to-use yet comprehensive way to voice their support for the project and seamlessly communicate and interact with thousands of like-minded users.”

A New World of Marketing in a Web3/AI Era

The integration of Web3 digital assets and AI into marketing strategies marks a revolutionary shift in how brands engage with their audiences, infusing traditional practices with innovative technologies to create more personalized, engaging and immersive experiences. Web3, with its decentralized ethos and digital assets, offers brands a unique opportunity to foster community building and loyalty through ownership and exclusivity.

This new frontier enables companies to design marketing campaigns that go beyond mere transactions, inviting consumers into a shared space where their participation and engagement are rewarded with tangible assets, creating a sense of belonging and investment in the brand’s ecosystem.

Web3 is not just transforming the technical landscape of marketing but also enabling brands to connect with their audiences in ways that are meaningful, memorable, and increasingly interactive. The result is a dynamic marketing environment where community building, humor, niche marketing and the provision of exclusive experiences are all being enhanced by the thoughtful application of these cutting-edge technologies, setting the stage for a future where digital and physical brand experiences merge seamlessly.

Top Reasons Why U.S. And EU Could Spearhead AI Development

https://www.forbes.com/sites/digital-assets/2024/02/16/will-us-innovation-or-eu-regulation-win-the-race-to-dominate-ai-/

Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI (Photo by PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)

AFP via Getty Images

In January, more than 50 heads of state and government attended the annual World Economic Forum gathering in Davos. Among the most critical topics on the docket was the future of emerging technologies and how they should be utilized. While technology is evolving very quickly in 2024, AI is at the forefront of both the news headlines and global response, and these fields can act as a quasi-beacon for how new innovations are being received.

In many ways, both the U.S. and the EU have acted true to form, with the former forging ahead on the innovation front while Europeans focus on building consensus and creating regulatory frameworks for current and future AI applications. Both are equally necessary, but which approach — if either — gives the edge in the race for AI dominance?

America Takes the Lead in Chip Manufacturing

One of the voices in attendance at Davos was Palantir CEO and co-founder Alex Karp, whose company focuses on big data analytics and AI for defense applications. Karp had some very specific opinions on the current technology race surrounding AI and how the U.S. fares.

Specifically, he predicted that within ten years, something to the tune of 95% of global tech companies will become American-based, largely due to the current lead the U.S. benefits from in terms of chip manufacturing.

“Undoubtedly, manufacturing and access to cutting-edge microchips is the cornerstone of AI development, and America is currently in the lead when it comes to both of these aspects,” said Nancy Morgan, CEO of Ellis Morgan Enterprises and former National Security Executive and IC Chief Data Officer at the U.S. Government. “This allows the U.S. not only to stay competitive with its main rivals but also to ensure that this advantage would remain relevant for years to come, further cementing the country’s position as the leader in AI tech.”

Nancy Morgan, CEO of Ellis Morgan Enterprises and former National Security Executive and IC Chief … [+] Data Officer at the U.S. Government

Nancy Morgan

Essentially, the Biden administration has moved to block all exports to China of certain top-of-the-line chips, such as Nvidia’s A100, and is additionally limiting access to the chip-making tools needed to make them. This will put the US a couple of years ahead of China in terms of innovation, as well as make the country an enticing jurisdiction for future development in both AI and the broader technology sector.

The U.S. Boasts Top-Tier AI Talent

Microchips aren’t the only thing that puts the US in the lead. According to a research report from Macro Polo, 60% of top AI researchers are American-based, with the remaining 40% spread around jurisdictions worldwide. The fact is there simply isn’t nearly as much talent concentrated anywhere on Earth as there is in the US.

The U.S. government, unsurprisingly, has been quick to capitalize on the nation’s dominance in innovation. To take just one example, the Department of Defense (DoD) recently announced the launch of America’s first AI Bias Bounty exercises. These bias bounties are new crowdsourced initiatives to detect bias in machine learning systems, experimenting with new approaches to algorithmically audit emerging AI models. The ultimate goal is to identify unforeseen risks and ensure all of the deployed algorithms are unbiased.

Beyond governmental initiatives, Jeremiah Owyang, Partner at Blitzscaling Ventures, highlights the pivotal role that U.S tech hubs like San Francisco play in the development and financing of generative AI models. “San Francisco is the cradle of generative AI: most foundational models are based in San Francisco, and 50% of venture capital dollars in the United States are in the Bay Area,” explains Owyang. “There are 100 physical AI events in the San Francisco Bay Area every single month, averaging three every weekday and two each on Saturdays and Sundays. There have been 100 hackathons in the San Francisco area in the last 12 months, equating to two every single week. The European foundational model, Mistral, is mostly funded by Silicon Valley venture capital dollars, the best quality of money due to their connections and experience. The San Francisco Bay Area is the capital of AI, and that will remain the case for years to come.”

Jeremiah Owyang, Partner at Blitzscaling Ventures (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Airbnb)

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Given the current position that the U.S. holds in the AI field, it’s easy to assume that it will continue to lead over the next decade, exactly as Alex Karp predicted. However, is this the whole story, or is it possible that technological progress isn’t the only factor at play here?

EU Pushes Forward on Regulation

Across the pond, the EU isn’t exactly just sleeping on AI and other emerging technologies either — quite the opposite, in fact. The region is paving the way with some of the most comprehensive efforts to bring clarity to how this sector can evolve safely and efficiently. The jurisdiction just recently passed the much anticipated Artificial Intelligence Act, making it the first global power to provide clarity on the future use of this technology.

This legislation is designed to provide guidelines to ensure that AI will only be used safely and ethically while also protecting the well-being of the general population. To this end, it also includes stipulations surrounding the deployment of live facial recognition, as well as transparency requirements for developers of widely used AI platforms like ChatGPT.

“While AI technology definitely has the potential to change the world for the better, there are still numerous concerns that need to be addressed if we want AI-based solutions to become truly widespread. To this end, leading AI jurisdictions need to create a comprehensive system of regulatory frameworks that are both transparent and forward-thinking, allowing developers to push AI tech-forward without creating additional risks and hurdles in the process,” explained Manoj Saxena, CEO and Founder Trustwise.

Manoj Saxena, CEO and Founder, Trustwise

Manoj Saxena

While regulation is never as exciting as innovation, and no one has ever put up a statue or named a university after a committee, there is still a strong case that developing regulation for responsible and ethical applications of AI is every bit as valuable — including economically — as being leaders in innovation. Arguably, even more so.

Some Challenges Remain

At the same time, while the Biden administration has recently released an Executive Order on the Safe, Secure, and Trustworthy Development and Use of Artificial Intelligence, there is still no formal regulatory guidance on the development of AI in the U.S. While this document outlines some broad philosophical approaches and measures that need to be taken, it does not provide explicit actionable steps and is not a form of binding legislation.

This leaves the US in a position of having defined the problem without having done anything to solve it. There’s a lot of hype about AI wiping out humanity, but if developers don’t have meaningful regulatory guidance, then they genuinely risk creating applications that could cause significant problems in countless aspects of our lives. Unfettered AI could bring chaos everywhere, from hoaxes ruining trust in the media to “intelligent vehicles” causing carnage on highways.

Crypto and AI Regulations Go Hand-in-Hand

On a more prosaic but not less important level, the lack of rules and frameworks could harm the attractiveness of further developing AI in the US and potentially take the current technological advantage to other jurisdictions, such as the EU.

This situation also parallels the one currently unfolding around digital assets and currencies, where the United States similarly has no clear regulatory framework for this emerging space, with the Securities and Exchange Commission standing firm in the claim that no new rules are necessary. This is despite industry calls from top leaders like Coinbase for exactly this type of clarity.

European Securities and Markets Authority

European Securities and Markets Authority

Alternatively, the EU has already passed its own Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) regulation. Much like the AI Act, clear outlines are provided for how various entities can interact with digital assets and within what restrictions. The response to this legislation also gives a demonstrable example of industry flowing into regulatory-friendly regions, as the EU has experienced a 200% surge in crypto trade volumes in the wake of MiCA.

So, Who’s in the Lead?

Given all of these developments, which side of the Atlantic is more likely to dominate AI and technology in general in 2024 and beyond? Of course, the final say is not written. If the US can catch up on regulation and provide clarity for the real-life use of emerging technologies, it will capitalize on its healthy lead on innovation. Alternatively, that the EU already provides an environment where this technology can be applied, it’s easy to see talent drawn to Europe because the region’s well-thought-out AI frameworks make it far likelier (and faster) to get their innovations out of the lab and into the world.

It’s also important to note that China is hardly out of the race, as it can turn to providers for securing chips or outsourcing processing power via cloud computing to close the existing gap in the coming years.

Because of all of this, it isn’t yet clear who will dominate cutting-edge technology over the next decade. AI may act as a signal as to how these different jurisdictions approach development, but the story is still being told. Perhaps what’s most important is for industry and policy leaders to work together to build the best possible environments for future incubation of this technology, and the markets themselves will then likely follow what’s most attractive.

AWS, AI, And Taylor Swift Usher In Super Bowl 2024 And Sports’ Future

https://www.forbes.com/sites/digital-assets/2024/02/10/aws-ai-and-taylor-swift-usher-in-super-bowl-2024-and-sports-future/

A fan holds up a Kansas City Chiefs jersey with Swift #13 during Super Bowl LVIII Opening Night at … [+] Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada on February 5, 2024. The jersey refers to Travis Kelce’s girlfriend Taylor Swift. (Photo by Patrick T. Fallon / AFP) (Photo by PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)

AFP via Getty Images

This year, we are about to experience a very special Super Bowl, which stands to become a truly watershed moment for technology and inclusivity in sports. Not only will the National Football League (NFL) debut its groundbreaking Digital Athlete program, developed with Amazon Web Services’ (AWS) robust toolset, but we will also witness how this traditionally male-dominated event becomes much more inclusive and equitable thanks to Taylor Swift’s influence and participation.

Elevating the Game with the Digital Athlete

AWS’s cloud computing is transforming the NFL through The Digital Athlete, a platform that uses machine learning and data analytics to simulate countless scenarios, each aiming to reduce player injuries and optimize team performance. This AI-powered tool is the crystallization of the NFL’s efforts to prioritize player safety and strategic gameplay, providing coaches and medical staff with actionable insights derived from complex data points.

“This season all 32 clubs had access to the Digital Athlete team portal which processes 500 million data points per week to help develop individualized injury prevention, training and recovery regimens. This truly empowers team medical and training staffs to work smarter and more efficiently.” said Julie Souza, Head of Sports, AWS.

LAS VEGAS, NV – FEBRUARY 07: Panelists from the NFL, AWS, and Zebra Technologies participate in a … [+] discussion during the Super Bowl LVIII Preview with Next Gen Stats on Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2024, at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Marc Sanchez/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

With AWS at the helm of the NFL’s tech advancements, we’re looking at an unprecedented fusion of AI and cloud computing, all converging to deliver a Super Bowl experience like no other. This is why this year’s game is not just a test of athletic prowess but also a showcase of how innovative technologies can enhance every aspect of the sporting spectacle.

With AI algorithms developed on AWS, the Super Bowl is now more interactive and personalized than ever. Whether it’s via app recommendations, in-stadium engagement, or player safety, AI ensures that each fan gets a unique, custom-tailored experience. Real-time analytics provide a narrative layer to the game, offering insights that go beyond traditional stats to tell the deeper story of the game’s flow, the players’ efforts, and the strategies unfolding on the field.

Next-level Fan Inclusion – The Taylor Swift Effect

Super Bowl 2024 will also mark a massive shift in sports fans’ demographics, with Taylor Swift attracting unprecedented female attention to this traditionally male-oriented event. According to various reports, “the Taylor Swift effect” alone has boosted female viewership by 53% among those aged 12-17, by 34% among those over 35, and by 24% in the 18-24 demographic. Dads are celebrating as their daughters are now are sitting on the couch with them on Sunday learning about football.

In fact, after the Kansas City Chiefs’ victory over the Baltimore Ravens, securing their spot in the Super Bowl, fans were anxious about Taylor Swift’s ability to attend the game to support her boyfriend, Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, due to a concert in Tokyo the night before. However, following speculation the Japanese Embassy in Washington, D.C., stated on X (formerly Twitter) that Swift could make the 12-hour flight and overcome the 17-hour time difference to arrive in Las Vegas before the Super Bowl, soothing fans’ concerns

With the Taylor Swift effect, in a groundbreaking move, e.l.f. Cosmetics and NYX Professional Makeup, part of the L’Oréal family, are launching their inaugural Super Bowl ads, with Dove making a notable return after 18 years. This debut highlights the beauty industry’s increasing relevance and adaptability in high-profile events. The timing coincides with L’Oréal’s recent spotlight at CES, where they emphasized the integration of AI and technology in beauty, signaling a shift towards innovative consumer engagement strategies.

L’Oréal’s CEO, Nicolas Hieronimus, introduced the Beauty Genius technology at CES, showcasing how AI can personalize beauty experiences. This technology allows consumers to virtually try on products, from lipsticks to skincare, illustrating the brand’s commitment to leveraging technology to meet diverse beauty needs. This move is indicative of the industry’s broader trend towards digital innovation and personalized consumer interactions.

Nicolas Hieronimus, CEO of L’Oreal, delivers a keynote address at the Venetian Expo Center during … [+] the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) on January 9, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

AFP via Getty Images

The beauty industry’s foray into Super Bowl advertising, coupled with its technological advancements, mirrors the “Taylor Swift effect”—where her endorsement or involvement in events like the Super Bowl can significantly amplify interest and engagement. Swift’s capacity to attract a vast audience parallels the beauty sector’s strategy to tap into high-visibility platforms and innovative technology to engage consumers on a massive scale, demonstrating the power of celebrity influence and technological innovation in shaping consumer trends and preferences.

Imagine a Future Super Bowl With Up-Leveled Blockchain and AI

Now let’s imagine where new fans and technology could take us. In the future, we might see a halftime show where the performance dynamically shifts based on real-time audience sentiment, analyzed and processed by AI capabilities. Blockchain ensures that virtual interactions — from voting on the next song to accessing exclusive AR
AR content, are secure and verifiable, making the halftime show an interactive experience for the audience both in the stadium and watching from home.

These innovations could further cement the role of AI as the silent force behind a multitude of tailored fan experiences leading up to the Super Bowl. By analyzing data points from music preferences to social media interactions, AI tools could enable the delivery of personalized content and merchandise recommendations, ensuring that fans have a memorable Super Bowl week. AI could also enhance the fan experience during game-day parties, with smart systems curating music and ambiances that adapt to real-time reactions.

An illustration that captures the essence of AI and Blockchain enhancing the Super Bowl fan … [+] experience. The scene depicts fans at a party, surrounded by technology that personalizes content and adapts the ambiance in real-time, showcasing AI’s role in creating a memorable and customized event and Blockchain verifying merchandise.

Sandy Carter DALL-E Prompted Artwork

In the age of digital collectibles, blockchain is an ally in offering fans something unique. Limited edition digital memorabilia verified by blockchain not only serve as secure and exclusive tokens of fandom but also as a new form of engagement. These blockchain-certified collectibles could be an innovative approach to fan loyalty and engagement.

The Future of Sports and Entertainment

Super Bowl 2024 is set to demonstrate the full potential of AWS’s AI in delivering a sports experience tailored for the future. From the Digital Athlete enhancing player safety and gameplay to new inclusive advertising for those ad lovers, we will see a redefinition fan participation and innovation. This year’s Super Bowl is where technology scores big, promising a spectacle of innovation that sets a new standard for the world of sports entertainment with a new high in female viewership. Don’t miss the game-changing moment where technology meets tradition, reshaping the future of sports as we know it. Witness history in the making.

Inside Scoop: Why Convergence is the Big Opportunity from Rabbit R1, IBM, Verses

https://www.forbes.com/sites/digital-assets/2024/02/06/the-inside-scoop-why-tech-convergence-is-your-next-big-opportunity/

Technical Convergence

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AI and technology are becoming ever more intertwined. And while AI was the main take-away from CES to Davos 2024, to harness the true potential of a number of other emerging technologies, convergence is a key driver of innovation and progress.

This convergence is not just about blending technologies; it’s about creating new synergies where the combined effect is greater than the sum of individual parts. For instance, the integration of AI with IoT leads to smarter devices and more efficient systems, while the fusion of AI with blockchain is creating more secure and transparent digital transactions.

Moreover, the combination of AI with technologies like blockchain and spatial is setting the stage for revolutionary changes in sectors ranging from telecommunications to healthcare. As we look to the future, it’s clear that the continued merging of AI with other technologies will open up unprecedented opportunities for solving complex problems, delivering enhanced services, and driving economic growth in ways we are only beginning to imagine.

At its core, technological convergence is about combining different technological systems, each with its unique strengths, to create a multifaceted solution with amplified benefits. It’s akin to a symphony orchestra where each instrument plays a unique role, but together, they create a harmonious and powerful musical experience that transcends the capability of any single instrument.

Here are five ways technology convergence is shaping the future.

1. Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI): A Fusion Transforming Data Usage

The convergence of DLT, such as blockchain, with AI is paving the way for a new paradigm in data management and usage. DLT’s immutable and secure nature provides a trustworthy environment for AI to operate. This integration can lead to enhanced AI model training, where data from disparate sources can be used without compromising privacy or security. One outcome is the democratization of AI, where individuals can contribute their data to AI models in a controlled manner, retaining ownership and benefiting from participation. This could revolutionize sectors from healthcare, where patient data can help tailor individual treatments, to finance, where transparent and secure transactions are paramount.

As Monique J. Morrow, President and Co-Founder of the Humanized Internet, told me, “By fostering the intersectionality of blockchain, AI and emerging technologies, for example quantum security, we must envision a future where privacy is safeguarded and security is paramount for everyone amidst this rapidly evolving digital landscape. In summary, these technologies can be the foundation upon which trust, empowerment and progress can thrive for generations to come. Let’s commit to doing so together!”

From the De University de Ethereum blog “When Giants Collide: Exploring the Convergence of Crypto x AI”, they state that “This synergy combines blockchain’s strengths in data ownership, transparency, and ethical governance with AI’s advanced capabilities, offering new solutions to address the centralization issues in the AI industry.

  • Empowering Data Ownership: Blockchain enables users to encrypt and control access to their data, allowing them to manage how it’s used by AI systems.
  • Enhancing Transparency: Blockchain’s role as an immutable ledger ensures transactional transparency, allowing for the validation and authentication of data used in AI models.
  • Facilitating Direct Data Monetization: Blockchain allows users to monetize their data directly, providing financial incentives for data sharing while maintaining personal control.
  • Minimizing AI’s Energy Consumption: Utilizing energy-efficient mechanisms like Proof-of-Stake, blockchain can reduce the energy demands of AI training, supporting sustainable AI development.
  • Promoting Ethical AI Development: Blockchain’s transparency and accountability can drive more ethical AI practices, breaking down the secrecy often associated with AI innovations.”

AI and Blockchain Synergies

DE UNIVERSITY OF ETHEREUM

Fetch.ai, a leader in this convergence, is building a decentralized machine learning platform based on a distributed ledger, enabling secure sharing, connection, and transactions based on any data globally.

Similarly, Numerai is a hedge fund structured by a network of data scientists that utilizes a unique combination of encryption technology and crowdsourced intelligence to create an AI-powered investment strategy, all coordinated through Ethereum’s blockchain.

VectorSpace AI specializes in creating AI-driven context-based data sets for the financial sector, which is particularly useful for detecting hidden correlations. They utilize blockchain to secure the datasets and transactions.

2. Quantum Computing and AI – Unleashing New Potentials

Quantum computing promises to exponentially increase processing power, which can significantly advance the capabilities of AI. This fusion can lead to complex problem-solving in moments that would take traditional computers centuries. The impact will be profound in areas like drug discovery, with quantum computers enabling the simulation of molecular interactions at an unprecedented scale, and AI interpreting these simulations to design new treatments. Similarly, in logistics and supply chain management, quantum-enhanced AI could optimize routes and systems in real-time, slashing costs and environmental impacts.

Today, most of the companies delivering in this space are large corporations. IBM
IBM , a leader in quantum computing, has been integrating AI with its quantum devices. With its Watson AI and the IBM Q System, the company is exploring how quantum computing can enhance machine learning algorithms and optimization problems.

Sebastian Krause, IBM Senior Vice President and Chief Revenue Officer, highlights the transformative potential of this convergence: “At IBM, we see quantum computing not just as a new technology, but as a foundational shift in computational capabilities. When combined with AI, the quantum leap in processing power will unlock solutions to previously insurmountable problems, redefining industries and enhancing human capabilities beyond our current imagination.”

Sebastian Krause Senior Vice President and Chief Revenue Officer, IBM

Sandy Carter, Davos 2024

Similarly, Microsoft
MSFT has been working on quantum computing through its Azure Quantum service, which provides access to quantum algorithms and tools. They have initiatives that explore how quantum computing can intersect with AI to solve complex computational problems. Rigetti also provides quantum computing services and has developed a quantum cloud platform, Quantum Cloud Services (QCS). They work on integrating quantum algorithms with machine learning and have provided quantum computing resources for AI research.

3. Spatial Computing and Blockchain

Spatial computing, which includes technologies like the Metaverse, augmented reality (AR
AR ) and virtual reality (VR), when combined with blockchain, can create secure and immersive experiences that are verifiable and decentralized. For instance, AR can overlay digital information onto the physical world, and blockchain can verify the authenticity of that information, enabling applications such as interactive, secure real estate tours or educational experiences where historical data can be overlaid onto present-day locations. In retail, this convergence could allow consumers to trace the origin of products in a store, simply by looking at them through a device, enhancing trust and transparency.

The Rania Ajami, Co-Founder Metropolis

Metropolis

Metropolis World is an online platform that presents itself as the “Capital Cities of the Metaverse.” It is a metaverse project that likely incorporates elements of spatial computing and blockchain, aligning with the growing trend of virtual world experiences. These types of projects typically enable users to engage in immersive environments with the added security and ownership verification provided by blockchain technology.

“The fusion of spatial computing with blockchain in Metropolis World is not just about creating a digital space,” explains Rania Ajami, Co-founder of Metropolis World. “It’s about building a new reality where virtual interactions are as meaningful and secure as physical ones. Our platform is designed to be a cornerstone in the metaverse, where users can experience the future of digital engagement.”

Metropolis

Metropolis

The Sandbox is a blockchain-based virtual world allowing users to create, build, buy, and sell digital assets in the form of a game. By combining the powers of decentralized autonomous organizations (DAO) and non-fungible tokens (NFTs), The Sandbox creates a decentralized platform for a thriving gaming community. The platform empowers artists, creators, and players to have true ownership of their creations as NFTs and provides tools for them to contribute to the platform with original content. It utilizes its own cryptocurrency, SAND
SAND , for transactions within the ecosystem.

4. AI and Neuroscience and Standards – Paving the Way for Autonomous Intelligence

When Artificial Intelligence shifts from computer science and machine learning to become based in neurosciences and biological systems, it paves the way for a new path for smarter, more adaptable, and safer intelligent systems. AI agents able to act autonomously in the world will soon be able to communicate and transact independently, fostering a marketplace of AI services that operate without the need for centralized control. These developments could enable AI agents to autonomously coordinate their actions for complex tasks, such as orchestrating disaster response efforts or managing smart cities, while adapting in real-time to evolving conditions.

Gabriel René, CEO of VERSES, emphasizes, “At VERSES, we are building the next tool to expand our intelligence: a platform that enables users to build specialized, distributed, intelligent agents that grow their knowledge by directly experiencing the world. We’re sculpting the future of cognitive computing by infusing our systems with cognition processes based on natural intelligence that allow intelligent agents to understand context, plan, simulate, and act accordingly. This approach is key to developing systems that think on their own and adapt like living organisms. These agents can collaborate and share knowledge, enabling them to tackle real-world challenges with unprecedented efficiency.”

Gabriel René, CEO of VERSES

VERSES

VERSES is a cognitive computing company, innovating at the intersection of neuroscience, socio-technical standards and machine intelligence. They are developing advanced intelligent software systems modeled after natural principles that incorporate biologically inspired approaches to distributed intelligence. Their approach is rooted in the neuroscience research of their chief scientist, Karl Friston. Using socio-technical standards developed with the IEEE (Spatial Web Standards), VERSES is building a platform for the next generation of intelligent agents that are interoperable, explainable, governable, and policy-abiding by design and at scale.

Intel
INTC , in tandem, is not just a hardware provider but also invests significantly in software development for AI and neural networks, aiming to optimize neural network performance on their processors.

5. AI and E-Commerce

The convergence of AI and e-commerce is revolutionizing the way businesses interact with customers, leading to significantly enhanced business outcomes. By integrating AI technologies, e-commerce platforms can offer personalized shopping experiences, predictive product recommendations, and intelligent customer service.

This personalization leads to increased customer engagement and satisfaction, as AI algorithms analyze consumer behavior and preferences to tailor suggestions and content. Additionally, AI-driven chatbots and virtual assistants provide 24/7 customer service, handling inquiries and problems efficiently, which boosts customer loyalty and reduces operational costs.

AI also streamlines inventory management and optimizes supply chains, predicting demand patterns more accurately, thus reducing overstocking or stockouts. The enhanced efficiency and customer-centric approach fostered by the AI-e-commerce convergence not only drive sales growth but also build a stronger, more loyal customer base, positioning businesses at the forefront of a highly competitive digital marketplace.

Converging my two conferences of CES and DAvos, the Rabbit R1 is a great example of this tech convergence! I ordered one for $199 to geek out on it!

Rabbit R1

Sandy Carter, CES 2024

At its core, the Rabbit R1 is designed to be user-friendly, powered by a multimodal language model purportedly more capable than ChatGPT. The device aims to seamlessly integrate with various applications, allowing users to perform tasks effortlessly. It integrates with various applications for tasks like making purchases or planning travel, it indeed touches upon the convergence of commerce, albeit indirectly. In this context, the device would be blending AI and voice technology with e-commerce, streamlining the process of buying goods and services online. This convergence enables a more seamless, efficient, and user-friendly shopping experience, where voice commands and AI-driven assistance simplify the transaction process.

By integrating a sophisticated language model that surpasses the capabilities of existing systems like ChatGPT, the R1 pushes the boundaries of natural language processing and understanding. Its hands-free interaction, facilitated by a push-to-talk mechanism, showcases an advancement in voice recognition technology, moving away from the traditional trigger-phrase dependent models to a more seamless and rapid communication method.

Convergence is happening now!

These convergences aren’t just theoretical; they’re underway and have the potential to alter our digital landscape. It is the hot topic right. From convergence over the domain of Spatial Computing by Cathy Hackl, Co-CEO of Spatial Dynamics, below, to blockchain, quantum, security, and AI.

The Spatial Computing Convergence

Cathy Hackl

They promise a future where technology not only simplifies tasks but also empowers individuals and communities with greater control, security, and opportunities for innovation.

To Trust Or Not To Trust: That is the AI Question From Davos

https://www.forbes.com/sites/digital-assets/2024/01/30/to-trust-or-not-to-trust--that-is-the-ai-question-from-davos/

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman gestures during a session of the World Economic Forum (WEF) meeting in Davos … [+] on January 18, 2024. (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP) (Photo by FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images)

AFP via Getty Images

The rise of powerful Artificial Intelligence tools in 2023 has sparked as much excitement as it has fear, so much so that it was a major topic of discussion recently at the World Economic Forum’s 54th annual meeting in Davos. What most concerned attendees was how public trust can be restored in a world where machine-generated content is beginning to muddy the waters of information. While many vital insights were brought up, it’s important to remember that the core of this issue is humans, not machines. Thanks to advancements in cryptography and identity verification, the perfect vessel to solve these concerns is already possible.

The Rise Of The Machines

2023 saw an array of massive advancements being released in the fast-growing field of AI. Services like ChatGPT and Midjourney have allowed regular people all over the world to have access to information, insight, and content creation on a scale and of a quality never before offered by automation. This has already led to some powerful benefits for the industry and has many excited for what could still be coming in 2024 and beyond.

However, these developments have a darker side, such as their propensity to enable misinformation, deep fakes, and fraud. For example, voters in New Hampshire were targeted with robocalls just before last week’s presidential primaries. These fake calls featured an AI-generated message that sounded just like US President Joe Biden, urging them to stay home and not vote. This event comes as just one practical instance of what is concerning more and more people. Specifically, this technology will increasingly be used to spread falsehoods and manipulate public perception.

DAVOS, SWITZERLAND – 2024/01/17: Delegates gather outside a temporary AI stall along the main … [+] Promenade which is dominated by AI this year, with Artificial Intelligence companies lining the street looking for potential investment and the chance to network with attendees at the World Economic Forum. Hosted by Klaus Schwab, the theme for the 54th World Economic Forum (WEF) is restoring trust in the future within societies and among nations. The week-long WEF event brings global leaders and industry leaders together to shape the world’s future. (Photo by Andy Barton/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The prevalence of this issue is well documented in the European Union’s second annual disinformation report. The investigation outlines many problematic uses of computer-generated information and media that have been maliciously released. This includes spreading false news surrounding critical political leaders and world events, disseminating content targeting marginalized groups, and creating images and videos of major celebrities.

It isn’t just nefarious actors who use this technology in ways the public doesn’t approve of, either. Even major industry players have been accused of pushing out machine-generated content. Just look at the hot water popular publication Sports Illustrated found itself in recently after it was caught publishing AI-generated content from fake authors — highlighting that even business leaders are susceptible to being a part of the problem.

Davos Takes Notice

These are just a handful of stories, but they point to a larger picture. Given the potential for abuse, the public is understandably wary, if not outright anxious, about what AI can do. The topic has become so pervasive that the WEF’s annual meeting in Davos was themed around “Rebuilding Trust,” with leaders from all over the globe weighing in on the nature of this threat and what could be done about it. Critical insights from global heads of industry and government included the need for transparency, communication, and education as core principles that can be used to rebuild public trust. As Professor Klaus Schwab, Chairperson of the World Economic Forum, noted:

“Open, transparent conversations can restore mutual trust between individuals and nations who, out of fear for their own future, prioritize their own interests. The resulting dynamics diminish hope for a brighter future. To steer away from crisis-driven dynamics and foster cooperation, trust, and a shared vision for a brighter future, we must create a positive narrative that unlocks the opportunities presented by this historic turning point.”

The sentiments coming out of Davos are valuable, but a practical solution that can be deployed in the near future has largely been overlooked. While industrial cooperation and government regulation are essential, everyone must remember that the problem isn’t this new technology; it’s people.

DAVOS, SWITZERLAND – 2024/01/17: A person walks past a temporary AI stall along the main Promenade … [+] which is dominated by AI this year, with Artificial Intelligence companies lining the street looking for potential investment and the chance to network with attendees at the World Economic Forum. Hosted by Klaus Schwab, the theme for the 54th World Economic Forum (WEF) is restoring trust in the future within societies and among nations. The week-long WEF event brings global leaders and industry leaders together to shape the world’s future. (Photo by Andy Barton/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Despite fears of what automation could bring, up until now, every example of AI causing issues has led back to the people who deployed it, the platforms that spread it, and the users who consumed it. At every level, it should be clearer who this content is coming from and what their authority over it is. This is, fortunately, a problem that can be solved.

A Digital Solution For A Human Problem

Currently, there’s no standardized way to confirm where most media online comes from. The same goes for many online personas who hide behind an avatar with little clarity about who they are. It doesn’t have to stay that way, though, if there were to be a system of digital identities and credentials that could be independently verified in an unfalsifiable way. If such an ID were utilized ubiquitously across business, social media, and news reporting, it could go a long way in combating much of the misinformation and false content.

How is this possible? By implementing online profiles that follow a user anywhere they go across the internet, a single pseudonymous identity can be created to confirm they are who they say they are. When these profiles are set up, new applicants could perform a one-time “humanity check” that can leverage biometrics, existing documentation, or other verifying information to prove who they are. They can then be granted a “confirmed human” credential linked to this ID. Every step is cryptographically secure to eliminate the possibility of forgery. Now, any service that a given ID interacts with can instantly see this is the verified human they claim to be, not a bot or imposter.

For example, my employer, Unstoppable Domains, offers a profile feature enabling users to link various blockchain assets, including NFTs, awards, and educational credentials — helping to build greater trust in interactions. When it comes to digital IDs, one of the major boons offered by decentralized technology is the ability to verify while maintaining a level of anonymity. Platforms like Nuggets and Polygon ID deliver decentralized identity solutions backed by Zero Knowledge Proofs (ZKPs). ZKPs offer cryptographic proof, verifying data without revealing the underlying information. This novel tech serves as a potent defense against fraud and empowers individuals to control precisely which information is disclosed, enhancing privacy and agency.

Sandeep Nailwal, Co-founder, Polygon. (Photo By Ben McShane/Sportsfile for Web Summit via Getty … [+] Images)

Sportsfile for Web Summit via Getty Images

This is a great step forward for user profiles, but what about the content itself? These IDs can address this as well. Any created content can be embedded with a cryptographic “watermark” proving where it originated. Just like with user profiles, platforms can instantly see this confirmation or lack thereof. Any media missing the correct credentials will be immediately labeled as suspicious or filtered out entirely, depending on the needs of the service.

Fox News has already taken steps to build a system to help identify deepfakes and fake news. Dubbed Verify, the system enables users to confirm the content is authentic and indeed originated from the given source.

AI-generated content could also be tagged as such in this system. Instead of outright banning AI use, these agents could be given their own IDs. It is not a means to trick people but to identify them and their content as machine-generated. Publications and social platforms could allow or ban such material, but it would no longer be unclear where it was generated from. This also would enable the public to easily parse out what they consume and always have context for its origin.

Furthermore, embracing such an architecture stands to significantly help businesses bring back customer trust. AI isn’t going away, but the recent IBM Global AI Adoption Index 2023 reveals that about 85% of those in the IT industry firmly believe that consumers will heavily prefer companies implementing transparent and ethical AI practices. Utilizing digital IDs stands to be a major cornerstone of that.

It’s Time To Act

One way or another, the issue of trust raised by AI will need to be addressed if the technology continues to be implemented across so many industries. Digital IDs and humanity checks may not be the only tools that will be used to bring back public faith, but they’re the ones at our disposal right now. Industry leaders and governments should take note, and soon, because there isn’t any time to lose, given the stakes presented in 2024 and likely beyond.

Women Rock N Roll Davos With AI, Health, And Inclusive Leadership

https://www.forbes.com/sites/digital-assets/2024/01/23/women-rock-n-roll-davos-with-ai-health-and-inclusive-leadership/

100 Women Davos at the famous Swedish Lunch

Sandy Carter Davos 2024

Davos is witnessing a paradigm shift, powered by the tenacity and vision of women leaders steering conversations toward inclusive innovation and equitable health solutions. Per the World Economic Forum (WEF), a significant stride was made towards gender representation, with women constituting approximately 28% of the 3,000 attendees. This assembly included a notable number of global leaders, with over 350 heads of state, government, and ministers. The forum achieved a record-breaking attendance of over 800 women, marking a historic moment in its 54-year history.

It all started with Women Leaders, APCO and Margery Kraus who are one of the oldest women’s forums in Davos with APCO hosting its 40th anniversary celebration at Davos this year. Carine de Meyere founder of Women of the World has been at Davos for 15 years empowering women, making them visible and getting them on various panels.

Women’s Leader’s Dinner

Women Leader’s Dinner

Also, of note, is the infamous Shelley Zalis of The Female Quotient who takes over an entire hotel and is packed every Davos.

Rupa Dash
DASH
of the World Woman Foundation, Dr Anino Emuwa, 100 Woman Davos, Janna Salokangas co-founder of the Finnish Flow
FLOW
and Salama Belghali Founder of the Women in Web3 summit in Switzerland also led remarkable programs.

Vera Futorjanski, CEO of Beyond, as well as the Unstoppable Women of Web3 and AI, founded by myself, were both present this year in Davos. And Ayumi Moore Aoki, founder and CEO of Women in Tech Global ,who has made it her mission to ensure a global focus, was active at Davos in 2024.

Their contributions underscore a collective mission to champion diversity in the realms of technology and healthcare, carving out new paths for leadership that resonate with women across the globe. And notably all the groups supported each other. For example, Women in Tech Switzerland launched their “Allyship in Tech” Initiative at World Woman Davos.

But despite decades of pushing, little progress has been made when it comes to women joining critical STEM careers that are shaping the future. Why is it so crucial we get more women into these fields? The key component to generating inclusive developments is having women in the room to ask these important questions that drive our research and inventions forward. STEM is at the forefront of innovation. We can’t fully engage with the world around us if half the population is not involved in these processes.

At the heart of technological progress, particularly in the field of artificial intelligence (AI), lies the imperative of diversity and inclusion—not just as buzzwords but as pillars of innovation. The adage “Diversity is being invited to the party; inclusion is being asked to dance” aptly captures the essence of what drives real creativity and wisdom in AI development. This principle is especially pertinent in the field of women’s health, where AI has the potential to address deeply ingrained biases and cater to historically under-served needs.

The conversation at Davos served as a reminder that collaborative AI development, bolstered by varied and unique insights, is key to engineering AI that not only innovates but also inclusively caters to the broad spectrum of women’s health issues. It’s a clarion call to remain centered on community, listening to and celebrating what we have in common and what makes us different, to forge better AI, and better health outcomes for women across the globe.

Navigating the Trust Gap in AI and Gene-Based Medicine

The 2024 Edelman Trust Barometer presents a dichotomy in public perception, with AI and gene-based medicine at a crossroads of public trust. This divide is more than a metric; it reflects the profound responsibility shouldered by the tech industry. To transcend skepticism, the industry must not only innovate but also articulate the ethical deployment of these technologies.

Edelman Trust Barometer 2024

Edelman Trust Barometer 2024

And for women, the area of trust in data for healthcare is crucial. Establishing trust is essential, requiring transparency and education to illuminate the societal benefits of AI, gene therapy, and women’s health, ensuring that these advancements are embraced not just in theory, but in the everyday lives of people.

Data Needed: Empowering Women’s Health Through AI

Women, on average, live longer than men, yet spend more time in poor health. McKinsey Health Institute and the World Economic Forum unveiled new research showing that economic benefits are inevitable when improving women’s healthcare.

A topic that many women drove at Davos was the need for better data, research and tools for women’s health. McKinsey’s research shows that 44 percent of the female disease burden could be reduced with more consistent and timely delivery of proven existing interventions and breakthrough innovations. A further 6 percent could be reduced by addressing inequality affecting women and girls.

This is not a woman’s issue – this is everyone’s issue boldly states the Female Quotient.

(From left to right): Shelley Zalis (Founder & CEO, The Female Quotient) and Douglas Emhoff (Second … [+] Gentleman of the United States).

Female Quotient

In the quest to harness AI to improve women’s health, a crucial takeaway is the significance of gender data. The disparities in healthcare data are not just gaps in information but are indicative of deeper societal issues. We must urgently address these disparities to bolster social resilience and instill confidence.As we continue to integrate AI into healthcare, particularly in women’s health, taking charge of our data and how it’s used is not just about privacy; it’s about ensuring that the technology empowers us without compromising our autonomy.

During an impactful ‘Women’s AI Breakfast’ at AI House Davos, leading women in the field, including Anna Makanju of OpenAI, shared their invaluable perspectives. The discussions, steered by Nicole Büttner of Merantix Momentum and featuring voices like Deemah AlYahya of the Digital Cooperation Organization and Nigina Muntean of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), delved into strategies for creating unbiased AI systems.

The consensus highlighted the need for diverse talent pools to identify and mitigate existing biases, ensuring that AI solutions are equitable and safe.

Furthermore, shaping a positive narrative around AI was underscored as critical to its acceptance and successful integration into healthcare. Diversity in AI training is not a mere advantage but a necessity, bringing a wealth of experiences that can lead to richer, more nuanced AI applications in women’s health. The dialogue also emphasized the significance of inclusive AI regulation—policies co-designed with diverse inputs that reflect a tapestry of societal needs.

A key focus at Davos has been the dire need for advancements in women’s health, an area where AI can be a game-changer. According to McKinsey, a significant percentage of the health issues women face could be mitigated through the delivery of proven health interventions and addressing gender inequalities. AI stands as a beacon of hope, promising to personalize care and provide insights into gender-specific health conditions. Its analytical prowess could revolutionize early detection and treatment, particularly for diseases like breast cancer and osteoporosis that predominantly affect women.

The Voice of Advocacy in Women’s Health

Women are the foundation of healthy families, vibrant communities, and prosperous economies. Leaders like Neema Kaseje, Founder & Director of the Surgical Systems Research Group (SSRG), are advocating for marginalized groups, emphasizing the urgency of leveraging technology to break down barriers to healthcare. Her insights at Davos in the AI House session bring attention to the stark disparities in healthcare access, especially for women and children in vulnerable situations. AI’s ability to sift through extensive data sets can uncover new avenues for diagnosis and treatment, equipping medical professionals with the tools to combat healthcare inequalities.

Neema Kaseje on the World Women Equality Moonshot

World Woman Davos

Neema explained to me in Switzerland, “Women and children particularly in refugee and refugee contexts continue to be left behind and their access to life saving health care remains. Technology can be leveraged to address barriers to care and there is a need for more joint collective action to reach health for all and sustainable development goals by the 2030 deadline.”

Synthetic Data: A Catalyst for Change in Women’s Health AI

Synthetic data is poised to revolutionize the landscape of women’s health by enabling the development of AI tools without compromising patient privacy. This innovative approach to data handling allows for the exploration of health trends and the development of predictive models, free from the constraints of bias that have historically plagued medical data. By harnessing the power of synthetic data, AI will deliver more equitable and targeted healthcare interventions, specifically in areas such as maternal health and fertility.

Stanford Biodesign’s Pioneering Role

At the forefront of this revolution is Stanford Biodesign, led by Dr. Oliver Aalami. Their dedication to merging technology with healthcare through the development of Spezi, an evolution of CardinalKit, represents a commitment to constructing a digital health infrastructure that is comprehensive, modular, and interoperable. By leveraging HL7 FHIR standards, Stanford Biodesign is not just creating tools but actively shaping the future of healthcare delivery. Their focus on women’s health is a testament to the power of innovation in forging a future where medical care is both inclusive and transformative.

In discussion with Aditi Joshi, Advisor to the Building for Digital Health team at Stanford Biodesign, she shared that her “personal passion project is addressing health inequities and giving equal opportunity to those in need. Education is the great equalizer. It is incumbent upon all of us to use the power of AI for good.“

Aditi Joshi speaking at Davos 2024

Sandy Carter, AI House Davos

Women-Led Agendas

In addition to healthcare, women’s leadership has taken center stage at the heart of this year’s Davos agenda, demonstrating a powerful influence on global dialogues and initiatives. A remarkable example of this leadership was the high-level roundtable hosted by an inspiring female figure in politics, Dionysia-Theodora Avgerinopoulou, a Member of Parliament from Greece who also serves as the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy for the Ocean. This event not only highlighted the importance of female leadership in political spheres but also underscored the role women play in steering critical environmental issues to the forefront of international policy discussions.

Dionysia-Theodora Avgerinopoulou, leading the charge as the Ocean Lead

Greek House Davos 2024

Dionysia-Theodora Avgerinopoulou, leading the charge as the Ocean Lead, not only orchestrated this significant gathering at Davos but is also set to host this year’s Our Ocean Conference. Her dedication to oceanic health reflects a broader commitment seen across the board at Davos, where women are not just participants but are actively shaping the conversation and outcomes of such high-profile gatherings. Her efforts to unite leaders across various sectors signal a transformative approach to environmental advocacy—one that is inclusive, action-oriented, and spearheaded by women who are undeniably setting the agenda on the global stage. This is a vivid demonstration of how women in leadership are not only participating in important conversations but are also catalyzing concrete actions for a sustainable future.

The Dire Need for Inclusive Leadership

In the midst of the World Economic Forum’s dynamic interchange of ideas and global agendas, a poignant theme emerged from the dialogues led by women: the imperative for diverse leadership. This call was not just about filling seats with a variety of faces; it was about bringing a spectrum of experiences and voices to the forefront to address the complex challenges of our time. Vera Futorjanski, CEO of Beyond, captured this sentiment compellingly, stating, “The theme of this year’s forum, ‘Rebuilding Trust,’ resonated deeply with the ethos of my endeavors.” By consciously curating events that placed diverse women in prominent speaking roles, Futorjanski illustrated the power of inclusion in fostering trust and understanding across diverse cultures and communities.

Vera Futorjanski, CEO of Beyond

Vera Futorjanski, CEO of Beyond

The women-led agenda at Davos, championed by leaders like Futorjanski, underscored the world’s dire need for a broader array of perspectives at the helm. The Women Leaders reception and the Women’s AI Breakfast served as platforms where leaders like President Fawn Sharp and tech experts Deemah Al Yahya and Anna Makanju shared insights that reverberated beyond the event halls, instigating a ripple of empowerment. These gatherings embodied the transformative potential that diverse leadership holds—not only in inspiring women globally but also in shaping a future where decision-making is enriched by the collective wisdom of varied lived experiences. This focus on diversity is not merely a nod to equality; it’s a strategic imperative that is essential for innovation, resilience, and societal progress.

As Safia⁩ Agueni, President of Women in Tech Switzerland said, “Across all industries, organizational transformations focus on ‘doing more with less,’ aiming for high-performance teams with diverse talent for superior results. Research shows that teams with greater diversity and psychological safety perform the best in tackling complex challenges. Technology, as a huge enabler of transformation, is still underrepresented by diverse, female talent. There’s a significant pool of female tech talent at all levels, but it remains untapped without direct involvement and sponsorship from key decision-makers. Imagine the potential of higher-performing teams if we sustainably created the needed support in tech.”

A Call to Action for Inclusive Healthcare and Women-Led Agendas

The discussions at Davos resonate with a clear message: there is a pressing need to embrace AI as a pivotal ally in the quest for women’s health equity.

As Dr Anino Emuwa, CEO and Founder 100 Women Davos, told me, “In addressing today’s complex challenges, from climate action to peace and security as well as ethics in the development of AI and other new technologies, tapping into all talent is crucial. With women comprising half of the world’s talent pool, female leadership is not just valuable but vital for finding solutions and navigating our shared path forward.”

As these leaders return to their respective domains, they carry the torch for a future where technological advancements in AI are not only trusted but are also integral to delivering comprehensive, gender-sensitive healthcare. In a world where women’s voices are becoming increasingly influential in shaping policy and innovation, the convergence of AI and women’s health is not just a possibility but imperative. Through collective action and persistent advocacy, the future o

The Top 5 Things You Must Know Midway Through Davos 2024

https://www.forbes.com/sites/digital-assets/2024/01/18/the-top-5-things-you-must-know-midway-through-davos-2024/

Sandy Carter, Author, at Davos

Sandy Carter, Author, at Davos

Nestled amidst the stunning vistas of Davos, over 800 CEOs, 1,600 companies, and representatives from hundreds of nations converge to engage in pivotal conversations about emerging technologies and their profound implications for businesses and global economies. The atmosphere is electric with spirited debates and the level of public-private collaboration is unparalleled.

Midway through Davos, I’ve selected the top 5 discussions that are essential for staying abreast of the game-changing trends in technology!

1. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its impact on jobs present a complex picture.

Recent research by the IMF, titled “Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Work,” indicates that AI could affect up to 40% of jobs worldwide, with the number rising to 60% in countries like the United States and dropping to 26% in low-income countries. The influence of AI is double-edged: on the positive side, it has the potential to significantly enhance productivity and serve as a tool for entrepreneurs, facilitating innovation and idea generation. Conversely, there is a risk of job displacement. The development and application of AI should not be accepted as predetermined; policymakers have a crucial role to play in shaping its trajectory. Given AI’s disregard for national borders, international collaboration is essential. Ensuring that labor policies align with these technological advances is critical to realizing AI’s net benefit for humanity.

As Ray Wang, Davos speaker and CEO and founder of Constellation said to me “Organizations must recognize the gravity of their role in the era of artificial intelligence. It’s not just about leveraging AI for efficiency and profitability; it’s about taking prescriptive and proactive steps to build a foundation of trust and safeguard reputations. As we navigate this technological revolution, the onus lies on institutions and the AI community to demystify AI, clarifying its tools and uses. Education is paramount. It’s our collective responsibility to ensure that as AI transforms the workplace, it also opens doors for job creation and up-skilling, ensuring that the evolution of work is inclusive and beneficial for all.”

Ray Wang on the Live from Davos Disrupt TV!

Sandy Carter, DAVOS DirsuptTV

AI is poised to transform the global economy, particularly within labor markets. Advanced economies might encounter the effects of AI more rapidly than their emerging market and developing counterparts, attributed to their workforce’s concentration on cognitive-intensive tasks. Exposure to AI varies, with women and those with higher education often being more vulnerable, yet potentially standing to gain the most from AI advancements. Conversely, older workers may find it challenging to adapt. If the synergy between AI and high-income earners is substantial, labor income inequality could rise, as could wealth inequality through increased capital returns. However, substantial productivity gains could elevate income levels for the majority. Amidst this transition, it is imperative for advanced and developing economies alike to invest in regulatory frameworks and labor reallocation strategies that protect those at risk, and to emphasize the development of digital infrastructure and skills.

2. Redefining Leadership for the Era of Emerging Technologies like AI, Blockchain, and Quantum Computing

In an ever-evolving technological landscape, leadership must evolve to keep pace with advancements in AI, blockchain, and quantum computing. At recent discussions in Davos, I was thrilled to engage in conversations about how our new world necessitates a transformation in leadership styles. It’s clear that cultivating a culture where employees feel secure about the impact of AI on their organizations is crucial. Additionally, comprehensive training on emerging technologies is no longer optional but essential. It was refreshing to see culture and leadership becoming focal points for CEOs, government leaders, and entrepreneurs at Davos.

A significant insight shared about AI was the endorsement of a deliberate and calculated approach to innovation. The prevailing opinion is that a slow and steady progression ensures the establishment of a robust foundation for responsible AI development. This methodical path includes the formulation of explicit ethical standards, the development of a highly skilled workforce, and the construction of the necessary infrastructure to underpin this rapidly expanding sector. By adopting this approach, we can proactively tackle potential issues, ensuring alignment with the overarching objective of sustainable and ethical development in AI.

Rhonda Vetere, a speaker at Davos and Global STEM Ambassador, Board of Directors, emphasized the need for a new breed of leadership. “The traditional C-suite leadership model is now outdated. In this age where life and leadership are not mere transactions, it’s imperative to lead with empathy and recognize the astonishing rate at which everyone is adapting to technological change. Remember, people are the priority. Invest in your team. It’s vital to proactively disseminate frameworks for upskilling and career development,” she remarked.

Rhonda Vetere at Davos 2024

Sandy Carter, Davos 2024

Leaders today must not only be visionaries in technology but also champions of human capital. They must commit to nurturing talent, sharing knowledge, and creating pathways for continuous professional growth. Only through such a holistic approach can we fully realize the potential of our technological advancements and the individuals who power them.

3. Tokenization and it’s power.

The consensus at Davos is clear: tokenization stands as a pivotal topic for 2024. But what exactly is tokenization? It is the process of converting the rights to an asset into a digital token on a blockchain, thus facilitating its trade and ownership digitally.

Throughout various panels at the event, tokenization was heralded for its potential to enhance productivity and efficiency in our increasingly digital world. A compelling application is the tokenization of satellites, which offers a shared approach to costs and expenses.

Shelli Brunswick, a panelist at Davos and CEO of SB Global, emphasized the transformative impact of this innovation: “Tokenization, or fractional ownership of space assets, can open doors for developing nations, academic entities, and small businesses, potentially triggering significant advancements in workforce development and economic growth.”

Shelli Brunswick at Davos 2024

Sandy Carter, Davos 2024

The tokenization of satellites also offers a novel solution to the growing challenge of space debris. By assigning and tracking ownership of space assets through blockchain, responsible behavior in space can be incentivized. This approach not only promotes sustainable use of space but also aligns with the broader goals of environmental responsibility and international cooperation in space governance.

The discussions also ventured into the realm of agriculture, highlighting the tokenization of food products to ensure traceability and origin verification. This transparency extends to the manufacturing sector, where it can be used to certify the sustainability of materials, allowing retailers to validate the eco-friendly nature of their fabrics with confidence.

Furthermore, tokenization is not just a tool for improving transparency and collaboration; it is increasingly seen as a mechanism for enhancing security and creating new investment opportunities. For instance, with the advent of more sophisticated cyber threats, tokenization provides a secure and immutable record of asset ownership and transactions. In the financial sector, the potential for tokenized bonds and stocks is being carefully examined, with several panels highlighting pilot projects that could redefine investment and liquidity in the markets. Such innovations could give rise to a new era of democratized finance, where a broader range of investors can participate in markets that were traditionally less accessible.

4. AI and Open Source: Bridging Gaps for Efficient Deployment

AI and the debate around to Open Source or not continued at Davos. During a session at the MIT Dome, Aditi Joshi from Google
GOOG Cloud shared insights on the development and deployment of machine learning (ML) models, highlighting the obstacles to their broader application. The high computational demands of ML models present a significant barrier, especially given infrastructure and resource constraints. A further complication is the lack of standardization in ML deployment, leading to a patchwork of compatibility issues linked to specific frameworks, hardware types, and applications.

Aditi Joshi, Google, at Davos 2024

Sandy Carter, Davos 2024

The extensive efforts developers must undertake to ensure models work across various hardware setups can be challenging. Developers must invest considerable time and effort to ensure that models built on specific frameworks function correctly across different hardware setups, requiring specialized knowledge. These complexities impede developer productivity and limit the potential of ML models in terms of architecture, performance, and versatility.

In response to these challenges, a consortium of leading ML industry stakeholders, including tech giants like Google, Nvidia, Meta, Amazon Web Services, AMD, Apple
AAPL , and innovators like Hugging Face and Intel
INTC , has initiated the development of OpenXLA. This open-source compiler and infrastructure ecosystem is designed to bridge the compatibility gap between ML frameworks and hardware. Its goal is to boost developer productivity by facilitating seamless deployment across a variety of hardware backends, including GPUs, CPUs, and specialized accelerators. The consortium’s focus on high performance, scalability, portability, flexibility, and affordability aims to ensure efficient and cost-effective deployment of ML models.

For business leaders, your engineering and developers will need to consider how to develop and deploy.

5. Space the Davos Frontier.

Space had a big stage at Davos. At the Hedera
HBAR leadership dinner, there were Astronaut whispers and there was a full day dedicated to space as well. Tonight I’m in a round table on Space with AI and Tokenization! In the modern era of technological innovation, space has emerged as a new frontier akin to the influential gatherings in Davos, where global leaders converge to shape the future. This cosmic domain is no longer the sole province of governmental space agencies; it has become a crucible for private enterprise, technological advancement, and innovative financial models. Two pivotal forces driving this transformation are Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the tokenization of space assets, like satellites.

AI’s role in space exploration and utilization is multi-faceted. From optimizing satellite trajectories to analyzing vast amounts of cosmic data, AI is rapidly becoming an indispensable tool. One of the most groundbreaking applications is in autonomous spacecraft operation. AI enables spacecraft to make real-time decisions without Earth-based control, crucial for deep-space missions where communication delays are inevitable.

In satellite technology, AI enhances Earth observation capabilities. By processing and interpreting data at an unprecedented scale and speed, AI facilitates more accurate weather forecasting, efficient resource management, and timely disaster response. This leap in data handling and analysis is not just a technical upgrade; it represents a paradigm shift in how we understand and interact with our planet and beyond.

David Bray, a Davos keynote speaker and one of “24 Americans Changing the World” by Business Insider, told me that “We are experiencing simultaneous tech revolutions in the commercialization of sensors, AI, space, biology, and quantum. We *must* ways to empower and uplift communities locally, regionally, and globally in ways that don’t exacerbate tensions, divisions, and even more disinformation; rather business, governments, and non-profits together must develop and activate more people-centered tech adoption approaches to co-create shared futures ahead.” David is hosting a roundtable at Davos around Space tech and emerging technologies.

IN SPACE (Photo by SpaceX via Getty Images)

Getty Images

As space becomes the new Davos frontier, the integration of AI and tokenization is not just an incremental step but a giant leap. It paves the way for more inclusive, sustainable, and efficient space exploration and utilization. The future of space is not just about reaching new celestial bodies; it’s about harnessing cutting-edge technologies to create a space economy that is accessible, accountable, and advances humanity.

The Future:

The Future: Davos is not just a spectacle of present-day thought leadership; it is a signal for future perspectives. The dialogues of Davos serve as a catalyst for change, inspiring innovation and fostering collaborations. As we depart from the snowy peaks that have housed these pivotal discussions, the imperative to not only envision a better future but to lay down the practical groundwork for its realization is perhaps the most valuable takeaways from this year’s gathering.

My Top 10 Revolutionary Discoveries At CES 2024: AI, Robotics, Web3

https://www.forbes.com/sites/digital-assets/2024/01/14/my-top-10-revolutionary-discoveries-at-ces-2024-ai-robotics-web3/

Lisa Martin and Sandy Carter on CES Live

Sandy Carter, CES

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is more than an event; it’s a crystal ball into the technological marvels that will shape our world in the next half-decade. This year’s CES, a melting pot of over 135,000 technology enthusiasts and innovators, showcased over 4,300 exhibits that spanned the spectrum of human ingenuity.

Here’s a snapshot of my top ten groundbreaking favorites:

The FQ Women Walk the Floor

The inaugural event at CES by Female Quotient was a powerful testament to women’s growing influence in technology. It provided a platform where a diverse group of leaders – from visionary C-Suite executives to groundbreaking female founders and tech giants – converged to share their insights. They discussed strategies and initiatives aimed at narrowing the gender gap within the industry.

Women Walk the Floor at CES

Female Quotient

“We are all about creating a space and culture where we all feel welcome and like we belong. Here we all are walking the CES floor together, the most amazing thing we could possibly imagine because a woman alone has power but collectively, we have impact.” – Shelley Zalis, Founder & CEO of The Female Quotient at the 2024 Women Walk the Floor Tour at CES. This is a significant milestone in our journey toward a more inclusive industry, making it a crucial highlight of my list.

Hydrogen Powered 18-Wheelers

The convention center was abuzz with the sight of the Nikola team’s 18-wheelers, a fleet that marks a new chapter in sustainable transport with the hydrogen-powered fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV). The vehicles, with a remarkable range of 500 miles, signify a leap towards a greener future. Pedro Garcia’s , Global Head of Product Development at Nikola, shared his insights on their developmental journey, which began in the virtual world of Altair’s AI simulations, provided a fascinating narrative on how these behemoths transitioned from digital prototypes to the tarmac. This innovation is a harbinger of the hydrogen economy, securing its spot on my list.

Pedro Garcia in front of the Nikola Hydrogen Powered 18 Wheeler at CES

Pedro Garcia

Deep Orange 14 from Clemson University

This year, the Deep Orange 14 autonomous vehicle, a product of Clemson University‘s bright minds, was a beacon of hope for disaster-stricken areas. The collaboration with the U.S. Army culminated in a vehicle that can navigate treacherous terrains to deliver aid without endangering human lives. This marvel of engineering, with over 900 parameters under constant surveillance, is at the forefront of autonomous research and deserves its acclaim for pushing the boundaries of technology for the greater good.

Deep Orange 14 from Clemson University

Sandy Carter, CES

Flux Web3 Decentralized Cloud

Amidst the clamor for genuine decentralization, the Flux Cloud emerged as a paradigm shift for developers seeking to build on a truly decentralized web3 infrastructure. This platform is a cornerstone for future applications, promising an escape from the centralized grip of web2. According to Blockworks, more of the world’s largest Web2 game companies will embrace web3 in 2024. And per web3 statistics, projections indicate that the web3 industry could reach a valuation of approximately $14.5 trillion by 2030 and up to $11 trillion by 2024. Its potential for enhancing scalability, flexibility, and censorship resistance is why it’s a key feature of my list.

Flux Cloud at CES

Flux Cloud

Transparent TVs by LG

The magic of LG’s Signature OLED T was easily seen as it seamlessly transitioned between transparency and vivid display in the midst of ooos and ahhs! This year, LG’s promise to commercialize the 77-inch wonder is a bold step towards redefining the aesthetic of living spaces. It’s a statement of elegant functionality and serves as a window to a world where technology and design converge in harmony. Its inclusion on my list is due to its visionary approach to home entertainment.

Transparent TV with Sandy Carter, COO

Sandy Carter, CES

AI from Pets to Pores to Pebbles

AI’s omnipresence at CES was emphatically showcased in applications ranging from pet health to personal wellness. The Invoxia Minitailz struck a chord with pet lovers, offering a glimpse into the well-being of our furry companions through advanced biometric tracking. Meanwhile, the Calm Stone‘s novel approach to stress reduction through AI-assisted breathing exercises represented a new frontier in personal health tech. In addition, Loreal introduced the Giorgio Armani Meta Profiler. The Meta Profiler’s use of AI for analyzing skin health was another standout, illustrating AI’s potential to tailor and enhance the retail experience. This diverse application of AI across various facets of life is why it’s integral to my list.

The Calm Stone

Sandy Carter, CEO

Robotics in Pools and PT

Robotics were everywhere too! “Language models aren’t just for IoT anymore. Given the ease with which interfaces like ChatGPT can interpret prompts into commands, there will be a new class of tools emerging that seeks to combine the best of natural language processing and perception hardware,” said Brandon Minor, co-founder and CEO of Tangram Vision said while speaking to the Robot Report. “This feels like a natural extension from an engineer’s point of view, and success would add a layer of ‘magic’ to any tech demo.” And we saw some magic too! The Aiper Scuba Series redefines pool maintenance with its cordless robotic cleaners. But in the robotics area, what caught my attention at CES was WiRobotics. This nifty device acts like a mini exoskeleton for your lower body, providing subtle, motorized assistance that helps with walking.

Yong-Jae Kim – Founder, CEO – WIRobotics and Sandy Carter, COO Unstoppable

Sandy Carter, CES

Its design is cleverly intuitive—a belt pack equipped with retractable robotic arms that support and enhance leg movements. It’s a godsend for physical therapy patients, aiding in movement and improving balance without being obtrusive. When I tested it, the difference was noticeable; my strides felt lighter and I was able to walk with increased speed. Priced at $2,300, the WiRobotics is an investment in health, claiming to reduce the energy required for walking by 20%. It’s a standout addition to my list because of its potential to revolutionize recovery times, making it an essential tool for those on the path to regaining their mobility.

The Emergence of AI Companionship – Introducing Wehead

At this year’s CES, a notable innovation was introduced by an American startup: Wehead. This groundbreaking AI companion robot presents a human-like face on a screen, forging a new frontier in digital interaction. My experience with Wehead was remarkable, engaging in conversation with an AI that seemed almost human. The developers designed it with a noble purpose: to offer companionship to those who might feel isolated or lonely.

Reflecting on George Ritzer’s analysis in ‘The McDonaldization of Society‘, Wehead stands in stark contrast to the impersonal automation that has come to define modern services, like those of fast-food chains, which expedite efficiency at the cost of human interaction.

WeHead – Virtual Companion

Sandy Carter, CES

Wehead aims to restore some of that lost connection, providing a ‘face’ and a ‘voice’ in scenarios where human contact is scarce. It’s a poignant response to the social isolation prevalent in our fast-paced world and represents a meaningful use of technology to enhance human connection.

This is why Wehead has earned a place on my list – it’s not just about the technology itself, but about how it can serve to alleviate the loneliness that touches so many lives.

Longevity with the Phantom Neo by Bodyfriend

The Phantom Neo massage chair by BODYFRIEND represents a leap in health and wellness technology. By integrating PEMF (Pulsed Electromagnetic Field) technology, this chair doesn’t just offer relaxation but a daily therapeutic regimen, potentially extending the ‘Healthy Life Year’ of users. Its revolutionary approach to daily well-being is why it’s featured on my list.

Bodyfriend

Sandy Carter, CES

Virtual Content Creation.

Sony turned my head at CES with its integration of Smode XR technology. Smode XR harnesses the power of extended reality (XR) to meld the physical with the virtual, opening up a world of possibilities for virtual production shoots and live events. I saw a mini movie being made with real-time compositing, integrating to create stunningly immersive virtual environments, showcasing video of larger views than were shown in a real life picture. The potential of Smode XR in transforming television production, film, and live performances is immense, promising a new era of entertainment that is as limitless as the imagination of its creators. This innovation made my list because I think that creators are the future economy!

The Future of Content Production

Sandy Carter, CES

Innovate.

At the end of CES 2024 , these ten innovations stand as beacons of progress, each with the potential to redefine aspects of our lives. However, my iphone is filled with so many innovations from too many companies to mention. From fostering diversity to propelling sustainable transportation, from enhancing personal health to providing companionship, the future is being shaped today.

And as I reflect on the showcases that left an indelible mark on me, I’m filled with anticipation for what the next year’s CES will reveal about our path forward. You must join me next year!

The First Bitcoin ETF Will Revolutionize The Blockchain Space

https://www.forbes.com/sites/digital-assets/2024/01/10/the-first-bitcoin-etf-will-revolutionize-the-blockchain-space/

BTC ETF(Photo Illustration by Avishek Das/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

After so many years of waiting, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) approval of the first Bitcoin
BTC
-based Exchange-Traded Fund (ETF) is finally upon us.

The Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) is finally here. Eagerly anticipated by a market that has seen the price of Bitcoin skyrocket in recent months, the much-awaited green light by the SEC is poised to bring billions of dollars in fresh funding into the cryptocurrency sector in the coming years.

But far more than providing a renewed influx of funding, the emergence of Bitcoin ETFs is also set to positively impact even the most far-flung corners of the cryptosphere in a number of unique ways.

What is a Bitcoin ETF?

Traditionally, an ETF is a pooled security that tracks price indexes of various assets like commodities. Akin to mutual funds, an ETF allows investors to benefit from the price movements of its underlying assets without interacting with them directly. The latter is the main reason why a Bitcoin ETF has been so coveted over the past years. While BTC’s legal status is still somewhat opaque, a Bitcoin-based ETF could enable regulated entities to invest in it indirectly — without ever having to handle BTC itself. Furthermore, unlike mutual funds, ETFs can be freely traded on stock exchanges.

Why It Matters

Up until now, the vast majority of regulated financial entities were precluded from investing in Bitcoin, relegating the first cryptocurrency to that of a relatively niche asset. With the launch of the first ETF, however, IRAs, 401Ks, pension funds, and prominent institutional players have gained the ability to invest in BTC, opening up the door for mass adoption on an unprecedented scale.

Now, this is one of, if not the most important milestone for legitimization of Bitcoin, officially making the crypto a real and widely recognized asset that can be leveraged by regulated institutions. While many crypto enthusiasts have never doubted the value or tangibility of BTC, the SEC’s approval of a Bitcoin ETF has enormously boosted the crypto’s legitimacy and credence. As a result, this will likely have a ripple effect across the whole blockchain industry, placing it under the global spotlight like never before.

Institutional Adoption Skyrocketing

In the first year alone, the Bitcoin ETF could generate at least $14.4 billion in inflows from big institutional investors, according to a recent research report from crypto firm Galaxy Digital. While this is a stellar figure by itself, it becomes even more impressive considering that existing traditional products like trusts and futures have a total value of roughly $21 billion today. This means that in just one year, institutional BTC investments could reach heights comparable with proven traditional instruments that have existed for decades. Moreover, Galaxy predicts that inflows in Bitcoin ETFs could reach $27 billion in the second year and $39 billion in the third.

Meanwhile, analysts at CryptoQuant noted that approval of Bitcoin ETFs could add $1 trillion to the overall market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies combined. While still predictions, these colossal figures show that not only will the SEC’s approval of the Bitcoin ETF give a tremendous boost to the price of BTC itself, but it could also positively affect the whole sector thanks to a massive influx of institutional capital.

Fostering Blockchain Innovation

Following such a seismic shift, Bitcoin, in particular, and the blockchain industry will turn much more than just investors’ heads. Countless talented developers who were perhaps apprehensive of web3 will start embracing decentralization, bringing their vast web2 experience and expertise to blockchain.

Consequently, by reinvigorating the blockchain space, the first Bitcoin ETF will also likely result in increased adoption and explosive growth of sectors like Decentralized Finance (DeFi), GameFi, and real-world asset tokenization, among others, as well as a massive expansion and acceleration of Layer-1/2 network development.

Web3 games, in particular, are often considered the “next big thing” in the world of blockchain, with this sub-sector being one of the fastest growing over the past year. Notably, even the dreaded “crypto winter” had much less impact on GameFi than on other facets of web3 due to the uniqueness of its offerings.

A significant part of this is the nature of gaming-focused collectibles. This is because, unlike “traditional” digital offerings such as artworks or loyalty rewards, gaming NFTs offer players real utility and value, which makes their speculative aspects more of an afterthought. As such, web3 gaming is poised to become even more popular as web3 will be getting exponentially more traction after the launch of the first Bitcoin ETF and the increased adoption that will inevitably follow.

Bitcoin ETF and Real-World Asset Tokenization

Real-world asset (RWA) tokenization is one of the most promising use cases to arise from the crypto sector and one that interests mainstream institutional players the most — as evidenced by the inroads made in this area by Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Citi, Franklin Templeton, and many others.

Tokenization enables fractional ownership of real-world assets like art, real estate, precious metals, and more, allowing for the subdivision of these assets into smaller, more affordable units that can be easily accessed by the average investor. RWA tokenization could soon be further catapulted into the public consciousness as the eager acceptance of complex financial instruments like ETFs signals the market’s readiness for similar financial products.

What’s more, smaller financial service providers beyond the major institutions could be encouraged to explore tokenization thanks to the increased clarity and credibility brought about by the success of the Bitcoin ETF.

Supercharging Web3 Adoption

This lightning-fast evolution will also spill into our everyday lives. As Bitcoin and, by extension, web3 promptly go mainstream, numerous next-gen decentralized solutions will pick up the steam, introducing millions and billions of new users to countless benefits decentralization brings. This includes full ownership of people’s private data in the form of self-sovereign digital identities, allowing them to always stay in control of their information and choose with whom they want to share it. The general public will also have a much easier time accessing web3, allowing the nascent sector to rival the legacy Internet.

Namely, this newfound drive could propel web3 domains to new heights, allowing the decentralized iteration of the Internet to truly spread its wings and finally take its rightful place alongside the traditional DNS system. As more websites and platforms become increasingly decentralized, they no longer have to rely on single third-party entities prone to their own biases and security risks — making the internet significantly more accessible, democratic, and inclusive.

How the ETF Will Impact Public Perception of Crypto

It’s likely that much of the fear and uncertainty surrounding cryptocurrency since its inception will be negated thanks to the Bitcoin ETF, which introduces a de-risked, regulated approach to cryptocurrency investment for the first time.

In turn, this could drastically alter the perception of Bitcoin as a risky, speculative asset class into something along more traditional lines while elevating the concept of Bitcoin into a household name, spurring enhanced public awareness and understanding of cryptocurrencies in general.

Following a tumultuous 18 months in which the cryptocurrency industry was shaken by a series of scandals, such as the fall of FTX, the collapse of Terra/Luna, and the implosion of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB
VB
), the Bitcoin ETF is shaping up to the springboard by which the blockchain arena bounces back — potentially better than ever before.

What the future holds

While the immediate effect of the SEC approving the first Bitcoin ETF will undoubtedly be strictly financial, the move will likely have a much more far-reaching impact on the blockchain industry. By legitimizing BTC and giving big institutional players to invest in it, the regulator has also provided a colossal impetus to the whole blockchain space that envelops a plethora of sectors such as DeFi, web3 gaming, digital IDs, real-world asset tokenization, and many mo

Demystifying The $10K Crypto Reporting Payment Requirement

https://www.forbes.com/sites/digital-assets/2024/01/04/demystifying-the-10k-crypto-reporting-payment-requirement/

The New Tax Goes Into Effect

getty

Following The Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) new cryptocurrency tax reporting obligations that came into effect on New Year’s Day, there has been a lot of confusion surrounding the $10,000 crypto payment reporting requirement (Form 8300, or IRC 6050l) for individuals and businesses. This article aims to provide clarity on this matter, as it affects anyone receiving funds from US-based DAOs, startups, clients or any business paying in crypto. While this bill was passed in 2021, it resulted in a change at a later date with the effective date for tax periods after December 31, 2023.

This research was conducted with Cameron Browne a certified public accountant (CPA) and partner at Darien Advisors, a Web3 and crypto tax advisory practice. As Cameron explained, “this is no different than if you went to purchase a car with cash from a dealership, however the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) applies this logic to crypto as well.”

Cameron Browne a certified public accountant (CPA) and partner at Darien Advisors

Cameron Browne

Applicability to All Business Entities and Individuals Engaging in Business Activities:

The first key point to understand is that the $10,000 crypto reporting requirement applies to payments received in the course of a trade or business. Whether you are a sole proprietor, a freelancer, an S corporation, or a full-fledged corporation, if you receive payments related to your business activities, this rule is applicable to you. It’s important to note that it doesn’t discriminate based on the type of business entity.

Limited to Payments from US Persons/Entities:

This requirement specifically pertains to payments received from other US persons or entities. If you’re dealing with offshore DAOs or foreign entities, this reporting rule does not apply. Therefore, if your crypto transactions involve exclusively international parties, you are not subject to Form 8300 reporting.

Airdrops and Staking Rewards:

Individuals receiving airdrops, mining or staking rewards don’t need tobe concerned about Form 8300 reporting as long as they are receiving them in their personal capacity. However, when these rewards are received within a business context, they become subject to reporting. It’s crucial to differentiate between personal and business-related crypto activities in this regard.

Ambiguity of IRS Regulations:

One source of uncertainty is the ambiguity of IRS guidance related to this reporting requirement. As of now, the IRS has not published any official guidance on the reporting methods and timeline for the implementation of this change. While the Infrastructure Bill was introduced, it did not include updates to the Bank Secrecy Act (FinCen), leaving cryptocurrency tax compliance somewhat unclear. Form 8300 is submitted to both the IRS and FinCen, adding to the ambiguity.

There is ambiguity as well around whether just a crypto exchange will be subject to this ruling or those as well who receive cash payments from a crypto transaction. For example, if your business does not directly receive the crypto because it goes through a payment provider, many believe that the reporting obligation would be on the exchange or payment provider first (just like it is with a bank) and not the receiver. But full clarity is yet to be determined.

The Ongoing Monitoring and Preparedness:

In light of the evolving situation, it is advisable to stay informed and prepared. Many individuals and businesses are currently in a holding pattern, awaiting further guidance from the IRS. It is crucial to keep meticulous records of your crypto transactions, even if you haven’t reached the $10,000 threshold yet. This will facilitate compliance once the official regulations are released. Ideally, the hope is that the guidance will be prospective rather than retroactive to January 1st, 2024, providing some relief to those who have been actively involved in the crypto space.

Be prepared.

getty

Actions

In talking with Cameron Browne, he advises “consult your tax accountant or CPA, especially one who is knowledgeable about crypto or FinCen reporting.”

By following these simple rules, you can navigate the evolving regulatory landscape with confidence and ensure compliance with the law. Remember, staying proactive in your approach will likely pay off in the long run as the cryptocurrency industry matures and adapts to regulatory changes.

Cheers To 2023! Driving New Leadership Mindsets For 2024

https://www.forbes.com/sites/digital-assets/2023/12/31/cheers-to-2023-driving-new-leadership-mindsets-for-2024/

Challenge your leadership mindset.

getty

Seismic Shifts Demand New Leadership

Since 2020, seismic transformations have revolutionized work and life. COVID-19 overturned office conventions overnight. Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin
BTC
reached astronomical new valuations and new lows. And AI leaps like ChatGPT provided a glimpse into a transformative tech future arriving ahead of schedule. Yet many leaders are still clinging to old mindsets and strategies not adapted to this new era of rapid change.

Thriving in 2024 and beyond demands foresight and adaptability like never before. As we navigate this dynamic environment, it’s reminiscent of Lewis Carroll’s words in “Alice in Wonderland”: “…it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!”

So what are the five milestones in 2023 that will shape 2024?

The 2023 Gen AI Revolution Guiding Us into 20214!

In 2023, the tech world welcomed a game-changing innovation – GenAI, a revolutionary AI technology that includes ChatGPT. While you may be aware of its existence, did you know that just 8.2% of global company employees have ventured into the realm of ChatGPT at least once within their workplaces?

2023 showcased AI’s expansive potential across industries like healthcare, real estate, finance and functions like sales, marketing, manufacturing. For instance, generative AI now rapidly creates marketing content and images, automates complex data analysis for better insights, and predicts customer behavior.

Per Dennis Yu, CEO of BlitzMetrics, “”In 2023, forward-thinking businesses harnessed AI to gain an edge in digital marketing, producing content ten times faster at a fraction of the cost. However, in 2024, we can anticipate a broader adoption of ChatGPT and a surge in AI tools. Google
GOOG
, though, has hinted at penalizing companies using AI indiscriminately. The winners will be those who use AI to enhance genuine content rather than trick search engines.”

Leaders must urgently upskill on AI capabilities to ride this wave rather than being drowned by it. The key to thriving in this AI-driven landscape is to immerse themselves in AI, embrace curiosity, and foster experimentation. AI is not a technology to wait on; it’s one to dive into headfirst.

2023 Lessons from NYT vs. OpenAI Will Drive 2024

When The New York Times sued OpenAI in late 2023 for IP violations, it sent shockwaves through the AI world. This watershed legal case could redefine the AI legal landscape for years. Through 69 detailed pages, NYT raised unresolved issues around using scraped data for model training and flagged AI-generated misinformation. It pitted public good journalism against unchecked corporate power in AI.

The New York Times sued ChatGPT-maker OpenAI and Microsoft in a US court on December 27, 2023, … [+] alleging that the companies’ powerful AI models used millions of articles for training without permission. Through their AI chatbots, the companies “seek to free-ride on The Times’s massive investment in its journalism by using it to build substitutive products without permission or payment,” the lawsuit said. With the suit, the New York Times chose a more confrontational approach to the sudden rise of AI chatbots,(Photo by AFP) (Photo by ALASTAIR PIKESEBASTIEN BOZONJOSEP LAGO/AFP via Getty Images)

AFP via Getty Images

If the Times prevails, it may restrict certain AI use cases while accelerating innovations that thoughtfully augment human creativity over simply replacing it. Regardless, influential precedents seem imminent. With bipartisan AI concerns rising, policymakers will monitor the case closely for impacts on future regulations.

Business leaders must proactively engage with AI ethics versus playing catch up later. The ripple effects from this case will shape AI laws and norms across sectors. For leaders, the lesson here is clear—embrace responsible AI with an unflinching commitment. As the lawsuit unfolds, it stands to set influential precedents regarding AI and intellectual property. This could pave the way for fresh legislation and regulations governing artificial intelligence’s expanding role across diverse industries.

The Crypto Phoenix: Blockchain and Web3 Reborn

After the 2022 crypto winter, 2023 saw shoots of new growth as major brands explored NFTs, sports teams formed crypto partnerships, and metaverse concepts regained hype. Improving blockchain interoperability and web2/web3 convergence could accelerate adoption in 2024.

Enter Polygon
MATIC
Labs, a name resonating with adoption from web2 behemoths like Nike
NKE
, Starbucks, Reddit, Mastercard
MA
, Adobe
ADBE
, Disney, Meta, Adidas, Mercedes, and Google Cloud. These brands didn’t merely dabble; they embraced the potential of Web3 with open arms, signaling a seismic shift in the digital landscape.

However, it’s not just about individual adoption; it’s about the convergence and interoperability that define Web3’s next chapter. Projects like Polkadot
DOT
are making strides in achieving interoperability among blockchains, breaking down the silos that hindered progress in the past. Simultaneously, companies like Unstoppable Domains are pioneering domain interoperability, bridging the chasm between web2 and web3.

As Matt Gould, CEO and founder of Unstoppable Domains said, “Tokenizing Web2 domains onto the blockchain revolutionizes digital asset management, enhancing security and trading flexibility. This transition symbolizes a new era in internet sovereignty, where users gain unprecedented control over their online properties.”

The Unstoppable Team

Unstoppable Domains

Coupled with recovering crypto prices – Bitcoin bounced from $17K to over $40K – momentum is rebuilding. Leaders should look past superficial hype to identify strategic blockchain applications aligned with business goals. The seeds planted in 2023 could bloom into a new era of thoughtful and sustainable web3 innovation.

So, what’s the key takeaway for leaders navigating the Web3 and crypto landscape in 2024? It’s about strategic thinking, moving beyond the allure of hype, and understanding the profound applications that align with your business objectives and the ever-evolving needs of your users.

2023 was the year that set the stage, and 2024 promises accelerated adoption, provided you build on solid foundations. It’s a future where the lines between Web2 and Web3 blur, where digital asset management undergoes a revolution, and where visionary leaders find innovative ways to harness the potential of Web3 and cryptocurrency in ways that reshape industries and empower users. In this era, leadership isn’t just about keeping up; it’s about forging ahead with vision and purpose.

2023 We Saw Work Transformed – A Toast to Automation

What began as pandemic necessity – flexible and remote work – became strategic advantage in 2023. Digital leaders like Zoom and Slack thrived by embracing distributed teams. Office-centric productivity metrics are shifting to output and results. Location-agnostic roles expanded access to diverse talent pools.

In 2023, we also witnessed the normalization of both voluntary departures and layoffs. This dynamic reflects a changing employment landscape, where the traditional notions of job security are undergoing a profound shift. In addition, workers attitudes are shifting toward balance. As Jason Lemkin of SaaStr wrote on LinkedIn, “Folks overall are not willing to work as hard as pre-March 2020. It is what it is, so automation will be a rocketship.”

Jason Lemkin, CEO and founder of Saastr

SaaStr

Automation is set for exponential growth from the baseline set in 2023 and will revolutionize industries with its rapid pace and transformational impact. 94% of companies perform repetitive, time-consuming tasks. In 2023, automation has improved jobs for 90% of knowledge workers and productivity for 66% of them. This surge is driven by the need to adapt to the global shift in work attitudes. Automation offers scalable solutions, enabling businesses to efficiently expand and adapt operations, while addressing labor shortages and enhancing productivity. Its role as a catalyst for innovation and future-readiness positions it not just as a technological advancement, but as a strategic imperative for businesses navigating the evolving global market landscape. This makes automation a critical component for any forward-thinking organization, propelling them into new realms of efficiency and competitiveness.

As we enter 2024, leaders must recognize flexible work’s permanence while redefining employer-employee social contracts for the future. Fostering transparency, empathy and inclusivity is crucial.

Sustainability Gets Real: Following Patagonia’s Lead

2023 marked several firsts for sustainable usage. In 2023, we installed an astonishing 413 GW of solar, 58% more than in 2022, which itself marked an almost 42% increase from 2021. That means the world’s solar capacity has doubled in the last 18 months, and that solar is now the fastest-growing energy technology in history. Coal generation in Europe plummeted in 2023, leading to fossil fuels’ share of electricity generation falling to a record low of 17% in the first half of the year, while solar installations increased by 40% for the third year in a row.

In addition, we saw companies stepping up their efforts but none as big as one company. In 2023, Patagonia continued demonstrating how elevating environmental and social responsibility can co-exist with profitability. Their book The Responsible Company codified lessons from Patagonia’s first 50 years. This builds on their legacy of values-led business and inspires others to follow suit amid escalating crises.

Patagonia is synonymous with Sustainability (Photo by Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

NurPhoto via Getty Images

Leaders should take a page from Patagonia’s playbook, understanding that genuine commitment to sustainability is a long-term investment rather than a short-term PR move. The year 2023 highlighted the importance of having a solid foundation for sustainability initiatives. Whether it’s in technology adoption, product development, or corporate governance, the underlying principles and strategies must be robust to ensure lasting impact.

The New Leadership Mindset

In these times of accelerated change, leaders must question assumptions, learn continuously, and experiment boldly. Those who cultivate strategic foresight, open-mindedness and adaptability will thrive. The seismic shifts of 2020 were only the beginning.

Are you ready to lead in 2024 and beyond? The future rewards those who shape it rather than simply react.

The Santa & Grinch Perspectives In The Age Of AI And Blockchain

https://www.forbes.com/sites/digital-assets/2023/12/22/the-santa--grinch-perspectives-ethical-dilemmas-in-the-age-of-ai-and-blockchain/

Santa Claus and The Grinch: There is both for every emerging tech!

Getty Images

As we approach the brink of 2024, the entwined paths of artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, and spatial computing are not merely transforming industries; they’re also sculpting new ethical and societal contours. With every conference now an AI Conference including the upcoming CES in Vegas, everyone needs to think not just in terms of technology. In exploring how these technologies will evolve, it’s essential to examine their wider implications – from both the optimistic ‘Santa’ viewpoint and the cautious ‘Grinch’ perspective.

AI: The Santa’s Cheer and Grinch’s Sneer

The Santa View: AI, akin to Santa’s elves in its industriousness, promises to bring a sack full of efficiency and productivity gains. By automating routine tasks, AI is poised to streamline sectors like manufacturing, marketing, customer service, and healthcare, ushering in a new era of innovation and economic growth. It’s not just about replacing jobs; AI is set to create novel job categories in development, analysis, and system maintenance, offering a glittering array of opportunities for those ready to embrace the future.

The Grinch View: However, like the Grinch lurking in the shadows, there are concerns. AI’s rapid advancement could lead to significant job displacement, leaving swathes of the workforce in the cold unless reskilling and education are prioritized. Even Microsoft is trying partnering with labor groups to quell concerns about AI taking jobs. There’s a risk that the benefits of AI could be unevenly distributed, favoring those who are already tech-savvy, thus widening the socio-economic divide.

Brian Solis is a leading AI Influencer and is the head of global innovation at ServiceNow
NOW
. He had this to say, “Marketers should approach AI by thinking about how they want customers to feel rather than aiming for transactional engagement. AI can help your marketing become, ironically, more human. And when customers feel engaged it enhances their experience and likelihood to take action. That’s what customer experience is all about…the feeling someone has in the moment. AI can unlock digital empathy to create meaningful experiences.” Brian recently published the GenAI Prism to help marketing professionals.

The GenAI Prism

Brian Solis

Blockchain: Trust’s Santa and Privacy’s Grinch

The Santa View: Blockchain is the Santa Claus of trust and transparency in the digital age. It’s set to revolutionize how we handle transactions and data, with its tamper-proof, decentralized ledger ensuring reduced fraud and enhanced privacy. The technology holds the potential to democratize data ownership, giving users unprecedented control over their personal information.

The Grinch View: But a Grinch is lurking here too. The immutable nature of blockchain could complicate privacy management. Once something is on the blockchain, it’s there forever – a concerning thought in an age where privacy is increasingly valued. Furthermore, its decentralization poses challenges to traditional governance models, potentially leading to regulatory gaps.

Maika Isogawa, CEO and co-founder at Webacy said, “”Blockchain is akin to a digital Santa, delivering a new era of integrity and transparency in data transactions. Its ability to provide a decentralized, secure ledger is not just a technological leap but a societal one, empowering individuals with unparalleled control and security over their digital interactions. This shift could redefine trust in our digital world, making it more democratic and accessible.”

Webacy: Safety Never Sleeps

Webacy

Social Interactions: Santa’s Gathering or Grinch’s Isolation?

The Santa View: Spatial computing, bridging the digital and physical worlds, promises a future where social interactions are enhanced and diversified. Imagine virtual meetings that feel as real as physical ones or augmented reality that brings distant cultures into our living rooms. This technology could be the ultimate social Santa, bringing people together in ways we’ve never seen before.

The Grinch View: But there’s a potential Grinch in this too. What if these technologies lead us to a future where virtual interactions replace physical ones, leading to a more isolated society? The challenge is to ensure that these innovations serve to enrich, not diminish, our human connections. A GCF Global study found that heavy social media users were three times more likely to feel socially isolated than casual users. Social media can also make people feel like they’re missing out on meaningful social events, leading to feelings of exclusion, stress, and insecurity. “

Cathy Hackl, tech and gaming executive and a Spatial Computing leader, wrote this in her latest HBR article. “There are two sides to every technology. From a business perspective, Spatial Computing will allow people to create new content, products, experiences, and services that have purpose in both physical and virtual environments, expanding computing into everything you can see, touch, and know. Sci-fi as this may sound, it’s already in use. One could argue that our mobile phones are primitive spatial devices. Many professionals in augmented reality (AR
AR
), virtual reality (VR), extended reality (XR), and artificial intelligence (AI) have been working on spatial computing for years.”

Cathy Hackl (Photo by Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images for Fast Company)

Getty Images for Fast Company

Navigating the Ethical North Pole

As we ride the sleigh of progress powered by AI, blockchain, and spatial computing, it’s vital to steer through their ethical and societal implications with care. Policymakers, technologists, and society must engage in proactive dialogue, ensuring that these technologies are harnessed for the greater good. Our approach today will determine whether our future is one of Santa’s joy or the Grinch’s gloom.

And as Santa told me, “a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy Holidays to all and to all a good night.”

11 Predictions For 2024 Around The Impact Of AI, Web3 And Emerging Tech

https://www.forbes.com/sites/digital-assets/2023/12/19/11-predictions-for-2024-around-the-impact-of-ai-web3-and-emerging-tech/

2024 Predictions

Pixabay

At the start of the year, it was doom, gloom, trails, tribulations, and myriad other complexities in Web3, blockchain, and AI. Now, we welcome a relativiely positive end-of-year turnaround with a Bitcoin
BTC
price recovery, hundreds of exciting innovations, and plenty of good news stories. Who saw that coming?

While trying to predict the future in an industry that blows hot and cold so fast is a thankless task, I do have eleven predictions that I want to share with you. The list is based on what I think is missing, what I feel is undervalued, what I believe will have its moment this year, and what I know will inevitably change the world.

Let’s get to it.

Expanding Interoperability

Interoperability in Web3 means two different things to me. First, it’s the interoperability between Web3 platforms, when different blockchains can talk to each other, work together, and share their audiences and even technology. Then, there’s the second kind, the interoperability between Web2 and Web3 — the old and the new.

The introduction of Web3-enabled Web2 domains is one of the best ways of bridging the gap between Web2 and Web3, and we’ve set a precedent at Unstoppable that challenges others to innovate at this high level.

As such, my first trend prediction is to see other major Web3 innovators find ways to integrate with Web2 and bring Web2 natives into Web3 in a really user-friendly manner. This is about creating technology that encourages behavior change and avoids resistance. If we can do that, the potential use cases are limitless.

The Increasing Value of Digital Identity

I am a huge champion of the digital identity movement because I fervently believe it’s a much-needed change, both societally and technologically. There are so many trust issues online and a dearth of ways to identify ourselves securely, which leads to far too many opportunities for scammers and bad guys. Soon, we will put an end to that.

Blockchain-based digital identity offers the solution, and I’m so excited to see its growth, especially since Unstoppable is a leader in the space. Mass adoption is right around the corner, and 2024 could be the year it happens. Brazil and Argentina are among the first countries to implement blockchain-based national IDs, while the small island nation Palau offers a Web3 identity to anyone for a small fee. Japan is also focused on digital identity.

As Hinza Asif, President of the Asia Web3 Alliance Japan and CEO of NFTStudios24 stated, “At Asia Web3 Alliance Japan, we’re leading the charge into a digital identity revolution set for 2024. Our focus spans across Asia, anticipating a dynamic shift. Digital identity isn’t just a concept; it’s the key to secure transactions, efficiency, and global connectivity. Imagine a future where trust is paramount, and reliability is guaranteed—this is the era we’re shaping. With Japan’s commitment, we’re at the forefront, propelling into a new era of seamless experiences and exciting possibilities.”

Hinza Asif, President of Asia Web3 Alliance Japan

Asia Web3 Alliance Japan

As the next generation enters the workforce, the increasing value and demand of digital identity is undeniable. If Millennials were the first digital-native cohort, Gen Z are the ones frustrated by the challenges of on- and off-line identity and the failure of out-of-date Web2 models. Soon, we will see hundreds of millions of people use their digital identities to control what they share, how they interact, and who they interact with. The level of personalization and protection this will offer has never been seen before.

The U.S. Election Will Struggle With Deep Fakes

Hold on for dear life; election season is coming. Before your Facebook friends go to war with each other or you start having doubts about people you were absolutely fine with just a moment ago, consider how easily people have been manipulated in recent years. Foreign interference, Cambridge Analytica, lies, manipulation, and so much more have made modern elections more complicated than ever. Now, add AI and all of its capabilities for fake images, videos, voice, and text, and there’s good reason to be deeply alarmed. We urgently need a form of trust verification for political information.

Meta, Google
GOOG
, and many other major platforms have already updated their policies on political ads and fake content, doing their best to remove deepfake technology from their platforms (where possible). Microsoft
MSFT
, U.S. regulators, and even the state of New York are channeling their energy into tackling the threat of AI to the U.S. elections.

Deep Fakes

getty

“In the age of AI, trust is the currency of democracy, demanding a profound shift in how we verify information, beyond policies alone,” states Dr. Mustansar Ali Ghazanfar, Department of Computer Science and Digital Technologies, School of Architecture, Computing and Engineering, University of East London, UK

Blockchain technology presents a robust solution in addressing the challenges of fake news and deep fake manipulation in U.S. elections. By leveraging blockchain’s decentralized and tamper-resistant nature, a transparent and immutable ledger can be established for news sources and content dissemination. This ensures that the origin and modification history of news articles and media files are traceable, empowering users to verify the authenticity of information. Decentralized fact-checking mechanisms built on blockchain can provide real-time verification, curbing the rapid spread of misinformation.

They could, of course, just use this decentralized ledger technology and verifiable identity solutions. In the end, I think they’ll realize that, too, and quite early in 2024. I also believe, however, that it may be too late and that the election will struggle with AI fakes anyway.

The Rise of AI Interactive Games

In 2024, the gaming industry is witnessing a seismic shift driven by the rise of interactive AI-based games. With market projections indicating a staggering growth rate, from $922 million in 2022 to an estimated $7,105.4 million by 2032, this transformation is not only expanding the gaming landscape but also democratizing game creation.

Non-technical individuals are now empowered to craft niche games that resonate with diverse audiences, offering personalized experiences and accessibility enhancements for players with disabilities. Furthermore, a new wave of part-time game developers is emerging, attracting the attention of major gaming corporations eager to broaden their market presence.

AI integration within game engines like Unity and Unreal Engine is not only fostering creativity but also promoting inclusivity, as it enables underrepresented individuals to realize their imaginative gaming visions. For example, “The 360Fashion Maze” game, spearheaded by visionary Anina Net, leverages Unity. This innovative game exemplifies the potential of technology in the hands of marginalized creators, offering an inclusive and diverse gaming experience.

360Fashion Maze by Anina Net

360Fashion Maze

As Anina Net passionately states, “Through empowering women, the ethnically and economically marginalized, we have the opportunity with our game to undo the sins of fashions past and make everyone included/represented on the catwalk. The 360Fashion Maze game has diversity baked in from the beginning by its diverse and creative creators.” This game serves as a testament to the transformative power of AI in gaming, not only breaking down barriers but also fostering a more inclusive and imaginative gaming universe.

Increased Adoption of Enterprise AI Will Drive New Blockchain Demand for Productivity & Independents

Enterprise AI, if you’re new to the term, is the combination of artificial intelligence and software designed to meet organizational needs. It’s AI for regular businesses. Entrepreneurs are finding all sorts of awesome ways to leverage AI to improve their businesses and workflows, and others are even designing entire businesses around AI tools.

“The pace of technological development of AI keeps accelerating. This brings endless opportunities to tackle workplace problems that have been unsolved for decades. One example is meetings. In 2023, it is one of the common productivity drainers in enterprises. Moving in 2024, AI is on the pace to enable real-time moderation on those corporate sessions. This will save tons of time for employees, and, subsequently, money for companies. Our team and I are excited to be at the forefront of this technological advance and be one of its movers to the market,” Danny Li, Co-founder and CEO at Naratta.

My prediction is for a flood of new AI use cases, but ideally, these will focus on empowering more independent entities, like models, artists, and influencers. I still think major businesses will get involved in enterprise AI, but I really see individuals as the ones who will find more use for it in their income streams. It’s going to shake up so many organizations and sectors; in fact, Sifted and Sapphire Ventures’ report, which recognizes the most promising privately held software companies in Europe and Israel, featured 22 Enterprise AI startups in the top 100.

Rising AI Will Drive Demand for the “Human Touch”

This is something I’ve started to see already – businesses and individuals marketing the fact that they don’t use AI as a unique selling point. This is such an interesting development because we’re going to see one group of people embracing Enterprise AI and others completely avoiding it!

The value of human expertise and the human touch will increase this year as businesses aim to avoid looking and sounding like their competitors. I don’t know about you, but I know straight away when I’m reading AI-written content.

The Human Touch

Adobe

Dr. Natalie Petouhoff, AI Consultant and best-selling author, has some great insight on our relationship with AI at work: “If we think about “work” as a block of marble, AI will be key to the efficiency of shaping it, but in 2024, it will still require the human mind to know who the “work” serves, their goals, needs, and desires,” she wrote. “AI requires the human touch.”

SEO algorithms may also play into this in the future. Will search engines punish websites that rely on content written by ChatGPT and similar tools? It’s plausible.

With so much polarization in the media, I think it’s only time before Pro-AI vs Zero-AI becomes something individuals squabble over. Will one approach prevail, or will we find a middle ground? By the end of 2024, we’ll be a lot closer to knowing the answer.

The Explosive Growth of Responsible AI

This is a topic close to my heart. Responsible AI is the idea of fair, transparent, and just AI. Until now, a LOT of AI practices have been irresponsible, and so now we are seeing lawsuits, corruption, and illegalities in the space. This HAS to end!

I think back to the Spotify vs Napster case. Spotify came along with a more fair model that rewarded creators, added more value, and was more popular with consumers. It set a positive precedent. I think Responsible AI is going to have its Spotify moment this year, and it may involve getting rewarded for sharing your data.

Sustainable IT to Grow in Global Importance

It feels like we’ve been calling for the IT industry to be more green and sustainable for years. Perhaps it has changed for the better, but I don’t think it’s doing so fast enough to keep up with demands. I think this year, we will see more demand for renewably generated energy for IT companies, as well as sustainable material procurement for hardware.

One company I love is Soarce, which replaces synthetic textile materials with sustainable alternatives made from seaweed and nanomaterials. I predict that manufacturers will start to pay a lot more attention to companies like Soarce when they build their products.

Soarce

PIXABAY

Other companies have also made a big bet for 2024. As Phillip Cullom, CEO and Founder of Resilient Energi told me, “The real game-changer for 2024 lies in the integration of innovative materials, like affordable graphene, into chip and hardware manufacturing and AI. With its capacity to conduct electricity 10 times faster and mitigate thermal heating, using sustainable sources to produce graphene paves the way for a circular economy solution to global IT energy needs. This is the vision driving Resilient Energi in the pursuit of a sustainable IT future.”

Given the fact that AI, machine learning, Web3, and blockchain networks are all energy-intensive processes and have a lot of hardware needs, the importance of pushing for sustainable IT practices cannot be understated.

Customer Obsession Strategies to Protect & Grow Profits

In 2021 and 2022, some of the world’s biggest tech companies had to make serious layoffs, with hundreds of thousands of people losing their jobs. As a result of this mass exodus, customer experience suffered. Many consumers have grown frustrated, disillusioned, or disappointed with their favorite brands and even questioned whether they truly lived out the ideals they tried so hard to portray. I saw talented friends and loved ones get cut by mega-corporations, and that frustration and anger filtered through to customers.

I think these huge companies have some work to do to rebuild trust with their customers, especially those in the tech space. This could mean more strategic hires in customer-facing roles, the integration of AI to learn about the consumer, or outsourcing call center roles to developing areas.

If major businesses want to protect their profits, they need to start by pleasing the people who spend their hard-earned money on them, and that means being obsessed with their customers to make them feel valued, heard, and seen.

Rise of Women in Corporate Boards in 2024

In 2024, the corporate world is poised to witness a significant increase in the presence of women on boards, influenced by the EU’s 2022 mandate for gender balance and recent developments like the disappointment of both women being removed from the OpenAI board. This shift towards greater female representation is not just a compliance-driven change but a reflection of a broader movement towards diversity and equality in corporate leadership. The impact of these women in decision-making roles, as shown by the proactive and analytical approaches, will likely encourage more companies to embrace this change, predicting a year where the presence of women on boards becomes a norm rather than an exception.

As I was chatting with Dr Anino Emuwa in preparation for Davos, she said “Women help organizations to rise. In 2024, more women will be selected to serve on boards given their bias for doing the right thing for the company, not themselves. ” Dr. Anino Emuwa, Managing Director, Avandis Consulting, Founder, 100 Women@Davos.

Dr Anino Emuwa, Managing Director, Avandis Consulting, Founder, 100 Women@Davos

Dr Anino Emuwa

Major Tech Changes for 2024 Go Beyond Tech

I think all of the things I’ve mentioned in this article will play a role in major cultural change. Not every technology affects culture, but all the examples I’ve chosen undoubtedly will. Digital identity, AI regulations, election influence, customer obsession, and sustainable IT will affect all of us in some way or another.

AI, Spatial, and Web3 are already changing the way we work, govern, communicate, and interact, so naturally, they will affect our culture. That’s going to accelerate this year in profound ways.

These new technologies are about more than just creating cool new tech. For example, companion AIs like chatGPT are being used for an average of two hours per day, deferring our thinking, changing how we search for information, and reducing our human interactions. We are changing as a species at an extraordinary rate.

All considered, 2024 looks set to bring a period of transformation where tech redefines our digital experiences and our societal and cultural norms. As we navigate the shifting landscape, the coalescence of innovation, responsibility, and sustainability is paramount in ensuring positive progression for both industries and individuals alike.

NFTs Are Back and This Time They’re Useful -Pudgy Penguins, Women Rise

https://www.forbes.com/sites/digital-assets/2023/12/13/nfts-are-back-and-this-time-theyre-usefulpudgy-penguins-women-rise/

NFTs (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images)

Getty Images

In 2020, “fungible” became one of the most searched-for words on Google
GOOG
, and by 2021, Collins Dictionary made “NFT
NFT
” its word of the year. That same year, Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs for short) were truly all the rage, with over $40 billion spent on digital assets and artwork on Ethereum alone. After the boom came the bust.

2022 saw NFT values all but wiped out. Just ask Justin Bieber, whose $1.3m (500 ETH) Bored Ape NFT is now valued at less than $60k, in one of the most well-publicized examples. Blockchain data providers suggest that the NFT crash saw the whole NFT market volume drop by 97%, contributing to an overall crypto crash that wiped around $2tn in value off the industry.

Reflecting on the Crash & Why Penguins Were Important

When I look back at everything, it’s pretty clear what happened. Hype pushed up the prices, and the “Greater Fool” theory prevailed (there’s always a greater fool to pay more for an overpriced asset – until there isn’t). JPEGs of 8-bit characters without any utility were almost doomed to see steep decreases, as was forewarned by experts like Gary Vaynerchuck. However, there were glimpses of hope from some progressive projects that NFTs would eventually find their place in society. Now, I’m pleased to say that they have done so.

Pudgy Penguins was one project that set itself apart from all the hype, managing to avoid extreme price volatility. While other collections were in chaos, CEO Luca Netz was busy accelerating the brand, forging exciting retail partnerships, and proving the utility. That’s not to say Pudgy Penguin’s story doesn’t feature hurdles and setbacks, but the brand’s appeal and adaptability has led it to thrive all year long.

In 2023, Pudgy Penguins announced the launch of a physical toy line that is available in Walmart
WMT
and Toys R Us. Each toy comes with a QR code to onboard shoppers to Pudgy World, their Web3 home. At Art Basel, it announced the alpha launch of Pudgy World, an immersive, digital environment that will be accessible to everyone when the early version launches in 2024. Players will be able to explore an open world, customize their unique penguin characters, embark on a story-driven journey, and interact with friends along the way. Pudgy Penguins also announced two new hero characters, Pudgy and Peaches, that will drive the game’s narrative, expanding the company’s IP. This caps an incredible year for Pudgy Penguins that started with the company raising $9m and ended with it innovating across the retail and gaming spaces.

Pudgy Toy Clip Ons

Pudgy Penguins

Luca told me, “Much of the NFT market left me frustrated and disappointed. The community and venture capital had raised so much money for so many NFT projects, and the output was weak, comprised of too many buzzwords and not enough utility. It seemed like many of the projects were riding the high and not really innovating. Instead of standing idly by, we decided to take a more driven approach to NFT project development, and the results speak for themselves. In fact, we’ve surpassed NFTs and are working on new areas that will foster greater utility and value for our community.”

What’s Driving the NFT Market Boom?

Throughout most of the NFT market’s lifespan, OpenSea has been the biggest and most active NFT marketplace. In 2023, however, it was surpassed by a new rival called Blur
BLUR
.io. The main reason that Blur was able to charge into 1st place was because of a new fee structure that offered collectors 0.0% transaction fees and 0.5% enforceable royalties on open and decentralized collections, as well as improved speed and more opportunities to beat bots. In short, it’s faster, cheaper, and more authentic for collections and their collectors, which is why it now controls about 80% of all NFT trading volume. Finally, NFT marketplaces are innovative and competitive again, which could be indicative of a strong comeback for the sector.

I believe the recent rise in NFT activity is about more than just coin prices; It’s down to the rise of utility-based NFTs.

Distilleries, Charities, and Female Empowerment

There are myriads of NFT projects offering real utility, tangible rewards, and even working toward the greater good. A prime example is the Umoja Foundation. If utility is rooted in making our lives a little better or easier, shouldn’t there be major projects targeted at helping those with the hardest lives? That’s part of Umoja’s mission, working with schoolchildren in Uganda to create digital art NFTs that can then be sold to help local orphanages. Their most recent collection is up for auction on Rarible now. The NFTs then boast four utilities – early access to future NFT drops, VIP entry to virtual and IRL events, discounts and giveaways, and governance in future projects with the Umoja Foundation.

Maliha Abidi (Photo by Anna Webber/Getty Images for Twitter)

Getty Images for Twitter

I have a soft spot for Women Rise, an NFT project focused on inclusion and diversity and launched by Maliha Abidi. This computer-generated 10,000-piece NFT collection features female artists, professionals, scientists, coders, and many more from around the world. Some of the utilities include airdrops of Abidi’s book “RISE: Extraordinary Women Of Colour Who Changed The World,” surprise giveaways, and hand-drawn traits of the Women Rise NFTs. The project reports that around 40% of the approximately 5,600 Women Rise holders have purchased Women Rise as their first NFT.

“There were few women-led NFT projects when Women Rise first launched, and it was important for us to take up space in a busy and competitive crypto space, I was keen to establish Women Rise as a woman and Pakistani-led team with a global community that could leverage NFTs to represent women and also campaign for girls’ education on many different platforms and stages. To that end, NFTs have been very supportive of our mission,” Maliha Abidi, Founder of Women Rise NFT, and a member of the 100 Most Inspirational Women of Web3.

Women Rise

Women Rise

Next up is Degen Distillery. This is a crowd-created and community-driven spirits brand that has partnered with Scotland’s BrewDog brewery and Google. Their first NFT collection contained 721 NFTs – 360 Day, 360 Night, and 1 unique. The Unique NFT winner received a trip for 2 to Las Vegas for three nights, with a $750 tab at the BrewDog BrewPub in LV. All 721 NFT holders could exchange or burn their NFT for a collector’s edition bottle of 721 Vodka. Only 721 bottles were made.

Those who held onto Degen’s NFTs received membership pricing for life, access to events & some guest lists, priority access to future drops, and more. I love how this project blends the digital and physical, leverages a passionate community, and makes holding the NFT more appealing than selling. As part of Google’s involvement, Degen will have access to Google Cloud credits, a Web3 business community, funding, Google’s unparalleled network, and Google’s technical support team.

Degen Distillery

Degen Distillery

Other utility-backed projects in real estate, carbon credits, fractionalized Bitcoin
BTC
mining, and renewable energy also ignite the imagination. Right now, however, I want to get back to my point about utility supporting the recent NFT boom.

2021’s NFT Boom Was a Proof-of-Concept

When I zoom out and look at the entire lifespan of NFTs, I realize that 2020 and 2021 were just proof of concept. So many people were dismissive of them, but I remembered that novelty typically precedes utility and was confident that with time, they’d come good.

The first NFT boom might never have happened had it not been for the pandemic, lockdowns, and the state of art, popular culture, and technology at the time. So many factors contributed to the first NFT boom, and I’m starting to see a similar pattern now. There are established marketplaces, a Bitcoin ETF looks to be on the way, crypto prices are rising, Web3 is flowing nicely, tokenization is getting ready to become a multi-trillion dollar industry, and there are new dynamics with AI and spatial computing that will irrevocably change culture as we know it. The setup for a 2nd NFT boom looks like it is in motion.

Of course, now the NFT market is saturated with cartoons and renderings, and AI has only propagated that, so it’s the responsibility of utility NFTs to distance themselves from non-utility-backed NFTs to carve out their success. Making NFTs useful rather than flex-worthy will elevate this new generation of digital assets.

One company that has loudly, proudly, and defiantly continued its march in the NFT world despite all market upturns, downturns, corrections, and complications is Nike
NKE
. Nike knew that building collections probably wouldn’t equate to long-term success in the NFT space – building an ecosystem, however, would. On top of the $185m+ in revenue they’ve made from NFTs, they’ve invested heavily in Web3 integrations, the Metaverse, blockchain-based community growth, and so much more. They’re having the last laugh.

In 2024, NFTs are going to be relevant again

That’s good news for everyone. The space will finally move away from flexing and speculative trading to push for genuine utility and progress. I’m all for it and can’t wait to see what happens! NFT marketplaces being competitive, innovative new NFT utilities making headlines, and the rise of Web3 will all stir up demand.

Unlocking Potential: AI, Web3, And DC’s Tech Synergy

https://www.forbes.com/sites/digital-assets/2023/12/04/unlocking-potential-ai-web3-and-dcs-tech-synergy/

DC and Artificial Intelligence (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Getty Images

Recently, the Biden White House released an Executive Order (EO) concerning the regulation of Artificial Intelligence. Topics covered range from consumer protection to making the workplace more equitable. While overall it seems a promising gesture, the main concern is that it gives no guidelines for how to execute these ideals.

The fact is, technology already exists today that can solve almost all of the issues presented, and it is also one being hotly discussed in Washington right now: Web3. Web3 offers many tools that can help create a safer and more equitable future with AI, such as domains that can act as unfalsifiable identities online. If built correctly, web3 domains don’t merely protect the population from the dangers of AI, they work synergistically alongside AI to truly unlock a safer, fairer internet for everyone.

The Executive Order And What It Has To Do With Web3

The new AI EO is composed of eight principles that the US AI industry is expected to embrace and adhere to. These principles are as follows:

  1. New Standards for AI Safety and Security
  2. Protecting Americans’ Privacy
  3. Advancing Equity and Civil Rights
  4. Standing Up for Consumers, Patients, and Students
  5. Supporting Workers
  6. Promoting Innovation and Competition
  7. Advancing American Leadership Abroad
  8. Ensuring Responsible and Effective Government Use of AI

All of these premises ensure a future where AI can truly benefit all people, while hopefully negating the potential for abuse or displacing jobs. Already, this paints an optimistic future for the technology, but AI doesn’t exist in a vacuum.

Another technology that is changing how the world does business is Web3. Powered by the blockchain, this space is reimagining how people use finance, engage in social media, and experience video games. Web3 is another emerging space that many in Washington DC are currently looking at closely, especially with the recent Blockchain Association Policy Summit. This event saw important figures debating the future of the industry, such as Representative Ritchie Tores, Senators Kristen Gillibrand and Cynthia Lummis, and many more. These leaders will be discussing essential issues in Web3, such as stablecoin legislation, how cryptocurrencies impact national security, and broader regulatory issues.

Kristin Smith, chief executive officer of the Blockchain Association, Photographer: Thomas … [+] Allison/Bloomberg

© 2023 Bloomberg Finance LP

What makes these discussions so essential is the fact that, quite soon, AI-supported Web3 will evolve well beyond automated content generation, social media moderation, AI assistants, and in-game NPCs. I’m convinced the true capabilities will be realized by future generations. We’re just getting started.

In the immediate future, Web3 can be used to enforce the exact strategies and safeguards that this EO proposes. Thanks to the ineffable veracity that the blockchain can offer, it is possible to create Web3 domains that can be held by an individual in a self-encrypted web or mobile wallet and used as a fully user-owned and trusted decentralized identity. This stands to address multiple things laid out in the EO.

How Web3 Domains Can Make This Vision A Reality

AI is already getting better and better at spotting other AI content and the use of Web3 domains could prevent the further spread of fake AI images and false information in the first place. Social media platforms could look for a Web3 “seal of approval” before allowing certain types of content to be shared, therefore enhancing safety and trust online.

“As AI systems generate increasingly realistic media, some question what is real or fabrication. Yet quality alone does not address the coming reckoning – who determines what is truth must be as open as the content itself. As researcher Maya Dillon states, ‘Decentralized AI brings necessary checks and balances to generative models through distributed data and control. We must embrace transparency not just accuracy if AI is to act in public interest.'”

There is a specific call in the White House’s EO that states the need to “strengthen privacy-preserving research and technologies, such as cryptographic tools that preserve individuals’ privacy,” which is exactly what Web3 domains deliver. Most existing social media users have grown tired of big tech firms taking their data and selling it to advertisers. The practice is exploitative and has also led to consumers getting hurt when data breaches occur. Web3 domains prevent this by letting only the owner decide exactly who can see what, with the underlying blockchain tech ensuring there’s no way to circumvent it.

In this photo illustration, a Web 3.0 logo is displayed. (Photo Illustration by Omar Marques/SOPA … [+] Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

It can be argued that governments need some degree of surveillance to protect people from crime and terrorism, but this doesn’t mean it needs to be an Orwellian dystopia where they can see everything about everyone. Web3 domains can be designed in such a way that the government can access specific, well-defined data sets, but nothing else. The parameters of what they could and could not do would be public knowledge, and the transparency of the blockchain would mean anyone could verify that the system is being upheld. This could bring all of the benefits of data veracity to federal agencies, but still protect citizens’ right to keep most of their information private.

Overhauling Our Existing Systems

The US criminal justice system is well documented as disproportionately incarcerating African Americans and other People of Color. Combining AI with Web3 can allow for a more comprehensive and accurate analysis of the demographic trends that are playing out. This would allow for new perspectives on where injustice is coming from, and allow for the development of programs that address these issues.

An AI/Web3-powered system of analysis would also be important for workplaces and entire companies to address unfair practices and discrimination. This can include the criteria for the types of candidates they hire, as well as how they treat existing ones. Again, what’s important is that everyone from employees to the board of directors have access to accurate, real-time data, making it impossible for any party to feign ignorance. Speaking of workers, this same blockchain data can help the government analyze how AI is displacing or creating new jobs. This information could then be used to set up targeted aid packages that help to support those being affected by this paradigm shift and help them find new avenues for employment (which can also be aided by AI employment tools).

Web3 domains will also simplify how consumers make payments, both online and in person, and present evolved loyalty programs that can be built to offer more personalized and practical rewards. Using spending behavior and data, AI can be used to analyze purchasing patterns, look for unusual activity, offer specific advice on deals, and more. Similar benefits can be extended to other groups, like patients and students, as both medical and educational records will be verified and simple to access, given the explicit permission of the individual.

Purchasing power.

getty

One final note about system overhaul that I’d like to mention is how Web3 brings the possibilities for supercharging the field of AI in the US. This can be achieved both domestically, through enhanced collaboration of research, and around the globe, with mutually beneficial international partnerships. Web3 domains ensure that all parties have clear definitions for how they partner and what parts of each other’s findings, results, or methodology they can see. Veracity and transparency build trust, meaning that more projects will be willing to work together. This can enhance the speed and quality of developments and will be essential in implementing the array of suggestions the EO lays out.

Leading Innovation with AI and Web3

Overall, the recent EO from the White House points to several thoughtful and specific places the AI industry needs to address and I agree that these proposals can make for a safer and more equitable internet. However, I think it’s essential for both the government and the AI industry to realize that the secret ingredient needed to allow for all these elements to be addressed, while also maximizing what each side really wants, is Web3 domains. This is the technology that can make AI safe and transparent, allowing for the improvement of not just the US, but the whole world, and I am going to keep working to make it happen.

The OpenAI Drama: Sam Altman’s Shocking Ouster, Board Resignation And The Struggle For AI’s Future

https://www.forbes.com/sites/digital-assets/2023/11/19/the-openai-drama-sam-altmans-shocking-ouster-board-resignation-and-the-struggle-for-ais-future/

Just a few weeks before the drama at OpenAI (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Getty Images

In the tumultuous world of artificial intelligence, OpenAI, a pioneering force in generative AI, finds itself at a crossroads. The sudden firing of CEO Sam Altman and the ensuing board upheaval have sent shockwaves through the tech industry. As the drama unfolds, it raises critical questions about board governance, the power dynamics shaping the tech landscape, and the pivotal role of AI in the relentless pursuit of innovation.

The Timeline of Turmoil

Since Friday, the timeline has been accelerated for the turmoil with OpenAI and with the AI industry.

Timeline

Pixabay

Friday: A Day of Abrupt Decisions

  • The board, in a surprising move, votes to terminate Sam Altman from his position as CEO.
  • Sam, caught off guard, is invited to an unexpected board “call,” where he learns of his sudden termination.
  • Greg Brockman receives a call assuring him of his continued employment but informs him of his removal from the board.
  • Microsoft, a major stakeholder, is informed only five minutes before the official announcement.
  • In a joint statement, Altman and Brockman express their profound shock and sadness at the board’s sudden actions.
  • Solidarity among AI researchers becomes evident as others resign in support of Sam, reflecting the seismic impact of the board’s decisions.

Saturday: Whispers of Reconciliation

  • Speculations arise, indicating ongoing efforts by Microsoft and the board to persuade Sam Altman to return as CEO.
  • Sam, maintaining a stance of principle, asserts that he won’t consider returning unless the entire board resigns, deepening the negotiation complexities.

Sunday Afternoon: The Challenge of Absolution and Legal Implications

  • Reports surface, suggesting that for Sam’s return, the board would need to issue a statement absolving him of any wrongdoing.

Sunday Night: The Board Resigns

  • The board has reached a consensus to step down, deferring negotiations until a successor board is identified.
  • Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is said to be spearheading the talks during the negotiation process.
  • Sam is exploring various possibilities, leaving his options open.

In a joint statement issued by Altman and Brockman, the revelation that Altman’s firing came as a complete surprise adds a layer of astonishment to the unfolding narrative. The abrupt sequence of events, notably Altman’s swift summons to a hastily convened board meeting that culminated in his firing, accentuates the impromptu and unexpected nature of this pivotal decision.

This whirlwind of changes within OpenAI’s leadership offers a rare glimpse into the inner workings of the organization’s decision-making process. The lack of advance notice or discernible indicators of discontent raises questions about the dynamics that prompted such a consequential move within the company. The unexpected nature of these developments introduces an element of unpredictability into the unfolding drama, leaving both the tech community and industry observers grappling with the implications of a leadership shake-up that transpired with remarkable speed and secrecy.

Board Dynamics in the Spotlight:

The power play within the OpenAI board, particularly the reported clash between Altman and Ilya Sutskever, Chief Scientist of OpenAI, reveals deeper tensions over safety, the commercialization of AI, and a broader cultural schism. Key questions remain about the accusations made against Altman, described as not being consistently candid, hindering the board’s responsibilities. The move is perceived by insiders as a result of a struggle over management styles and a drive for high-profile publicity.

Investor Leverage and Microsoft’s

MSFT
Role:

Reports suggest that investors are actively working with Microsoft to reinstate Altman, indicating the external forces at play. Microsoft’s status as the largest shareholder in OpenAI raises questions about its role in the board dynamics. The absence of a board seat or a comprehensive investor rights agreement with Microsoft adds another layer of complexity to the governance structure. Although others have argued that OpenAI as a non-profit would not have given Microsoft a seat on the board.

Microsoft and OpenAI seen on screen with Bing search engine app on mobile. (Photo illustration by … [+] Jonathan Raa/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

NurPhoto via Getty Images

The AI Innovation Ethical Tightrope:

The clash between Altman and the board, revolving around safety concerns and the pace of AI commercialization, places ethical decision-making in the spotlight. The tension exposes the delicate balance between fostering rapid AI innovation and maintaining steadfast ethical principles, a challenge that resonates throughout the tech industry.

In addition, some have argued that there may have been security issues, noting that Microsoft stopped its employees from using ChatGPT

Looking Ahead: Microsoft’s Commitment and OpenAI’s Future:

As the leadership shuffle unfolds, Microsoft reaffirms its commitment to OpenAI. The partnership, highlighted at Microsoft Ignite, promises continued access to resources for ongoing innovation. The leadership change at OpenAI signifies more than a corporate reshuffle; it represents a critical moment in the journey of AI innovation and governance.

Conclusion:

The investigative reporting by two powerhouses, Kara Swisher and Emily Chang, have allowed a lot of the technical industry to be informed. The OpenAI saga serves as a compelling narrative, showcasing the intricate dance between board governance, external influences, and the relentless pursuit of AI advancement. As the tech community watches the developments at OpenAI, it becomes a pivotal moment in the ongoing dialogue about responsible innovation, ethical decision-making, and the ever-expanding role of AI in shaping our technological future.

The Console Giants’ Secret Plot To Unlock Web3 Gaming From Epic To Sony To Microsoft

https://www.forbes.com/sites/digital-assets/2023/11/15/the-console-giants-secret-plot-to-unlock-web3-gaming-from-epic-to-sony-to-microsoft/

Epic Games and Web3 Muhammed Yaylali / Anadolu Agency

Anadolu Agency

Game on!

Yep, that Pink Mamba on the leaderboards is me. And Web3 gaming makes it better as I own my skins and shields. And others are discovering this fact too! Sony and Microsoft have dominated the console market since the launch of their first consoles in 1994 and 2001, respectively — while Nintendo competed in their own field. But, the console giants haven’t stayed on top without clever moves in the market, including Sony’s commitment to PlayStation exclusives.

The next move might be their most aspiring yet. Subtle yet strategic moves hint at an ambitious roadmap: bringing their 228 million console gamers into web3.

Gaming Landscape

Recently, Sony filed patents that outline the methods for blockchain-based asset transfers between different gaming titles and hardware. This is likely to enable the use of the same digital assets across all of Sony’s product range from consoles, VR headsets, tablets, and phones. Everything from items, skins, progress, and achievements could be shared in the broader metaverse ecosystem.

Similarly, leaked documents from Microsoft have revealed that plans are in the works for future updates to Xbox which include compatibility with crypto wallets. While the documents are over a year old, and Phil Spencer, the CEO of Xbox, has claimed that “so much has changed” since these documents were written, it still has the cryptocurrency and gaming communities excited about the prospects of bringing Web3 to mainstream gaming. Additionally, the company has partnered with WeMade, a popular Asian-based developer who has been heavily involved with blockchain in the last few years.

Microsoft Xbox Series X wireless controller (Photo by Phil Barker/Future Publishing via Getty … [+] Images)

Future Publishing via Getty Images

These developments come alongside other major industry announcements, like Epic Games envisioning their own metaverse where, as an example, items from Fortnite can be seamlessly transferred between games. The Metaverse Standards Forum is a similar venture backed by 37 founding organizations, including the likes of Meta, Nvidia, as well as Microsoft. The non-profit organization is campaigning for interoperability across the gaming industry to create an “open and inclusive” metaverse.

Gamers compete in PC gaming at the ‘Nvidia’ booth (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Getty Images

Other companies, such as Electronic Arts
EA
and Ubisoft, have also been exploring what decentralized technology can do, although they are still in the early stages of implementation.

All of this industry interest points to a future where in-game assets can be created as verifiable digital property. Given the benefits that blockchain and decentralized assets stand to unlock, it’s likely just a matter of time before they become as integrated into the gaming world as other technological evolutions, such as mobile platforms.

“150 billion US dollars is spent every year on in-game items. This is not the ability to play Call of Duty or Candy Crush. It is the costumes and outfits inside of them, and of those 150 billion, they’re able to resell $0 worth of it.” Robbie Ferguson, Co-Founder of Immutable
IMX
, said in a Forbes interview. “Just because this property is digital, suddenly they have zero rights over it and zero resale value. Our use of Web3 is not about NFTs, it is simply about the ability to leverage that technology to give them actual property ownership and the ability to get value from reselling by creating a marketplace where they can trade these assets openly.”

Robbie Ferguson, Immutable

FORBES

The Case For Web3

The fact is: Web3 offers a compelling vision for creators and players alike, especially when compared to the current situation of countless walled gardens. Instead of locking users into specific, IP-based ecosystems, blockchain connections allow for cross-platform compatibility and the creation of an ecosystem that spans the whole of gaming. Asset ownership and trading can unlock new creator monetization models beyond upfront game sales, reimagining how players engage with these virtual worlds.

This is the foundation of why Web2 companies are embracing a subtle pivot towards Web3 integration. The benefits that come from ownership and transposability are too great to ignore. The time and money invested into a given title becomes capital for a larger metaverse, where items and resources can be tied to a given profile and taken across many different gaming titles. It’s not about players earning an income from these games; it’s about retaining the value they put into them and tapping into that value across a broader landscape.

“Web3 gaming is already here. Developers are building web3 games faster and onboarding more players than ever before” said Glenn Rachlin, head of Sales from Alchemy. “We’re seeing studios like Illuvium
ILV
, Aavegotchi, PlanetIX, have incredible growth and adoption on par with trends you see in mainstream gaming.”

A delegate plays a game at the Illuvium stand at the Australian Crpyto Convention in Gold Coast, … [+] Australia. Photographer: Ian Waldie/Bloomberg

© 2022 Bloomberg Finance LP

Valve allowed players to transfer their skins from Counter-Strike: Global Offensive to their new title, Counter-Strike 2. This was celebrated by the community, with a record number of cases being opened in anticipation of the new game. Skins in Counter-Strike sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars, but Valve has the power to take this away with the click of a button. Blockchain technology gives full ownership to the players, preventing this loss of fortunes.

What’s most important is how this transition promises to reward and empower users. Microsoft and Sony definitely sit center stage, with their console user bases encompassing hundreds of millions of customers. By implementing blockchain innovations, these companies could soon make asset portability, digitally scarce items, and Play-to-Earn game mechanics as normalized as mobile gaming has become today.

It’s possible that the console gaming giants are making these subtle moves towards Web3 due to cloud gaming posing a threat to their domination of the industry. Currently, gamers are required to either own Sony’s PlayStation or Microsoft’s Xbox or PC to play the latest titles. But cloud gaming streams games to users, meaning that almost any device can play new AAA games.

In the face of an existential threat, companies look for ways to stand out from the crowd. Web3 gaming could be the market differential that saves the console giants from losing the war against cloud gaming.

A seismic change is coming

But it’s not only the console creators that are pivoting, publishers are too. Electronic Arts has confirmed they’re looking at NFTs and play-to-earn as part of the company’s future. Similarly, Sega COO, Shuji Utsumi, confirmed that the gaming company is looking to use Web3 technologies to grow the business and its intellectual property.

Sega Corp – Photographer: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg

© 2022 Bloomberg Finance LP

While most are yet to act, Ubisoft recently announced a partnership with Web3 platform Immutable. The Assassin’s Creed publisher had previously released digital collectibles but is now looking to release a game with Web3 ownership as a core value.

Maybe this will be the catalyst for other gaming giants to take the plunge into Web3 gaming. Sony and Microsoft’s movements certainly signal that a new dawn is coming for gaming. An era where players fully control their digital lives — identities, assets, and interactions. If these giants can unlock web3 while respecting people and the planet, gamers everywhere will bask in an open metaverse of sheer creative possibility.

The Evolution Of AI: From IBM And AWS To OpenAI and Anthropic

https://www.forbes.com/sites/digital-assets/2023/11/07/the-evolution-of-ai-from-ibm-and-aws-to-openai-and-anthropic/

AI Sign. (Photo by Josep LAGO / AFP) (Photo by JOSEP LAGO/AFP via Getty Images)

AFP via Getty Images

I was recently engaged in a conversation about my work on Watson back in 2015 when a comment I received confused with me: “AI just started! Was ChatGPT created in 2015?” I realized then that many people didn’t realize the depth of AI history.

First of all, what is AI? Artificial Intelligence, a specialty within computer science, focuses on creating systems that replicate human intelligence and problem-solving abilities. These systems learn from data, process information, and refine their performance over time, distinguishing them from conventional computer programs that require human intervention for improvement.

The landscape of artificial intelligence (AI) is a testament to the relentless pursuit of innovation by technologists that have shaped its trajectory. In this journey, key players have emerged, each contributing to the evolution of AI in unique and transformative ways.

The Way Back When

The history of AI can be traced back to the 1950s, when Alan Turing published “Computer Machinery and Intelligence,” introducing the Turing Test as a measure of computer intelligence. At the same time, John McCarthy, a “founding father” of AI, created LISP, the first programming language for AI research which is still used today

The 1970s saw significant milestones including the autonomous Stanford Cart navigating a room full of chairs and the founding of the American Association of Artificial Intelligence, now known as the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI).

The AI Winter: 1987-1993

A period of low interest and funding in AI followed due to setbacks in the machine market and expert systems. Despite decreased funding, the early 90s brought AI into everyday life with innovations like the Roomba and speech recognition software.

The surge in interest was followed by a new funding for research, which allowed even more progress to be made.

IMPACT IBM (1997-2011)

IBM started its AI adventure when Deep Blue beat the world chess champion, Gary Kasparov, in a highly-publicized match in 1977, becoming the first program to beat a human chess champion. In 2011, IBM then created Watson, a Question Answering (QA) systems. Watson went on to win Jeopardy! against two former champions in a televised game. Recognized globally for this groundbreaking performance on Jeopardy! Watson showcased the transformative potential of cognitive computing.

IBM Watson (Photo by Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Innovation in this period revolutionized industries such as healthcare, finance, customer service, and research. In the healthcare sector, Watson’s cognitive capabilities proved instrumental for medical professionals, offering support in diagnosing and treating complex diseases. By analyzing medical records, research papers, and patient data, it facilitated precision medicine practices, empowering healthcare practitioners with valuable insights into potential treatment options. Watson’s transformative impact extended to customer service, where it reshaped interactions through the provision of intelligent virtual assistants.

Watson’s influence also reached the realm of research and development, empowering researchers to analyze vast amounts of scientific literature. This catalyzed the discovery of new insights and potential breakthroughs by uncovering patterns, correlations, and solutions hidden within extensive datasets.

“Watson was one of the first usable AI engines for the Enterprise,” said Arvind Krishna, CEO of IBM. “IBM continues to drive innovation in AI and Generative AI to help our customers move forward.”

Arvind Krishna, chief executive officer of International Business Machines Corporation (IBM), speaks … [+] at an IBM facility in Poughkeepsie, New York, US, on Thursday, Oct. 6, 2022. IBM Corp. announced $20 billion in investments during President Biden’s visit that will go toward research and development and the manufacturing of semiconductors, mainframe technology, artificial intelligence and quantum computing in the Hudson Valley. Photographer: Dana Ullman/Bloomberg

© 2022 Bloomberg Finance LP

Watson’s legacy is profound, showcasing the formidable power of AI in understanding human language, processing vast datasets, and delivering valuable insights across multiple industries. Its pioneering work in natural language processing and cognitive computing set the stage for subsequent innovations like ChatGPT, marking a transformative era in the evolution of artificial intelligence. IBM continues to innovate in AI today.

The Assistants and Beyond: Amazon

AMZN
and Apple

AAPL
(2011-2014)

Amazon’s AI foray with Alexa and Apple’s Siri both marked significant leaps in human-computer interaction. These voice-controlled virtual assistants transformed how users can access information, control environments, and shop online, showcasing AI’s potential for daily life improvement.

Beyond voice assistance, Amazon leverages AI for personalized recommendations on its e-commerce platform, enhancing the customer shopping experience. Additionally, the company’s robust cloud computing service, Amazon Web Services (AWS), provides scalable and efficient infrastructure for AI development, enabling businesses and developers to leverage cutting-edge machine learning capabilities. Amazon’s commitment to advancing AI technologies aligns with its vision of making intelligent and intuitive computing accessible to users in various aspects of their daily lives, from the living room to the online marketplace.

Google

GOOG
: Deep Learning Breakthroughs (2012-2019)

Google, synonymous with innovation, has been a driving force in AI research. The development of DeepMind, a subsidiary of Google, marked a turning point with groundbreaking achievements in deep learning and reinforcement learning. For example, two researchers from Google (Jeff Dean and Andrew Ng) trained a neural network to recognize cats by showing unlabeled images with no background information.

Google’s commitment to democratizing AI is evident through TensorFlow, an open-source machine learning library empowering developers worldwide to create and deploy AI applications efficiently. Additionally, Google’s advancements in natural language processing, image recognition, and predictive algorithms have shaped the landscape of AI applications across diverse domains with Google Search, Photos, and Assistant demonstrating a commitment to enhancing user experiences and making AI an integral part of daily life.

OpenAI: Expanding the Horizons of Natural Language Processing (2020- present)

Generative AI (GEN AI) refers to a category of artificial intelligence systems designed to generate content, often in the form of text, images, or other media, that is contextually relevant and resembles content created by humans. Unlike traditional AI models that may follow pre-programmed rules or make predictions based on existing data, generative AI can produce original and diverse outputs.

One prominent example of generative AI is OpenAI’s GPT (Generative Pre-trained Transformer) series, including models like GPT-3. In late 2022, ChatGPT made headlines by attracting 1 million users within a week of its launch. By early November, the platform had amassed over 200 million monthly users, showcasing the significant impact of OpenAI’s innovations on the AI landscape.

This success story underscores OpenAI’s commitment to advancing NLP and its ability to deliver platforms that resonate with a vast user base. The influence extends beyond user metrics; it has played a pivotal role in the development of subsequent innovations like GPT-3, reinforcing OpenAI’s position as a trailblazer in conversational AI. Microsoft’s
MSFT
strategic investment further validates OpenAI’s crucial role in the evolution of AI and NLP, signifying industry-wide recognition of its contributions.

OpenAI DevDay

From OpenAI Virtual Dev Day

On November 6th, OpenAI introduced GPTs, custom iterations of ChatGPT, which amalgamate instructions, extended knowledge, and actionable insights. The launch of the assistants API facilitates the seamless integration of assistant experiences with individual applications. These advancements are viewed as foundational steps toward the realization of AI agents, with OpenAI committed to enhancing their capabilities over time. The introduction of the new GPT-4 turbo model brings forth improvements in function calling, knowledge incorporation, pricing adjustments, support for new modalities, and more. Additionally, OpenAI now provides a copyright shield for enterprise clients, exemplifying their ongoing commitment to innovation and client support in the evolving landscape of generative AI.

Built for safety: Anthropic (2021- present)

Anthropic is an AI safety startup founded in 2021 that leverages constitutional AI, an approach to train models to be helpful, harmless, and honest. The research team then developed CLAIRE, a large language model trained using the same constitutional basis. Anthropic’s’s research-driven approach and focus on AI safety place them at the forefront of developing responsible and beneficial AI systems as does the use of techniques like data filtering and controlled training environments to avoid biases or errors. Focused on common sense — the AI understands intuitive physics, psychology, and social norms, allowing it to give reasonable answers. Both Google and Amazon have invested in Anthropic.

Intel

INTC
and NVIDIA

NVDA

DIA
: Powering the AI Revolution Through Hardware

Companies like Intel and NVIDIA have played a crucial and often underestimated role in the AI landscape by providing the hardware infrastructure that underpins remarkable advancements. Their development of powerful processors and graphics processing units (GPUs) optimized for machine learning tasks has been pivotal,facilitating not only the training but also the deployment of complex AI models, accelerating the pace of innovation in the field.

What’s Next? Responsible AI

Responsible AI refers to the design, development, and deployment of AI systems in an ethical and socially-aware manner. As AI becomes more powerful and ubiquitous, practitioners must consider the impacts these systems have on individuals and society. Responsible AI encompasses principles such as transparency, explainability, robustness, fairness, accountability, privacy, and human oversight.

Developing responsible AI systems requires proactive consideration of ethical issues during all stages of the AI lifecycle. Organizations should conduct impact assessments to identify potential risks and harms, particularly for marginalized groups. Teams should represent diverse perspectives when designing, building, and testing systems to reduce harmful bias which is why companies like Credo AI have jumped in to focus on a responsible framework.

Navrina Singh, Founder & CEO, Credo AI. (Photo By Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile for Collision via … [+] Getty Images)

Sportsfile via Getty Images

Credo AI is an AI governance platform that streamlines responsible AI adoption by automating AI oversight, risk mitigation, and regulatory compliance. Their founder and CEO, Navrina Singh commented, “The next frontier for AI is responsible AI. We must remain steadfast in mitigating the risks associated with artificial intelligence.”

What’s Next? The Physical World

Spatial AI and robotic vision represent an evolution in how artificial intelligence systems perceive and interact with the physical world. By integrating spatial data like maps and floorplans with computer vision, itallows robots and drones to navigate and operate safely. Robotic vision systems can now identify objects, read text, and interpret scenes in 3D space, giving robots unprecedented awareness of their surroundings and the mobility to take on more complex real-world tasks.

New spatial capabilities are unlocking tremendous economic potential beyond the $17B already raised for AI vision startups. Warehouse automation, last-mile delivery, autonomous vehicles, and advanced manufacturing are all powered by spatial AI and computer vision, and over time they will offer more dynamic and versatile interactions with physical environments. This could enable revolutionary applications, from robot-assisted surgery to fully-autonomous transportation.

What’s Next? Customer-Centric AI Apps:

There is a shift happening right now in AI, from technology-centric solutions that solve infrastructure problems to customer-centric applications that solve our real-world human problems comprehensively.This evolution signals a move beyond the initial excitement of AI’s capabilities to a phase where technology meets the diverse and complex needs of end-users.

While the concept of a data flywheel remains relevant (reminder of the FlyWheel – more usage → more data → better model → more usage) , the sustainability of data moats is on shaky ground. The real moats, it seems, are in the customers themselves. Engagement depth, productivity benefits, and monetization strategies are emerging as more durable sources of competitive advantage.

Hassan Sawaf, CEO and Founder, AIXplain

AIXplain

Hassan Sawaf, CEO and Founder of AIXplain, highlights the power of a customer focused engagement approach. “We believe in AI agents that can help swiftly craft personalized solutions by leveraging cutting-edge technology from leading AI providers in real time. That’s what we’ve created with Bel Esprit and 40,000 state-of-the-art models with the capability to onboard hundreds of thousands more from platforms with proprietary sources in minutes. One click is all it takes for deployment, making Bel Esprit a game-changer in the AI landscape.”

Reflection

As we reflect on the success of what is now recognized as GEN AI, it is imperative to acknowledge the collective contributions of the tech titans that I’ve mentioned. Their advancements in deep learning, natural language processing, accessibility, and hardware infrastructure have not only shaped the trajectory of AI, but have also ushered in an era where intelligent technologies play an integral role in shaping our digital future.

Celebrating the pioneers in AI emphasizes their innovative spirit and unwavering commitment to advancing the boundaries of technology, paving the way for the sophisticated AI models that define our current era. A round of applause for the diligent technologists working at these companies.

Taylor Swift’s Direct-To-Fan Engagement Embraces Web3 Principles

https://www.forbes.com/sites/digital-assets/2023/10/27/taylor-swifts-direct-to-fan-engagement-embraces-web3-principles/

Taylor Swift (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images)

Getty Images

I’ve been a fan of Taylor Swift for a few years now, but some of the savvy business moves she’s made in more recent times have caught my attention more than her music. You might remember that she was voraciously opposed to her old record label selling the recordings of her first six albums to a private equity firm. So, when she switched labels, she negotiated to own the master rights of all music going forward. Then, she went and re-recorded all of her music, as she was legally empowered to do.

Taylor 1, The Corporate Machine 0.

Recently, she scored another victory by cutting out the middlemen as she broke into the movie industry. “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour,” a concert film produced by her own team, and which bypassed film distributors to go straight to cinema, has been a roaring success. The movie tallied approximately $123m in global box office takings on the opening weekend, with millions of fans around the world dressing up as Taylor to attend the epic sing-a-long shows. She negotiated a 57% cut of the revenue that would otherwise have gone to a distributor, and then she sold the tickets at $19.89 each.

Taylor 2, The Corporate Machine 0.

Disrupting the Status Quo

Anyone who can ruffle major corporate feathers, disrupt the norm, and claw back control and self-ownership has my attention and respect. Considering everything she’s overcome in legal battles with greedy execs, Swift deserves enormous praise.

Now, you might be wondering how any of this relates to my work, Web3, or the blockchain. Well, she didn’t sell NFT
NFT
tickets and she doesn’t have a Web3 loyalty program (yet), but what she did do is mirror the ethos of Web3.

  1. Disrupt
  2. Empower content creators
  3. Own your relationship with your audience

I want to reiterate the point that Web3 is not just here to enhance and upgrade existing entertainment models and platforms. It’s about disrupting how traditional business is done and who benefits from it. It’s about placing teamwork, synergy, and innovation at the core of Web3 startups and giving them the backing to succeed.

Web3 is a Golden Moment for Content Creators

Taylor Swift felt that she had lost control because she didn’t own her music. She had pleaded repeatedly with her label for a chance to own her own work but instead was asked to sign a manipulative new contract. Within the terms, it said that she would “earn” one album back for each new one she finished.

She disrupted. She rebelled. She stood up for herself. In doing so, she created a new generation of independent artists who don’t want to get caught in the same trap and who have the belief that community support is a genuine alternative to powerful labels. She knew that ticket prices had spun out of control and she wanted to be the one to discover what was reasonable and accessible for her fans. Then, for those fans who still couldn’t afford it, she turned the tour into a movie that you could watch with other fans for less than $20. Taylor Swift is in her golden hour. No wonder her fans, better known as Swifties, are obsessed with every move she makes.

Swifty movie goers in Century City, CA (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Web3’s golden hour is just as imminent as it develops a revolutionary path to community engagement, active participation, and genuine connections and experiences. Novel ways for fans to get involved will be complemented by fractional ownership of assets and opportunities, immense reward schemes that thank you and excite you in equal measure, and new ways to support your favorite content creators so that they can remain independent.

Web3 is not just relevant for content creators — it’s imperative.

Saving the Relationship

I fear that if we don’t redefine our roles as both content creators and as audience members (fans, enthusiasts, consumers all fit into this), we will see more and more boring, reductive, and beige content. Much like all smartphones start to look the same, following the same algorithms and patterns of the same major platforms is forcing brands and creators into boxes. Web3 can undo that.

Web3 will allow creators to be themselves, at their creative best, and elevate fan engagement in the process. Dramatic activations, revelations, and gated experiences are just the start. Think about how token-based reward systems give enthusiasts quantifiable data for their fandom, NFTs can unlock unforgettable interactions, and collectibles that are yours digitally until the of time all create an inseparable bond between creator and audience.

Gianina Skarlett (Photo by Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images)

Getty Images

Gigi Skarlett, CEO and founder of Crypto Tech Women and a member of WOW3, knows all about the value of using Web3 and NFTs to enter a new era of community. “Embracing Web3 is an opportunity to escape the monotony of repetitive content — enabling both the creator and their consumers to become more engaged and connected in the process,” explains Gigi. “It also allows creators to differentiate between passive content viewers and those who are genuinely willing to support your content.”

That’s why I’m happy to see some of the biggest platforms open their arms and acknowledge that Web3 is the future and that they need to adapt, immediately. Their models are being disrupted, and it’s sink or swim time.

Spotify: Playlists Unlocked by NFT Holders

Spotify has been building the world’s biggest digital music library for over 15 years now, making and distributing billions in the process, while also empowering independent artists to ditch record labels. Their model appears robust, but Web3 has found a way to integrate with Spotify for some very exciting activations.

The new feature, called “Token-enabled Playlists” allows users with certain NFTs to unlock exclusive playlists. To access the gated content, users need to link their crypto wallets to their Spotify accounts. This is exciting, but it’s still being piloted in a few select regions. Fortunately, I think the idea has legs and will open up even more opportunities for music and Web3 to harmonize.

The implementation of gated NFT playlists is being handled by Overlord, which is also tasked with finding other exciting ways to integrate digital assets into music streaming services and provide additional value to NFT holders. What I see, however, is another novel and brilliant way for content creators to engage with their fans. Should the trial be a success, I believe more Swift-esque empowered musicians will be looking at Web3 as a launchpad for their careers and self-ownership.

Ticketmaster: NFT Ticketing and Gated Content

It’s not just Spotify integrating NFTs, but Ticketmaster, the world’s largest ticket marketplace and the global leader in live event ticketing products and services. There are dozens of startups in Web3 who have been trying to build “The Ticketmaster of Web3”, but it’s hard to say if there’s truly a standout. Now, whilst they aren’t going to rebuild the foundations of their successful business, their BD team has clearly recognized the potential for Web3 integrations.

Deathbats

Deathbats

Avenged Sevenfold, which attracts a very different audience to Taylor Swift, is already well-established in Web3 with a popular NFT fan club (The Deathbats Club). Back in March, they collaborated with Ticketmaster and their NFT token gating integration to pre-sell tickets to their tour. This was an outstanding chess move that eliminated everything that is wrong with Web2 ticket sales – bots, scalpers, long waiting times, and ticket touts. As well as an improved ticket sale process, the Deathbats Club will have a special area reserved at every event on the tour to improve the real-life experience and exclusivity.

Direct-to-Fan Engagement Set To Take Center-Stage

I’m inspired by what Taylor, Avenged Sevenfold, and many other artists are doing to champion creators and their communities, and I’m proud of the building blocks already in place in Web3 that have encouraged Spotify and Ticketmaster to get involved. The next step, in order for Web3 communities to get to the next level, is to find even more novel ways for genuine and meaningful interactions and experiences. Keep an eye out, as it might be your favourite band who enters this space next and launches an activation that inspires you.

From Deutsche Bank To Nori, Blockchain Found Its Killer Use Case — Tokenization

https://www.forbes.com/sites/digital-assets/2023/10/20/from-deutsche-bank-to-nori-blockchain-found-its-killer-use-case---tokenization/

Tokenization

getty

Against all odds, despite a market downturn, the FTX scandal, regulatory freezes, and more, there’s a renewed sense of optimism in the blockchain sector due, in large part, to the rise of tokenized traditional financial assets.

It helps significantly that major web2 organizations are getting in on the action. From financial institutions and corporate borrowers jumping into the world of bond tokenization to asset managers following suit by tokenizing their funds, all seem to share the goal of extending distribution to the masses, reducing the barriers to entry for new investors, and drumming up new sources of investment dollars.

A new age of investing is upon us, largely thanks to traditional businesses waking up to the power of asset tokenization. This technology is by no means new. Even in 2019, BNY Mellon was pitting the opening of illiquid assets to “dramatically change the dynamic” for investors — but finally, it seems, tokenization’s time has come.

The Market Potential & Benefits

Analysts from Citibank estimate that as much as $5 trillion in tokenized securities could be issued by 2030. And this figure looks pretty conservative. Broadridge, a US-based fintech infrastructure company, already boasts over $1 trillion in tokenized repurchase agreements on its Distributed Ledger Repo (DLR) platform. And in August, the total value of tokenized real-world assets reached a record $3.1 billion.

Deutsche Bank

getty

We’re already seeing a cascade of financial institutions chomping at the bit to get involved. Indeed, Citi itself, along with Deutsche Bank, is launching “deposit tokens” to deliver cash for security tokens in real-time, solving the slow and outdated payment infrastructure in the U.S. and Germany, respectively. Traditional institutions, traders, investors, and more are starting to believe in the initial premise of the blockchain, that it can provide more efficient rails for raising capital and making peer-to-peer transactions.

Beyond banking, there are a wide array of potential benefits for businesses and brands to implement loyalty programs. Utilizing the benefits of NFTs, these new campaigns can offer more diverse benefits, such as exclusive access to discounts, merchandise and events, easily redeemable from a user’s mobile device. For example, Lufthansa’s “Uptrip” app presents one of the more ambitious and unique flights into the land of tokenization. The European airline group collaborated with Polygon
MATIC
to create an NFT
NFT
loyalty program that takes previously mundane flight rewards to exciting new places.

Lufthansa UpTrip (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Getty Images

The app empowers their passengers to turn their boarding passes into NFTs, unlocking exciting experiences and rewards — gamifying the travel process and creating a new layer of engagement. Flight upgrades, exclusive lounge access, reward miles, and frequent flyer badges give a glimpse into what can be achieved with this Web3 app.

Utilizing tokenization, any business can implement similar loyalty rewards campaigns with a minimum of effort and no previous knowledge of Web3. Tara Fung, cofounder and CEO of Co:Create, a company who’s APIs enable all brands to build gamified, self-owned reward experiences, added, “Tokenization represents the future of customer acquisition and retention for consumer-facing businesses. However, they need the tools that allow them to focus on the story they are trying to tell and the experience they want to provide to their customers, without having to build out all of the underlying infrastructure from scratch.”

It’s not only traditional businesses and Web2 stalwarts waking up to the benefits of tokenized assets; it’s governments, too. Nations are drawing up frameworks to support implementation, encouraging exploration and research, and trying to better understand how capital can be safely raised while investors remain protected. Economic growth seems to be a surefire byproduct of the growth of tokenization, and the blockchain will take the plaudits, potentially resulting in a 180-degree change of opinion for stubborn skeptics.

McKinsey, arguably the biggest management consultancy in the world, also feels very positively about the impact of tokenization and the recent increase in adoption from established industries. A recent report claims that tokenization will result in improved capital efficiency, democratization of access for investors, operational cost savings, enhanced compliance, audibility, transparency, and cheaper and more nimble infrastructure. We should also consider how this could benefit other sectors, like charity and crowdfunding, startups and entrepreneurship, and high-startup-cost industries like renewable energy, construction, and utilities. It’s not unrealistic to consider that traditional businesses embracing tokenization could eventually reduce your monthly bills.

McKinsey Report on Tokenization: A digital-asset déjà vu

McKinsey Report on Tokenization: A digital-asset déjà vu

Normalizing Tokenization Through Carbon Credits

Where we were five years ago, where we are now, and where we will be in five years are simply worlds apart. Society is still not ready to buy and sell vehicles, homes, and other major assets on the blockchain, but they will be one day, and it will feel very normal. For now, it’s crucial to find the low-hanging fruit and use the blockchain to provide solutions, such is the case with carbon credits, for example.

Carbon credits are fragmented, difficult to verify, and complicated to price, making them expensive and frustrating. The blockchain can solve that while making carbon markets an even more powerful tool for reaching climate goals, net-zero emissions, and raising capital for climate-action projects. Tokenizing carbon offsets as NFTs will help drive faster times to market, innovative certification methods, and more liquidity and diversification, adding value for suppliers and buyers.

While carbon credits are only around 25 years old, they’re already massively in need of an overhaul, and most are willing to accept that it will take blockchain technology to solve their inherent flaws. This is one key area that looks ripe for tokenized change.

A great example of this tokenization is Nori. Nori is a platform that creates a massive marketplace for carbon removal, starting with regenerative agriculture projects that store carbon in the soil, we can repair our climate and fund a better future. In the realm of sustainable investing, Nori’s Marketplace pioneers a transformative approach to carbon removal. When you purchase carbon removal through Nori, you’re not just offsetting emissions; you’re actively supporting regenerative farmers committed to sequestering carbon dioxide for at least ten years, with re-verification every three years.

The innovative Nori Carbon Removal Certificate accompanying each purchase provides transparency, showcasing the exact amount of carbon removal funded and the specific location and timing of the environmental impact. This tokenized process not only empowers individuals to make a tangible difference but also aligns with the increasing demand for transparency in sustainable investments, turning environmental commitments into actionable and shareable contributions.

Nori Carbon Removal Token

Nori

In a world where sustainability is paramount, Nori’s tokenized carbon removal emerges as a pioneering solution, allowing investors to actively participate in the fight against climate change. Beyond offsetting carbon footprints, this approach provides a clear and verifiable record of environmental impact, offering a model for how tokenization can drive meaningful change in the pursuit of a greener, more sustainable future.

Challenges Lay Ahead

We’ve looked at several potential use cases, but implementing them all will not be plain sailing. Regulations, a lack of consistency between government frameworks, and skepticism can all prove significant hurdles.

Nevertheless, the industry could establish its credibility and reputation on the world stage by driving a new wave of institutional investment through tokenization.

The north star here is that the potential of tokenization is boundless; it just takes the right ideas, practices, approaches, and talent to allow it to transform the financial world into something more inclusive, democratic, and efficient for all.

Pudgy Penguins, Diesel Watches, And Build-A-Bear: Dreaming Of A Phygital Holiday Gift

https://www.forbes.com/sites/digital-assets/2023/10/12/pudgy-penguins-diesel-watches-and-build-a-bear-dreaming-of-a-phygital-holiday-gift/

Build-A-Bear Tycoon on Roblox

Build-A-Bear Workshop

What is Phygital?

In the ever-evolving terrain of consumer experiences, a buzzword has taken the stage to encapsulate the fusion of physical and digital realms — Phygital. This innovative concept marks the seamless integration of tangible, real-world items with immersive digital experiences. This shift is perhaps most apparent in Millenials and Gen Z, with 40% claiming they would want to buy real world items from metaverse environments in addition to physical shopping. Simply put, phygital encapsulates brand experiences and products existing both in virtual and real-world spaces, offering an avenue to entice young consumers from the web to in-store loyalty.

AI Generated Gen Z Art

Pixabay AI Generated Gen Z

The essence of Phygital lies in acknowledging the interconnected nature of our modern lives, where the lines between the physical and digital are increasingly blurred. Products that embrace this amplify their intrinsic value and deliver a dynamic and engaging journey for consumers. Whether it’s a tangible product complemented by a digital component or a digital entity with a tangible representation, Phygital experiences enchant users by offering the best of both worlds. Gen Z’s modern expectations are prompting retailers to reinvent the shopping landscape if they want to meet the evolving preferences of these tech-savvy consumers.

Why Buy Phygital for the Holidays?

As the festive season draws near, the spotlight shifts to the irresistible charm of Phygital gifts. These distinct presents seamlessly blend the tactile joy of unwrapping a physical item with the fascination of delving into a parallel digital realm. The convergence of these two domains not only injects an extra dose of excitement into the art of giving but also caters to the contemporary consumer’s appetite for interactive and multi-dimensional experiences.

In the Web3 landscape, a fresh perspective on loyalty programs is taking center stage. Trend experts predict a shift in the look of Web3, increasingly intertwining with loyalty programs. Recent YPulse data reveals that about half of young individuals are members of loyalty programs, and brands are gamifying these programs, both in apps and virtual reality activations. This year, NFTs might step back a bit, making room for avatars and digital collectibles. Brands like Starbucks
SBUX
and Nike
NKE
are already venturing into the realm of digital collectibles for loyalty members through engaging games, indicating a potential evolution in brand participation in Web3.

Nike. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

2023 Bloomberg Finance LP

Amidst these developments, the holiday season serves as a fitting backdrop for the rise of Phygital gifting, where the traditional and the modern seamlessly coalesce. This trend not only transforms the act of giving but also underscores the dynamic evolution of consumer preferences and expectations, signaling a promising shift in the way we celebrate and connect during the holidays.

What do you get your friend that has everything? Phygital

I love the holiday season but struggle finding just the right thing that is different. So I asked my web3 and blockchain friends what they’d want this Christmas and Hanukkah. Here was the top of their list.

First, a watch. Diesel, the innovative fashion brand, is setting a new standard with its ‘Vert’ timepiece collection, a result of a collaboration with Fossil
FOSL
Group. This phygital collection combines the craftsmanship of traditional watches with an immersive virtual reality gaming experience and NFT
NFT
player avatars. The Vert collection not only signifies a commitment to physical elegance but also embraces the digital revolution, offering consumers a unique and engaging experience.

Diesel Vert – Born Virtually, Shaped by You

Diesel (https://vert.diesel.com/#/en/1)

Everyone wants a piece of Frillz Jewelry, and with good reason. Cathy Hackl, the visionary founder of the Frillz collection, has crafted a groundbreaking jewelry line that represents an innovation in accessories. Each piece in the Frillz collection boasts exquisite physical designs meticulously crafted with embedded NFC chips. By infusing these chips with NFTs, Hackl ensures that every Frillz jewelry item is not only visually stunning but also possesses distinct and verifiable authenticity, providing a seamless connection between the physical and digital realms.

Chatting with Cathy is like glimpsing into the future. She told me, ‘As we embrace the spirit of the holidays, choosing Phygital jewelry becomes a meaningful expression of the convergence between tradition and innovation. The Frillz collection not only captures the essence of timeless craftsmanship in its physical designs but also introduces a revolutionary blend of technology with embedded NFC chips. This infusion of NFTs ensures that each Frillz jewelry piece possesses not only visual allure but also a distinct and verifiable authenticity. This Christmas, elevate your gifting experience with jewelry that transcends boundaries, embodying both the richness of physical craftsmanship and the boundless possibilities of the digital realm.”

The first collection from Cathy Hackl’s new label VerseLuxe, bringing luxury jewels closer to Web3 … [+] than ever before.

Frillz

And of course, with all the new fashion sneakers, phygital sneaks made the list: For sneaker fans, the Sol3mates community leads the way by providing an exclusive experience for NFT holders. This token-gated community offers perks like special pricing, early access to limited-edition sneakers, free global shipping, and early delivery. With each purchase, consumers receive both a physical and a digital version of the shoe, allowing avatars to strut their stuff in Decentraland
MANA
, a 3D virtual world.

And finally, who doesn’t want a cool hat. Gmoney’s web3 fashion brand 9dcc is at the forefront of the Phygital wave with its new collection, dubbed “ITERATION-03.” Featuring luxury baseball caps in various colors, these caps are equipped with unique Networked Product technology. This transforms them into interactive and customized accessories for their owners. By tapping the embroidered “9” on the back of the cap, individuals can interact with the brand’s ecosystem, including POAPs, creating an engaging fusion of the physical and digital realms.

Gmoney, the founder of 9DCC

GMONEY

What about the kids?!

The next generation already loves digital collectibles. What better way to have them excited than a Phygital.

Hot Wheels NFT Garage introduces a ‘phygital’ project that makes collecting as exciting as ever. The idea is simple: purchase a pack of unrevealed NFTs, and when unpacked, you get a set of 4 to 10 random cars of different rarities. While primarily virtual collectibles, cars of the ‘premium’ and ‘NFTH’ rarities could be redeemed for physical versions, bridging the gap between the digital and physical play worlds.

And even my favorite (yes, I personally have over 30 Pudgy plushies!). Pudgy Penguins, the intellectual property company behind the NFT figures and physical toys, is making waves by distributing physical collectibles in 2,000 Walmart
WMT
stores. These penguins come with different, customizable outfits and are available for purchase online. Walmart’s inclusion of Pudgy Toys in their stores is a testament to the evolution of consumer engagement in the digital era. The brand’s commitment to fostering community through social media and the blockchain aligns with the Phygital trend, expanding its reach with the support of Walmart.

The Pudgy plushies, with their customizable outfits, not only offer a delightful tactile experience but also reflect the brand’s dedication to merging the physical and digital worlds. It’s heartening to see Pudgy Penguins carving out a space in the physical retail landscape, proving that the demand for Phygital experiences is not limited to the digital realm alone.

Pudgy Penguin Plush

Pudgy Penguin Plush

As Luca Netz, CEO of Pudgy Penguins, puts it, ‘Walmart’s inclusion of Pudgy Toys in their stores is a significant milestone. It reinforces our commitment to providing consumers with a seamless blend of digital and physical engagement. This holiday season, discover the joy of bringing home a Pudgy Penguin, where the magic of the virtual world meets the warmth of your home.”

Pudgy Penguins have become more than just collectibles; they’re a bridge between the digital and physical realms, creating an immersive experience that resonates with consumers of all ages. As we navigate the intersection of blockchain technology and traditional retail, Pudgy Penguins stands out as a prime example of how brands can successfully transition from the digital to the physical world. With their customizable outfits and charming personalities, Pudgy Penguins bring joy to both collectors and those discovering them in Walmart stores. This holiday season, embrace the Phygital trend with a Pudgy Penguin, and let the magic of this delightful creature enhance your festivities.

“Pudgy Penguins is bridging the gap between our physical and digital worlds of play for kids in a really engaging way,” said Brittany Smith, vice president of merchandising – toys, Walmart U.S.

For those with a penchant for stuffed animals, the Build-A-Bear Workshop is revolutionizing the holiday experience by embracing the Metaverse through UGC gaming. This strategic move introduces a “phygital” space, skillfully combining the tangible charm of physical stuffed animals with the interactive wonders of the digital world. In this seamlessly blended space, children and enthusiasts alike can engage with the brand’s offerings in a way that transcends traditional gifting, creating an immersive and memorable holiday experience.

Build-A-Bear Tycoon on Roblox

Build-A-Bear Workshop

As the holiday season unfolds, Build-A-Bear’s commitment to “phygital” innovation becomes increasingly apparent. Beyond the confines of brick-and-mortar stores, the brand’s presence in the digital realm enhances community engagement, ensuring that the love for Build-A-Bear extends beyond physical boundaries. The “phygital” approach not only caters to the evolving preferences of young consumers but also positions Build-A-Bear as a trailblazer in redefining the landscape of holiday gifting, where the lines between the physical and digital are artfully blurred.

As Dara Meath, Chief Technology Officer of Build-a-Bear commented, “At Build-A-Bear, we believe that the magic of the holidays lies in creating experiences that seamlessly blend the physical and digital realms. Our ‘phygital’ approach this holiday season isn’t just about stuffed animals; it’s about crafting unforgettable moments that transcend the traditional boundaries of gifting. As children embark on a journey of imagination in the Metaverse through our UGC gaming experiences, we’re confident that this innovative fusion of the physical and digital will be the hallmark of holiday joy. Build-A-Bear is not just a stuffed animal; it’s a gateway to a world where holiday magic is redefined, offering a unique and immersive experience for kids and families in the ever-evolving landscape of holiday celebrations.”

Dara Meath, CTO, Build-A-Bear

Dara Meath

You Must Experience Phygital

The Phygital experience is poised to redefine holiday gifting. The marriage of the physical and digital not only caters to the contemporary consumer’s desire for immersive experiences but also reflects the evolving nature of our interconnected world. As you embark on your holiday shopping journey, consider the enchantment that Phygital gifts bring, offering a perfect harmony between tangible joy and digital excitement. Embrace the future of gifting, where each present tells a unique story that extends beyond the physical realm, creating cherished memories for this holiday season and beyond.

Serena Ventures Backed Brand Boss Beauties Acquires BFF To Shape Web3 Future

https://www.forbes.com/sites/digital-assets/2023/10/02/empowering-the-future-boss-beauties-acquires-bff-to-champion-women-in-web3/

Lisa Mayer, Co-Founder and CEO Boss Beauties

Boss Beauties

Boss Beauties, the trailblazing media and entertainment brand dedicated to empowering women, has announced its acquisition of BFF, a visionary community committed to educating, connecting, and empowering individuals in emerging technologies. As a proud member of both communities, I’ve witnessed firsthand the power of these two communities and their combination will mark a pivotal moment in the trajectory of women in the Web3 space.

Boss Beauties has partnered with brands to engage their female audiences. They made history being the first digital collectible on display at the New York Stock Exchange and the United Nations Headquarters in NYC, and has partnered with Barbie, Marvel, NARS, Neiman Marcus, Hugo Boss and more to empower women through collaborations and mentorship activations.

Talking to Lisa Mayer, founder, and CEO of Boss Beauties (BB), she shared, “We’re entering an exciting new chapter for the Boss Beauties brand, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to share the news of our BFF acquisition. Brit, Jaime, and many of the Founding BFFs have already been part of the Boss Beauties’ journey along the way. This acquisition really felt like a natural progression in our partnership and friendship. BFF has already been BB’s BFF, and we are excited to begin this chapter together as we set out to make an even larger impact in media, entertainment, web3, and emerging tech.”

Boss Beauties Co-founder Lisa Mayer

Nicole Pereira Photography

Web3: Shaping the Future of the Internet

Web3, the next evolution of the internet, represents a paradigm shift from the traditional, centralized structure to a decentralized, user-centric model. Unlike its predecessor, Web2, where companies own user data, Web3 is characterized by blockchain technology, decentralized applications (dApps), and smart contracts. The Web3 market is estimated to reach an expected value of USD $53 billion by 2030.

This innovative framework empowers people with greater control over their data, enhances transparency, and fosters a trustless environment where transactions are secure, efficient, and tamper-proof. The significance of Web3 lies not just in technological advancements but in its potential to democratize access, redefine digital ownership, and reshape how we engage with the digital world.

Per the National Research Group, 54% of US consumers have never heard the term “Web3.”While only 13% believe they fully understand what the term means, they have already formed opinions on the technology. 83% of consumers believe Web3 will improve their lives. And men are twice as likely as women to be aware of Web3.

The Crucial Role of Women in Web3: A Call for Inclusivity

As we embrace the transformative potential of Web3, the crucial need for diversity and inclusion cannot be overstated. Women’s participation in shaping the future of this decentralized landscape is not just a matter of equity; it is strategically imperative for innovation and sustainable growth. In Web3, where community governance and collaboration are paramount, diverse perspectives bring a richness of ideas and ensure that the technology caters to the needs of all users. In a research report commissioned by Boss Beauties earlier this year, statistics show Gen Z wants more educational content focused on web3, with more than half saying they would like more access to credible educational resources about web3.

The empowerment of women in Web3 is not just about representation; it is about harnessing the collective intelligence that arises when diverse voices contribute to the design and direction of the digital future. According to an E&Y report , those who are Gen Z believe that decentralized Web3 and gen AI technologies will drive a massive shift in who and what is trusted. Chen Zur, E&Y’s US Blockchain Practice Leader, states, “As AI and Web3 technologies mature, we’ll see Web3 based tools and capabilities, offer decentralized solutions that would allow “internet based protocols”, rather than “centralized service providers” (like in web2 today), to manage our digital identity, data storage and ownership, store of value and value exchange. In other words, we’ll see Web3 enable a trust layer for AI, offering for example enhanced data privacy, data-usage transparency and provide transparent “AI-logic” processing and execution. I believe that in the not so distant future, these capabilities will become a critical part of ensuring TRUST, as ever accelerating AI based emerging technologies are introduced into our world.”

E&Y Gen Z Research Report

E&Y

As we navigate the uncharted waters of Web3, it is crucial to champion inclusivity, ensuring that women play a pivotal role in defining the rules, values, and opportunities that will shape the decentralized internet for generations to come.

Personal Connection: Bridging Education and Empowerment

As a founding member of BFF, I’ve experienced the community’s unwavering commitment to fostering educational initiatives for those venturing into Web3. BFF was launched in January 2022 by Brit Morin, co-founder of Offline Ventures and Brit + Co, and Jaime Schmidt, Founder of Schmidt’s Naturals (acquired by Unilever) and 100 ‘Founding BFFs’ such as Paris Hilton, Gwyneth Paltrow, Tyra Banks, Kate Hudson, Kirsten Green, Founder and Partner of Forerunner Ventures, Shiza Shahid, myself, and other leaders across various industries. BFF’s educational focus, especially in debunking myths surrounding crypto, is instrumental in encouraging more women to participate in the space.

Simultaneously, I find inspiration and empowerment in the Boss Beauties community and in Lisa Mayer, the founder, and CEO of Boss Beauties. The emphasis on fostering a culture where women and girls can be everything they aspire to be aligns seamlessly with the ethos of BFF. The amalgamation of these two communities is a testament to the collective power of women driving change in the tech landscape.

Consolidation in Web3: A Positive Shift

The consolidation happening in the Web3 space is a positive indicator for both the industry and enduring projects. By coming together, the collective power of both groups will help to realize the potential of Web3. The bear market has enabled the strongest projects to thrive. The collaboration between Boss Beauties and BFF demonstrates a strategic move to unify forces and create a more impactful presence in the rapidly evolving digital landscape. This synergy is poised to amplify the influence of both communities and contribute to the long-term success of women in Web3.

As Jaime Schmidt, co-founder of BFF, commented, “BFF and Boss Beauties have always been aligned in our cause to help women and underserved groups seize the opportunities of the future. Together now, our impact can be huge.”

Co-Founders of BFF

SHINYREDPHOTO.COM MICHAEL O’DONNELL CZ29673-224Q

Why They’re Combining: Filling Educational Gaps and Bridging Divides

The acquisition is driven by a shared vision — to bridge the education gap and empower women and girls in the Web3 space. Boss Beauties, with its expansive reach and impact programs, recognized the potential to elevate BFF’s mission. By combining strengths, they aim to provide unparalleled educational resources, ensuring that the next generation, especially women and girls, is not left behind in this dynamic industry.

Brit Morin and Jaime Schmidt emphasize the importance of confronting limiting beliefs surrounding crypto and ensuring that Web3 is accessible to all. Boss Beauties, through the acquisition of BFF, is strategically positioning itself to be a driving force in shaping the narrative of women in Web3.

What’s Next for Women in Web3: A Megaphone for Empowerment

As we look to the future, the collaboration between Boss Beauties and BFF is set to redefine the landscape for women in Web3. The educational resources and content provided by this powerhouse duo will play a pivotal role in ensuring that women and girls are active participants and beneficiaries in this transformative industry. Every BFF member will receive a new “charm” for their NFT
NFT
Bracelet.

Boss Beauties Acquires BFF

Boss Beauties

Boss Beauties, backed by its influential partners, envisions becoming the ultimate guide for exploring cutting-edge technologies. This acquisition marks an exciting chapter, providing a larger megaphone to reach the next generation of Web3 users. Through education, empowerment, and a commitment to diversity, these communities are paving the way for women to lead, innovate, and thrive in the digital era.

How Web3 And AI Will Find You Your Next Job

https://www.forbes.com/sites/digital-assets/2023/09/25/how-web3-and-ai-will-find-you-your-next-job/

Robot Barista Prepares Coffee At a Brooklyn Coffee Shop (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Getty Images

Developments in Artificial Intelligence (AI) over the last year have shifted public perception of how this technology could impact the future of traditionally human-held jobs. Given the meteoric rise of new and powerful AI tools like ChatGPT and Midjourney, many have expressed concerns surrounding the future of careers in writing, digital art, and many other fields.

Some of these fears may be merited, but there are a lot of nuances that many are not taking into account. One of these is how AI can create entirely new jobs that have never existed before, as is the case with the emergence of new tech industries. Freeing up humans from more remedial labor roles creates positions that weren’t possible before.

Lisa Caswell, a Partner with Spencer Stuart, commented, “AI isn’t just a tool, it’s a rung on the ladder to the executive suite, embrace it’s power, understand how to embrace it’s power for your company, and watch as it enhances your skills, sharpens your decision making and accelerates your journey to roles you aspire to land.”

Lisa Caswell, Partner at Spencer Stuart

Lisa Caswell, Partner Spencer Stuart

Additionally, there is the fact that alongside AI, we are seeing the rise of decentralized computing, or Web3, services. This field stands to work alongside machine learning to truly revolutionize everything from the type of work people will be doing and how they will find these positions to how contracts are enforced and employees are compensated.

Why AI Has Employees Scared

Even though AI has been around for decades, it seems like — in the blink of an eye — it has become powerful enough that the idea of it challenging human proficiency is no longer in the realm of SciFi. This has led to serious discussions surrounding what this may mean for the jobs market in the next decade.

If the newest AI tools can automate so many things, then what happens to millions of people who currently make their living by doing these tasks? It has already been estimated that as many as 300 million jobs worldwide could be impacted by the continued development of AI, with some of the most affected industries being software development, data analysis, content creation, teaching, and graphic design.

Even jobs outside the realm of technology and computers are at risk. For example, McDonald’s has not only rolled out an automated drive-thru ordering system with mixed results but is also committed to applying the latest machine-learning techniques to improve efficiency and customer experience. Other fast food chains, like Sonic, Wendy’s, and others, are also experimenting with implementing the latest AI services to drive efficiency and streamline operations.

McDonald’s (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Getty Images

There’s no shortage of professionals raising concerns about what this could mean for the job market. However, there are many reasons to be optimistic about what AI can do to unlock new forms of work in the future.

The Upside Of AI

While AI is undoubtedly in a position to compete for some forms of work, it also stands to create entirely new types of employment. Historical data has shown that new technology creates more jobs than it destroys. Take, for example, the banking sector. While automation has eliminated some roles previously done by humans, we also saw a 20-fold rise in accounting positions between the years of 1871 and 2011. This is just one sector, but it highlights how the major difference comes from a shift in where jobs are actually available, not how many there are. In theory, new abilities and automation allow the public to expand into other areas now that more basic needs of society are met.

Something similar is already taking shape within the AI revolution. While some jobs will be made obsolete, the field is opening up new areas for employment that have never existed before. For starters, there are jobs directly related to the ongoing use of machine learning. Earlier this year, it was reported that tech firms are offering six-figure salaries for “prompt engineers,” people who write questions and text for AI chatbots. That’s just one example of a career that, only a few years ago, was little more than a gleam in an AI scientist’s eye. Even better, many prompt engineering jobs don’t require a STEM degree.

Prompt Engineers

getty

There’s much to be said about how AI will augment existing jobs and industries. One good microcosm is the field of medicine. AI can gather data and create diagnoses faster than any human, opening the door to high-level positions such as a “Health Data Analyst,” who can take the information from AI and apply their human nuance to create even more personal and precise conclusions.

The idea of humans leveraging AI as a tool, rather than seeing it as a threat to job security, can be applied to agriculture, teaching, science, engineering, and much more. In these complex fields, machine learning is an assistant, not a replacement. It’s important to remember that there is still a pretty wide divide (albeit diminishing) between what AI is capable of and what real people can do. As certain lower-level, mundane tasks are routed via AI, newer and more human-centric jobs and responsibilities requiring creativity and authenticity will proliferate.

Tatyana Kanzaveli, CEO and founder of Open Health Network, is optimistic about the use of AI in upleveling jobs like Healthcare. She commented, “AI stands alongside healthcare professionals, multiplying their expertise, and illuminating the path to better patient care. For example, in X-rays, AI enables medical professionals to be more effective by enhancing accuracy, reducing diagnostic time, and ultimately saving more lives.”

Tatyana Kanzaveli, CEO and Founder, Open Health Network

SHINYREDPHOTO.COM MICHAEL O’DONNELL CZ29673-224Q

Other new technologies, like Web3, are further augmenting the jobs market in a way that stands to benefit workers.

Web3 IDs: The Secret Ingredient

What makes the rise of AI so potentially powerful is the fact that the AI revolution isn’t happening in a bubble. It’s coinciding with another major paradigm shift — Web3 and decentralized services. The rise of blockchain technology has made it possible to offer a new array of cryptographically enforced assets and services online, but what job seekers stand to benefit the most from is the possibility of Web3-based identities.

From the book, “The Tiger and the Rabbit: Harnessing the Power of the Metaverse, WEB3, and AI for Business Success”, I researched the convergence of Web3 IDs and AI. Web3 IDs are effectively wallets that, in addition to storing digital assets, anyone can use as a repository for credentials, personal info, history, and much more. At first glance, this may sound like a huge security risk, but it’s actually much safer than the current Web2 model. In Web2, personal information is stored on third-party centralized servers that are susceptible to being compromised. With Web3 IDs, the users stay in full control of their data, can choose when and to whom they share their info, and can revoke permissions anytime.

So, where do these Web3 IDs impact the job market? To begin with, these IDs can overhaul how the hunt for employment is performed. Currently, applicants have to scroll through multiple job sites and countless listings, searching for the posts they feel most closely match their qualifications. With Web3 IDs and AI, this process could be automated. Potential candidates would be shown listings directly related to their credentials, and the hiring companies can take solace in the fact that these credentials cannot be falsified. This is especially important given a recent survey of 1,252 people by student finance marketplace LendEDU found that around 34% of them lie on their LinkedIn profiles.

Inversely, businesses could also easily be given a curated list of potential hires, automatically weeding out anyone lacking sufficient qualifications. This should make connecting positions with workers far safer and more efficient for all involved.

By utilizing a Web3 ID, job contracts can be made on-chain that are effectively impossible to break, with payment being automatically sent to the appropriate address as soon as services are rendered. This stands to help combat various forms of exploitative work practices and will hold companies accountable for paying all workers precisely as agreed.

New Roles AI can Create

Africa Women CEOs Network

What’s key here is that AI and Web3 together stand to build a better jobs market for businesses and employees alike. There are so many innovative ways that this technology can augment how humans interact with their work and be compensated for it. It eliminates the need for some of the more monotonous or repetitive jobs that previously only humans could do. The rise of these tech innovations can be a significant boon for our civilization and culture, freeing up people to earn their income in more fulfilling, meaningful, and mission-driven ways.

From Glass Ceiling To Digital Frontier: Women In Web3 And AI Are Essential

https://www.forbes.com/sites/digital-assets/2023/09/13/from-glass-ceiling-to-digital-frontier-women-in-web3-and-ai-are-essential/

Diversity matters. Empty faces. Vector illustration.

getty

With great power, comes great responsibility. Web3 and AI will create the next generation of the internet. Diversity will be essential as that innovation flows for Internet 3.0.

However, we are already behind.

In today’s ever-evolving landscape of technology and innovation, two fields have emerged as the catalysts of change: Web3 and Artificial Intelligence (AI). Yet, despite their promising potential, these domains grapple with a significant challenge that must not be overlooked—gender diversity. There are profound implications and some concrete measures to address this vital issue.

The Web3 and AI Gender Gap:

Let’s begin by examining the indisputable facts—data that exposes the current reality of gender diversity in AI and Web3. In fact, most emerging technology areas have few women.

A mere 20% of technical roles in major machine learning companies are occupied by women, while on a global scale, 22% of AI employees globally are female, and only 12% of artificial intelligence researchers are female.

Shockingly, just 13% of founding teams in the Web3 sphere include at least one woman, with a mere 3% comprised solely of female talent. In terms of funding, the chasm widens; all-male founding teams tend to raise almost four times the capital, on average, in comparison to all-female teams. Within the broader Web3 workforce, women represent only 27%, often relegated to non-technical roles. The NFT space is still dominated by men: only 16 per cent of NFT artists are female, and they in turn make up only 5 per cent of all NFT sales. Cryptocurrency marketplace Gemini revealed only 26 per cent of crypto investors are women.

These figures, drawn from reputable sources such as Unesco, Deloitte, World Economic Forum and the Boston Consulting Group, vividly portray the stark reality of gender inequality within two of the most dynamic sectors of our time.

Loretta Chen, CEO and Founder Smobler

Smobler

“This is an issue that we need to address sooner than later,” said Dr Loretta Chen, founder, and CEO of Smobler. “Our progress in Web3 and AI can only truly flourish when it reflects the diverse tapestry of our society, and that begins with taking decisive action now.”

Why Diversity Holds the Key:

One might question the importance of diversity—is it truly a game-changer? The unequivocal answer is “yes.” Diversity brings several pivotal advantages to the table.

Diverse teams are less prone to groupthink and more inclined to consider a wide spectrum of perspectives, resulting in sounder decision-making. This diversity fuels innovation and creativity, creating a fertile ground for innovative problem-solving. Representation matters greatly in a technology-driven world where women must have a voice in shaping the trajectory of technology to ensure it caters to the needs of all.

“Diversity is not just a matter of social responsibility; it’s a strategic imperative for corporations around the world. Coupled with inclusive and equitable practices, it helps improve performance by bringing together an array of perspectives, talents, and experiences that fuel innovation and enhance decision-making. Diverse, equitable and inclusive organizations empower teams to understand and better serve an increasingly diverse and global customer base,” commented Dr Anino Emuwa, Founder of 100 Women of Davos. “In a rapidly evolving business landscape, diversity isn’t just a choice; it’s the compass guiding us towards inclusive growth, as well as an innovative and sustainable future.”

Dr Anino Emuwa

Dr. Anino Emuwa

Moreover, gender bias can infiltrate AI systems, potentially leading to undesirable outcomes, and increased female representation in AI can help mitigate such biases. Encouraging women’s participation in Web3 and AI guarantees them equal opportunities in these burgeoning industries, thus boosting economic empowerment.

What can be done about it?

Addressing this issue demands a concerted effort and collective action. Support organizations like HUG, Astro Girls, and Boys Club, which are dedicated to empowering women in these fields, and encourage more women to enter and excel in STEM-related programs.

“The power of education is unparalleled. HUG’s mission to turn artists into creative entrepreneurs through discovery, opportunity, and education is a testament to the transformative potential of knowledge,” commented Debbie Soon and Randi Zuckerberg, co-founders of HUG. “By equipping artists with unique creator-friendly tools and insights, we not only unlock their creative potential but also empower them to build a sustainable living off their work, while also contributing to a more vibrant and imaginative world.”

Co-Founders HUG

HUG

It’s essential to promote visibility by shining a spotlight on female founders, speakers, and role models in Web3 and AI through initiatives like the “130 Most Inspirational Women.” Announced on September 13th in Singapore, the new 130 Most Inspirational Women showcases “if you can see it, you can be it.” This list is composed by Unstoppable WOW3, a group that I founded.

“In the world of Web3, women are the catalysts of transformation, building a future where innovation knows no bounds. As creators and builders, our presence helps shape a more inclusive Web3 space, and I’m proud to be a small part of this,” said Jessica Williams, Coinbase, the Head of Brand Partnerships.

To support gender diversity, the focus must be on facilitating support and networking by establishing a “Female Founders of Web3” group, providing a platform for female entrepreneurs to connect, share experiences, and gain access to mentorship and resources. In addition, we need to advocate for change by collaborating with organizations and initiatives that champion diversity and inclusivity in the tech, web3 and gaming industry and raise awareness while forging partnerships with industry leaders.

And male allies are critical.

As Sébastien Borget, the Co-founder and COO of The Sandbox, added in, “We need to change the tech and gaming industry culture towards diversity. Supporting Female Founders and Creators, giving them more chances to share their stories and attract even more women in the space is essential. Web3 being community-driven, it is an essential endeavor to be part and promote women-led NFT projects and communities such as Women in Tech Global, Women in Web3, World of Women, Women Rise, 8sian, Herverse, People of Crypto, Unity Squad and many more.”

When men actively champion gender equality, they help break down barriers, amplify voices, and pave the way for a fairer, more inclusive world. We should all be part of this positive change, so we can also enjoy more diverse content and experiences that truly represent and speak to all audiences.

Sebastien Borget and Paris Hilton performs an exclusive DJ set at The Sandbox’s ‘Enter The … [+] Metaverse’ event (Photo by Rick Kern/Getty Images for The Sandbox)

Getty Images for The Sandbox

In the realm of Web3, which promises to democratize the digital world, diversity, equality, and inclusion are paramount. While the crypto and NFT markets may remain male-dominated, the Web3 community offers an opportunity to rebuild with diversity as its bedrock.

By nurturing an inclusive culture, we can ensure that Web3 and AI genuinely serve the interests of all. The time to act is now, as we work toward creating a digital landscape that mirrors the diversity and vibrancy of our society—a landscape that drives innovation, fosters creativity, and paves the way for equitable opportunities.

Online Gaming Has Issues That Only Web3 Can Solve

https://www.forbes.com/sites/digital-assets/2023/09/07/online-gaming-has-issues-that-only-web3-can-solve/

“Web3 Gaming” billboard in Times Square (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images)

Getty Images

For over 30 years, video games have captivated minds, both young and old. In fact, I love gaming — as you can tell from my gaming name Pink Mamba – and along with Phaedra Boinodiris, we built Innov8, a highly successful “serious game” that explains business process management to non-technical people.

Now, recent technological developments have given rise to what is known as Web3 gaming. Web3 gaming titles build on top of established gaming formulas by leveraging blockchain technology and Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) to incorporate benefits such as verifiable digital ownership and tangible rewards.

The Web3 gaming market has undergone rapid expansion in the past few years. Reports from DappRadar found that from 2021 to 2022, activity in Web3 gaming exploded by 2,000%. As of Q1 of 2023, the gaming sector accounted for a whopping 45% of all blockchain activity. Moreover, decentralized gaming projects have seen a 12.95% rise in investment this year, reaching $739 million.

Gaming is considered one of the most exciting use cases for all of the benefits that Web3 can offer. This is largely because it can address some of the long outstanding issues with Web2 gaming.

The shortcomings of Web2

Despite its massive success, Web2 online gaming has its share of issues. For starters, in Web2, every game generally has its own login and password requirements. The need to remember so many credentials has become overwhelming for some users, especially those who access many different services. The result is “subscription fatigue,” discouraging potential customers from trying out new platforms as they don’t want another account to manage.

Another significant issue is security and privacy. Based on a study by Kaspersky Labs, from 2021 to 2022 alone, there was a 13% increase in the number of gamers affected by attacks. While this could result in a loss of funds, user data is even more sensitive. Most modern online games gather multiple types of information from their users, including geographical, behavioral, and social. Anything from data breaches to unethical business practices could put gamers at risk and compromise their sensitive personal information.

Rise of deepfakes, videos and images

getty

What makes security and privacy even more relevant is the ongoing rise of bots and AI deepfaked accounts. Even on social media, deepfaked accounts and scams are on the rise. Bots have long been an issue in Web2 games, with this situation only worsening given the recent releases of AI platforms like ChatGPT. Given the amount of real value hosted in these virtual worlds, new and existing users must be aware of the potential dangers that this technology can create.

Web2 problems, Web3 solutions

Web3 technology can help solve the underlying problems in Web2 and make for a better gaming experience in the future. This is possible by offering players cryptographically secured identities that overcome many of Web2’s shortcomings. These IDs not only act as your wallet but provide a single point of access to all Web3 gaming titles, as well as serve as your profile, credentials, and a tool for gamer protection.

Instead of managing a unique account for every game, these Web3 IDs can act as a login key for any game or service. This significantly reduces the barriers to entry and means that users are encouraged to try out new titles with minimum effort, thus improving reach. This could in itself present a risk if it didn’t come with top-notch security. This is why Web3 IDs come in, offering a very high degree of reliability in this field. Thanks to the immutable and cryptographic nature of blockchains, it is almost impossible to compromise a decentralized identity. All funds will stay securely in the wallet, being moved or accessed only at the player’s discretion.

Player control also extends to data privacy, so while these IDs store credentials and private info, any user is free to determine which platforms can access what data about them. They are free to revoke that permission at any time, too. This will eliminate or severely limit the ability for third parties to scrape personal information, again improving the autonomy and security of the user.

Lastly, bots can be addressed by performing a one-time “humanity check” that can be implemented when the Web3 ID is set up. Biometrics, a personal video chat with an approved validator, or other credentials can be used to confirm a human identity. What’s important is that once a Web3 ID has this certification, it will be a trivial matter to prove it to any platform accessed. Even the most convincing deepfaked bot accounts would struggle to falsify such information, leading to a reduction in attacks.

The paradigm shift is already underway

Jeffrey Jiho Zirlin, co-founder of Axie Infinity. Photographer: Bing Guan/Bloomberg

© 2022 Bloomberg Finance LP

Axie Infinity is a play to earn game. Their active users have grown in 2023 by 59%. In a conversation with Axie Infinity Head of Growth and Community, Jeff AKA “Jihoz”, said ” Our identities are becoming increasingly digital. Web3 gaming offers the ability for people to form social and economic relationships pseudo-anonymously. In meatspace, people must give up their privacy in order to engage in most economic relationships due to the need to build trust. Trust-less exchange through smart contracts bypasses this necessity for intrusion of privacy”.

Multiple titles are beginning to implement Web3 IDs to simplify onboarding and create a safer and more user-friendly experience for everyone. One example comes from Immutable X and their recently unveiled Immutable Passport. Already, Immutable Passport is being implemented into the company’s flagship title Gods Unchained, as well as their upcoming AAA release, Guild of Guardians. Moving forward, Immutable has vowed to use its passport as an all-inclusive point of access for its entire ecosystem of titles.

Even robust Web3 metaverses that host a myriad of gaming experiences are getting involved. Recently, The Sandbox, one of the most advanced and promising platforms in the industry, announced that they would be utilizing Polygon
MATIC
ID to enhance their existing KYC program to improve user security and authenticity.

Dirk Lueth of Upland Me. (Photo by Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images for American Metaverse Awards)

Getty Images for American Metaverse Awards

Uplandme, Inc. is a globally distributed organization. Its headquarters are in Silicon Valley, and it is focused on a game where people not only play but also socialize and eventually be able to earn money. According to the CEO and founder of Upland Inc., Dirk Lueth, “The power of Web3 gaming shines through platforms like Upland Inc. With almost 300,000 landowners, we stand as the largest metaverse blockchain-based community today. While our daily active user count may seem modest in comparison to traditional games, within the blockchain realm, we are a formidable presence, boasting between 30,000 to 50,000 daily active users. Even more telling, over 60% of our users return within seven days, a testament to the enduring appeal and potential of the Web3 gaming experience.”

Conclusion

It’s becoming clear that even though Web3 identities are in their infancy, there are so many benefits that they stand to offer to the gaming world. Decentralized games offer players even more exciting possibilities, but they also raise the stakes when it comes to user support and protection. Web3 IDs are ushering in a new era where hacks and data mining become a thing of the past — it’s your data, your choices, and your story.

AI Is Not Just About Automation, We Need Personalization Too

https://www.forbes.com/sites/digital-assets/2023/08/31/ai-is-not-just-about-automation-we-need-personalization-too/

Customer personalization

getty

As we remain gripped by the AI frenzy, seemingly everything has become automated. But while increased efficiency is a positive byproduct of the AI boom — freeing us up for more creative and strategic tasks — maybe we don’t actually want everything to be automated. So much of what makes human-generated content so rich is that it is personal and authentic.

Looking at what services like ChatGPT can create is impressive at first, but dig a little deeper, and you realize much of what is generated is derivative, shallow, and, frequently, inaccurate — delivered in a bizarre tone and with logic that feels distinctly artificial. While there have been calls to temporarily halt AI development, it’s more than likely these systems will continue to evolve and expand, suggesting that businesses and their marketing campaigns will continue to feel more distant and inauthentic.

The problems with AI

Buzz terms like “AI,” “Machine Learning,” “Large Language Models,” and the like are becoming more popular in business right now. The problem is that this can drive teams to shoehorn in this terminology, even if their product doesn’t live up to it. Ironically, this approach even got its own buzzword to describe it, “AI washing.” This practice has become prevalent enough that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has had to explicitly warn the industry that they are not to make unsupported claims about AI in their products.

This is important because these misleading claims have the negative side effect of causing consumers to mistrust the field altogether. Users don’t want to have to constantly wonder if a product claiming to use AI actually is doing so and, if so, using it correctly. Consumers don’t need to be tricked very many times to lose faith.

What can we do?

Every industry and individual currently grappling with AI needs to remember one crucial thing: be authentic. For business, authenticity and some transparency builds trust with customers and allows for the formation of more complex relationships. This means that when using AI to craft marketing campaigns or reach out to prospective leads, it’s essential to maintain a sense of personalization and genuineness.

“It’s important for businesses to offer AI tools that incorporate human personalization and authenticity,” said Ray Wang, CEO of Constellation Research. “As AI technology becomes more mainstream in fields like marketing, the best platforms will help their customers maintain their authentic brand voice while taking their creativity to new heights.”

Ray wang, CEO Constellation

SHINYREDPHOTO.COM MICHAEL O’DONNELL CZ29673-224Q

Authenticity is also crucial for users themselves, particularly with the rise of AI-powered deepfake scams. One way to protect against this is to create a system that can easily identify a “verified” human. This is now possible thanks to Web3 technology.

Web3-based identities through platforms can be set up to contain and verify an individual’s credentials while enabling the users to remain in control of their data. Now, online services and other users can instantly confirm who they are and that they are human rather than an AI-controlled account. This will help ease the proliferation of malicious content and activity enabled by AI. Combining this type of identity system with meaningful and practical products is the key to shaping the future we want to see.

Lufthansa

getty

Lufthansa Group, the parent company behind one of the globe’s major airlines, has just made an announcement around personalization of their loyalty program. They’ve officially introduced an NFT-powered loyalty initiative designed to reward passengers who actively engage. Through this innovative program, travelers can earn digital collectibles, which hold the key to unlocking extra perks. These collectibles are personally themed around specific destinations, aircraft models from the respective fleets, and even special holidays. Gathering a complete set of themed cards within the app opens the door to exclusive advantages during air travel. Imagine enjoying complimentary in-flight Wi-Fi, access to plush airport lounges, redeemable airline miles, and more. Notably, Lufthansa Group’s existing traditional Miles and More loyalty program boasts an impressive 36 million members already.

Speaking of which, it’s also critical that companies leveraging AI in their products only do so when and where it makes sense and be totally transparent about what they can and cannot do.

“Beyond the AI frenzy, personalization reigns as the beacon of digital transformation, driven by authenticity rather than mere automation,” said Greg Kahn, Founder and CEO of Emerging Tech Exchange. “To forge enduring connections, businesses must imbue campaigns with individuality.”

Greg Kahn hosting an AI/Web3 VIP Dinner

GSK Venture

Fortunately, there are still many examples of AI products that are helpful and not overhyped. Various virtual assistants like Google Bard and Microsoft’s
MSFT
Bing can be used to make work or research easier. They don’t understand everything and shouldn’t be trusted with all tasks, but these services are clear about their limitations and don’t offer false promises.

AI is also being used to modernize online shopping. For example, in June, Newegg launched its AI-powered Home Showcase, an innovative and interactive online shopping experience for home products. There are many valid use cases for AI, and new ones are constantly being discovered.

If we leverage AI thoughtfully instead of a fully automated dystopian future, we can build a world where AI works to enhance our creativity and humanity. Artists can create beautiful works faster than ever before while still bringing their instincts to the table, rather than typing “pretty painting” into Midjourney. Scripts could be written that aren’t just generated from GPT-4, but are instead revamped with suggestions from an AI assistant.

Embracing humanity

There is a correct way to do this, and some people in the industry are taking action. For example, Coca-Cola
KO
recently held a campaign that had the brand working with real artists using AI tools to create future ads for the company. They didn’t just generate images in-house; they gave real creators an opportunity.

Look at the recently announced ‘Music AI Incubator’ from YouTube/Alphabet. The platform aims to foster the collaborative development of AI tools and other innovations created with real artists and the music industry. What’s also important is that YouTube/Alphabet has reassured creators that all future music AI tools will “include appropriate protections and unlock opportunities for music partners.”

We don’t want to just hand off the keys to the world to AI and call it a day; that’s a recipe for disaster and not what these tools were created for. Instead, real humans need to work alongside useful and carefully designed AI agents and tools to build a more varied, personal, and ultimately safer online future. In a world dominated by tech-driven automation, it’s more important than ever to stand out by being true to ourselves.

The Irreversible Rise Of Web3: How Coinbase, Ripple, And Friend.tech Are Shaping The Future

https://www.forbes.com/sites/digital-assets/2023/08/21/the-irreversible-rise-of-web3-how-coinbase-ripple-and-friendtech-are-shaping-the-future/

The Rise of Web3

Unstoppable Domains

A seismic shift is underway in the rapidly evolving landscape of Web3, forever altering our perception and engagement with the exchange of value. As the boundaries between the physical and digital worlds blur, we’re witnessing historic legal victories and transformative use cases as an industry titans like Coinbase and Ripple are steering the trajectory of Web3, propelling it towards a future that is both inevitable and transformative.

A Legal Triumph and the National Futures Association’s Stamp of Approval

Coinbase, a vanguard of the cryptocurrency revolution, secured an unequivocal regulatory victory: the approval to list cryptocurrency futures in the United States. The approval comes courtesy of the National Futures Association (NFA), a self-regulatory body sanctioned by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), granting Coinbase the title of a Futures Commission Merchant (FCM). This watershed moment underscores Coinbase’s unwavering commitment to compliance as the company looks to shape the future of finance.

XRP (Ripple) seen on a smartphone screen. (Photo Illustration by Rafael Henrique/SOPA … [+] Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Yet, this positive legal momentum doesn’t end with Coinbase. In a pivotal legal decision, Judge Analisa Torres of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York delivered a vindication for Ripple and the XRP
XRP
digital currency. The judge’s ruling stated that XRP sales on public exchanges did not violate the law, sending ripples of optimism throughout both Ripple and the broader cryptocurrency community.

Coinbase and Ripple: Pioneering a Paradigm Shift

The emergence of Coinbase as a regulated crypto futures platform alongside traditional trading redefines the meaning of a crypto exchange. Its pioneering role solidifies the symbiotic relationship between traditional finance and the decentralized realm. This convergence is not merely a footnote in history, but a testament to the perpetual transformation of the crypto ecosystem, steadily embracing mainstream finance.

Coinbase (Photo illustration by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

Getty Images

Simultaneously, Ripple’s legal victory resonates far beyond its immediate implications. The courtroom triumph echoes the growing acknowledgment of crypto and its potential to redefine finance. This bolsters the legitimacy of cryptocurrencies and emboldens the broader community.

Web3 Unleashed: Pioneering Use Cases Redefining Reality

Web3’s power lies not only in speculation and volatility, but in its pioneering use cases that are reshaping various facets of modern life. Enter Unstoppable Domains, a trailblazing platform facilitating the establishment and verification of digital identities through blockchain-based domains (and my employer). Unstoppable brings blockchain technology to turn domains into an identifier for Web3, offering a glimpse into the future of identity authentication.

friend.tech social platform

friend.tech

Meanwhile, Friend.tech is quickly gaining traction with invites in high demand. This avant-garde social media platform allows people to tokenize their social networks. The confluence of social interaction and blockchain technology reflects the depth of Web3’s influence, expanding beyond the traditional confines of finance to impact the way we connect and communicate.

To date, Friend.tech has over 39K unique users, over 52K transactions and have generated more fees than Bitcoin
BTC
in the past 24 hours! Shira Lazar , the Founder/CEO of the Emmy Nominated digital media brand, What’s Trending, commented on Friend.tech, “I can see this being similar to Cameo or the new app Intro in terms of paying for access to someone you love. I actually think it’s a great way to monetize your community, connections and access since centralized social media platforms can’t seem to figure it out.”

Shira Lazar (Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images for Mythical Games)

Getty Images for Mythical Games

A Profound Impact Woven into the Fabric

Recent legal wins for Coinbase and Ripple indicate that Web3 is here to stay. As Coinbase and Ripple spearhead a wave of innovation, the trajectory of the cryptocurrency space is inextricably interwoven with the evolution of mainstream financial paradigms. As regulatory ambiguity slowly erodes, the future for these technologies looks bright. The impact of Web3 isn’t just a fleeting trend. With new and valuable use cases every day, it’s a lasting revolution being woven into the fabric of how we do business, deal with money, make friends develop our digital identity and swap value is way more than a passing fad.

Web3 And Crypto Capitals: A Global Perspective

https://www.forbes.com/sites/digital-assets/2023/08/16/web3-and-crypto-capitals-a-global-perspective/

Crypto Capital

NurPhoto via Getty Images

The explosive growth of Web3 and cryptocurrencies has captured the attention of the world, with nearly half a billion people now owning some form of digital assets. As the crypto market boasts a total market cap of US$1.3 trillion – close to the market cap of Amazon
AMZN
– the landscape for these decentralized technologies is evolving rapidly, with regional hubs around the world leading the way. While strong, innovative communities of technologists exist across the globe, Web3 and crypto capitals have emerged across three major regions: Asia, the United States, and the Middle East and Africa.

Asia’s Crypto Dominance

Asia has emerged as a dominant force in the crypto landscape, with a significant concentration of crypto owners in the Asia-Pacific region. Pulling data from 10,000 crypto firms worldwide via Crunchbase, as well as using AI-assisted web searches, K33 Research found that of the 420 million people who own crypto globally, 262 million are in the Asia-Pacific region. This illustrates the global reach of crypto, as well as the degree of its penetration in the world’s most populous continent. Furthermore, according to Daniel Kim of Tiger Research, a Research and Consulting Firm focused on the Web 3 market, Asia is poised to become the epicenter of global crypto within the next five years.

With well-defined regulations, favorable tax structures, and established status as international financial hubs, Singapore and Hong Kong are well-positioned as prominent Asia crypto hubs. Among the significant players contributing to the growth of crypto in the region are Binance, OKX, and Crypto.com. Notably, OKX stands out as a leading global cryptocurrency and Web3 technology company, and ranks second in daily trading volume among crypto exchanges, while serving a diverse user base of over 50 million individuals worldwide. Hong Kong-based OKX Global Chief Commercial Officer Lennix Lai said, “The web3 and crypto spaces have tremendous innovation potential in Asia. As a global company with a strong and loyal Asia customer base, OKX is investing heavily in the region, both in terms of regulatory compliance and talent, and in the developer and creator community through its OKX Ventures investment arm.”

OKX Managing Director Lennix Lai Photographer: Anthony Kwan/Bloomberg

© 2023 Bloomberg Finance LP

Representing 60% of the world’s population, Asia is not only the largest global market, but it also boasts a young, highly-educated population with an avid appetite for rapid growth. In particular, Korea and Japan, known for their strong gaming and entertainment sectors, are set to become major hubs for Web3 projects. Furthermore, Southeast Asian nations with crypto-friendly policies are positioned to be early adopters and testing grounds for these Web3 initiatives. Consequently, any Web3 projects aiming for global reach should place a premium on strategies targeting Asian users and developers.

Crypto Scene in the United States

The United States is also no stranger to the crypto revolution, with a rich history of innovations and a thriving ecosystem. While Asia remains the dominant region in terms of the number of crypto owners, the U.S. remains a major player in the global crypto landscape, boasting 54 million crypto owners of its own. Notably, the country has seen increasing interest in the broader potential of blockchain and Web3 beyond traditional investment and trading.

Leading crypto companies in the U.S., such as Coinbase, Kraken, and Gemini, have established themselves as reliable exchanges for trading a wide range of digital assets. Meanwhile, decentralized platforms like Uniswap
UNI
and SushiSwap have revolutionized the way users exchange cryptocurrencies without relying on intermediaries.

The Growing Appetite For Crypto In The Middle East, Africa

The Middle East has demonstrated remarkable resilience amidst the global bear market, experiencing a growth rate of over 45%. This region, led by countries like Turkey, has embraced the potential of blockchain technology and its incentives. Fueling this interest are various factors, including research, education, conferences, and supportive government policies.

The United Arab Emirates, in particular, stands out with about one-third of all government applications running on blockchain, and its Central Bank successfully piloted cross-border payments with other central banks using a CBDC. Abu Dhabi has also announced such programs as Women of Web3 to bring other executives outside the UAE to showcases the power of blockchain in the UAE.

Women of Web3, sponsored by the Abu Dhabi Government and Maven Marketing.

Photographer: T. Allensworth

Africa’s Embrace of Web 3.0

Meanwhile, Africa’s embrace of Web3.0 is evident through impressive crypto adoption rates, especially in Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa. These nations rank globally in crypto usage, with Kenya at 5th (8.5% adoption), South Africa at 7th (7.1% adoption), and Nigeria at 10th (6.3% adoption) as a percentage of their populations. This substantial adoption is driven by economic realities like currency devaluation, a large unemployed youth population leveraging play-to-earn models, and the use of cryptocurrencies for remittances.

The surge in Web3 interest has led to remarkable blockchain funding growth. In these three countries, Web3 firms have secured 70% of all blockchain funding in Africa, outpacing other sectors by an astounding 11x between Q1 2021 and Q1 2022. While rapid growth is promising, regulatory concerns remain. Authorities fear losing control over monetary policy and traditional financial systems. Collaborative engagement between Web3 innovators and regulators is crucial to navigate this evolving landscape.

Given its potential in the web3 space, Unstoppable Women of Web3 and AI announced a commitment to providing Web3 education for six million women in Africa over the next 5 years. The initiative is launching in partnership with 19+ companies including the African Leadership Group, Africa Women CEOs Network, NFT Domains, Polygon Labs, Sankore 2.0, Unstoppable Domains, Uoma Beauty, and the Virtual Brand Group, along with 17 other companies.

Fred Swaniker, founder and CEO of African Leadership Group, said: “By 2035, Africa will have the largest and youngest workforce in the world and will be the primary driver of the 4th industrial revolution. Considering the burgeoning nature of the Web3 industry and the fact that women currently make up 50% of the African continent, it is incredibly important to educate and empower our women with the tools they need to succeed in this field. This partnership will champion not only diversity in Web3 but also enable Africa to continue establishing itself as a global Web3 hub.”

Fred Swaniker, CEO and Founder, African Leadership Group (Photo by Sean Zanni/Patrick McMullan via … [+] Getty Images)

Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Web3 solutions are addressing diverse challenges across Africa. They facilitate SME financing, enhance supply chain transparency, verify education credentials, and tokenize real estate. The potential of Web3 applications is significant, as reflected in the substantial funding directed towards the region. By aligning with the African Union’s digital strategy, fostering data protection harmonization, embracing blockchain security, and promoting interoperability, Africa’s Web3 journey holds immense promise. Collaborative efforts will propel the continent towards a more inclusive and prosperous digital future.

Looking Ahead: A Global Digital Economy

As the global digital economy continues to evolve, the influence of Web3 and crypto capitals will extend beyond geographical borders. Embracing these transformative technologies requires a holistic understanding of their potentials and challenges, irrespective of region. The journey towards an interconnected and decentralized future lies ahead, with each region contributing its unique expertise and perspective to shape the global landscape.

The collective efforts of these crypto capitals will steer the digital economy towards a more inclusive and innovative era, where technology empowers individuals and organizations worldwide. With Asia, the Middle East, and the United States at the forefront of this revolution, the future of Web3 and crypto looks promising, unlocking a more accessible and interconnected digital economy for all.

How PayPal’s Stablecoin Launch Could Pioneer Mainstream Web3 Adoption

https://www.forbes.com/sites/digital-assets/2023/08/09/how-paypals-stablecoin-launch-could-pioneer-mainstream-web3-adoption/

PayPal (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Getty Images

PayPal
PYPL
, a household name in the digital payments realm, has embarked on a significant foray into the world of stablecoins with the introduction of PayPal USD. This strategic move not only marks a pivotal step for PayPal but also carries implications for the broader landscape of Web3 and cryptocurrencies. At the heart of this initiative lies a dual focus: bringing mainstream users into the realm of digital assets and underscoring the crucial role of user interface and experience (UI/UX) in the Web3 ecosystem.

Navigating new horizons

In a landscape where the potential of stablecoins is still being explored, PayPal’s entry holds the promise of streamlining payments and transactions within virtual environments. This is complemented by the goal of facilitating remittances and cross-border payments, further reinforcing the use case for digital assets. The impending integration of PayPal USD into Venmo, a popular peer-to-peer payment app, adds an extra layer of accessibility, potentially exposing Paypal’s 435 million active accounts to the world of stablecoins and Web3.

Beyond the immediate implications for payments and transactions, PayPal’s move underscores a broader commitment to educating consumers and merchants about digital assets. This commitment aligns with a growing trend of industry players working closely with regulators to navigate the evolving regulatory landscape surrounding cryptocurrencies and stablecoins.

As PayPal navigates this new territory, its actions have the potential to resonate beyond its own platforms. Market experts speculate that PayPal’s venture into the stablecoin market could pave the way for other financial and technology companies to explore similar offerings. By demonstrating a proactive approach to innovation and collaboration with regulators, PayPal could set a precedent for the integration of stablecoins into mainstream financial services.

Stablecoin

getty

PayPal’s decision to launch its stablecoin comes in response to the growing shift toward digital currencies and the need for a reliable bridge between traditional fiat and the emerging realm of Web3. The company’s ethos of responsible innovation and compliance serves as a foundation for its foray into digital payments through PayPal USD. This move is indicative of PayPal’s confidence in the trajectory of stablecoin legislation, signaling that it views this space as a dynamic and evolving segment of the financial landscape.

As such, the stablecoin also serves as a vital gateway to the broader web3 ecosystem, enabling everyday users to enter the emerging ecosystem. Purchasing stablecoin assets can be a complicated process, providing a high barrier to entry for the average user. However, the widespread familiarity with PayPal presents an opportunity. By delivering a streamlined and user-friendly experience, individuals who might have hesitated to embrace Web3 will now be able to uncover the advantages presented by this new digital frontier.​​

Web3 has a user experience problem that many are working

Despite Paypal’s foray promising to enhance the UX/UI of digital payments, there’s still the issue of the lackluster and convoluted experience on show throughout the rest of the sector. Fortunately , there are several examples of companies trying to change this narrative and Web3 ecosystem to enhance user experience and accessibility.

Notable examples include my own company, Unstoppable Domains, a pioneering player in the Web3 space that focuses on simplifying the often complex and intimidating process of cryptocurrency transactions by replacing lengthy hexadecimal wallet addresses with human-readable domain names. This innovative approach not only reduces the likelihood of user errors but also contributes to a more intuitive and user-friendly interaction with digital assets.

Another example is Magic
MAGIC
, a software development kit (SDK) developer, which simplifies web3 wallet creation and onboarding by enabling the creation and authentication of a wallet through an email address. Additionally, Magic removes the need for seed phrases, eliminating a contentious point of failure in the web3 space. The firm also offers SDKs, allowing decentralized apps (dapps) to create their own, simplified onboarding solution.

Founder, Polygon Labs, Sandeep Nailwal (Photographer: Chet Strange/Bloomberg)

© 2022 Bloomberg Finance LP

There’s also Polygon
MATIC
ID, an identity solution that uses zero-knowledge proofs to interact with smart contracts and is based on Verifiable Credential documents issued off-chain. This enables users to interact with Web3 services in a decentralized and privacy-centric way while remaining in full control of their data.

Shaping the future

In the context of the larger Web3 narrative, PayPal’s stablecoin launch highlights the intersection of traditional finance and the decentralized digital landscape. As a globally recognized player, PayPal’s involvement in stablecoins serves as a testament to the transformative power of blockchain technology and its ability to reshape traditional financial paradigms.

PayPal’s entry into the stablecoin space is a significant milestone that not only underscores the company’s commitment to digital innovation but also has the potential to influence the trajectory of stablecoins and their adoption within the broader Web3 ecosystem. With an emphasis on usability and accessibility, PayPal’s stablecoin initiative, coupled with innovative solutions like Unstoppable Domains, could catalyze a wave of interest and adoption, bringing the benefits of digital assets to a wider audience while contributing to the ongoing evolution of the financial landscape.

Technologists Are The New Superheroes On Corporate Boards In The Age Of AI, Blockchain And CyberSecurity

https://www.forbes.com/sites/digital-assets/2023/08/04/technologists-are-the-new-superheroes-on-corporate-boards-in-the-age-of-ai-blockchain-and-cybersecurity/

Age of AI, Cybersecurity and Blockchain

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In the digital age, technological innovations have become a cornerstone of business operations, and companies are increasingly relying on advanced digital strategies to stay competitive. As tech-driven disruptions and cyber threats reshape industries at an unprecedented pace, the need for technical expertise on corporate boards has never been more pronounced. Meanwhile, with artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, and digital identity technologies emerging as transformative forces, the importance of technologists on boards becomes paramount in navigating the ever-changing technological landscape effectively.

A 2022 survey by Heidrick and Struggles revealed promising trends, with an increase in cybersecurity expertise and relevant digital experience among new board members in F500 companies. Cybersecurity expertise among new board members rose to 17%, up from a mere 8% in the previous year, while 41% had digital or social media experience. However, this positive shift leaves many boards still lacking critical technical skills to address the rapid evolution of AI, blockchain, and digital identity technologies.

The Challenges of Advancing Technology

The speed at which technology is advancing poses challenges for companies across all sectors. AI, with its potential to revolutionize decision-making and automate processes, requires expert guidance to ensure ethical and responsible integration. Blockchain, the driving force behind decentralized finance and secure data management, demands a deep understanding of its intricacies to leverage its full potential. Moreover, digital identity technologies raise complex questions about data privacy and security, necessitating informed decision-making to protect both businesses and their customers.

With the Blockchain and AI Market projected to grow to USD 980.70 Million by 2030, at a CAGR of 24.06% , the opportunity is too big to be missed. Without a board that understands the benefits and risks of the new technologies, a company can be left behind. The indispensable value of technologists on boards has never been more apparent, especially with Generative AI dominating numerous discussions today.

Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ)

getty

Many companies are actively experimenting with Generative AI’s application throughout the entire development lifecycle, encompassing analysis, design, development, testing, and deployment. Jeff Smith, Board Member for ANZ and Sonrai Security, emphasizes the new realities that today’s boards face, stating, “As the digital realm converges with cybersecurity, digital transformation, AI, and global perspectives, boards must cultivate a profound understanding of these technologies to successfully navigate the dynamic digital landscape worldwide.” Embracing the expertise of technologists on boards becomes paramount as businesses strive to remain competitive and adaptive in this rapidly changing technological landscape.

In addition, cybersecurity experience is important but lacking. A February 2023 piece by Forbes noted, “Only 51% of Fortune 100 companies have a director on their boards with relevant cybersecurity experience. There is a total shortage of 2,724 directors with cybersecurity expertise across all Russell 3000 companies.”

As the Web3 industry grows, the needs for cybersecurity and Web3 expertise intersect. While Web3 brings a host of opportunities, it also brings unique security risks and new points of attack.

Sanjay Poonen, chief executive officer of Cohesity Inc

© 2022 Bloomberg Finance LP

Cohesity CEO & President, as well as Board Member of Philips
PHG
and Snyk, Sanjay Poonen commented on the need for more cybersecurity skills on boards, noting that “In our increasingly digital environment, it has become crucial for leaders to be tech-savvy if they want to keep up with the lightning-fast evolution of technology. These skills are invaluable not only to IT engineers but also to people who are responsible for coming up with global strategies that companies employ — which must always take cybersecurity and cyber resilience into account.”

The Examples: Salvation Army, World Wildlife Fund, Zoom, And Altair

In today’s ever-evolving digital landscape, the need for technologists on corporate boards has never been more evident. Telecom4Good sheds light on alarming instances of cyberattacks targeting prominent organizations like the Salvation Army and the World Wildlife Fund.

To fortify defenses, these boards must leverage the expertise of technologists who can advise on crucial measures for cybersecurity. A modern board agenda needs to ensure organizations remain protected against cyberattacks. For example, Zoom, with dedicated cybersecurity committees led by seasoned technologists, demonstrates the immense value of having technologists guide the strategic direction.

Altair Engineering logo (Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Altair, a computational science company with deep expertise in AI, digital twins, simulation, and high-performance computing for which I am a board member, has also seen the value of technologists on its board. Altair is among the top IPO success stories of the past 10 years. Altair’s CEO, Jim Scapa, has always prioritized having strong technologists on his board. “Long gone are the times when ‘business people’ and ‘technical people’ lived in their own different worlds,” he noted. “Today, technology is not just an element of a business for many companies — it ‘is’ the business. As these boundaries increasingly evaporate, the role and importance of visionary technologists on company boards grows proportionally.”

The SEC Proposed Change

The proposed SEC rule change on Cybersecurity Risk Management, Strategy, Governance, and Incident Disclosure by Public Companies further emphasizes the need for technologists on boards. The amendments seek to enhance and standardize cybersecurity disclosures, requiring public companies to have board members with cybersecurity expertise. This forward-thinking approach acknowledges the necessity of adapting to the fast-paced technology landscape to safeguard businesses and investors alike.

Private companies are expected to follow suit by adopting leading practices and incorporating technologists on their boards. As AI, blockchain, and digital identity technologies become ever more pervasive, private companies must ensure they are prepared to tackle cyber threats and technology failures while leveraging emerging opportunities.

Technologists on the Board

To recruit a board-level technologist effectively, a board should consider engaging a recruiter who comprehends the nexus between governance, leadership, and adding diverse skills. Before starting the recruitment process, the board must review its skill set matrix, encompassing functional roles, technical expertise, industry knowledge, and geographic diversity, to identify any gaps and align with short- and long-term strategies.

The three key things to look to supplement corporate boards or to be ready for that board position are:

1. Strengthening Alignment of Tech Investments with Strategic Priorities: The board plays a pivotal role in ensuring that technology investments and deployment align closely with the company’s long-term strategic priorities. By proactively evaluating tech initiatives and their direct contribution to the overall business objectives, the board can foster a culture of informed decision-making, mitigating risks, and capitalizing on opportunities for continuous improvement and growth. Regular discussions on technology strategy and its alignment with the company’s vision will empower the board to lead the organization confidently into a tech-enabled future.

2. Engaging the Entire Board in Technology Discussions: Evaluate how and when technology is discussed at the board level. Consider if technology discussions primarily occur within committees and ensure the full board actively engages in these conversations to make informed decisions.

3. Enhancing Technology Expertise: Assess the level of technology experience on the board. The board should prioritize enhancing technology expertise to navigate the next generation of the internet, including AI, Generative AI, Blockchain, and web3, and proactively address cybersecurity requirements by recruiting directors with a deep understanding of cybersecurity measures and emerging cyber risks. By embracing these strategic imperatives, the board can confidently lead the organization into a tech-enabled future while safeguarding against evolving cyber threats.

Many of the board members I’ve interviewed emphasized the importance of recruiting candidates with diverse global experience. In today’s interconnected world, innovation is happening everywhere, and leaders with a global mindset possess the ability to identify and seize opportunities across borders. Their broad perspective and understanding of diverse markets and cultures can be a valuable asset in navigating the complexities of the global business landscape. By incorporating individuals with extensive global experience, boards can effectively foster innovation, drive growth, and ensure a successful and sustainable future for their organizations.

Leadership Elevated. Board resource for coaching, education and recruitment.

Leadership Elevated

Rochelle Campbell, CEO of Leadership Elevated, a board recruitment and governance consultancy, emphasizes the power of a technologist on the board. Aspiring technologists seeking board seats should focus on showcasing the breadth and depth of their technical expertise while also elevating the conversation to demonstrate knowledge and strategy across an organization. They need to overcome stereotypes and drive positive outcomes in the boardroom.

“Finding a new board member with sufficient technical expertise requires a comprehensive approach,” she explained. “Essentially, candidates must have an understanding of both your organizational technical needs and the ability to fulfill their fiduciary duties through oversight of organizational strategy in a global economy. As such, companies should focus on finding a candidate who both understands the ‘under-the-hood’ specifics and can also offer the oversight to help lead boards through this transformational time.”

Technologists Are Essential

In an era of perpetual technological change, the role of technologists on boards becomes non-negotiable. Technological advancements are not only influencing strategy but also reshaping entire industries. Having board members with a deep understanding of AI, blockchain, and digital identity ensures companies remain agile, innovative, and prepared to harness the full potential of evolving technologies. As the digital landscape continues to evolve, the presence of technologists on boards becomes a strategic necessity for safeguarding businesses and driving success amidst rapid technological disruption.