Tag Archive | "Ground"

Designed From the Ground Up To Be a Great Medium Of Exchange, Says Facebook Calibra Head

Facebook announced today a new digital wallet for a new digital currency. It is currently in a test phase and will launch live in 2020. Here is how Facebook explains the launch in its announcement release:

“Today we’re sharing plans for Calibra, a newly formed Facebook subsidiary whose goal is to provide financial services that will let people access and participate in the Libra network. The first product Calibra will introduce is a digital wallet for Libra, a new global currency powered by blockchain technology. The wallet will be available in Messenger, WhatsApp and as a standalone app — and we expect to launch in 2020.”

“From the beginning, Calibra will let you send Libra to almost anyone with a smartphone, as easily and instantly as you might send a text message and at low to no cost. And, in time, we hope to offer additional services for people and businesses, like paying bills with the push of a button, buying a cup of coffee with the scan of a code or riding your local public transit without needing to carry cash or a metro pass.”

A sneak peek at what the experience of using Calibra will be like.

David Marcus, head of Facebook’s Calibra, discusses the details of Facebook’s entry into cryptocurrency in an interview on CNBC:

This Is Designed From the Ground Up To Be a Great Medium Of Exchange

If you want to compare Libra with traditional cryptocurrencies the first big difference is that typically they are investment vehicles or investment assets rather than being great mediums of exchange. This is really designed from the ground up to be a great medium of exchange. Libra is a very high-quality form of digital money that you can use for everyday payments and cross-border payments, microtransactions and all kinds of different things.

There are a lot of issues that need to be solved. If you were to get out of the studio right now and ask anyone to send ten dollars on their mobile phones to Canada, they probably wouldn’t know where to start. This is 30 years after the web was invented and mobile broadband is available to so many people. We felt that it was time to try something new and this is the beginning of a long journey to launching this new network in this new digital currency.

Moving money around the world with Libra should be as easy and cheap as sending a text message.

When You Can Move More Value Around Profound Changes Might Happen

We are privileged. We live in a country that has a very stable currency and has very trusted institutions, easy ways to pay each other on mobile devices. That’s actually not the case for many people around the world. Definitely, cross-border payments are still very hard and very expensive. They cost an average of seven percent to send across one border. They sometimes take three or four days to clear. It is a very cumbersome and expensive process for many people around the world. If you think about it from a use case, cross-border payments are definitely going to be a primary use case.

But when you think about the effect that having an internet of value exists, or protocol for money on top of the existing internet, and all of the things that can be built on top of a low-cost system. Microtransactions are things that we’ve been talking about for decades and haven’t materialized because the amounts we are trying to transact are actually lower than the transaction fees. When all of these things change and you can move value around the Internet in a really easy way I think profound changes might happen.

Read the Libra White Paper

There’s Never Been a Better Moment For Us To Do This

I have a slightly contrarian view on this (trust). I don’t think there’s ever been a better moment for us to do this because of the way we’re doing it. We’re actually going to launch this new blockchain at some point next year. We’ve launched a test net today that people can start experimenting with. This new blockchain is actually going to be decentralized and run by the members of an association.

We’re just going to be one among many to govern over this new network and currency. When you look at how much effort we’ve put to limit our influence and limit our control over this network I think it’s a new way of operating. We don’t have control over the network and we don’t have control over the currency. What we have control over is going to be the wallets that are going to operate within Facebook and on top of the network.

We Aren’t Going To Be the Defacto Wallet

We aren’t going to be the defacto wallet. There will be plenty of competition. To earn people’s trust we are going to have to make strong commitments notably on privacy, ensuring that financial data and social data never get commingled and really earn people’s trust over very long periods of time. There are going to be a number of wallets that are going to compete with us on the network we helped create.

Designed From the Ground Up To Be a Great Medium Of Exchange, Says Facebook Calibra Head David Marcus

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DeepMind’s AlphaGo Zero Breaks New Ground in Artificial Intelligence

Movies always portray Artificial Intelligence as an almost omniscient presence. While Siri and Cortana have shown that today’s AI is far from being all-knowing, DeepMind’s newest software has the capacity to change that.

DeepMind, Google’s AI division, broke new ground when its software, AlphaGo, mastered the Chinese game of Go and defeated game masters Lee Se-dol and Ke Jie. Now the company has unveiled AlphaGo Zero, a new and improved version of the software.

What sets AlphaGo Zero apart from its predecessor is the fact that its knowledge of Go is self-taught. AlphaGo had to utilize a dataset of around 100,000 games of Go as a jump-off point of its knowledge. But AlphaGo Zero was just programmed with Go’s basic rules, meaning the software learned on its own.

Zero honed its Go knowledge by playing against itself and would update its system every time. After three days of this, the program handily defeated the original AlphaGo 100 games to zero. Forty days after, Zero already had a 90% win rate against AlphaGo’s most advanced iteration.

AlphaGo Zero’s lead programmer, David Silver, explained at a press conference that by taking out the human equation, they’ve basically “removed the constraints of human knowledge.” It also proved that the software could develop its own knowledge based on basic principles. Silver further added that as Zero played against itself, it rediscovered old Go strategies, learned from it and came up with new patterns and move variations.

AlphaGo Zero does have distinct advantages over the original program. For one, it requires less computing power as it runs on just four TPUs, Google’s special AI processors, while AlphaGo used 48. This meant Zero’s system was more flexible and easily improved. Having the capability to learn on its own and use reinforcement learning also showed that AI doesn’t need to depend on reams of data, just cutting-edge algorithms.

Image result for deepmind alphago gif

AlphaGo Zero’s success also opens the door for these algorithms to be used for new applications. Demis Hassabis, DeepMind’s co-founder, said their software can be likened to a thinking engine for research. Since Zero was not specifically programmed to learn and understand Go, it could be reprogrammed to learn about other fields, like drug discovery and development, material design, particle physics and protein folding.

As a matter of fact, AlphaGo Zero is presently being used to discover how proteins fold. If it’s successful, it can hasten the discovery of new medicines that could save a lot of lives.

[Featured Image via YouTube]

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