Unlocking the new digital economy: The Internet of Blockchain & Evolution of Digital Assets

Over the recent years, blockchain has evolved and entered different markets beyond digital currency. Blockchain technology is now understood as an enabler for faster, more secure and efficient systems. Its uses are indeed so varied that blockchain can be deployed to power the next generation of the Internet: the decentralised web, or web 3.0.

The current architecture of ‘web 2.0’ is user-friendly and familiar. However, as most internet users are now starting to realise, this system has come at a cost: centralised control over data. At the moment, companies like Google and Facebook ̶ the so-called ‘Big Tech’ ̶ act as central databases for an enormous amount of user information.

However, the recurring stories of privacy and data abuse have shown the need to create a new internet structure: an environment in which users have control over their information. In comes blockchain: Web 3.0, powered by blockchain technology, will be decentralised and therefore user-centric, with the potential to break the influence that large and private corporations currently hold over the digital environment and the information contained within.

In the new episode of #FinancialFox Crypto Show, Crypto PR Guru Stefania Barbaglio was joined by a panel of three experts working on innovative projects based on blockchain and other disruptive technologies. They discussed the internet of blockchain and recent developments of digital assets. The panel included Josiah Spackman, Chief Fun Officer of DigiByte, who has been central to DGB’s project development and awareness. With over 9 million blocks and a reduced transaction time of under 15 seconds, DigiByte is one of the longest, secure UTXO blockchains available in crypto. The second guest was Jean Paul Beaudet, the tech guru and the brains behind the Canadian blockchain developer Zeu Crypto Networks, a tech company working on the next generation of blockchain. The third guest, Emal Safi, is the CEO of Aircoins, the largest Augmented Reality (AR) Crypto platform in the world.

Web 3.0: The Internet of Blockchain

“There are a lot more things we can do with blockchains that just payments. This is just one of the many uses of blockchain,” said Josiah about the possibility of a decentralised internet. Blockchain is a dynamic and scalable technology; once applied to the structure of the web, it is poised to turn it into a decentralised platform, challenging the role of the big tech companies.

Building on blockchain, Internet 3.0 would not require centralised servers to store information, as it is structured in a peer-to-peer network of nodes. On this network, data is then distributed across the participant nodes. This is a more efficient architecture because it offers better verification processes and it is less susceptible to corruption on corporate and regulatory levels.

At the moment, projects are being developed and discussions are taking place, but the internet of blockchain is yet to become a reality. As much as this new phase of the internet is a real possibility, it is still in its development stage, so it is necessary to create connectors that will allow different blockchain protocols to interact and work together, Jean Paul from ZeU Networks points out: “Blockchain is indeed a revolutionary technology, and the distributed ledger internet is on its way but it still needs a big industry solution to connect the old world and the new world.”

One major concern affecting the widespread adoption of blockchains is limited privacy: although blockchain provides pseudo anonymisations by analysing the transaction graph and related other information, it is often possible to link users to transactions. Once one transaction is linked to a user, all of that user’s transactions become known. Since blockchain transaction data is public or shared across a larger group, in the case of permissioned-blockchain, blockchain is riskier than using a credit card in terms of privacy. This could be a factor preventing mass adoption. Digibyte has solved this issue by inventing the Dandelion feature, which aids in obfuscating the sender’s IP address in the DigiByte blockchain. Launched in May, the Dandelion made DigiByte the first major UTXO blockchain to implement such a privacy-enhancement tool.

Enhancing operability of blockchain

Jean Paul, from ZeU Crypto Networks, highlighted the limitations of current blockchain technology, such as scalability and interoperability. Most of the current forms of blockchains face problems of scalability and interoperability due to the mechanism of the distributed ledger technology, which means that processes are lengthier than they should be and different ecosystems may experience problems working together.

ZeU has been working on solutions to this and has released a blockchain patent that paves the way for the next generation of blockchain technology. The company filed a patent for a decentralised transactional communication protocol, which promises to be a breakthrough in the decentralised ledger technology. The New Internet Communication Protocol will enable a smoother transition of legacy systems into the distributed digital economy, or Web 3.0.

The new protocol announced by ZeU marks the chapter of a new era in the distributed ledger technology (DLT) as it aims at total decentralisation and smart contract use cases. Developed by ZeU, the Decentralised Transactional Communication Protocol (DTCP) is a grassroots alternative to tackle DLT-based industry problems such as interoperability and scalability. It enables any number of participants to communicate in a transactional way. Blockchain applications are complex and difficult to understand for developers, so ZeU offers a modular framework for dapps to be built on the ZeU blockchain in an easy and efficient manner as the the new protocol DTCP helps with the interoperability.

“DTCP is a tokenless and blockless scalable economic model to enable the legacy system to offer a smooth transition into the new distributed digital economy,” says Jean Paul Beaudet.

The evolution of digital assets

The speakers also discussed the growing role of digital assets and the integration of new technologies into blockchain platform to create improved experiences.

In this respect, Aircoins has been a major force in combining augmented reality with cryptocurrency. It recently partnered with cryptocurrency Dash to distribute the coin in various parts of the world via their Augmented Reality app. This innovative model opens up new engagement forms and improves user experience.

Talking about Aircoins, CEO Emal talked about augmented reality (AR), an increasingly present technology. The Aircoins App is a modern-day treasure hunt that uses 3D and AR/VR technology to ‘capture’ cryptocurrencies with one’s mobile phone. With the app, users can hunt, collect and send cryptocurrencies to one another.

Aircoins’ aim is to bring more people into the cryptocurrency world, and they decided to do so by engaging with the audience in a fun and interactive manner: “There are different ways to work with digital assets and cryptocurrencies. We are doing it with rewards points in augmented reality. AR brings a new memorable, visual experience,” said Emal.

There are plenty of digital channels an organisation can use to reach more people, and digital assets can improve user experience. Josiah gives the example of producing content online and rewarding users with digital assets as a way of interacting with online communities.

Emal highlights the potential in the gaming sector of looking at the value of digital and crypto assets. Gamers are essentially very tech-savvy and are used to handling tokens and virtual money: “Gamers are very inclined towards how the new economy is working,” Emal said. The gaming industry is growing at a fast pace: in 2018, it generated nearly $135 billion in revenue. This value can be unlocked with the use of digital assets, revealing the potential value digital assets could bring to businesses, services and users.

In terms of about the importance of digital assets, the panel noted that increasingly, blockchain technology is playing a role in the tracking and recording of ownership of physical real-world assets, such as documents, contracts, precious objects, and even real estate, effectively digitising them as well. Since blockchains are tamper-resistant, making it impossible to meddle with a record once it’s been broadcast to the network, blockchain is a highly efficient system for proving ownership and authenticity. Blockchain can remove the middlemen and the potential for data tampering at any stage. This means it can also remove any doubt over the authenticity of ownership. Blockchains can be the perfect means for tracking ownership of just about anything from luxury goods to private equity.

Watch the full interview to learn more about internet of blockchains and digital assets, and hear about these innovative projects

Fashion companies focused on Supply Chain Transparency and Blockchain

Transparency is a pressing issue in the fashion industry today. As a solution to this hot topic, blockchain in the fashion industry is being increasingly used to not only increase intellectual property protection for designers and companies but also to rapidly trace the entire journey of the finished product as it travels through the distribution chain right from the initial raw material stage up until it reaches the consumer, thereby giving rise to greater clarity about its origins for both brands and consumers alike. Companies are thus steadily working towards ensuring greater visibility and transparency of the workers in supply chains, the business relationships therein and publicly communicating about the initiatives they are taking to ensure sustainability across the supply chain.

In 2019, 200 fashion brands and retailers took part in the Fashion Transparency Index study which showed that sportwear and outdoor brands were leading the way on the transparency front. The 5 brands who scored the highest on their supply chain transparency are Adidas, Reebok, Patagonia, each scoring 64%, Esprit with 62%, and fast-fashion clothing chain H&M scoring 61%.

As of 2019, only 10 brands are disclosing information regarding where and who are they getting their supply of raw materials like viscose, wool, etc. The brands are:

ASOS

C&A

Esprit

Lululemon

Marks & Spencer

Patagonia

The North Face (VF Corporation)

Timberland (VF Corporation)

Vans (VF Corporation)

Wrangler (VF Corporation)

Brands who have shown the highest improvement since 2018 in their level of disclosure of supplier lists overall to the public are Dior (up by 22%), Sainsbury’s Tu Clothing (up by 21%), Nike (up by 21%), New Balance (up by 18%), and Marc Jacobs (up by 17%).

This statistic shows the willingness of consumers to buy sustainable fashion worldwide in 2018. In 2018, 60 percent of respondents stated that they would buy sustainable fashion if it were the same price as normal fashion.

A blockchain software company named Provenance collaborated with London-based designer Martine Jarlgaard to produce, using blockchain technology, the world’s first tracked garment. Consumers in store, after scanning the label on the clothing items, could witness the history of the product and be certain about the sustainability of the raw material sources.

Courtesy : KPMG

Luxury brands, for example LVMH which is the world’s largest luxury conglomerate, are also embracing this technology to track luxury goods and prove their authenticity. Louis Vuitton and Parfums Christian Dior are the first two brands to go on board with LVMH’s blockchain platform called ‘Aura.’

Courtesy : Louis Vuitton

In the highly competitive luxury fashion sphere, the main role of blockchain is to help brands and retailers connect with each other who wouldn’t otherwise disclose information to their rivals.

In the diamond industry too, brands like De Beers and small start-ups like Taylor & Hart are making use of blockchain ‘to help trace their supply chains from mine to shop floor.’ While De Beers developed Tracr, an open-source blockchain platform by collaborating with five other diamond manufacturers, Taylor & Hart united with blockchain start-up Everledger to validate the provenance of its diamonds.

Also, built upon blockchain technology in the form of a peer-to-peer ecosystem is Fashion Coin, which is designed in such a way that allows a consumer to directly get in touch with any member involved in the garment creation process like the designer, model, stylist, etc. and be a part of the journey and invest in the early stages of product designing, while being incentivized via a specially built token.

As a defense to fakery, e-commerce giant Alibaba as well is developing a blockchain application which allows buyers to trace the journey of the product from the factory to their front door by scanning it, thus knowing if it is an original piece or not. Similarly, very recently the payments giant, Mastercard, announced about its new blockchain-based product tracking solution which, it says, would ‘provide a clear record of traceability’ as it is ‘designed to contribute to consumer confidence and trust by creating awareness of the authenticity of the product.’

The impact that blockchain is set to have on the fashion industry is huge but for that to materialize, considerable investment is required to construct the systems to support it. The real-time access to streamlined product information that blockchain technology provides will inevitably enable retailers to scrutinize stock status as well as customer feedback. Eventually, because of the surge in the blockchain-based platforms, deals struck with middlemen can be expected to slowly come to a halt as there will be more transparent communication between manufacturers, brands and the consumers.

As technologies are becoming more and more advanced and data privacy issues becoming a sensational topic, growing concerns about the revelations of personal data and its subsequent use for marketing purposes, are but rampant. Thus, secure and guarded technology platforms should be built and consumers should be given extensive insights into the workings of blockchain to ensure its success in the future.

For more such engaging content, please follow us on Twitter @Cassiopeia_ltd @_FinancialFox and subscribe to our YouTube channel: Cassiopeia Services PLC

Fashion companies focused on Supply Chain Transparency and Blockchain

Transparency is a pressing issue in the fashion industry today. As a solution to this hot topic, blockchain in the fashion industry is being increasingly used to not only increase intellectual property protection for designers and companies but also to rapidly trace the entire journey of the finished product as it travels through the distribution chain right from the initial raw material stage up until it reaches the consumer, thereby giving rise to greater clarity about its origins for both brands and consumers alike. Companies are thus steadily working towards ensuring greater visibility and transparency of the workers in supply chains, the business relationships therein and publicly communicating about the initiatives they are taking to ensure sustainability across the supply chain.

In 2019, 200 fashion brands and retailers took part in the Fashion Transparency Index study which showed that sportwear and outdoor brands were leading the way on the transparency front. The 5 brands who scored the highest on their supply chain transparency are Adidas, Reebok, Patagonia, each scoring 64%, Esprit with 62%, and fast-fashion clothing chain H&M scoring 61%.

As of 2019, only 10 brands are disclosing information regarding where and who are they getting their supply of raw materials like viscose, wool, etc. The brands are:

ASOS

C&A

Esprit

Lululemon

Marks & Spencer

Patagonia

The North Face (VF Corporation)

Timberland (VF Corporation)

Vans (VF Corporation)

Wrangler (VF Corporation)

Brands who have shown the highest improvement since 2018 in their level of disclosure of supplier lists overall to the public are Dior (up by 22%), Sainsbury’s Tu Clothing (up by 21%), Nike (up by 21%), New Balance (up by 18%), and Marc Jacobs (up by 17%).

This statistic shows the willingness of consumers to buy sustainable fashion worldwide in 2018. In 2018, 60 percent of respondents stated that they would buy sustainable fashion if it were the same price as normal fashion.

A blockchain software company named Provenance collaborated with London-based designer Martine Jarlgaard to produce, using blockchain technology, the world’s first tracked garment. Consumers in store, after scanning the label on the clothing items, could witness the history of the product and be certain about the sustainability of the raw material sources.

Courtesy : KPMG

Luxury brands, for example LVMH which is the world’s largest luxury conglomerate, are also embracing this technology to track luxury goods and prove their authenticity. Louis Vuitton and Parfums Christian Dior are the first two brands to go on board with LVMH’s blockchain platform called ‘Aura.’

Courtesy : Louis Vuitton

In the highly competitive luxury fashion sphere, the main role of blockchain is to help brands and retailers connect with each other who wouldn’t otherwise disclose information to their rivals.

In the diamond industry too, brands like De Beers and small start-ups like Taylor & Hart are making use of blockchain ‘to help trace their supply chains from mine to shop floor.’ While De Beers developed Tracr, an open-source blockchain platform by collaborating with five other diamond manufacturers, Taylor & Hart united with blockchain start-up Everledger to validate the provenance of its diamonds.

Also, built upon blockchain technology in the form of a peer-to-peer ecosystem is Fashion Coin, which is designed in such a way that allows a consumer to directly get in touch with any member involved in the garment creation process like the designer, model, stylist, etc. and be a part of the journey and invest in the early stages of product designing, while being incentivized via a specially built token.

As a defense to fakery, e-commerce giant Alibaba as well is developing a blockchain application which allows buyers to trace the journey of the product from the factory to their front door by scanning it, thus knowing if it is an original piece or not. Similarly, very recently the payments giant, Mastercard, announced about its new blockchain-based product tracking solution which, it says, would ‘provide a clear record of traceability’ as it is ‘designed to contribute to consumer confidence and trust by creating awareness of the authenticity of the product.’

The impact that blockchain is set to have on the fashion industry is huge but for that to materialize, considerable investment is required to construct the systems to support it. The real-time access to streamlined product information that blockchain technology provides will inevitably enable retailers to scrutinize stock status as well as customer feedback. Eventually, because of the surge in the blockchain-based platforms, deals struck with middlemen can be expected to slowly come to a halt as there will be more transparent communication between manufacturers, brands and the consumers.

As technologies are becoming more and more advanced and data privacy issues becoming a sensational topic, growing concerns about the revelations of personal data and its subsequent use for marketing purposes, are but rampant. Thus, secure and guarded technology platforms should be built and consumers should be given extensive insights into the workings of blockchain to ensure its success in the future.

For more such engaging content, please follow us on Twitter @Cassiopeia_ltd @_FinancialFox and subscribe to our YouTube channel: Cassiopeia Services PLC

Life as a cyborg: Discovering a new reality with artificial senses

Technology is an all-pervasive phenomenon in today’s modern world, and we, as a society, are under its clutches. Since the late 1970s, continuous efforts are being made to come up with innovations in the field of technology that can aid in human functioning. Terms like machine learning and artificial intelligence have become the key jargon of contemporary times, having a huge influence on social evolution and challenge our imagination with ideas that once seemed impossible. One such phenomenon is cyborg art or cyborgism, which has become a reality among us.

The origin of the term ‘cyborg’, which is a shortened version of ‘cybernetic organism’, can be traced back to 1960 when Manfred Clynes and Nathan S Kline coined it. It denotes any organism having body parts that are both organic and biomechatronic. The cyborg art movement is one where the artists express themselves through the creation of new senses or extending their senses beyond the human physical boundaries by merging cybernetics with their own organism. By virtue of this artwork taking place inside the body of the cyborg artist, they are the only audience of their art.

The exponential growth of technologies integrated into human bodies is evident when just last month the technological mastermind, Elon Musk, disclosed the first details of an electronic brain implant developed by his company Neuralink, ‘to facilitate direct communications between people and machines.’

To get more insight into this subject, on the latest Cyborg Special episode on Financial Fox, host & presenter Stefania Barbaglio engages in a conversation with Barcelona based perceptual artist, Manel Muñoz, who is best known for developing and installing in his own body a cybernetic sensory organ that allows him to perceive the atmospheric changes from his surroundings. Manel Munoz talks about what inspired him to become a cyborg and an unusual way of feeling things around you and perceiving reality.

Muñoz explains how the process of understanding the relationship between the inputs received from the barometric organ and the actual weather conditions needs continuous learning over time, and for that reason, he calls these acquired senses as ‘artificial senses.’

Artificial senses are quite different than artificial intelligence, but they share the root of in-building technology into a process that is primarily human. The Neil Harbisson and Moon Ribas led Cyborg Foundation created in 2010 clarifies the difference between Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Artificial Senses (AS) in a simpler way, saying that the artificial senses happen when technology gathers the stimuli but the human creates the intelligence- as opposed to Artificial Intelligence where the machine itself creates the intelligence.

Cyborg Munoz says he can feel changes in the weather because of his artificial senses: ‘If the organ was giving me the weather forecast, this would be artificial intelligence, because I don’t need to think about what the forecast will be. But, in my case, I am using or I am having artificial sense because this is giving me like a new input that, maybe with experience, I will learn how the atmospheric pressure works and I will be able to learn and predict the weather,’

Harbisson and Ribas further explain how by designing new senses, our experience of reality becomes much deeper as it is through our senses itself that we perceive the world. That is why the Cyborg Foundation aims for Revealed Reality, and not Virtual Reality or Augmented Reality.

Unlike virtual reality, where things and scenarios are a projection and represent an unreal situation, revealed reality encompasses the perception of new dimensions and flows of energy that co-exist in our reality.

Thus, what the cybernetic organs and senses do is they help the cyborg artists in grasping an already existent reality around humans that is otherwise not possible to perceive because of the limitations of the biological body.

Applying this to his own case, Muñoz explains, ‘I am not inventing this atmospheric pressure around me. That already exists around me. But before having this new organ, I wasn’t able to perceive it in this way. So, I am just augmenting the boundaries of my body to be able to perceive more things that are already happening me. I am just reviewing my reality through this organ. Over time, I will be able to better interpret the inputs from my organs and ultimately fully develop a new sense. It is a learning progress also for me. Technology is helping me, it is not giving me answers.’

With technology growing through such massive leaps and bounds, and human beings getting increasingly attached to the idea of connecting everything to the internet, we can only sit back and wait to see what more the future has in store for us.

Follow us on @Cassiopeia_ltd and @_FinancialFox for more intriguing interviews. Stay tuned!

Malta AI and Blockchain Summit: Connecting passionate innovators with cutting edge technology

Among the thousands of conferences and gatherings happening in the blockchain space, it can be a difficult task to find the right place to be for you to be. The Malta AI & Blockchain Summit (AIBC) is the place for those looking for the best connections and the great opportunities to learn about the latest developments of innovative technologies.

Considered one of the flagship Blockchain events, the Malta AI and Blockchain Summit brings together the most important names in the industry and showcases the state-of-the-art technology. The Summit is a bi-annual expo, covering topics relating to the global sectors for Blockchain, AI, Big Data, IoT, and Quantum technologies.

The third edition is to take place on 7th and 8th of November in St. Julian’s, Malta and is expected to have more than 10,000 global attendees, a great leap from its first edition in November 2018 which counted with 8,000 guests.

Some of the previous high profile and key note speakers include AI VIP Sophia the Robot, the world’s first robot citizen and John McAfee, the famous British-American computer programmer and businessman.

With the dynamism of the new technologies and innovations coming into play, the Malta AIBC summit promises to deliver on the ideals of blockchain, AI, quantum technology, big data and the internet of things. It creates an ideal environment and the perfect opportunity for investors, innovators and aspiring leaders to come together and help empower people.

In addition to the Spring and Winter main events, the Malta AIBC also offers opportunities through a number of global satellite events and networking gatherings, as well as producing a bi-annual publication and news site with in-depth interviews and related content, bringing brand exposure and visibility to companies and an educational peg for enthusiasts and new comers to the industry.

Malta has become the hub for innovation in Europe, earning the reputation of ‘the Blockchain Island’. The Maltese government is very forward thinking and keen on promoting technology developments on national level to spur economic growth. The authorities are deeply involved in the making and presenting of the summit and they use the summit’s international attention to showcase their blockchain-friendly regulations, as seen with the three new government bills introduced by Malta’s prime minister and Secretary for Financial Services at the 2018 Summit.

More than attracting foreign investment and human capital, the summit serves as a platform for the Maltese government to renew its commitment to the future of the technology sector in Malta, possibly with the announcement of further regulations on the matter. The purpose is to grab a slice of an emerging market, and create an environment where cryptocurrencies can be used and traded with security under the regulatory framework.

Stefania Barbaglio, Blockchain strategist and Director at Cassiopeia Services believes Malta is a great example of successful strategy for business and investment and positive regulations: “Malta has become a role model for European nations, highlighting the role of positive legislation to boost economy and business activity. Outdated regulations and closed attitudes towards innovation can lead to elite nations losing their spot in the international investment scene. It is important that new regulations are centered around innovation and the social value of technology, so that the digital economies can flourish and develop.”

The passing of the recent laws makes Malta the pioneer nation in Europe to offer a holistic regulatory framework for Distributed Ledger Technology operations. Unlike their counterparts, Malta attempts to develop a comprehensive framework that comprises use and trade if digital currencies, ICOs, exchanges activity.

The strategy was developed by the Malta Digital Innovation Authority, who was also responsible for other three regulatory laws — the Innovative Technology Arrangements and Services (ITAS) Law, the Malta Digital Innovation Authority Law, and the Virtual Financial Assets (VFL) Law — that today form the cornerstones of DLT regulation in Malta and are designed to offer guidelines for companies entering the emerging sector.

The innovative mindset of the Maltese government is also reflected other economic sectors, from personal healthcare to financial technology. Because of that, Malta has been the European gateway for many policies, including the legalisation of medicinal cannabis and embracing crypto and gaming projects.

In March 2018, Malta officially legalised medical cannabis. A month later, with the Production of Cannabis for Medicinal and Research Purposes Act in place, Maltese entities were able to cultivate, import, process and produce cannabis intended for medical and research purposes under a controlled and supervised environment.

These policies led to the Malta Medicines Authority gaining international reputation and prestige for its patient-centric work in the regulation of medicines. The strategy seems to be working so far: according to statistics from Eurostat, a 75% share of the population in Malta perceived their health as good or very good.

It’s not surprising to acknowledge how Malta has become the centre and a pivotal point for all of Europe as it is a preferred homeland for many leading and innovative technology companies throughout the world. More exciting news can be expected at the Winter edition of the Malta AIBC Summit. You can purchase your tickets for the winter edition summit to be held on 7–8 of November 2019 at the hotel Intercontinental in St Julian’s here.

CYBORGISM: HANDSHAKE BETWEEN HUMANITY AND TECHNOLOGY, FROM REEL LIFE TO REAL LIFE

Science fiction movies and books have long depicted various future scenarios. Since the release of Edgar Allen Poe’s ‘The Man That was Used Up’ in 1839, regarded as the oldest record of ‘man meets machine’, the idea of embedding technology into human behaviour has always intrigued the most curious minds. Movies and sci-fi tales have captured the audience’s imagination, blurring the lines between fiction and the ‘real’ future. It is therefore not surprising that the human desire to integrate with technology is now becoming a reality.

Playing around with ground-breaking technology concepts, cyborgs have established themselves as a part of pop culture’s collective consciousness. A cyborg is defined as a fictional or hypothetical person whose physical abilities are extended beyond normal human limitations via mechanical elements built into the body.

Today, we have already started marching towards an era where the fine line separating science and fiction has started to erode. The millennials of the 21st century are bold enough to experiment with biomechatronic body parts, which has brought the concepts of ‘super powers’ and ‘super humans’ closer to reality.

Cyborgs are a prime example of technology’s integration with humanity. Desire for the ability to enhance one’s perceptions and the value of self-sovereignty have also contributed to an unprecedented rise in cyborgism over recent years.

It is a well-known fact that some animal species have highly developed and powerful sensory organs which can aid their survival: sharks can detect electromagnetic fields, dolphins can hear through their bones, bats can ‘see’ through sound and so on. In parallel, the surge in cyborgism gives hope to the belief that cyborgs may help increase the survival rate and adaptive qualities of humans in threatening conditions.

This week on the FinancialFox, our presenter Stefania Barbaglio is interviewing Manel Muñoz: a Catalan cyborg artist based in Barcelona, who has been credited with developing and installing barometric sensors in his body. The first of its kind in the world, he uses the sensors to detect atmospheric pressure changes through pressure variations felt in his skull.

Muñoz studied contemporary photography in Barcelona and became Cyborg Foundation’s artist in residence in 2016. In 2017, he co-founded the Transpecies Society, an association that offers the creation of new senses and new organs within a community, gives voice to people who do not identify as being 100% human, and raises awareness on issues they face.

The aim of extending human senses beyond the the physical barrier by introducing/integrating technology into our bodies is to deepen the human experience of reality. The goal is to reveal reality, which is distinct from Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality in that true reality is increasingly revealed to us through an enhanced body. You could call it ‘superpower’, but more accurately, it is the ability to create and shape our bodies and unlock opportunities towards a new generation of “improved humans”.

Cyborg art is based on the idea that a person is free to change their body and perceptions. More specifically, they are in charge of shaping their own perceptions.

Recently, there has also been a lot of activity in the fields of neuroscience and neurotechnology. Elon Musk, the millionaire entrepreneur, has invested £100mln in Neuralink, a company which is developing electronic brain implants to facilitate direct communication between people and machines. Such has been the progress and advancement in the integration of humans with technology that it won’t be a surprise when, in a few years from now, people start taking examples from ‘reel’ life into real life.

With so many developments and innovations on the horizon, there is a need to regulate the protocols for such technology to evolve and be sustainable. At present, various challenges are faced by cyborgs and cyborgism. For instance, society at large may still not be ready to deal with the idea of installing foreign objects in one’s body. Moreover, it also raises questions around freedom of choice and progress, so it is valid to study and analyse more deeply the impacts of having technology interacting so closely with the human body. As with any ground-breaking technological development, information and educative material are needed to ensure society can enjoy the benefits and make progress.

There are a lot of blurred areas and unanswered questions in relation to cyborgism and technology being applied to humans. We will be trying our best to shed some light on and gain insight into this fascinating area. Please make sure you subscribe to our channel to watch the video on its release this Thursday, 5pm UK time.

CYBORGISM: HANDSHAKE BETWEEN HUMANITY AND TECHNOLOGY, FROM REEL LIFE TO REAL LIFE

Science fiction movies and books have long depicted various future scenarios. Since the release of Edgar Allen Poe’s ‘The Man That was Used Up’ in 1839, regarded as the oldest record of ‘man meets machine’, the idea of embedding technology into human behaviour has always intrigued the most curious minds. Movies and sci-fi tales have captured the audience’s imagination, blurring the lines between fiction and the ‘real’ future. It is therefore not surprising that the human desire to integrate with technology is now becoming a reality.

Playing around with ground-breaking technology concepts, cyborgs have established themselves as a part of pop culture’s collective consciousness. A cyborg is defined as a fictional or hypothetical person whose physical abilities are extended beyond normal human limitations via mechanical elements built into the body.

Today, we have already started marching towards an era where the fine line separating science and fiction has started to erode. The millennials of the 21st century are bold enough to experiment with biomechatronic body parts, which has brought the concepts of ‘super powers’ and ‘super humans’ closer to reality.

Cyborgs are a prime example of technology’s integration with humanity. Desire for the ability to enhance one’s perceptions and the value of self-sovereignty have also contributed to an unprecedented rise in cyborgism over recent years.

It is a well-known fact that some animal species have highly developed and powerful sensory organs which can aid their survival: sharks can detect electromagnetic fields, dolphins can hear through their bones, bats can ‘see’ through sound and so on. In parallel, the surge in cyborgism gives hope to the belief that cyborgs may help increase the survival rate and adaptive qualities of humans in threatening conditions.

This week on the FinancialFox, our presenter Stefania Barbaglio is interviewing Manel Muñoz: a Catalan cyborg artist based in Barcelona, who has been credited with developing and installing barometric sensors in his body. The first of its kind in the world, he uses the sensors to detect atmospheric pressure changes through pressure variations felt in his skull.

Muñoz studied contemporary photography in Barcelona and became Cyborg Foundation’s artist in residence in 2016. In 2017, he co-founded the Transpecies Society, an association that offers the creation of new senses and new organs within a community, gives voice to people who do not identify as being 100% human, and raises awareness on issues they face.

The aim of extending human senses beyond the the physical barrier by introducing/integrating technology into our bodies is to deepen the human experience of reality. The goal is to reveal reality, which is distinct from Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality in that true reality is increasingly revealed to us through an enhanced body. You could call it ‘superpower’, but more accurately, it is the ability to create and shape our bodies and unlock opportunities towards a new generation of “improved humans”.

Cyborg art is based on the idea that a person is free to change their body and perceptions. More specifically, they are in charge of shaping their own perceptions.

Recently, there has also been a lot of activity in the fields of neuroscience and neurotechnology. Elon Musk, the millionaire entrepreneur, has invested £100mln in Neuralink, a company which is developing electronic brain implants to facilitate direct communication between people and machines. Such has been the progress and advancement in the integration of humans with technology that it won’t be a surprise when, in a few years from now, people start taking examples from ‘reel’ life into real life.

With so many developments and innovations on the horizon, there is a need to regulate the protocols for such technology to evolve and be sustainable. At present, various challenges are faced by cyborgs and cyborgism. For instance, society at large may still not be ready to deal with the idea of installing foreign objects in one’s body. Moreover, it also raises questions around freedom of choice and progress, so it is valid to study and analyse more deeply the impacts of having technology interacting so closely with the human body. As with any ground-breaking technological development, information and educative material are needed to ensure society can enjoy the benefits and make progress.

There are a lot of blurred areas and unanswered questions in relation to cyborgism and technology being applied to humans. We will be trying our best to shed some light on and gain insight into this fascinating area. Please make sure you subscribe to our channel to watch the video on its release this Thursday, 5pm UK time.

The economic power shift: New global dynamics powered by technology and innovation in emerging…

The economic power shift: New global dynamics powered by technology and innovation in emerging markets

The global economy has undergone fundamental changes over the last 20 years. The financial crisis in 2007–8, technology boom, and fast growth in emerging economies like China and India have all reshaped the economic dynamics around the world.

Commodities have lost their relevance in the global market, opening the way for technology to set new market rules. As a result, IT and consumer-driven stocks have predominantly become the backbone of the new economy.

In the 2007 MSCI Emerging Market Index, energy represented 18 percent and materials 15 percent, and together accounted fully for one third of the total shares, showing that commodities were still highly valuable for the global economy.

However, ten years later, the economic reality has shifted. The 2017 Index shows that those two sectors combined account for only 14 percent. Meanwhile, information technology has risen to 28 percent of the index, from 10 percent a decade ago.

One of the greatest drivers of the technology boom was the shift in mindset that followed the global economic crisis. People and society have become more conscious and as such have geared towards products and services that can provide an added value and have a positive lasting impact in society. Technology is the enabler to build tools and systems that contribute to a more balanced economy, clearly reflected in the market value of technology products.

Technology has challenged the status quo in virtually every sphere — from digital banking to personal virtual assistants, and will continue to do so as it develops. McKinsey estimates that applications of the disruptive technologies technologies could have a potential economic impact of between $14 trillion and $33 trillion a year in 2025. More than creating something new, these technologies are highly focused on increasing consumer and social value, especially in areas such as financial services, healthcare and access to information.

From McKinsey, Disruptive Technologies

The shift to a digital economy also propelled a shift in the global economic power dynamics, which used to be well established in the advanced nations in the north-western corner of the map. This is no longer true: emerging markets may quickly outperform developed nations in Europe and North America, largely due to their strategic economic planning, openness to innovative technologies, and large consumer market.

The PwC World in 2050 report shows that global economic power has been shifting towards Asia for a few years now, a process set to continue over the next few decades. China and India, the largest countries in the world by population, are leading this shift.

According to PwC, these two nations are well placed to lead the way in key areas of innovation linked to new digital technologies.

In the case of China, digital technologies are estimated to contribute anything up to 26% of its GDP by 2030, as compared to a global average of 14% of GDP. This reflects the country’s leading position in areas like mobile technology and e-commerce, its large domestic market and its increasingly highly educated workforce.

At the end of 2007, China accounted for 16 per cent of the Emerging Market Index, and Chinese tech companies 0.3 per cent, whereas by 2017 China had a 30 per cent allocation and China tech accounted for 12.3 per cent of the index.

Neighbouring India is also a tech-savvy nation, nurturing an old tradition of producing world- class computer programmers and technologists who contribute significantly to technological developments around the world.

China and India are just two prime examples of the economic potential held by the populations in developing nations and the vast scope for technologies and services to succeed in those markets. By 2030, 80% of the world’s middle class will be found in developing countries, and they have increasingly more purchasing power. Developing countries are where technology can have a bigger social impact and makegreater contribution to the economy.

Over the coming years, there will be a restructuring of the global economy with non-OECD economies expected to account for 57 percent of the world GDP by 2030. By 2040, the economies of E7 countries, the group of greatest emerging economies China, India, Brazil, Mexico, Russia, Indonesia and Turkey, will be double that of G7 countries.

Of course, such a drastic change in the economic scenario has prompted paradigm shifts and some unwanted consequences, so the need to understanding the opportunities and challenges is urgent.

In order to create a more balanced global economy, governments and organisations are attempting to tackle the aftermath of this power shift, such as the rise of political extremes and inequality, as well as debating how to shape rules and regulations for an economy that is founded on the flow of data and information.

Cassiopeia Data Series: Intersection of Data and Disruptive Technologies

In this Information Age, data has become one of the most valuable assets in society. Data is defined as pieces of information collected to be examined and considered, and used to help decision-making; or information in an electronic form that can be stored and used by a computer.

The Global Big Data market is expected to reach $118.52 billion by 2022, growing at an impressive rate of 26.0% from 2015 to 2022, which includes the aggregated value of data in different products and services. The main factors driving this trend upwards are growth in consumer data, superior information security, and enhanced business efficiencies.

The data market is vast and full of opportunities, especially for those developing and curating technology. The total number of data workers in the 28 EU countries is estimated at 6.1 million, a figure that could almost double by the year 2020 if growth keeps on at this pace. On top of this, the number of organisations producing and supplying data-related products and services could reach almost 350,000 in 2020, when the number of data users could be more than 1.3 million.

Data is a concept society is still trying to grasp, and the questions around its uses are numerous and complex — concerning data ownership, privacy and surveillance, among others. Data requires careful and ethical management, as once information is made available online, it rarely gets deleted, making it difficult to measure the consequences of misuse.

“You can’t make a data set disappear. Once you post it, and people download it, it exists on hard drives all over the world,” says researcher Adam Harvey, whose project Megapixels documented the details of dozens of data sets and how they are being used, to the FT.

It is important to note that data in itself has no beneficial or damaging features. What defines it are the applications and purposes which it serves. As disruptive technologies continue to evolve and digitisation becomes more widespread, the uses of data become increasingly more diverse.

A PwC study has identified the top eight disruptive technologies of today, which are the flagships of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and can dramatically change the way we do business: Artificial Intelligence (AI), Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Blockchain, Internet of Things (IoT), Drones, 3D Printing and Robotics.

These are the core technologies that will matter most for business, across every industry, over the years to come. A stronger way to harness those technologies would be combining them to yield powerful applications that are even more beneficial and efficient.

From PwC, The Essential Eight

Each one of these technologies interacts with data in different ways: they have diverse functions. Ultimately, harnessing data is a fundamental part of this new wave of technology.

Internet of Things (IoT) collects data

In an Internet of Things (IoT) system, computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, objects, animals or people are all interrelated with the use of unique identifiers (UIDs), and with which they can collect and transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction.

IoT technology is used in the consumer, enterprise, industrial, and government market segments, each of which produce massive amounts of data, generally of the unstructured variety, requiring data technologies for management and processing.

This is where Artificial Intelligence enters the scene…

Artificial Intelligence (AI) processes and analyses data

With the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms, we enhance the ability of big data analytics and IoT platforms to provide value to each of these market segments. AI algorithms can be trained to manage and process data according to certain standards. This feature turns raw data into meaningful information, which is then useful for decision-making purposes.

This chart shows forecasted cumulative global artificial intelligence revenue 2016–2025, by use case.

Blockchain stores and distributes data

In the blockchain realm, data and decentralisation enjoy a powerful relationship. Data can be fed into blockchain networks securely and privately, avoiding centralised storage. Blockchain can be used as the foundation for decentralised data storage providers.

Because of the architecture of blockchain networks, data stored on them is immutable and cannot be forged, making it a highly secure technology for preventing fraud.

The “essential eight” technologies are evolving rapidly, becoming increasingly more sophisticated and equally complex, also prompting questions around legislation and ethical uses of data. The scenario leaves plenty of room for further research and discussion about how technology can help drive society forward without compromising rights and principles.

Cassiopeia Services is a key partner and the official PR/Media representative of the World Ethical Data Forum (WEDF), a leading global organisation that embraces the full spectrum of interrelated issues around the use and future of data.

We are working with WEDF on its next Global Forum set to take place in London in 2020. Dates, venue and keynote speakers will be announced in due course.

For more information about how to get involved, drop us an email at cassiopeia@worldwthicaldata.org

Cassiopeia Services partners with World Ethical Data Forum

Cassiopeia Services Ltd., the innovative London-based PR/IR agency, is pleased to announce it has been chosen to manage the Public Relations, Media Partnerships and Sponsorships for the World Ethical Data Forum (WEDF), a leading global organisation that embraces the full spectrum of interrelated issues around the use and future of data.

Founded by Stefania Barbaglio in 2015, Cassiopeia is a global PR and IR agency with a strong focus on and experience in the new technology and innovation sector. Since 2017, Cassiopeia has focused on delivering strong communications strategies for companies and startups in the blockchain and technology sector. Stefania is a London based eclectic entrepreneur and well-recognised PR expert, presenter and speaker, international journalist and qualified blockchain strategist by the University of Oxford.

In 2018, the first edition of the WEDF in Barcelona, Spain brought together the most prominent data experts such as Julian Assange and Dr. Ralph Merkle. The streamed event received 2.4 million YouTube views in a single week.

WEDF is the single most important event in the worldwide data realm. In 2020, the WEDF will approach the intersecting questions around data use in the Information Age, diving into conversations on data analysis, use and regulation; data privacy; future of data and new technologies; fake news and responsible journalism; data intelligence/security intersection and censorship; and future of democracy. The date and venue will be announced in due course.

Data has become one of the most valuable assets in the global economy: as important a commodity as oil, according to specialists. In these times of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, data is the common factor underlying many technologies and shaping up the future of society. This unprecedented use of data urges the construction of new social, political and economic systems, which are better fitted to address the data economy.

Stefania Barbaglio, Director at Cassiopeia Services commented: “I am delighted to be working with the WEDF to promote their next edition. Cassiopeia is always at the forefront of innovation and we recognise the power of data and the revolution happening with development of data technologies. This also poses big ethical questions and challenges which require serious dialogue and practical solutions. The WEDF is the place for those discussions to happen.”

John David Marshall, CEO of the WEDF commented: “The issues we’re dealing with are so important historically that having the right team in place able to comprehend them and cope with the enormity of the challenges they present is vital. I’m looking forward to the work ahead, and to what we’ll accomplish together.”

For more information about how to get involved, please email stefania@worldethicaldata.org