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Google’s AI Became Highly Aggressive, Could Have Major Financial Implications

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Famed physicist Stephen Hawking has warned us that the continued advancement of artificial intelligence might not be as good as we’d like it to. According to him:

“[The creation of artificial intelligence] will either be the best, or the worst thing, ever to happen to humanity”.

In its list of ways the world could end, LiveScience adds “robot ascension” as one, stating that “The Terminator” may be just a movie, but that killing machines aren’t that far from reality, as even the United Nations have called for a ban on killer robots.

Google’s DeepMind, a leading AI research program, has already created an agent that managed to learn independently from its own memory, allowing it to beat the world’s best Go player. Moreover, other agents are currently figuring out how to mimic human voices and even write songs.

Gathering apples

A new study by Google’s DeepMind lab doesn’t ease the fear of a robot uprising, as it shows us AI can learn to cooperate with others, and to, whenever it feels it is going to lose, adopt a “highly aggressive” strategy in order to come out on top.

The team ran a series of tests in order to investigate the AI’s response when faced with a social dilemma, known as the prisoner’s dilemma. Essentially the goal is to see whether or not different AI agents will cooperate or compete when faced with diverse challenges. The tests involved 40 million instances of a simple computer game called “Gathering”. In it, two AI-controlled characters (agents) must gather as many apples as they possibly can.

When there were enough apples for both, everything went smoothly. As soon as scarcity set in, the agents started to use their laser beams against each other, with the goal of knocking off the other agent to gain more time to gather apples. DeepMind’s team determined the aggression was due to higher levels of complexity in the agents themselves. When two less intelligent agents competed against each other, there was a greater likelihood of peaceful coexistence ensuing, as theoretically each agent could gather an equal number of apples.

According to researchers, the more advanced AI agents began to learn from their environment and started to figure out how to successfully manipulate available resources to favor their situation. When there weren’t enough apples for both, they decided to eliminate the competition.

The video shows us how trigger-happy the agents became, even though the only advantage of hitting one another was knocking the opponent out of the game for a small amount of time:

Joel Z. Leibo, a team member at DeepMind, told Wired:

“This model … shows that some aspects of human-like behavior emerge as a product of the environment and learning.”

Hunting prey

Three AI agents were then tasked to play a second game, called “Wolfpack”. In it, two agents played as wolves, and one as prey. The game encourages cooperation, as the wolves get a bigger reward if the prey is captured when both are near it, regardless of which one tackles it.

As you might have guessed, the AI-controlled agents did work together to catch the prey. They learned from their environment: in one example, an agent corners the prey and then waits for the other one to join, so they can get a greater reward.

When less-intelligent AI agents played the game, there were more instances in which they used “lone wolf” tactics to capture the prey. Clearly, the more sophisticated the AI agents get, the more they’ll think about their own self-interests.

The abstract presented by DeepMind does not speculate about the future of advanced AI, but there seems to be evidence showing that things can go very wrong if their objectives are not properly aligned with the goal of benefitting us, humans.

AI is coming for our apples

Although these were two simple videogames, it shows us just how an AI agent can act selfishly, and not for everyone’s benefit. A team of two Oxford academics released in 2013 a paper claiming that roughly 47% of jobs in America were at “high risk” of being automated within the next 20 years. The disruption is going to dramatic. Tesla and SpaceX CEO, Elon Musk, estimates things are going to accelerate faster than expected:

“The most near term impact from a technology standpoint is autonomous cars … That is going to happen much faster than people realize and it’s going to be a great convenience”

Robots are already capable of doing complex tasks. If you routinely read the news, chances are you have already read something that was written by a bot, as they are capable of writing reports (don’t worry, on Hacked.com we will always use humans…)

Even highly skilled professionals are at risk. An IBM bot, named Watson, has beaten doctors at their own job, as it managed to crack a medical mystery and perform a life-saving diagnosis. AI’s ability to learn means we won’t be able to compete – as humans we are inherently flawed, and there’s nothing we can do about it.

Given the AI’s signs of greed, it is possible that AI will become over-competitive in the job market. Soon, its agents might attempt to spy on corporations in order to get inside information, or worse, hack important systems to create havoc. Since bots can analyze data much faster than us, they could manipulate financial markets in order to favor their own goals.

Since our whole economic system is based on proper management of limited resources, an economic crisis could lead to financial chaos, in which AI agents would behave just like they did in the “Gathering” gameplay video. They would use their laser beams on whatever stood in front of them, so they could gather as much resources as possible.

Some believe the rise of AI is going to create new types of jobs for humans, but this theory can be opposed with a historical example:

(Images from Elecktrek.)

Horses used to do a wide variety of jobs, and technological improvements only made their lives easier – they even stopped being used in battles. Yet, there are barely any jobs for horses today. We barely see them in urban areas anymore.

An AI kill switch

This may sound a little farfetched, but even Google employees believe things can go wrong with AI that can learn. That’s why they have been developing an AI kill switch for the past few years.

The kill switch would ultimately allow humans to remain in charge, by giving us a way to interrupt their ability to learn – without giving the AI a chance to avoid or manipulate interruptions. In theory, the chance to stop agents from continuing harmful sequences of actions sounds great, but even those in charge of the kill switch research admit the system isn’t going to be foolproof.

As a matter of fact, we have already seen how AI agents can override our input. Back in 2013, an AI agent was taught how to play Tetris. Even though it wasn’t very good at it, the AI learned that by pausing the game forever, it wasn’t going to lose – and that is exactly what it did.

The AI played its only winning move:

Final thoughts

At this point it is clear robots armed with artificial intelligence are going to be a large part of the future, but that doesn’t necessarily mean things are going to be that bad for us humans. The lack of jobs doesn’t mean we will all starve to death.

AI agents can communicate, learn, and work much faster than us. Autonomous cars, for example, can eliminate the need for traffic signs, as cars will communicate with one another directly, for example. This type of efficiency will mean production will be at an all-time high, beyond the scope of our imagination.

That being said, if our (potential) future AI overlords decide to keep us around, there will be universal wages for every human, according to Elon Musk. As humans, we just need to do things right and avoid creating AI that doesn’t want to keep us around; we need to make it work with us to catch prey, not blast us with laser beams to collect all the apples itself.

Also Read: The robot that takes your job should pay taxes, says Bill Gates 

Elon Musk has created a research initiative named OpenAI. It is dedicated to work with the ethics of AI, and its founders have in the past stated:

“AI systems today have impressive but narrow capabilities. It seems that we’ll keep whittling away at their constraints, and in the extreme case, they will reach human performance on virtually every intellectual task. It’s hard to fathom how much human-level AI could benefit society, and it’s equally hard to imagine how much it could damage society if built or used incorrectly.”

Some, including Elon Musk, believe the only way humans can stay relevant in the future is by becoming cyborgs. A “neural lace” that fits into our brain is allegedly already being created, and it would give us additional cognitive and sensory abilities.

Yet, this type of technology is still far away, as all we have done so far is use brain-computer interfaces to help restore motor control for paralyzed patients, and enable communication for patients with brain injuries.

What are your thoughts? Will AI be useful or will it destroy our economic and social lives?

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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MGO Token Is Now the Preferred Currency for Game Publishers

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The last few years in the crypto markets have been like riding a roller coaster.  There was period of pure euphoria, mainly during 2017.  And, now, we are stuck, perpetually it seems, in a period of doom and gloom.  It’s unclear when things will turn around.  Because of the bear market that appears to have no end in sight, many cryptocurrency projects will likely fail during the next few years.  Bearing that in mind, it would behoove traders/investors to start researching projects that have a high probability of real world adoption.  One project that appears to be making all the right moves is MobileGo (MGO).

Increased Adoption of MGO Token

There is no doubt that gaming has been a global phenomenon for years.  Video games, computer games, multi-gaming experiences, and e-sports have all been woven into the fabric of society.  And while typical financial analysis focuses on the growth of the industry, game developers are the ones who make everything possible.

One of the largest platforms that game developers now belong to is Xsolla.

Xsolla offers significant advantages that include the following:

  • A pay station that accepts more than 700 payment types from more than 200 countries.
  • Industry leading fraud protection.
  • A partner network that assists publishers with growing their respective businesses.
  • An extremely popular store where gamers can purchase in-game goods, subscriptions, and currencies.

The last point is probably the most important as it relates to this article.  When gamers make purchases, such as in-game purchases, the developers are rewarded with earnings.  And, in order to run their businesses successfully, they are able to withdraw those earnings.

Until recently, the only option was a traditional FIAT withdrawal, such as USD or EUR.  But that is all changing thanks to MobileGo’s native currency, MGO.

Why are Developers Selecting MGO for Withdrawals?

During the last few weeks, game developers and publishers that utilize the Xsolla platform have begun selecting MGO as their preferred withdrawal method.  The current expectation is that MGO will account for roughly 30% of Xsolla’s monthly volume in the near future.  With Xsolla’s monthly turnover nearing $100 million, this would be a massive development.  This begs the question of why the sudden rise in MGO’s popularity.

Cryptocurrency, specifically MGO, offers several advantages over traditional FIAT payments.  With FIAT, it normally takes quite a bit of time for developers to actually receive their payments.  Occasionally, this burdensome process can drag out for weeks to months.  This is critically important as some developers are responsible for running large companies.  The earnings, on a platform like Xsolla, need to be withdrawn in a timely manner in order to pay employee salaries, purchases necessary technological equipment, meet rent and loan obligations, etc.  Therefore, waiting for weeks on end to receive earnings isn’t going to work.

Additionally, FIAT withdrawals are normally subject to significant transaction fees and commissions.

When one factors all that in, it’s not really a surprise that MGO is quickly becoming the currency of choice for game developers.  MGO payouts are faster, cost-efficient, extremely secure, and very simple to use.  Once funds are received, the withdrawal process is as easy as a few mouse clicks.  MGO tokens can be sent to most cryptocurrency wallets that are ERC-223 integrated.  Another option is to withdraw the tokens direct to crypto exchanges such as Bitfinex and Bitforex.

As soon as the MGO tokens are received, users are in full control of them.  The tokens can then be converted to popular cryptocurrencies such as ETH, BTC, USDT on exchanges that support MGO tokens, or swapped directly for FIAT currencies.

Conclusion

The past 12 months have certainly been a depressing time for many.  A lot of traders have lost money and many crypto executives have seen their projects fail.  And although quite a few projects will face the same fate, one that won’t is MobileGo.  As MGO continues to see increased adoption within the development and gaming communities, it’s very likely that the token price could see a significant increase as well.

Disclosure:  Chris Matthews owns MGO tokens.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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Lite.IM Surpasses Facebook In Race To Support Cryptocurrency Compatible Messenger

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Since the early part of 2018, crypto traders have been bombarded with bad news.  Hacks, broken promises, and overall lack of enthusiasm have resulted in huge losses.  But more than that, some promising cryptocurrencies just haven’t survived.  As traders look to the future, they should begin looking at projects that have the potential to disrupt industries and take them to the next level.  One company that has the potential to accomplish that is Zulu Republic (ZTX).

Zulu Republic is an ecosystem of blockchain tools and platforms, designed as a place where people, businesses, and organizations can thrive on their own terms.  The company’s stated mission is to advance the development of decentralized technologies, to promote human rights and empowerment around the globe, and to reduce the global digital divide.

Well the company is off to a great start with the development of Lite.IM.

What is Lite.IM? 

Lite.IM is a project aimed at expanding global cryptocurrency adoption.  With Lite.IM, users can send, receive, and manage Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), and the company’s native currency (ZTX), on Facebook Messenger, Telegram, and SMS (in the USA and Canada).  To get started managing these cryptocurrencies on the aforementioned platforms, users simply need to send a text-based command to the Lite.IM bot.  The commands are as follows:

Telegram:  @LiteIM_bot

Facebook Messenger:  @lite.im

SMS (USA and Canada only):  760-LITEIM-0

Competition with Facebook

On December 21st, 2018, Facebook announced that it was developing its own stable cryptocurrency that users would be allowed to exchange through its popular chat service, WhatsApp.  But while Facebook’s initial approach will target users based in India, Lite.IM is open to everyone in the world.  Further, Zulu Republic has previously mentioned that they expect to announce support for WhatsApp in the next few weeks.  It certainly appears as though Lite.IM has the upper hand here.  And that is before even addressing Facebook’s obvious privacy concerns.

When it comes to cryptocurrency, privacy and security have always been two issues at the forefront.  Given the rough year that Facebook has had in that regard, users must certainly be forgiven if they have trouble trusting the social media giant.  In September, 2018, Facebook announced that an attack on its computer network had exposed the personal information of nearly 50 million users.  Apparently, the hackers were able to exploit a feature in Facebook’s code to gain access to user accounts.  Even prior to this announcement, Facebook was already under Congressional scrutiny over revelations that a British analytics firm obtained access to private information from nearly 87 million Facebook users.  Not to mention Facebook’s rumored involvement with Russian election meddling.  Suffice it to say, it has been a tumultuous year for Facebook.

And while users may have concerns trusting Facebook’s ability to handle cryptocurrency data, they shouldn’t have those same concerns with Lite.IM.  Private keys are RSA encrypted with the user’s password.  Lite.IM will never ask for that information nor will it be stored.  Because of this, no third party will ever have access to that valuable information.

Conclusion

The truth of the matter is that Facebook is an absolute giant and has grown at an extraordinary rate since its initial public offering.  Facebook has hired some incredible talent, from executive positions to marketing to development.  And while one should never count them out, I simply wouldn’t be able to trust them with all of the recent issues.  Perhaps in time, after regaining the public’s trust, users could once again look to Facebook as a leader.

Fortunately, users have another strong and dependable option.  Lite.IM will allow users all over the world to manage popular cryptocurrencies via their favorite messenger platform.  Users should continue to stay tuned for future developments.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock. 

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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Product Owner Interview – GShare Has Potential To Increase Adoption Of MobileGo (MGO) Tokens

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In early December, I wrote an article on why investors should be paying attention to MobileGo (MGO).  Exploding popularity of the gaming industry and an impressive partnership agreement with Xsolla led to a surge in MGO’s token price.  In addition, the team of MobileGo created an application, called GShare, that has the potential to significantly increase MGO token adoption.

What is GShare?

GShare essentially allows users to rent the power of their computers to earn virtual coins.  These coins can then be redeemed later for several gaming options including tournament entry fees.  Through this platform, a user can control the amount of computer resources that are used throughout the process.

Although GShare is currently only at the public beta testing stage, virtual coins can still be earned by making purchases for Xsolla products.  But, according to Igor (the product owner of the GShare app), the goals are much more global than just Xsolla.  Fortunately, I was able to land an interview with Igor and asked him about the goals, benefits and upcoming upgrades of the project.

Interview

What is the mission and vision of the project?

Igor:  Ok, the mission and vision are basically to enable anyone, with the focus group being gamers, to easily obtain free stuff.  For example, for simply sharing their time and computing power, users can come away with games, in-game items, and eSports tournament tickets for free.

What is the advantage of this application as compared to other earning tools in the gaming industry?

Igor:  The main advantage is simplicity.  Thanks to the partnership with Xsolla, another important advantage is being able to use the virtual currency to buy games and make in-game purchases.  In the future, I expect that users will be able to earn items directly within the application.  While there are other programs available in the market that allow users to earn virtual currencies, typically users must spend a long time, sometimes up to a year, to earn enough virtual currency to purchase a basic product like a keyboard.

The general idea of GN Gold (GShare currency) is that we will eventually have an entire ecosystem that will support it.  In the future, we fully expect there to be a deep integration between game publishers and being able to use GShare directly to get different items – this is the first step to earing free items outside of the games.   We hope to separate ourselves from competitors by forming more direct integration with the games themselves.

What is the actual development status?  As far I know it’s still in beta test mode.

Igor:  Yes, we can say it is a public beta test.  But it is available.  Anyone who registers in GShare can download and use it.  The test mode is available for the first 500-1000 users of the platform.  This will help our team to identify and fix the bugs.  At present, our internal version is 0.9.17.

If I remember correctly, there was a recent upgrade.  Is that accurate?

Igor:  Yes, it actually happened a few days ago.  Next week, we plan to upgrade the version by adding additional languages including English, Russian, Chinese and Korean.  After that, the plan is to add Spanish and Japanese in the near future.

Are there any other upgrades you are expecting soon, perhaps in the next couple of months?

Igor:  I think that the first noticeable change will be some type of boosting feature.  After performing certain actions or tasks, users will see an increase in their GShare Gold earning rate.  An example of a boost might include increased earning power for two hours.  We expect to begin working on this feature on Monday although I don’t expect it to be completed until February at the earliest.

How is GShare currently interconnected with other products?  Are there any upcoming changes in this respect?

Igor:  Right now, there are no direct connections except that a user can spend GShare Gold on the competitive platform.  A user’s GShare Gold is used as a participation fee.  If a gamer wins a tournament, they will have the option to receive their prize in either MGO tokens or GShare Gold currency.

As far as I know, both products (the earning app and competitive platform), use the same username and password.  Is that true?

Igor:  Yes, they do.  All products of the ecosystem will be easily accessed via a single user profile.  So, we will focus mostly on integrating with games and allowing game-publishers to integrate with us.  In this way, users can directly spend GShare Gold within the games or use the currency to get items directly.

Okay, are there any technical requirements before someone can run the GShare App?

Igor:  I wouldn’t say there are any specific requirements.  Since gaming already requires significant computing power, it’s fair to say that most gamers will already have the necessary hardware to run the app.

I just want to clarify one thing.  As I understood it, the eSports platform is now used mainly for casual games?

Igor:  Yes.  The eSports platform now targets casual gamers while GShare is targeting more of a core gamer audience.

What are the limitations and how can someone know whether they should use GShare?

Igor:  At the moment, that’s a very difficult question to answer given that we’ve only just launched the beta.  During this test period, we hope to learn more about whether an average gaming machine with an average GPU will be enough to earn users some profit.  Although I can say that even laptops with just CPU are able to earn something right now.  It’s also important to remember that the boosting feature, in which development will begin shortly, will play a pivotal role here.

What are the future goals for GShare?

Igor:  For me, the goals are like most other technology businesses – stability and scalability of the application.  Certainly, we hope to make the experience as pleasurable for the users as possible.  Avoiding bad experiences, like application crashes, are of paramount importance.

Some of the team will be working constantly on improving the algorithms, stability and scalability, fixing bugs, and making small fixes in the background.  In the near term, the priority is certainly to finish earning item features, testing it, and getting as many game publishers as possible.  The boosting feature is also very important.

Does GShare have the potential to change the gaming industry in the long-term?

Igor:  Well, the company’s long-term goal is to do good things.  We hope that all these products and GShare will be able to support the community and create strong social values.  Users can choose to interact within the framework of a thematic platform.  An example of that would focus on how a gamer’s view is changing.  This is not just about gaming but allowing people to use their computer for many things while not having to make any effort to go outside.

…. and what’s the scope of the project?

Igor:  Well, for me personally, the scope is to provide as much profit for users as possible.  It would be great if people could run the application overnight while earning a few dollars.  That would really be something.

What are you doing to increase awareness of the GShare Application?

Igor:  Our team is working on that right now.  In January, we expect to begin introducing the app to the Chinese and Korean markets.  In addition, we are negotiating with partners.  Word of mouth among gamers will also play a big role.  That, of course, will depend on the quality and success of the beta.

This will be my final question.  What role do you play in this project?

Igor:  Well, when I came to the company, they wanted me to lead the core.  Prior to joining, I was a product manager for the core team in my previous role.  The previous role afforded me a lot of experience but, for me, it had become a bit tiresome and uninteresting.  It was really about the things that the ordinary user doesn’t see, and I was dealing with all the back-end.

This project is different.  It sounds like “Oh, we haven’t go these” – now you do!  Right now, I’m trying to figure out ways to give the end users as many benefits as possible.  I spend a lot of my time ensuring a good user experience.

Chris:  Igor, thanks so much for taking the time to give me an interview.

Igor:  You’re welcome.  Feel free to contact me anytime if you have more questions.

Although GShare is still in the initial stage of development, the potential is certainly there for a bright and meaningful relationship between gamers and publishers.  As awareness increases, there is a strong possibility that adoption of MobileGo (MGO) tokens will also increase.

Disclosure:  Chris is long MGO tokens.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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