Latest and Greatest about … Everything

Blockchain

Last week I had the opportunity to talk about blockchain at Austria’s largest CIO conference. Compared to the 2016 event, blockchain is now a well spread topic and I felt a deep understanding in this group of people about Bitcoin, Ethereum, ICO, Blockchain, Hyper ledger, etc.

0124-1009-2513-4630_craters_of_the_moon_rima_ariadaeus_on_the_moon_from_apollo_10_lunar_orbit_oBeside the standard facts and definitions, we were able to give a wider overview about supply chain applications of blockchain. It’s the tool to improve or enable provenience, identification, verification, certification and last but not least automation of goods and services in the supply chain.

One topic which was in this group not absolutely clear, how blockchain and the GDPR regulation will come along. Still a question I need to further dig into.

Ceterum censeo ICO esse delendam

ICOs are something really weird. I do not understand, why people are investing their money and regulators are not faster reacting on this kind of crowdfunding on steroids. There are way too many pitfalls to do it right, sooner or later regulators will stop it or apply something like the Howey test to all ICOs. Either the coins are considered as securities and under certain strict regulations or coins are like vouchers and at least in Europe under VAT.

For sure an ICO ice age will start and the blockchain reputation will be harmed. There are so many reasonable use cases for blockchains like traceability in the farm2fork supply chain. making parcels intelligent and smart, transform vehicles into wallets or making documents immutable like anyline does in scanning.

Artificial Intelligence

After the AI Summit in Vienna and the conference in Tel Aviv I was able to discuss a bit better the role of AI – being in Gartner’s Emerging Technology Hype Cycle – in a meet up in Vienna. I gave a lot of examples of vertical integrated solutions where a kind of AI is included, but you do not feel, smell or taste AI any longer. Like in the use cases of anyline. we give business eyes, developers can adopt the technology within an hour and the user experience is relieved from typing strings and numbers in their mobiles.

The group of people – experts in computer vision with a significant knowledge about deep learning- was interested in what large corporates are planning with AI, Deep Learning, Machine Learning.

Month by month I see more initiatives adopting this technology in real life applications, but still there is too much expectation and myth about the real value of AI.

Fore sure once AI will combine blockchain, autonomous driving and a kind of physical internet. This will be a major break-through in the transportation industry, but even for me still a kind of Star Wars Episode 42 … so still a while to go for us.

There is already now AI value, like a Japanese insurance company expects to reduce 30% of work by an AI system, however the same value can be easily created by organizational transformation in corporates. Why are there still 6-7 management levels between the final decision maker and the place where a decision is needed?

Reducing these unnecessary levels or replacing them by a fact-based AI driven decision support engine or even better a kind of CxO-Machine at hand when and where a decision is needed … based on an ambidextrous architecture with efficiency model characteristics, by nature an expert model, a connected effectiveness model and a self-fulfilling innovation model and everything combined in one advisor without any middle-management layer … once in place I am looking forward again to join a corporation.

Theory of Everything

Those use cases, which bring more then one topic from Gartner’s technology hype cycle together will be disrupting and worth to invest, will for sure not need an ICO. Those new things will have AI everywhere, using Augmented or Virtual Reality and plumbed into a digital platform.

Recap Meetup – Vertical Integration

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VERTICAL INTEGRATIONS OF EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES

I had the honor to talk about vertical integration of emerging technologies. Here a quote from the meet up blog:

“The last talk of the night came from Anyline’s own Andreas Greilhuber. Andreas gave an insightful presentation that considered how large companies can pass on value to their users with emerging technologies such as VR, AI or mobile OCR.

AI was at the heart of the presentation with Andreas giving examples of how the application of this technology has changed since the mid 90s. He highlighted how the use of data has changed how AI is integrated into our lives and how it will be integrated in the future. He even came close to giving predictions for how AI will change things as a whole!

Of course, the highlight of his talk was a great recap of how AI and other emerging technologies such as mobile OCR are changing user experience at the moment. Andreas also did a great job of answering questions from the meetup crowd on how Anyline is working to enhance vertical integration of our mobile OCR technology.”

Review AI Summit Vienna 2017

anyline was happy being at the AI Summit at the WU Vienna organized by mostly.ai . We had a chance to present our convolutional neural network based on Google Tensor Flow implemented Computer Vision Software Development Kit and its applications like blood sugar measurement device reading, meter reading, license plate reading, passport reading and loyalty code reading … mobileOCR at its best.

The products are capable to unleash vertical integrated mobile solutions for Health, Utilities, Police, Border Control, Banks, Insurance, digital agencies, consumer packaged goods, …

The line-up of the AI Summit event was really impressive and similar to what I saw a couple of days later in Tel Aviv at the DLD. From Google Dave Elliot joined.

From Facebook Tomas Nikolov presented interesting things about word2vec.

Of course a local AI mastermind Sepp Hochreiter from JKU in Linz spoke to the crowd.

Zalando sent his Chief Data Scientist Calvin Seward.

From Finland Ulla Krudes Lehtonen.

I left early and headed to DLD in Tel Aviv, I am happy that mostly.ai released now the videos of this event.

Blockchain – Stop Talking, Start Doing

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I do not want to compare actual cryptocurrency hype and bubble with the tulip mania in the 17th century, when the whole market collapsed in February 1637 – but I am wondering when the blockchain bubble will explode and we can focus on the real advantages of this technology.

Anyline’s technology focusing on mobileOCR is faster pulled into the blockchain hype than I would have expected.

The more ideas like physical internet, provenience, interoperability, privacy, document management, tracking, certification and last but not least identification is increasing. The need for trust deeper within the supply chain is raising. Once you have identified a trustworthy object, you can augment the reality around this object with information from its digital twin.

Therefore anyline’s mobileOCR is evolving into the Eye of the Blockchain feature when a physical object is passing by.

Even worse is the ICO rush – initial coin offering – or kick-starter on steroid as I call it. Being an IPO without any regulations and governance. 30mUSD in 30 Seconds fund raising or in the case of tenx roughly 80m. At least tenx has a product, a credit card where you can spend your coins in the real world and an implemented protocol comit to interlock with various cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum or Ripple.

We are bothered with these emerging technologies adopting fast into real world physical supply chains. In August – same procedure like every year – we are expecting the Gartner’s Emerging Technologies Hype Cycle. This year blockchain is already over the hill of over-estimated short-term expectations, however long-term blockchain will have an enormous transformational impact on our society. I am not such a strong believer in the cryptocurrencies, but the technology itself solves problems we were struggling over the last 3 to 4 decades.

Blockchain gives you suddenly something to manage values, which can be publicly shared, is de-centralized, secure, trusted and automated. Fast moving and innovative organizations are pulling our scanning solution into the area of provenience of scanned objects. So we have faster to adopt capabilities to understand, build and run blockchain architectures based on Ethereum or Hyperledger.

Since two years we can find start-ups in the area of cloud storage, smart contract, anti-counterfeiting, governance, digital identity, internet of things and market prediction building on blockchain architectures. In 2016 big players like IBM or Microsoft see a chance to utilize their cloud infrastructure with blockchain technology and applications to tackle the competition from Google and Amazon.

By establishing industry consortiums IBM with food industry or re-insurance industry,  the Farm2Fork process shall be made fully traceable to mitigate impact like the Fipronil scandal. Everledger building on hyper ledger is tracking and tracing Diamonds.The odometer fraud will be avoided by blockchain solutions from Bosch and German TÜV.

Just a couple of examples a I collected. An enormous business opportunity ahead for all of us.

Tel Aviv is like San Francisco’s Gold Rush

Last week I had my first trip to Tel Aviv. For those guys who really would like to understand how the gold rush felt in 1849 I recommend such a trip to Tel Aviv – there is for sure a Bonanza but there are many Desperados at the same time.

I was there in my advisor role for I4X and together with our Country Manager Yuval Harari we meet a couple of Start-Ups. After Europe is facing the issue with eggs and the blockchain efforts of IBM for food safety with major agricultural wholesaler and retailer – we were focusing on start-ups in Israel doing innovative stuff for agriculture.

Start-Ups in Agriculture

The story telling first! If you can cultivate the desert, you can succeed everywhere. The technological bits and pieces are already there. The main focus they are having now is … simply connect the data (weather, IoT from the field, ERP, QS) already available, add a spoon of artificial intelligence (meaning data science, machine learning, deep learning) and urgently find the right partner with the right domain knowledge for potatoes, tomatoes, grapes or whatever you are interested in to improve the quality of the fruits or keep the quality at least transparent across the supply chain.

Deep Learning Meet-Up

I was really impressed about one part of the DLD Tel Aviv conference – the Samsung AI Next Hall. The work I saw about Natural Language Processing and listened to the actual insights in deep learning, was awesome. I gained more insight what Deepmind is publishing and presented in a way how you can follow and understand the latest neuronal network architectures. With the same conclusion – it’s the data and its curation what counts, the rest will be commoditized and Moore’s law will help to make it cheap.

Politics in Tel Aviv

Another highlight was a fireside chat with Aharon Aharon (sic!) and Yossi Vardi. Very interesting how Israel Government is spending their funds across the eco-system – their point of view how to leverage more the diverse population. Motivate more Women and more Arabs to join the technology eco-system. Both groups are under-represented while on the other hand people and talent are missing. A second key to success is to accelerate the start-ups, it’s not only about R&D and the needed MINT people. Once the start-ups are evolving they need a CFO, Marketing, HR and a lot of other functions. And for those you do not need MINT.

Drones

The Head Innovation at UNICEF presented a very interesting initiative in Malawi. UNICEF and Malawi government and a couple of universities opened a Drone test corridor in Malawi. To this corridor everybody is invited to test drone applications and solutions.

Autonomous Driving

The topic around mobility is key for Israel as well. Since 10 years General Motors is represented in Israel, Porsche Consulting represented and Daimler moved there recently. This will be THE moonshot for Germany with their 850000 people working in the automotive industry, having on the one hand Mr Musk disrupting the ‚Antriebsstrang‘ on the other hand there will be in near future no drivers, so no longer emotions linked to their products, no buyers, no insurance necessary, traffic lights obsolete, parking space, obsolete, no petroleum downstream, … what else is related to the car?

Networking Platforms like SOSA

Furthermore we visited SOSA – a platform founded by 25 investors from Israel. It needed 5 minutes to be connected with an Australian company to identify a need which anyline.io can solve.

Tu Felix Austria Invest

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Silicon Austria Initiative in Vienna, Linz, Graz and Villach
More than 280 mEUR were allocated for R&D Centers in Vienna, Linz and Villach for their Electronics Cluster.

Complexity Science Hub in Vienna
The objective of the hub – around Stefan Thurner – is to host, educate, and inspire complex systems scientists who are dedicated to collect, handle, aggregate, and make sense of big data in ways that are directly valuable for science and society.  Focus areas include smart cities, innovation dynamics, medical, social, ecological, and economic systems. CSH is a joint initiative of AIT, IIASA, Medical University of Vienna, TU Graz, TU Wien, and Vienna University of Economics and Business.

Artificial Intelligence Labs in Linz
Upper Austria allocated 12 mEUR to establish an artificial intelligence hub at Johannes Kepler University in Linz around Sepp Hochreiter, Mr LSTM´.

Vienna Contribution to CRISPR-Cas9
The European Patent Office has announced its intention to grant a broad patent for the revolutionary CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing technology to the University of California, the University of Vienna and Emmanuelle Charpentier.

Wexelerate in Vienna
weXelerate is a startup & innovation hub with a unique and thriving ecosystem of open innovation on nearly 9000 sqm that aims to connect startups and established corporates.

What is the next Big Thing from Autocluster in Styria?

 

Why are we not leveraging the Physics in Innsbruck more?
Would be great having a quantum computer there, like IBM’s Zurich Laboratory has made its five-bit quantum computer available to researchers through a cloud service.

And the Austrian Institute for Technology (AIT) is Austria’s largest Research and Technology Organization (RTO) and belong to the first league worldwide in many of their areas of research, but I am not aware about a famous spin-off or start-up coming from this investment.

Artificial Intelligence Everywhere in Austria

 

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Sepp Hochreiter in IBM R&D Rüschlikon presenting his work

In the latest Gartner Emerging Technologies Report they foresee one trend they call AI everywhere. If I look into my Austrian microcosmos I cannot agree more.

Since a couple of years we have within IBM a significant initiative in Austria mainly focusing on Natural Language Programming with a strong focus on the development of a Medical Language Assets.

In the news we find an evidence with Röhn Klinikum in Germany as a first application for this effort. A spin-off from this group is focusing on professional chatbots.

We have now the decision that Sepp Hochreiter – Mr LSTM – will found an AI Lab within JKU university in Linz and even more important – he will stay in Linz.

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Clemens Wasner, Andy Hopper, Alois Saria, Robert Trappl, Hermann Hauser

Last Friday we had an AI event in Wattens in Tyrol with an impressive panel (Hermann Hauser, Andy Hopper, Robert Trappl and Alois Saria), the panel was moderated by Clemens Warner enlite.ai – a recently founded company focusing on artificial intelligence.

On September 4 we see at the Vienna University for Economics an AI Summit conducted by mostly.ai. In February 2018 we expect another event aisummit.at.

With anyline.io we have a real life AI neural network application every day scanning The Sun, used with smart meter roll-outs, scanning passports, scanning documents and used for marketing initiatives.

All together a lot of academic initiatives and very interesting start-ups. But where are the commercial companies? As usual in Austria – Those who are doing are not talking or those who are talking are not doing?