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Exponentially-advancing digital technologies

China’s quantum link from Beijing to Shanghai is near completion

Researchers from the University of Science and Technology in China are about to finish a 2,000 kilometer fiber optic link which will be used to connect quantum networks in four cities in the country. The link will start from Beijing and end in Shanghai and will be intended for secure communications that cannot be hacked theoretically. The process to be accomplished is called quantum key distribution (QKD), which creates shared cryptographic keys, sequences of random bits, that can be used to encrypt and decrypt data. A quantum science satellite has already been launched in August that will test the distribution of keys beyond China's borders. QKD technology has already been used in 2007 to secure the sending of votes from an election in Sweden. It was also accomplished by a firm in the US called Battelle to transmit information securely from a company's headquarters to its production facility.

Key Takeaway: 

China’s quantum link, a 2-kilometer fiber optic link which will serve as the backbone for secure quantum communications and will run from Beijing to Shanghai, is near completion.

Publication: 
Publication Date: 
October 26, 2016

Intel’s venture capital firm to invest $38 million in startups

Intel Capital is investing $38 million in a dozen startups focused on autonomous machines, data and connectivity, sports and health, and virtual reality. One of the robotics firms, Chronocam, is creating computer vision sensors and systems that are like the biological human eye. Embodied is making socially assistive robots while Perrone Robotics is developing a software platform for autonomous vehicles and robots. Among the four startups focused on data and connectivity, two are China-based: Eazytec which provides IoT technologies for monitoring the water and air in China and Grand Chip Microelectronics which offers connectivity solutions for WLAN, Wi-Fi, cellular and IoT. The two others are Paxata, which is working on a business information platform that turns raw data into meaningful information for enterprise and IT users and StealthMine, which is securing data encryption for enterprise applications. Sports and health firms Cubeworks, Kinduct and L4Connect are developing tiny millimeter-sized wireless sensors, a data and analytics platform, and dashboards respectively. Virtual reality startup Dysonics is working on solutions that will enable people to capture 360-degree sounds for live VR experiences. Lastly, InContext Solutions is helping manufacturers and retailers simulate their products and services in virtual reality.

Key Takeaway: 

Intel Capital, Intel’s venture capital firm, is investing $38 million in 12 startups focused on robotics, IoT connectivity and data analytics, sports, health and wellness, as well as virtual reality, with technologies that are ground-breaking and could be useful for various customer markets such as the enterprise, health and wellness organizations.

Publication: 
Publication Date: 
October 24, 2016

Former mayor Michael Bloomberg plans to get cities ready for driverless cars

Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg plans to develop policy recommendations for cities to get them ready for the coming of self-driving cars. His philantrophic arm Bloomberg Philantrophies and the Aspen Institute will reach out to mayors, academics and experts to talk and plan about the future of autonomous vehicles. As a start, five cities will serve as testing grounds, including Austin, Los Angeles, Nashville, Buenos Aires and Paris, with five more cities to be announced by the end of the year. According to The Washington Post, key issues cities need to look at are road maintenance, workers' training, institution design and land use planning. It is also an opportunity for cities to address pedestrian safety, carbon reduction and economic mobility, said James Anderson of Bloomberg Philanthropies.

Key Takeaway: 

Former mayor and philantrophist Michael Bloomberg plans to have a discussion with mayors, the academe and experts to talk about policy recommendations cities can adopt as more driverless cars are expected on roads in the near future.

Market Disruptions: 
Publication: 
Publication Date: 
October 24, 2016

Microsoft’s neural network at par with humans in recognizing speech

Microsoft's artificial intelligence program has reached the accuracy level of a professional human transcriber in recognizing speech, achieving the same error rate of 5.9%, an improvement from its record of 6.3% just a month ago. The overall score is a measurement of how the AI and the human transcriptionists did on three indicators - how many times both wrongly substituted sounds, omitted a word, or inserted the wrong word. According to Microsoft's chief speech scientist Xuedong Huang, achieving parity with a human is a historic achievement. The company used 2,000 hours of data to train its neural network. Improved automated speech recognition systems can enhance current speech-to-text services as well as Cortana, adding features that could allow the deaf to understand spoken words.

Key Takeaway: 

Microsoft’s neural network performed as accurately as a professional human transcriptionist at recognizing speech with an error rate of 5.9%; the improvement can introduce better speech-to-text systems and artificial intelligence assistants that can aid the deaf to hear.

Publication: 
Publication Date: 
October 19, 2016

Singapore will pilot autonomous buses and real-time monitoring of rail system

The Singaporean Land Transport Authority in partnership with the Nanyang Technology University will test the use of two driverless buses within the Jurong Innovation District to improve road safety, reduce vehicle congestion and pollution, and address manpower challenges. The autonomous buses will be driving along a pre-determined route and will be recharged at bus stops. Heavy focus is being placed by LTA on road safety as the project announcement came a day after a crash incident involving nuTonomy, which was testing its autonomous cars in the One North Business District. The two parties will also develop a real-time monitoring system for its national rail network to identify potential defects without disrupting operations.

Key Takeaway: 

The transport regulator of Singapore in partnership with the NTU will pilot the use of autonomous buses in the Jurong Innovation District to address transportation-related issues.

Publication: 
Publication Date: 
October 19, 2016

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