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Featured December 29, 2022

Fidelity Files to Trademark Financial Advice and NFT Markets in Metaverse



Fidelity Files to Trademark Financial Advice and NFT Markets in Metaverse

Asset manager Fidelity Investments has applied to trademark financial investment services and a non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace in the metaverse, according to new filings made in the U.S.

The filings show that Fidelity also intends to trademark a cryptocurrency trading platform as well as virtual real estate services in the metaverse. The multiple applications were made to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on Dec. 21.

Also read: Is The New AI Search You.Com Better Than Google? 

‘Fidelity has plans for the metaverse’

Trademark attorney Mike Kondoudis was the first to bring the news to light. He tweeted on Dec. 27 that “Fidelity has plans for the metaverse.”

Fidelity says it plans to offer a range of investment services in the metaverse and other virtual worlds. This ncludes mutual funds, retirement funds, investment management and financial planning.

Metaverse services will also cover electronic bill payments, “financial administration of credit card accounts”, funds transfer and other finance-related services. Fidelity is looking to offer non-fungible tokens that “feature textual and graphical content”.

The company plans to provide an online NFT marketplace where people can buy and sell “digital media.” The trademark applications also reveal intentions to offer cryptocurrency exchange and wallet services in the metaverse.

Fidelity Investments will provide educational services that cover issues such as “conducting classes, workshops, seminars and conferences in the field of investments and in the field of marketing financial services in the metaverse and other virtual worlds.”

Metaverse rush: Big brands seek to gain foothold

Fidelity Investments is one of the largest mutual fund companies in the U.S, with more than $4 trillion in assets under management as of March 2022. The 76-year old privately-owned company manages retirement plans and provides wealth management services along with 401(k) rollovers, among other offerings.

Fidelity is not the first financial services entity to have filed trademarks to join the metaverse. A number of leading big brands across different industries are rushing to gain a foothold in Web3. The list includes Mastercard, HSBC, Capital One and others.

Other financial firms are already operating in the metaverse. SEBA Bank now offers custody services for non-fungible tokens built on the Ethereum blockchain. Sygnum is providing lessons on the future of finance and other innovative products in the metaverse.

Put simply, Web3 is the idea of an Internet that is decentralized and powered by technologies of blockchain tech and token-based economics. Non-fungible crypto tokens (NFT) are expected to play a key role in Web3 as a medium of exchange.

Image credits: Shutterstock, CC images, Midjourney.


Donald Trump Coming Back to Facebook and Instagram, Says Meta



Donald Trump Coming Back to Facebook and Instagram, Says Meta
Soon in a phone near you.

Meta has said it will restore the Facebook and Instagram accounts of former U.S. President Donald Trump “in the coming weeks,” ending a two-year suspension.

Trump, who has 34 million followers on Facebook and 23 million on Instagram, was banned from both platforms following the Capitol riots on Jan. 6, 2021. Meta said that the real estate billionaire was barred for his “praise for people engaged in violence at the Capitol.”

Also read: Twitter ElonJet Ban Raises Questions About Elon Musk’s Free Speech Ideals

In a Jan. 25 blog post, Meta’s president of global affairs Nick Clegg, said the social media company will reinstate Trump’s accounts in the coming weeks but “with new guardrails in place to deter repeat offenses.”

“Like any other Facebook or Instagram user, Mr Trump is subject to our community standards,” Clegg, a former UK deputy prime minister, wrote.

“In the event that Mr Trump posts further violating content, the content will be removed and he will be suspended for between one month and two years, depending on the severity of the violation.”

Donald Trump ban divided opinion

The decision to ban Trump was incredibly divisive. Before his ban, Meta, the world’s biggest social media firm, “had never suspended the account of a sitting head of state for violating its content rules.” Meta suspended the then-U.S. president’s accounts indefinitely.

Explaining the decision, Clegg said the suspension was “an extraordinary decision taken in extraordinary circumstances.” Meta referred the case on whether to permanently ban Trump to its independent oversight board.

The board upheld the decision but criticized the open-ended nature of the suspension and the lack of clear criteria for when and whether suspended accounts will be restored. It directed Meta to review the decision and the company said it would do so two years after the ban.

Clegg said a review has now found that Trump’s accounts no longer posed a serious risk to public safety, which would otherwise warrant an extension of the “suspension beyond the original two-year period”.

Eventually, Meta decided that its platforms should be available for “open, public and democratic debate” and that users “should be able to hear from a former President of the United States, and a declared candidate for that office again.”

“The public should be able to hear what their politicians are saying – the good, the bad and the ugly – so that they can make informed choices at the ballot box,” said Clegg.

Trump announced he will be running for the U.S. presidency again in 2024. Meta’s decision to reinstate Trump has divided opinion. While Republicans praised the move as a victory for free speech, Democrat Adam Schiff criticized it as “dangerous”.

Donald Trump claims Facebook ‘lost billions’ after his ban

In a post on Truth Social, reshared by others on Twitter, Trump responded saying, Facebook “lost billions of dollars in value since deplatforming your favorite President, me…”

“Such a thing should never again happen to a sitting President, or anybody else who is not deserving of retribution!” he added. Trump, who founded Truth Social after his Facebook ban, did not say if or when he would start posting on Meta apps again.

Donald Trump was also suspended on Twitter, YouTube and SnapChat following the Capitol riots. New Twitter CEO Elon Musk reinstated the account in November last year but the former president is yet to post anything there.

Some reports suggested the silence is due to an exclusivity agreement he has with Truth Social, which requires him to post all news to the app six hours in advance of any other platform. That agreement expires in June.

Truth Social

Trump launched Truth Social, a right-wing social network created to challenge the likes of Twitter, in February 2022.

The social network brands itself as “America’s ‘big tent’ social media platform.” Truth Social claims that it “encourages an open, free, and honest global conversation without discriminating on the basis of political ideology.”

In August, the app reached number 25 on Apple’s App Store rankings for social media apps. Truth Social has weathered reports of financial difficulty, regulatory issues and a ban from the Google Playstore, to continue to see impressive growth throughout 2022.

However, the platform could face problems again should Trump start utilizing Facebook and Twitter like he did in the past. The former president boasts a following of 5 million on Truth Social, which is far much smaller compared to the followers he has on the platforms that banned him.

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How Artificial Intelligence (A.I) Can Help to Combat Fake News



How Artificial Intelligence (A.I) Can Help to Combat Fake News

Recent technological advancements like the internet have vastly improved the speed and the mode of communication, but they have given rise to a new problem, “fake news.”

Fake news is a false story or information peddled to push a narrative or the cause of the source. Every internet user, at some point, has come across fake news. The stories are usually written to sensationalize or muddle the truth and are spread faster than the truth, according to a 2018 research.

Essentially, the chances of an internet user receiving accurate information are relatively small. As a result, most internet users are susceptible to consuming twisted or falsified materials that fit a narrative.

How A.I. combats fake news and bias

With the fake news menace fast spreading, new technological advancements in artificial intelligence (A.I.) have been developed to curb its spread.

A.I. programs can perform linguistic analysis on the textual content to look for word patterns, syntactic structure, and readability. This analysis helps A.I. distinguish between computer-generated content and the ones produced by humans. The programs can also examine texts to check for hate speech in word vectors, word placements, and even connotations.

Fake News

Source: Merriam Webster

One major project that has helped in combating fake news is Fandango. Fandango is the brainchild of the European Union aimed at addressing “the aggressive emergence of fake news and post-truth effect.” The program crawls the internet to identify identical claims that fact-checkers have verified as false.

The program helps journalists track the source of false information and curb it before they get out of hand.

To verify claims and combat misinformation, Politifact, Snopes, and FactCheck engage human specialists to investigate the authenticity of reports. Upon proving a false claim, A.I. programs are deployed to crawl the web for similar information. These programs also issue reputation scores to website articles after it has verified their authenticity.

However, the reputation scores are issued following the completion of Sentiment Analysis, Opinion Analysis, Revision Analysis, and Propaganda Analysis. Sentiment analysis entails the examination of the journalist’s attitude toward the news. At the same time, Opinion Analysis examines whether the article is riddled with personal feelings, viewpoints, convictions, or assessments.

Revision analysis checks for a news story’s impact on public perception and mood. Propaganda Analysis also helps discover potential false information using different persuasion strategies. By combining the four analyses, A.I. helps verify the authenticity of claims and eliminate bias from the writers.

The challenges

While A.I. technologies like G.P.T. -3 have come close to replicating human-made materials, it is still far from attaining perfection. At some point, most A.I.s have even been accused of contributing to the spread of fake news and even bias. However, this can be credited to their use of Machine Learning which relies on human information.

There have also been issues of racial discrimination when using A.I. technologies. An M.I.T. Media Labs investigation uncovered flaws in facial recognition that resulted in a Netflix documentary.

Another visible issue is the inability of A.I. technologies to recognize humor and parody. As a result, it can misread real stories for fake ones if they are presented in a joking manner.

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New Metaverse Product M3 is Focused on Senior Citizens Healthcare



New Metaverse Product M3 is Focused on Senior Citizens Healthcare

Two Lubin graduates, Chuk Ezuma and Rikin Gajjar, have developed the wearable M3 metaverse glass concept to cater to US aging population care services via the metaverse.

M3 is a traditional eyeglasses-like wearable product that allows health professionals like medical doctors to provide services for these demographics. With the product, a patient does not necessarily have to physically visit the hospital as the individual — after logging into Zoom or Microsoft Teams —  is attended to by an M3-wearing medical practitioner who communicates with the patient while accessing all necessary medical records.

M3 is unlike the usual VR headset

Per Pace University, the M3’s design is unlike the usual virtual reality headset. The prototype is said to be very much like an eyeglass. The developers believe that their novel approach would give them a competitive edge over rivals in the market.

Speaking on the product, Gajjar said:

“We want to save nurses time. Plus, older patients might not be able to drive, or getting to a hospital could be a headache. That’s our mission—save time and provide the best care.”

M3 was presented at a technology competition with participants from various schools like the University of Maryland, Columbia Business School, etc.

Experts urge for more senior citizens-focused metaverse products

While it seems the metaverse might be limited to young adults, senior citizens can also utilize it for healthcare purposes. Senior citizens can use the metaverse to access medical services and even attend therapy sessions. The metaverse can deliver virtual medical consultation services using advanced technology.

Based on the above, several experts believe that the metaverse could change how senior citizens get medical attention and quality healthcare services. This is why many of them are urging businesses in the metaverse to create more products that cater to the needs of the elderly.

New Metaverse Product M3 is Focused on Senior Citizens Healthcare

Source: Forbes

The CEO of Rendever, Kyle Rand, said senior citizens’ love for the metaverse is “growing and tangible.” According to Rand, businesses in the healthcare industry could tap into the numerous opportunities the metaverse provides by developing an age-inclusive technology.

“The future of aging depends on products and technologies that deliver and motivate older users to jump in again and again.”

Rand said these businesses could build products around travel experiences, fitness, community building, and even family connection for senior citizens. The CEO believes this move would be lucrative for these businesses and boost rapid adoption of metaverse technologies considering older adults spend over $8 trillion each year.

An article by Christos Tsagjkaris and others argued that healthcare professionals must call for an elderly-inclusive virtual environment that provides a safe and enriching user experience.

Countries tap metaverse for better healthcare services

The metaverse has revolutionized several industries, including the health space. Recently, several countries have made strides toward embracing the area.

A recent report revealed Saudi Arabia was launching the biggest virtual hospital in the world. The Chinese health sector has also been positively impacted by the growth made in the metaverse.

Over the years, experts have discovered that the metaverse could be handy in providing telemedicine services and record storage services via the blockchain. Through the metaverse, medical practitioners can assess their patients while providing other healthcare services.

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