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‘AI has killed the industry’: EasyTranslate boss on adapting to change

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The launch of generative AI products over the past nine months has the world talking about how it will change the future. Many are frightened. Others are excited about the opportunity.

A report last month from Next Move Strategy Consulting predicts the AI industry will grow 20x in the next seven years, creating a $2 trillion business, up from its current value of $100 billion. It might sound like wild hype, but other analysts from McKinsey, Morgan Stanley and BlackRock all map out a similar trajectory. AI is here to stay, and a lot of human lives will be upended. But it’s also the chance of a lifetime.

Frederik Pedersen, the co-founder of Danish AI company EasyTranslate and son of one of Denmark’s most famous men, is approaching the future head-on.

“I have been saying for a long time that translation is dead and AI has killed the industry as we know it, but that hasn’t gone down particularly well with my competitors. Now, however, those same people are listening and are realising that they may be too late if they want to transform their business.”

Son of Danish politician Klaus Riskær Pedersen

It’s not easy to be the child of a powerful person, as has been recently and brilliantly illustrated by the TV series Succession. If there’s a Logan Roy in the family, it’s difficult for the child to be their own person.

Some crash and burn; some, such as singers Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus, try to shock their parents by being outlandish and independent. It’s rarely a good look.

Others, however, do it in smarter ways and emerge from that parental shadow by adopting different mechanisms to build their own reputation. 

In the case of Pederson, now 35, it was technology that enabled him to do so. First, with translation software, and now, generative AI has overtaken it.

Frederik Pederson knows how to pivot
Pederson knows how to pivot. (Supplied)

His dad, Klaus Riskær Pedersen, is a controversial Danish political party leader, entrepreneur, businessman and author. Everybody in Denmark knows his name.

His chequered career includes being a member of the European Parliament for the Liberal Party, writing books, developing, building and selling around 15 companies over three decades. He set up his own political party in 2018.

But there have been controversies. He has several convictions for fraud and has spent different spells in jail, as well as splitting Danish public opinion and having the social life that goes with such apparent conviviality. 

At first, (Frederik) Pedersen suffered. In and out of schools, he tried to find a way of acceptance and struggled. He didn’t make it to university, but he did know about technology and became interested in its power and consequently found a way to plow his own furrow.

“It took me some time to find a direction, but slowly I realized that the world was all about communication. I knew I was from a privileged family, but educators always seemed to have a lack of empathy and communication when I was a child. I was made to feel different, and it was a difficult place to be.

“But I came through it, and those life lessons set me up for all the changes that life throws at you. So I set up a translation company, and now I’m pivoting the company into generative AI because of the huge opportunity it offers humanity, not least the same elements of communication,” says Pedersen.

Early access to OpenAI’s ChatGPT

The AI light started to dawn on him back in 2020.

That year, Pedersen applied to the Danish Innovation Fund for a 65,000 euro grant to create a content generator engine that would enable him to create a new form of translation:

“I realized that the biggest issue in e-commerce when it came to languages was not translation in itself, but creating localized content for retailers’ different products that customers could relate to,” he explains, adding the company spent the money to train “neural networks to create these product descriptions.”

Also read: AI Eye — Real uses for AI in crypto, Google’s GPT-4 rival, AI edge for bad employees

A neural network is a type of machine learning process called deep learning that uses interconnected nodes or neurons in a layered structure that resembles the human brain.

“We branded it content-as-a-service and couldn’t believe we were one of the first companies to do it,” he says, though it ended up proving the old adage that being early is the same as being wrong.

“Ultimately we were ahead of the technology and while our technology could build sentences, it just wasn’t good enough for our customers.”

This first effort was not wasted time and money, however, as it meant the company was able to hit the ground running when large language models were released publicly. EasyTranslate obtained early access to ChatGPT because it already had an account with OpenAI and was able to adopt and execute the technology instantly.

From that point, EasyTranslate pivoted to a generative AI content future based on Pedersen’s thesis that traditional translation was indeed “dead.”

Translation meets technology

It was not the first change in direction for Pedersen’s company. Formed in 2010 without venture capital, the translation service grew quickly.

In 2016, it went after bigger fish and started offering interpretation services to the Danish government after realizing there was an opportunity with the launch of Apple’s FaceTime. According to Pedersen, interpreters were super-expensive, inefficient and slow, and travel for in-person events wasn’t exactly “climate change-friendly.” 

Pedersen created a video interpretation app that streamlined costs and increased efficiency by offering a marketplace and matching service for interpreters as well as remote interpreter services. 

Danish municipalities signed up for the service, including the Danish Ministry of Justice, recognizing that bringing an interpreter to a court was a very expensive business, especially due to the often last-minute nature of such needs.

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Danish operation a success, but the patient died

At its height, the company was running 1,000 interpretation meetings a day, and between 2017 and 2019, it was responsible for more than 70% of the Danish government’s interpretation business.

However, Pedersen says the Danish government had never outsourced such business, and the relationship turned sour.

Pedersen believes that AI and humans can work together in harmony
Pedersen believes that AI and humans can work together in harmony. (Supplied)

“It was a very mutual and fruitful relationship for a long time, but we realized that working with governments was more difficult than we imagined. It was like the cliche of a heavy tanker not being able to turn around.

“Again, it was the first learning curve for me. Yes, our data processing wasn’t as good as it could have been and working with antiquated systems and reasoning was very difficult.

“Eventually, the Danish government decided they didn’t want to carry on with our relationship. It was hard at the time, but I still believe we succeeded, and we learned a lot,” he says. 

“Let’s just say, the operation was a success, but the patient died. There was also a lot of opposition from the strong Danish trade unions who thought we were putting people out of jobs.”

“But it was not about putting people out of jobs, it was working with technology in the same way we work with AI now. Our interpreters who decided to join our community were extremely happy with our software. They said it was like having a PA that coordinated their calendar and ensured them productive days with the highest possible earnings — they managed to increase those earnings.”

Impact of AI on jobs

The impact of AI technology on employment is a source of great anxiety for many, with some predicting entire industries will be wiped out, while others suggest jobs will change and evolve rather than disappear.

A recent study by the International Labour Organization found that women will be disproportionately affected by automation, with around 7.8% of jobs held by women in high-income countries (or 21 million) likely to be automated, but only 2.9% of jobs held by men (9 million).

Translation is a highly gendered industry too, with women accounting for around 67% of translators.

Pedersen’s thinking about the essential human element in technology — be that content generation or generative AI — is now central to EasyTranslate’s business.

Also read: AI Eye — Get better results being nice to ChatGPT, AI fake child porn debate, Amazon’s AI reviews

He believes that the combination of humans and AI is more powerful than just letting the AI do everything, using the example of a hard-working high school student who was angry at classmates for using AI to cheat.

Instead of cheating herself, she asked ChapGPT to mark her already-written essay. It sorted out the grammar and typos, and it gave her extra resources and links to improve her work beyond that of the cheater.

“In business, everybody is looking for the magic of balance in the marketplace, that sweet spot where pricing, innovation and technology are aligned. We are also doing that when it comes to AI and humans; we want that magic balance there as well,” he says.

Humans still required in the loop

He cites “humans in the loop” as the way forward for humans and machines. Generative AI can do the heavy lifting, and humans can finish and finesse the job. It creates content in any language generated by AI but enhanced by humans.

“There are others in business, such as Reuters, who also profess the ‘humans in the loop’ phrase. Again, I’ve been saying for a long time that this is the way forward to make both technology and humans better.

“By harnessing the power of both and increasing machine learning in the process, I believe that the current dominance of LLMs will be replaced by small language models that can be tailored exactly for the customer — open source generative AI — that will be the future.”

“That’s what we’re planning for and how the whole AI sector will play out. Those companies that are prepared for that will prosper; those who aren’t will fail,” he says.

Since Pedersen’s pivot to AI at the end of 2022, there has been increased investor interest in EasyTranslate, and the company raised 2.75 million euros earlier this year

“We think that we’ve been ahead of our time, and that thinking has led us to embrace AI and take us to the next level. AI itself is just the mirror of what humanity has already created; AI is really the technological history of human knowledge.

“I think it’s obvious that the two are perfectly compatible, that magic balance, so as generative AI evolves, so will those humans in the loop. Nobody with a good and adaptive brain will lose their job; their jobs and roles will be better and more creative,” he concludes.

His father should be proud.

Monty Mumford

Monty Munford

Monty Munford writes regularly for the BBC, The Economist and City AM and has been a tech columnist for Forbes and The Telegraph. He also runs a growth and visibility consultancy and has appeared at more than 200 events and conferences, interviewing figures such as Tim Draper, the late John McAfee, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, Steve Wozniak, Kim Kardashian, Guns N’ Roses and many others.

Cryptocurrency

Bitcoin Surges to $63,000 as US Whales and Institutions Drive Buying Spree

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Bitcoin has returned to the $63,000 level during early trading on Monday, July 15. This marks a two-week high, prompting some analysts to suggest that the downtrend has broken.

On July 15, on-chain analytics platform CryptoQuant suggested that the move has been driven by “U.S. whales” as institutional Bitcoin purchases increase again.

Coinbase Premium Gap

Analysts looked at the Coinbase premium gap to determine the trend shift.

“Looking at the Coinbase premium gap, the movement of U.S. whales, which had a selling trend, has recently become buy.”

The Coinbase premium gap is the difference between the Coinbase Pro price (USD pair) and the Binance price (USDT pair). High premium values could indicate strong buying pressure from investors in the United States.

CryptoQuant analysts added that so far, “it is only a rebound that slightly compensates for the decline.”

However, the fact that Bitcoin rebounded on the weekend means that additional funds can be expected to flow into spot Bitcoin ETFs on weekdays, they added before concluding that there is a possibility of more upward momentum. More than a billion dollars flowed into spot Bitcoin ETFs in America last week. However, retail trading remained subdued.

CryptoQuant concluded that the market was due to a period of recovery following a prolonged pullback.

“Even from a psychological perspective, it appears to be a good period for Bitcoin to rebound, as market participants have already experienced fear and frustration due to a considerable period of adjustment.”

Market analyst ‘Rekt Capital’ noted that the downtrend had been broken when the asset topped $61,500, and BTC was about to reclaim the post-halving reaccumulation range.

Fellow analyst Michaël van de Poppe commented, “Global uncertainty is rising after the assassination attempt on Trump.”

He added that this was an “ideal climate” for Bitcoin to go upwards consistently.

BTC Price Outlook

With BTC reclaiming $63,000 on July 15, the next level of resistance lies around the $65,000 price zone, which was last breached on June 20.

At the time of writing, the asset was trading at just over $63,000, following a gain of 4.7% over the past 24 hours.

Moreover, total market capitalization has increased by over $100 billion in rare weekend trading activity, largely influenced by the Donald Trump assassination attempt.

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BNB Smart Chain Losses Dropped 83% in Q2 2024: Security Report

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[PRESS RELEASE – Dubai, UAE, July 15th, 2024]

  • BNB Chain experienced a decrease of ~83.3% in total amount loss in Q2 2024 in comparison to Q2 2023
  • Moreover, in Q2, 2024 BNB Chain experienced a ~19% decrease in total losses and a ~18.6% decrease in the number of security incidents compared to Q1, 2024

Salus, the Web3 security firm tackling the most complex security challenges through fundamental scientific research, has today released its BNB Chain 2024 Security Report. The report provides an in-depth analysis of the security events that unfolded on BNB Smart Chain (BSC) during the second quarter of 2024 and reveals a significant security milestone of an 83.3% reduction in financial losses on BSC between Q2 2024 and Q2 2023. In addition, its findings show that in Q2, 2024 BNB Chain experienced a ~19% decrease in total losses and a ~18.6% decrease in the number of security incidents compared to Q1, 2024.

Alongside the in-depth analysis of the security incidents that took place on BSC in Q2 2024, the report also delves into the types of projects targeted. It highlights common attack techniques used during this period and presents data regarding the financial losses incurred, including:

  • Significant improvement in Q2, 2024: Loss amount on BSC dropped by 19% to ~$11.7m in Q2 2024 compared to Q1, 2024 and a ~83.3% decrease in total loss amount on BSC in Q2, 2024 compared to Q2, 2023. This demonstrates the success of security measures and the continuous commitment to enhancing the security of the BNB Chain ecosystem.
  • A look at the blockchain industry: In Q2, BSC represented 5.97% of the total $95,552,224 stolen across all chains.
  • Types of attacks and threats: The most frequent attack vectors were contract vulnerabilities and exit scams. In Q2, there was a noticeable decrease in both the total amount and the number of incidents compared to Q1. The total amount in Q2 was $11,731,093, down from $14,446,914 reported in Q1. The number of incidents in Q2 was 35, down from 43 in Q1.

BNB Chain continues to be a strong industry player, demonstrating its robust performance and boasting growing daily active users and transaction count. The report highlights a quarter with a notable reduction in both the total amount lost and the number of security incidents. The total financial impact shows a clear improvement, underscoring the effectiveness of the security measures that have been put in place.

These results are a testament to the resilience and proactive efforts of the BNB Chain team and community. The landscape of blockchain security is ever-evolving, and going forward, BNB Chain’s AvengerDAO will keep improving its ability to:

  • Identify scam projects early
  • Focus on projects with large liquidity
  • Monitor malicious activities and mitigate hacks as early as possible
  • Expand its reach and actively inform users of risks

Users can view the Security Report here.

About BNB Chain

BNB Chain is a community-driven blockchain ecosystem that is removing barriers to Web3 adoption. It is composed of:

  • BNB Smart Chain (BSC): A secure DeFi hub with the lowest gas fees of any EVM-compatible L1; serves as the ecosystem’s governance chain.
  • opBNB: A scalability L2 that delivers some of the lowest gas fees of any L2 and rapid processing speeds.
  • BNB Greenfield: Meets decentralized storage needs for the ecosystem and lets users establish their own data marketplaces.

Setting a high bar for security, the AvengerDAO community protects BNB Chain users while Red Alarm provides a real-time risk-scanner for Dapps. The ecosystem also offers a range of monetary and ecosystem rewards as part of its Builder Support Program.

For more, users can follow BNB Chain on X or start exploring via BNB’s Dapp library.

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Ripple v SEC Lawsuit: One Year Anniversary Since the Company’s Biggest Partial Court Win

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TL;DR

  • Ripple’s partial court victory a year ago, where certain XRP sales were not deemed securities, boosted the asset’s price. The ongoing trial continues with disputes over penalties.
  • XRP rose 23% in the past week, likely due to speculation that the lawsuit may soon conclude.

One Year Passed by

Despite the numerous developments in the past several months, the legal spat between Ripple and the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) remains ongoing. It all started in December 2020 when the regulator sued the company and some of its executives, accusing them of conducting an unregistered securities offering via XRP sales. 

Ripple achieved a significant court victory almost exactly a year ago (on July 13) when Judge Torres ruled that its programmatic sales to secondary trading platforms do not constitute offers of investment contracts. The decision fueled a massive rally for XRP, whose price shot by over 70% in a matter of hours, surpassing the $0.80 mark. 

Shortly after, the magistrates dismissed the SEC’s intention to appeal the ruling, while CEO Brad Garlinghouse and Executive Chairman Chris Larsen were cleared of all charges brought by the agency. 

According to some industry participants, those triumphs (yet partial ones) gave Ripple the upper hand in the battle. That said, a resolution in favor of the company could trigger massive volatility and a potential uptick in XRP’s price (similar to what was witnessed after the previous victories).

The lawsuit entered its trial phase in April this year. Instead of an outcome, though, it keeps offering additional confrontation. A bone of contention is the size of Ripple’s potential penalty. The SEC initially sought a staggering $2 billion fine, while the company insisted on a sum no larger than $10 million. 

Ripple also pointed to Judge Amy Jackson’s decision to dismiss the SEC’s claims that secondary market sales of Binance’s BNB token constituted securities transactions. It filed a Notice of Supplemental Authority, arguing that the ruling supports its case that the alleged illegal sales of XRP do not warrant “harsh remedies.”

The SEC maintained that the lawsuit against Binance is “wholly irrelevant” to the one against Ripple. On the other hand, it softened its tone, proposing a reduced penalty of $102.6 million.

XRP Price Outlook

Ripple’s native token has been among the best performers in the crypto market in the past several days. It is up by 23% on a weekly scale, briefly surpassing the $0.55 mark for the first time since early May (per CoinGecko’s data).

One possible reason could be the increased expectation that the lawsuit is drawing to an end. Some of the people speculating that an official agreement could be announced as early as this summer include the American lawyers Fred Rispoli and Jeremy Hogan. 

Those curious to learn more about the case and its potential impact on XRP’s price, feel free to take a look at our dedicated video below:

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