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

letizo News



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.


BTC price holds 6% gains as Bitcoin battles for ‘crucial’ $28K support

letizo News



Bitcoin (BTC) passing $28,000 hints at bullish sentiment, but reclaiming it for good is essential, analysis says.

In an X (formerly Twitter) post on Oct. 17, Yann Allemann and Jan Happel, co-founders of on-chain analytics firm Glassnode, described the $28,000 mark as a “critical milestone” for the BTC price.

Glassnode: “Keep an eye out” for $28,000

After snap volatility, which caused Bitcoin to hit $30,000 for the first time since August, the largest cryptocurrency has managed to preserve some of its gains.

At the time of writing, BTC/USD is circling $28,500, per data from Cointelegraph Markets Pro and TradingView — still up around 6% since the weekly open.

For Allemann and Happel, the pair is now at a defining crossroads.

“The crypto market is hinged on BTC’s ability to breach and consistently maintain a value north of $28k,” part of their commentary stated.

$28,000 has formed a battleground ever since Bitcoin first crossed it in early 2021, and liquidity has traditionally surrounded it as bulls and bears fight to secure control over long-term trajectory.

Data from the trading suite DecenTrader, among others, confirms that the status quo remains despite recent BTC price moves, with $28,000 lying in a zone between major longs and shorts of varying leverage.

Bitcoin liquidity data. Source: DecenTrader

“While this pivotal milestone was momentarily attained on futures, the spot market price peaked at $27.98k earlier today. It’s evident just how crucial this price point is in the larger scheme,” Allemann and Happel added.

“The rapid movements and these price thresholds aren’t just numbers. They signify investor sentiment, market dynamics. Keep an eye out for the 28k level.”

BTC/USD 1-day chart. Source: TradingView

Road to Bitcoin halving contested

As Cointelegraph reported, predictions over what the future will bring for Bitcoin both before and after its next block subsidy halving in April 2024 differ considerably.

Related: Mining BTC is harder than ever — 5 things to know in Bitcoin this week

In an interview last month, DecenTrader co-founder Filbfilb eyed BTC price galvanizing itself for upside during Q4, possibly reaching $46,000 by the halving.

Some well-known market participants, however, remain risk-averse. Among them, popular trader Crypto Tony and others are betting on a pre-halving return to $20,000 for a final local bottom.

“Many can scream they are long right now and caught that move, but if your not taking profit here at resistance your doing something wrong,” he told X subscribers about the recent surge.

“I personally will not be long unless we flip that $28,500 level into support.”

BTC/USD annotated chart. Source: Crypto Tony/X

This article does not contain investment advice or recommendations. Every investment and trading move involves risk, and readers should conduct their own research when making a decision.

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Ripple job posting hints at possible IPO, XRP community says

letizo News



Fintech payments company Ripple released a new job posting on Oct. 16 for a shareholder communications senior manager across multiple locations in and outside the United States. The job posting prompted many crypto enthusiasts to label it as an official hint about the company’s plans to go public.

The job posting outlines that the role will require direct communication with shareholders — a concept generally associated with publicly traded companies. The chosen candidate would be responsible for developing and implementing communication and relationship management strategies for “existing and prospective investors, current shareholders, and financial analysts.”

The job description emphasizes the candidate’s need to create strategic plans specifically suited for situations like “M&A [mergers and acquisitions], investments, liquidity events, and other high-impact moments.“

The role includes creating investor-focused materials like “presentations, fact sheets, case studies, and analyses“ to inform and educate potential investors about the company’s prospects and performance — a necessary component of the initial public offering (IPO) preparation process. The responsibilities of the post also include maintaining a shareholder database and managing routine communications like quarterly updates.

Related: How are crypto firms responding to US regulators’ enforcement actions?

Many XRP (XRP) proponents and the pro-Ripple community on X (formerly Twitter) are referring to the job posting as a hint that there may be an IPO. Some key executives from the company have also alluded to the possibility that Ripple might go public but haven’t given any indication of timing.

The crypto-focused payments company has recently been in the limelight due to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) lawsuit alleging XRP is a security. Ripple scored a major win in the lawsuit in July when a judge ruled that XRP is not a security in terms of sale on digital asset exchanges.

Key Ripple executives have claimed that even though the SEC lawsuit has cost them many business opportunities in the U.S., most of its remittance business lies outside America.

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Banks’ crypto exposure must be disclosed — BIS’ Basel Committee

letizo News



The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) released a consultation paper on Oct. 17, proposing to make it compulsory for banks to disclose their crypto exposure.

The Basel Committee comprises central banks and financial authorities from 28 jurisdictions and is a forum for regulatory cooperation on banking supervisory matters. The latest consultation paper is based on the disclosure guidelines in the final prudential standard on how banks should handle their exposure to crypto assets released in December 2022.

The consultation paper aims to set a standardized “disclosure table and set of templates for banks’ crypto-asset exposures,” with a proposed implementation date of Jan. 1, 2025. The Basel Committee has opened the proposal for public comment until Jan. 31, 2024, after which the results will be published on its website.

Under the new proposed regulations, banks would be required to provide quantitative data on exposures to crypto assets and the corresponding capital and liquidity requirements. Banks would also be required to offer qualitative data on their activities linked to cryptocurrencies.

Additionally, banks would be required to offer information on the accounting classifications of their exposure to crypto assets and liabilities. In its proposal, the committee claimed that using a uniform disclosure format will encourage the application of market discipline and lessen information asymmetry between banks and market participants.

Related: Ripple joins BIS cross-border payments task force

The committee also reviewed crypto assets and bank exposure in June. At the time, the committee didn’t delve deeply into the topic, mentioning only that it was focusing on permissionless blockchains and the eligibility criteria for “Group 1” stablecoins.

The BIS has been actively involved in crypto consultations and examining the regulatory aspect of decentralized technology. Recently, the BIS and a handful of European central banks published details of a concept to develop a system to track international flows of cryptocurrencies.

Magazine: Blockchain detectives: Mt. Gox collapse saw birth of Chainalysis

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