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In the heart of downtown Seattle lies Amazon Go — a store concept that grabbed headlines after its beta phase opened to the public this year. Its concept could mean that the retail industry could slowly be powered y AI. But the concept already faces competition as tech startups emerge to introduce similar technologies to autonomous retail stores. For starters, Amazon Go ‘Just Walk Out’ technology allows users to scan and go, making them dodge lengthy wait lines, dismissing any interactions with human cashiers (because there are none). Through the Amazon Go app, users scan QR codes as hundreds of regular and infrared cameras, camouflaged with the colorRead More →

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Wall Street is looking towards Silicon Valley for a more automated environment and a tech-driven approach. A July 2016 report by CB Insights showed that 41 startups may be introducing AI to fintech. Of the many big names, Goldman Sachs remained dominant in backing as many as four companies that use AI in financial technology. As many as 658 AI deals were closed and $5021 billion was spent on funding the AI startups in 2016, according to the report. With total AI investment gaining momentum across different industries, an increasing number of companies are branching out to offer a variety of services that range from creditRead More →

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From advertising and promotion to selling and feedback, marketing chatbots are reducing the cost for companies, saving time, increasing efficiency and creating larger awareness for brands. Here are five reasons why chatbots are a perfect companion for marketing : 1. Personalized Advertising Chatbots get rid of the biggest hurdle that advertising faces — unwanted promotional emails. In a 2017 survey conducted by Adobe Digital Insights, a little more than two-thirds of respondents preferred personalized ads. Personalized chatbots ensure a high level of accuracy for personalizing offerings according to customers’ needs. Established brands like eBay and 1–800-Flowers were early adopters of personalized marketing system but with IBM Watson, more and more companies are adopting similarRead More →

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While a reliable method to accurately identify suicidal patients is missing from medical literature, researchers are continually striving for AI-solutions to predict and prevent suicidal attempts. Suicide is cited as the 10th leading cause of death and is one of three leading causes on the rise, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). AI tools are diligently being deployed to address the rising suicide risk. Machine Learning for Identifying Suicidal Thoughts In a recent research, researchers from Vanderbilt University applied machine learning (ML) to overcome the limitations of traditional methods that predict suicide attempts by looking into the electronic health records of adult patients. The outcomes showedRead More →

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Financial technology, or fintech, refers to innovations aimed at new ways of delivering financial services. With the goal of changing lives, fintech startups in Africa are moving people forward on a digital route. Fortunately, such firms have no lack of funding. According to a recent report from Disrupt Africa, the overall funding from venture capitalists jumped by 51 percent to $195 million from 2016 to 2017, with fintech funding accounting for one-third of the funds. The regions that were considered the top three investment destinations were South Africa, Nigeria, and Kenya. Over the past several months, the African tech scene has trended in a positive directionRead More →

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In 2006, marketing commentator Michael Palmer had blogged, “Data is just like crude. It’s valuable, but if unrefined it cannot really be used.” After nine years, the statement still holds true across any industry that depends on large volumes of data. It is true that until and unless, data is not broken down into pieces and analyzed, it holds little value. As the world becomes more receptive to the advantages of big data, the oil industry does not seem to be far behind. If the huge amount of data is just stored, then it has little worth and so, for it to be useful, itRead More →

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At the Mobile World Congress, Mastercard recently announced that it was teaming up with Facebook to provide small businesses in Africa and Asia with an affordable and simple on-ramp for accepting mobile payments. The partnership will help unbanked retailers and merchants in the regions open bank accounts through Facebook Messenger. At the launch, Kahina Van Dyke, director of Payments and Financial Services Partnerships at Facebook, said, “Brands and developers around the world are turning to messaging to connect with the 1.3 billion people who use Messenger each month. We are pleased that Mastercard is developing a service on the Messenger platform to help small merchants use messagingRead More →

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Originally Published on Digitalist Magazine With the advent of robo-advisors, artificial intelligence (AI), and virtual assistants, the next wave of the financial technology revolution could arrive sooner than anticipated. A report by EY, “Unleashing the Potential of Fintech in Banking,” highlights that collaborations with startups (and not competition) can provide fresh tech solutions for banks. Shared services and knowledge will improve product offerings through data analytics tools like predictive analytics, offering deeper engagements with customers. How are banks currently leveraging fintech? Albeit independently, banks are building in-house technology in response to the growing fintech challenge. In 2017, JPMorgan appointed a new team for the automation ofRead More →

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When Starbucks (SBUX) announced the closure of all of its 379 Teavana stores by the spring of 2018, it came as a warning signal to many analysts. But for long-term investors, Starbucks future growth prospects could look more promising. Acquired in 2012 for $620 million, Teavana stores are set to close due to declining foot traffic in malls. As a result of this retrenchment, Starbucks incurred asset impairment and goodwill charges of roughly $100 million during the third quarter. Following the news, Starbucks shares fell 1.2% to $58.80 in after-hours trading. For the 3rd fiscal year 2017, the Seattle-based company reported earnings of $691.6 million, downRead More →

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Chatbots may soon be your personal stylist. A recent report by MasterCard and Mercator research shows that 66% of US adults use voice assistants or chatbots, and 87% are aware of the technologies. With a growing demand for chatbots, fashion brands are introducing ways to keep the in-shop customers engaged offline too — in an organic manner that does not look automated. With the advent of chatbots, fashion brands are racing to embrace virtual stylists, ensuring that shopping experience for customers goes beyond the usual traditional experience. So far, automation for the fashion industry has meant browsing through styles that relied heavily on previous search history thatRead More →

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Apple Inc.’s next breakthrough may be powered by Augmented Reality (AR). A recent report by Bloomberg outlines Apple’s ‘big step’ towards the AR space through talented hires and acquisitions in the related field. According to the report, with the goal of making smart glasses, in the short term, Apple’s AR features may first show up on the iPhone. Bloomberg’s report comes after its November story published last year, which highlighted Apple’s wearable expansion into ‘digital glasses’. The AR industry is gaining momentum and could be a huge global market worth $90 million by 2020. For Apple, an AR adoption could mean a new dimension to its existing products, possibly resulting inRead More →

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Big Data tools not only simplify lengthy analytical procedures in any industry, but they also provide a competitive advantage to banks. With new regulations, banks are looking at ways to make compliance procedures more effective and accurate. Big data in banking is slowly gaining momentum and becoming an inevitable necessity across the banking industry. As traditional data management structures become obsolete, the community banks struggle to comply with external competitive and regulatory pressures. The need to execute analytics tools in the community banking system is gradually becoming more of a compulsion than an option. Gartner’s 2014 CIO survey shows that financial firms encourage investing inRead More →

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Elon Musk is known for his work in revolutionizing space travel, electric cars and even tunnel transportation, but his efforts also reveal his humanitarian side. Musk’s humanitarian efforts have ranged widely, from funding educational projects to helping hurricane victims in Puerto Rico. These are three ways Elon Musk is matching his technological innovations with his philanthropic efforts. Musk’s Humanitarian Efforts Include the Global Learning XPRIZE Musk has been involved in funding projects that aim to improve education. His recent donation of $15 million went to an XPRIZE program called Global Learning. The program aims to “empower children to take control of their learning” and is aRead More →

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Nigeria is a business-oriented economy, with an estimated 37 million micro, small and medium-sized companies (MSMEs). The entrepreneurial economy contributes roughly 48 percent of the country’s gross domestic product and employs over 60 million people, making Nigeria the largest economy in the sub-Saharan region. Although these numbers look promising, few businesses are successful in obtaining loans from financial institutions. According to The Credit Crunch, a joint report by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), of the 840 MSMEs surveyed in Nigeria, only 31 percent successfully obtained a loan from a bank or microfinance institution. MSMEs are often burdened by aRead More →

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Alibaba is a Chinese multinational tech, e-commerce and artificial intelligence conglomerate that was founded in 1999 and has since become one of the ten largest companies in the world. Alibaba’s plan to end poverty in China stems from corporate social responsibility as an integral part of its business model. In 2008, an earthquake in Sichuan province in China prompted huge individual donations to charities, which accounted for 54 percent of total giving. The earthquake was the second highest in absolute numbers in history, and led to a huge death toll and significant economic losses and brought many corporations closer to philanthropy. Alibaba is one such firm. Over the courseRead More →

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The dystopian future showcases our desire to stay connected to technology which eventually disconnects us from the ‘real’ world. TV shows often attempt to capture the imaginary depictions of the futuristic world. But while many have failed to completely showcase the tech addiction, a few may have ‘just about’ succeeded in capturing the chilling resemblance to our current world. When Black Mirror‘s third season aired on Netflix last year, its chilling resemblance to our digital lives immediately connected with the audience. The series did not shy away from outlining the disturbing future in a ‘social media‘ driven world and brilliantly magnified our frenzied obsession with technology.Read More →

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If you thought that startups like Uber and Lyft have changed the world of technology then there’s more. According to The Wall Street Journal, a recent funding sent a secret startup, Zoox’s valuation to a whopping $1.55billion. The billion-dollar firm aimed to work towards the concept of self-driving has managed to attract $50million in Zoox’s latest round of funding in October. The historic swing from traditional engines to electric and chip-controlled technology is happening through some of Silicon Valley’s best-financed startups. The worlds’ biggest automakers are strategically funding startups with the intention of expanding and competing in technology-driven markets. Valued at more than $1billion, establishedRead More →

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Twitter is a dynamic world that works in a confined space of 140 characters but the impact it can have on an audience is huge. Just like fake news, fake followers can be detrimental to the image of businesses and even to those individual users who rely heavily on social media marketing. Since Twitter places significant constraints on the type of communication that is possible, it becomes easier for bots to reconstruct the human behavior that is demonstrated in the limited Twitter dimension. Hence, results that we obtain in the form of social media metrics can often get skewed. So why is the detection ofRead More →

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Faced with unprecedented challenges, banks have started racing to embrace AI to gain a competitive advantage. With the advent of chatbots, personal assistants, and robo-advisors, it may not be too hard to imagine that the next wave of technology could revolutionize the traditional style of banking. An Accenture report recently indicated that within the next three years, banks will deploy Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) as their primary method to interact with customers. In early 2016, Swedish-speaking Amelia became the first non-English deployment of IPsoft’s AI platform at SEB, one of Sweden’s largest bank. The bank adopted “digital employee” Amelia to integrate into its front-office. The cognitive agent solves problems just like humans “butRead More →

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Banking is getting branchless, contemporary and digital at a very fast pace. As banks compete to gain competitive advantage, the need for managing big data and analytics becomes more relevant. Big Data has transformed the way traditional banks worked in the past and has been very helpful in informing decision-making. Through associated big data tools, banks can gain greater visibility into customers’ behaviors, assess the probability of risk and help small businesses. Big Data combines various data sources like the company, its channel partners, customers, suppliers, social media and even external data suppliers. Typically, the data collected in banks is so complex that it isRead More →

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Working 24 hours a day, 365 days a year across more than 130 countries, Woebot is undoubtedly a busy therapeutic chatbot. The good news is that Woebot recently secured $8 million to gain access to mental health care worldwide. The world’s first mental health chatbot, Woebot was founded by Dr. Alison Darcey in 2017 for young adults in college and graduate school. Designed to use natural language processing, therapeutic expertise, excellent writing, Woebot comes with “occasional dorky joke”. The therapeutic framework is said, “to create the experience of a therapeutic conversation for all of the people that use him.” With proven results, Woebot has gained traction and now receivesRead More →

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Your next shopping experience could be powered by Augmented Reality (AR) as fashion brands gear up for a digital makeover. In a comprehensive 2018 study, ‘The State of Fashion’ by McKinsey & Company and The Business of Fashion (BoF), leading innovators will reveal the possibilities of artificial intelligence across all parts of the fashion value chain, exploring new ways of creating value for those employed in the fashion industry. The study shows that more than 75% of fashion retailers plan to invest in AI in 2018/2019. Recently, Zara’s parent company Inditex SA announced that it is shifting its focus to online businesses. The technology required to run its “global store and onlineRead More →

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To address Africa’s water problem, tech startups like HydroIQ are stepping in to digitize the water accessibility and billing system for consumers. According to the U.N., two-thirds of the world’s population could be living in water-stressed conditions by 2025, and the majority of these people will be in sub-Saharan Africa. The African region already faces constant problems due to the scarcity of water that sometimes never reaches the consumers. In Africa, as much as 50 percent of the water supplied by utilities is lost before actually reaching the consumer, all because of an inefficient and poorly managed distribution network. Additionally, the cost burden of water losses is borne by theRead More →