Blockchain Is Critical To The Future Of Data Storage – Sherman Lee

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Ordinary people can now rent out part of their unused hard drive space and earn money for doing so. The ability to leverage excess storage capacity has become a reality thanks to the incentives being offered by various companies that are seeking to expand their decentralized networks.

Considering that the cloud storage market is expected to grow to $88.91 billion by 2022, according to PR Newswire, the decentralized storage industry is rapidly turning into a hot space with huge demand, and blockchain will be critical to its success.

Let’s have a dive into how companies are attacking this problem. Distributed storage technologies fall under two categories: marketplaces or infrastructure.

Storage Marketplaces

Storage marketplaces make disk space a commodity. They are the middle-man between those who are looking to store data and providers willing to store the data for them. This works essentially by sharing a file across a peer-to-peer network — think Napster. You would have to encrypt the file and then it gets sent to individual computers in the network. Behind the scenes, of course, the data is broken up into shards. When you want to retrieve your data, will retrieve all the individual pieces from different nodes in the network and decrypt it.

Storage Infrastructure

That brings us to storage infrastructure. Typical blockchains have well-known problems in regards to data storage. These problems require new third-party protocols to be integrated on top of existing blockchains. Fees are too high for on-chain storage to be feasible.

One company working on this problem is Arweave and they have quite a novel approach as they store data on-chain. It’s a new data storage blockchain protocol based on a novel proof of access consensus mechanism. This consensus mechanism allows for truly permanent data storage for the first time. Now data is finally permanent, low-cost, and truly censorship free.

When speaking with the CEO of Arweave, Sam Williams, he says, “We’ve developed a new blockchain like infrastructure called the blockweave. It’s a platform designed to provide scalable on-chain storage in a cost-efficient manner.” Arweave is built on four core technologies that enable 5,000 TPS (transactions per second).

Blockweave is a data structure resembling a blockchain. It enables low cost on-chain storage. As the amount of data stored increases in the network, the amount of hashing needed for consensus decreases. This reduces the cost of data storage. Thus, users of Arweave pay once to store their data forever.

Proof of Access (PoA) is a new consensus mechanism. Miners compete on who can replicate the most data. With massive amounts of data being replicated, electricity used while mining will decrease over time. Miners provide as many replications of the Blockweave as possible.

Blockshadows enables long-term on-chain data storage. Miners don’t distribute the entire block. They broadcast a “shadow” that is a small size. It allows other nodes in the network to reconstruct the block from scratch. Because we’re storing data on-chain, the network has to support unlimited sized blocks. Only important information of the block is moved around the network versus the entire block.

Wildfire is an incentive mechanism that is a self-organized reputation system. Slow and unresponsive miners will have a low reputation. Fast data storage that is shared with miners in the network will give you a positive reputation.

Now we see why the storage infrastructure is important for low-cost and scale-able storage. It provides the foundation for the entire decentralized storage industry. By creating the protocol layer, Arweave is prime to be the industry leader that provides decentralized apps with an immutable, censorship-resistant backend. Permanent data storage is now truly available for the first time ever.

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How the European Union’s GDPR Rules Impact Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning – Mike Kaput

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This Regulation lays down rules relating to the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and rules relating to the free movement of personal data.”

It’s no “We hold these truths to be self-evident…” but when the European Union (EU) drafted the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that goes into effect on May 25, 2018, they definitely had individual freedoms in mind.

In this case, it’s freedom of individuals to control their personal data.

The GDPR is a broad regulation that outlines how companies may legally collect and use individual personal data—and what rights EU citizens have concerning their data.

It’s a major regulation with major effects. Companies that collect data from EU citizens must follow a number of regulations around collecting that data in order to legally use it. They must also respond to citizen requests to alter that data in certain circumstances.

Notes Elizabeth Juran, a consultant at marketing agency PR 20/20 (which powers the Marketing AI Institute):

“The GDPR is a European privacy law that protects consumers from unfair, unclear and unethical uses of their data. You may have noticed updates in your automation software or data collection tools like the one below from Google Analytics:

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These aren’t your average skim-and-delete email notifications. The GDPR will change how we, as marketers, use data. Historically, companies haven’t been required to disclose information like the following:

  • What kinds of data they store about consumers.
  • What they’re using consumer data for.
  • Why they ask for (or require) the data they do.

Starting May 25, the rules about data will heavily favor the consumer. The law is specific to individuals who reside in the European Union (EU) and European Economic Community (EEC), but companies all over should be aware. If you have even one person on your contact list from the EU or EEC, your forms, privacy policy and email tactics will likely have to change to avoid breaking the rules for that contact.”

This is big for marketers of all stripes. But what effects might GDPR have on the use of artificial intelligence?

Turns out, a significant part of the regulation also deals with AI and algorithms. Like the rest of GDPR, the language may be construed broadly. No precedents have yet been set with the regulation. So a lot is up in the air as to what will actually be enforced and how it’ll be enforced.

GDPR and AI

According to the Brookings Institution, a US think tank:

The GDPR being implemented in Europe place severe restrictions on the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning. According to published guidelines, “Regulations prohibit any automated decision that ‘significantly affects’ EU citizens. This includes techniques that evaluates a person’s ‘performance at work, economic situation, health, personal preferences, interests, reliability, behavior, location, or movements.’” In addition, these new rules give citizens the right to review how digital services made specific algorithmic choices affecting people.

This statement alone creates substantial uncertainty if you know anything about artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Lots of AI systems run into the “black box” problem, in that they’re not very transparent about how their machine learning algorithms reach decisions. For consumers, this means you don’t necessarily know why AI may recommend what it recommends or take the actions it takes.

There’s no doubt the black box problem becomes troublesome the more AI is adopted in marketing and other industries. At some point, marketers will want some idea of how systems make decisions, especially as these systems recommend more sophisticated marketing actions.

For instance, if I have an AI system that prescribes how I should allocate my marketing budget, I’ll at least want some idea what inputs the system uses to make those decisions. (At least, I will if I need to explain any of this to my executive team or board.)

Does that mean you need to know exactly how the AI’s algorithms work? Probably not. But there’s a balance here that likely needs to be established.

Another problem, however, is that sometimes the creators of AI systems can’t always explain fully why AI makes its decisions. For sophisticated AI, like deep learning and neural networks, it is sometimes extremely difficult for the people who created these systems to pinpoint each and every step in the decision-making process.

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Says AI expert Pedro Domingos, author of The Master Algorithm:

“The best learning algorithms are these neural network-based ones inspired by what we find in humans and animals. These algorithms are very accurate as they can understand the world based on a lot of data at a much more complex level than we can. But they are completely opaque. Even we, the experts, don’t understand exactly how they work. We only know that they do. So, we should not allow only algorithms which are fully explainable. It is hard to capture the whole complexity of reality and keep things at the same time accurate and simple.”

Hard as it is to believe, he’s right. There may not be an easy way for an AI system’s creator to explain how the system works. In the meantime, regulations like GDPR that require such explanations may limit the amazing efficacy of these systems, Domingos points out:

“Let’s take the example of cancer research, where machine learning already plays an important role. Would I rather be diagnosed by a system that is 90 percent accurate but doesn’t explain anything, or a system that is 80 percent accurate and explains things? I’d rather go for the 90 percent accurate system.”

GDPR presents some interesting conflicts and considerations for the companies that build AI. Brookings notes that it could hold back AI development in the EU:

“If interpreted stringently, these rules will make it difficult for European software designers (and American designers who work with European counterparts) to incorporate artificial intelligence and high-definition mapping in autonomous vehicles. Central to navigation in these cars and trucks is tracking location and movements. Without high-definition maps containing geo-coded data and the deep learning that makes use of this information, fully autonomous driving will stagnate in Europe. Through this and other data protection actions, the European Union is putting its manufacturers and software designers at a significant disadvantage to the rest of the world.”

Now, a lot of the effects will utterly depend on how lawmakers within the EU interpret GDPR.

Somewhat ironically, it’s not at all clear how they’ll come to their decisions, as they operate in a bit of a black box of their own.

Disclaimer: We love talking about everything related to AI—even legal regulations—but we’re not lawyers, nor should this content be construed in any way as legal advice. We recommend all companies consult with legal counsel about GDPR-related questions and actions.

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Tech Firms Can’t Keep Data Forever : A Digital Expiry Date Is Needed – Dylan Curran

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It’s taken a long time, but people have finally discovered how much information companies like Google and Facebook have on them. We cannot keep sacrificing our privacy and dignity to continue using the internet. However, at the same time, new digital innovations that millions love and enjoy require our data. So what are we to do?

The biggest issue with the software industry’s data collection is the span of time for which it hoards information. The industry simply does not believe in a delete button. For instance, Google has records of all my locations for the last six years, and Facebook has my deleted messages from nearly 10 years ago.

This kind of long-term data storage may seem innocuous to some. To others, it may even be useful to know what exactly they were doing on a specific day many years ago, or recover messages from a loved one, or see how much their searching and browsing habits have changed over time.

Even if western governments are not enacting any Nineteen Eighty-Four-style policies of tracking your every word and executing you for any rebellious statements, the knowledge of potential surveillance can lead to self-censorship. You are not a threat and you may not have an FBI agent dedicated to you, but even the knowledge that they may look into you can lead to society operating with a subconscious fear of expressing views on the internet.

A 2013 study surveying US writers found that after they learned of the NSA’s mass surveillance programs, one in six avoided writing on a topic they thought would subject them to any kind of surveillance, and a further one in six seriously considered avoiding controversial topics.

This is why we need online privacy: we have the right to be curious or conduct digital actions without constantly being tracked, or fearing future reprisals. As Edward Snowden has put it: “Ask yourself: at every point in history, who suffers the most from unjustified surveillance? It is not the privileged, but the vulnerable. Surveillance is not about safety, it is about power. It’s about control.”

There also isn’t a strong business case for internet companies storing decades-old data. Old information is virtually worthless to advertisers and therefore not profitable for the companies to store. Why would Google need your location from six years ago, or Facebook to store your messages from 10 years ago, to target advertising? You may not live in the same location; you may not have the same friends, interests, hobbies, career, weight or even income as in that time period. Yet they just keep hoarding it.

Therefore, I propose legislation to allow companies to harvest as much information as they like, but with one caveat: they must delete the information from their servers in quarterly blocks. This would allow us to keep using the services we like in the exact fashion that we do now.

They can then offer you an option to download all the data they have on you, if you would like to keep your images or statuses or messages or emails. However, this must be an opt-out option.

The world is constantly changing. It may be too difficult or even impossible to stop entities  from monitoring your internet activity, but we can at least take a first step and put a roadblock in place for any potential or future surveillance. They will not have access to your life’s diary at the click of a button, or see everywhere you have been for 10 years, or use searching or browsing history from when you were a teenager to question your character.

This Digital Expiry Date offers companies the benefits of getting your data, personalizing results and still making profits, while putting some control in the user’s hands. You will not have to worry about governments or companies in the future mishandling years’ worth of information – which would limit the damage they could do. A Digital Expiry Date would maintain online innovation and profitability, while helping to prevent any future privacy disasters. It is not a perfect solution, but it is a start.

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How To Mandate General Data Protection Regulation GDPR In WordPress

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Your site needs to be GDPR compliant starting May 25, or you may be subject to fines and litigation. Compliance is easier with the best GDPR toolkit for WordPress. Get yours now. This is the most comprehensive GDPR plugin for your WordPress blog. Check it out and find out how it can make you better compliant.

Imagine how much more money you can make thanks to the enhanced trust and the traffic that you will get from EU and even in your home-grown market just because you will be considered more professional than all your competition.You needn’t go crazy about compliance if basic compliance is all you want. Just set it up and you will have met the following prime requirements of GDPR

– Cookie consent and management
– Terms and Conditions policy
– Privacy Policy
– Right to be forgotten requirement
– Data access requirement
– Data breach notification requirement
– Data rectification system requirement

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The worst (or best if you’re an end-user) is that it pins liability on businesses of all sizes. Not just giants like Facebook and Google, but really small players like me and you too. There’s no escaping GDPR, we HAVE to confirm. There’s NO OPTION. Not if you want to stay in business.

Everybody has to take the journey to GDPR compliance, no matter how small you are, no matter how difficult it is, and no matter how much effort it takes. If you’re running a business that’s online, you’ll need to be GDPR compliant.

Here is your compliance plan:

  • Study reams of documents to understand what’s required and sign on board an expensive lawyer just to make sure
  • Design processes, systems and workflows to adhere to the compliance requirements
  • Hire a top coder to create the systems and programming necessary to implement the compliance measures on to your site
  • Work with your experts on a continuous basis to make sure you’re actually legally covered and to do the actions required for GDPR compliance

 

If you’re doing any of the following.

  • Running a blog on WordPress with content on absolutely any topic.
  • Running your corporate site on WordPress blog with content pages.
  • Grabbing leads from your WordPress sites using any plugin or tool.
  • Accepting comments and messages on your WordPress site.
  • Running a basic E-com store on WordPress that’s using standard WP features.

Then WP GDPR Fix can really help you get compliant faster by filling in the bits that require the most amount of computation and coding work. It’ll create the sections for you that will be very expensive and time consuming to re-create if you hired a team.

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