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Telepathy Hat? Silicon Valley Says Yes

Telepathy could become a reality within eight years, thanks to the brainchild of a former Google executive.

The benefits of telepathy could push humanity forward at a rapid rate, it would revolutionize the way we think, interact, communicate and operate.

Mary Lou Jepson has revealed she’s on the cusp of a significant breakthrough after creating a high-tech telepathic hat.

According to CNBC, Jepson believes she will achieve the impossible by creating technology that will allow humans to communicate telepathically.

Jepsen is highly regarded in the scientific community. She’s a former professor at MIT and holds over 100 patents. She’s also worked as an engineering executive at Facebook, X, Oculus and Intel.

She founded Openwater in 2016 to provide inexpensive medical imaging to the healthcare industry and stumbled across a tenuous link between M.R.I. machines and telepathy that could prove fruitful.

“I figured out how to put basically the functionality of an M.R.I. machine — a multimillion-dollar M.R.I. machine — into a wearable in the form of a ski hat,” Jepson told CNBC.

Although she doesn’t have a prototype completed, Jepson is working on several elements that when pulled together could provide humanity the power of telepathic communication.

Researcher Making Prototype for Telepathy

Telepathy hat may become reality.

She explains the rather difficult concept in layman’s terms. “If I threw [you] into an M.R.I. machine right now … I can tell you what words you’re about to say, what images are in your head. I can tell you what music you’re thinking of,” she says. “That’s today, and I’m talking about just shrinking that down.”

Jepson believes that by perfecting the already tried, tested and trusted methods used to create M.R.I. machines and steering them toward predicting thought, she will be able to create a telepathic thinking cap.

The aim of the device is to read both input and output of our own thoughts, and to read the thoughts of others. “The really big moonshot idea here is communication with thought — with telepathy,” Jepsen said

Openwater stumbled across the idea when working on traditional M.R.I. scans which use radio waves and magnetic fields to take images of internal organs. The concept is being taken one step further by using infrared light to determine the pattern of brain activity then linking them together.

The benefits of telepathy could push humanity forward at a rapid rate, it would revolutionize the way we think, interact, communicate and operate.

SpaceX founder Elon Musk has also set the wheels in motion to make telepathy a reality. His company Neuralink wants to push the science of telepathy into a slightly different direction, and have our brains interact with computers.

“Elon Musk is talking about silicon nanoparticles pulsing through our veins to make us sort of semi-cyborg computers. I’ve been working and trying to think and invent a way to do this for a number of years and finally happened upon it and left Facebook to do it,” Jepsen said.

Humanity’s potential for telepathy has been discussed for centuries, but nobody has been able to achieve this bold idea to date. It remains to be seen whether Jepson can create a telepathic thinking-cap but according to the science community, if anyone can, she can!

Public and Private Partnership for Infrastructure Development To Help The Disabled and Elderly

A bold and technologically advanced project supported by public private partnership for infrastructure development,  is in the works to make the bustling Diridon Station in San Jose, California easier to navigate for disabled persons and the elderly.

This will require real-time information to get the passenger to the right track, platform, train and the best spot to board the vehicle. The technology will inform the passenger when they can disembark, and also if they are on the train they are supposed to ride.

The IBM Research facility in Almaden, San Jose, California, along with researchers from UC Santa Cruz and the San Jose Valley Transport Authority (VTA) are designing and installing an Internet of Things-based system which uses smartphones, the cloud and other data devices to monitor Diridon Station.

The research is a unique public-private partnership between IBM, graduate students of UC Santa Cruz and the public sector. It can become a model for other transit terminals across the nation. The use of Diridon Station as a test-sight is fortunate as it is set to expand with the addition of a BART terminal and high-speed rail. This will make it even more challenging to navigate.

The station itself can be a daunting for new visitors, as it requires navigating through tunnels and stairs to get to multiple train tracks. It is easy to make a mistake and end up at the wrong platform. For those with disabilities, like people who are hard of hearing, have poor vision, or are of limited mobility, this would be an issue. As the general population grows older, authorities realized that this could become a bigger problem in the near future.

Eyes and Ears for the Elderly and Disabled

IBM, UCSC and the VTA aim to use high tech artificial intelligence solutions to make public transit easier to use. The project will make use of sensors and beacons to help those with special needs to get them on the right platform for their train ride. This will require real-time information to get the passenger to the right track, platform, train and the best spot to board the vehicle. The technology will inform the passenger when they can disembark, and also if they are on the train they are supposed to ride.

After one year of research, the team is about to deploy the beacons. These will allow the AI to estimate the distance a person is to a good place to board, and then provide cues to the user using the smartphone. This is a unique approach to using technology to make life simpler – not to mention safer – for the elderly and the disabled.

Man at train stationi with social media directionis

The funding was from the National Science Foundation (NSF) which awarded $992,000 for the three year project. Principal Investigator is Roberto Manduchi, UCSC’s Baskin School of Engineering professor of computer engineering. The project will develop a system called RouteMe2, and the miniature transmitters (the beacons called iBeacons) will be placed inside the trains and buses, bus stops, train platforms and hubs. Other parts of the infrastructure include sensors in the smartphone, and the cloud where the data is sent and stored.

The data will be sent to the cloud where it will be picked up by the AI. Users or their family member or caretaker will register their trip in advance. This is similar to trip schedulers used in ride-sharing apps. The passengers can follow the app instructions to their destination or boarding area, while family members or an assistant can check their app to monitor the trip. Any unforeseen situation can be raised and sent to the family member.

This is a bold application of the public-private-partnership to provide greater accessibility to the disabled community. It shows how business and technology can make life better.

Mobile Phone Money Transfer of MPESA Faces Competition From mVisa

Africa isn’t the first place that comes to mind when you think of bold innovations in business; but it is on the leading edge in a particular type of money system, one that is not issued by a federal reserve bank or backed by the petrodollar. While Bitcoin is the darling breakout currency in North America, Africans have their own currency that has been in use and evolving for over a decade. That currency is processed via mobile phone money transfer from MPESA.

Almost $5 billion dollars were transferred person-to-person in Kenya in the last quarter alone.

In terms of business development, one huge challenge was that most Africans are “unbanked.” They don’t have access to a bank in their towns and villages, and often lack reliable electricity, let alone internet.

The coming of the smartphone opened huge possibilities of connectivity for these people. Seemingly in the blink of an eye they gained the ability to connect with the world, but they still lacked credit cards and bank accounts. The African infrastructure simply could not accommodate their needs.

Enter MPESA, which is perched atop the Vodafone cellphone system. This currency is based on cell phone minutes. And they can be traded like money. This is now the default currency in many areas Kenya and nearby regions. It provides a handy and clean way to conduct financial transactions digitally.

Forbes mentioned that the idea first started after a group of researchers financed by the Department for International Development (DFID) in the UK, a foreign aid arm of the British Government, found out that people in Kenya were transferring mobile airtime as a proxy for cash.

Nick Hughes, the Head of Global Payments at Vodafone, fleshed out and developed the idea of MPESA into a working currency. He applied for funding through a challenge fund of DFID. DFID and Vodafone each contributed 1 million Euros.

MPESA Goes Global

Two phones with the Kenya flag in the back.

Anyone with a smartphone can use MPESA to;

  • Deposit cash into an account that is stored on their mobile phones.
  • Send balances just by using PIN-secured SMS text messages to other users.
  • Redeem deposits for regular cash.

Because of this new and easy approach of transferring money, MPESA spread quickly and gained popularity in many different places where banking services may be challenging to find or expensive. Many countries in Esatern Europe are using the currency, as well as, Mozambique, Lesotho, Egypt, India, South Africa, Afghanistan, and Tanzania.

Being next door to Kenya, Tanzania was one of the first countries to pick up MPESA, in 2008. In the same year, Vodafone worked together with Roshan, a primary mobile operator in Afghanistan, in order to launch MPESA. Nedbank and Vodacom took the service to South Africa in September of 2010. MPESA launched in India back in April 2013 and Romania in March 2014.

MPESA is now facing competition. Almost $5 billion dollars were transferred person-to-person in Kenya in the last quarter alone. That’s a big chunk of change and even with small transaction costs, it adds up to a substantial sum.

Of course competitors have entered the marketplace, most recently mVisa, which also works on mobile phones and offers Kenyans a way to pay for goods and services. mVisa allows for free transfers of funds from individual to individual in some circumstances. mVisa is intent on capturing a share of the African transaction market from MPESA.

mVisa is Coming to Kenya Banks

PayBefore stated nine banks in Kenya will acquire merchants to accept mVisa or allow mVisa on their banking applications starting in July 14 this year.

  • Barclays Bank – The bank is a big financial institution in Kenya, having an asset base in excess of KES:200.975 billion or [US$2.329 billion]. It is the fifth biggest commercial bank in Kenya.
  • Cooperative Bank – The bank is the biggest commercial bank in the East African Community. In 2010, the London Financial Times awarded Cooperative Bank the “Best Bank of Kenya”.
  • Ecobank – The bank is a Pan-African banking conglomerate, officially, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated. Ecobank is the number one independent regional banking group in Central Africa and West Africa.
  • Family Bank – The bank is a medium-sized commercial bank in Kenya. The bank had a customer base of over 1.8 million and had 93 branches in Kenya as of June 2016.
  • KCB Bank – The bank is a financial services holding company that is located in the region of African Great Lakes. The bank has assets of KES:556.6 billion and a shareholders’ equity of KES:78.1 billion as of December 2015.
  • National Bank of Kenya – The bank serves individuals, large corporations, and small-to-medium companies and businesses. Its subsidiaries are Natbank Trustee and Investment Services Limited, Kenya National Capital Corporation Limited, and NBK Insurance Agency Limited.
  • NIC Bank – The bank has assets that are valued at over KES:108.35 billion [US$1.26 billion] as of December 2012.
  • Prime Bank – The bank is located in Bangladesh and is a private commercial bank.
  • Standard Chartered Bank – The bank is sometimes called Stanchart Kenya. It is a commercial bank. Central Bank of Kenya has provided a license to Standard Chartered Bank.

Uttam Nayak, the Senior Vice President of Digital for Emerging Markets of Visa Incorporated, said that “Customers have told us they appreciate how fast and easy it is to use mVisa.”

This statement has boosted the confidence of many people in Kenya. It will not only cater to regular citizens but to businesses and companies as well. It is fascinating how solutions can be presented when really needed. M-PESA and mVisa are just some of the innovations that are helping the developing countries like Kenya.

EU Fines Google $2.7 Billion For Manipulating Search Results

The European Commission (EC) fined Google $2.7 billion for manipulating search engine results to favor its own services over competitors. The EC states that Google breached European Union (EU) antitrust rules and abused its market dominance as a search engine. Alphabet, Google’s umbrella company, has 90 days to pay the fine or face a 5% penalty, per day.

The EC is currently investigating Google’s Android and AdSense services, and has launched tax avoidance proceedings against giants like Amazon, Apple and Starbucks.

“Google has come up with many innovative products and services that have made a difference to our lives. That’s a good thing. But Google’s strategy for its comparison shopping service wasn’t just about attracting customers by making its product better than those of its rivals. Instead, Google abused its market dominance as a search engine by promoting its own comparison shopping service in its search results, and demoting those of competitors.

‘What Google has done is illegal under EU antitrust rules. It denied other companies the chance to compete on the merits and to innovate. And most importantly, it denied European consumers a genuine choice of services and the full benefits of innovation,” said, Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy.

According to The Verge, the fine is the largest antitrust penalty issued by the EC and could have far-reaching implications for Google’s operations across Europe and the rest of the world.

The EC began its investigation in 2010 following several complaints filed by online shopping services who claimed Google unfairly promoted its services over their own. According to experts, the ruling could pave the way for future cases and land the search engine giant in some serious financial trouble.

Google Faces Anti-Trust Complaints World-Wide

A google screen and the EU symbol and a gavel.

Google is already facing antitrust hearings in South Korea and Brazil, and the latest EC ruling has encouraged countries like the United States, United Kingdom and Australia to conduct their own investigations.

Google has 90 days to fight the EC ruling, and it looks like they won’t go down without a fight. The search engine disputed the decision in a recent blog post, arguing that Google Shopping is more useful for consumers.

“When you use Google to search for products, we try to give you what you’re looking for,” Kent Walker, Google’s chief counsel, said. “Our ability to do that well isn’t favoring ourselves, or any particular site or seller — it’s the result of hard work and constant innovation, based on user feedback.” Walker also said that Google will most likely file an appeal.

The EC said it’s Google’s “sole responsibility” to ensure its search engine practices comply with European regulation and it must “explain how it intends to do so.”

The Verge says Google has options to improve their operations to abide by European laws. Experts say, “Google can adjust its search algorithm, or to prominently display links to competing services alongside its own.” However, experts believe this will lead to a decline in advertising revenue and could have a major long-term effect on their business. Another option is to scrap Google Shopping from Europe altogether. It might sound like a drastic step but that’s exactly what they did to Google News in Spain when ordered to pay news outlets money for publishing content.

Businesses and industry bigwigs across the United States have been extremely critical of European regulations and the way they seem to “unfairly target” American companies. The EC is currently investigating Google’s Android and AdSense services, and has launched tax avoidance proceedings against giants like Amazon, Apple and Starbucks. The US Federal Trade Commission also launched antitrust investigations into Google’s practices in the past but they were dropped in 2013.

Many expect Google to appeal the EC’s latest ruling. If they do, it could be years before the case is settled and could throw up many legal issues for the company in the meantime. Experts say it could open the floodgates for other governments around the world to target the search engine and could lead to civil suits being filed against them.