Elon Musk’s brain computer startup Neuralink scores $205M funding

Brain computer

Recently, Neuralink has raised a Series C round from Google Ventures and others, while its competitor Synchron is making in-human trials in the US. The round raised was around $205m and was led by Dubai-based investment firm Vy Capital with participation from Google Ventures, DFJ Growth, Valor Equity Partners, Craft Ventures, Founders Fund, and Gigafund.

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“Above the Trend Line” – Your Industry Rumor Central for 7/29/2021

Above the Trend Line

News items grouped by category such as M&A activity, people movements, funding news, industry partnerships, customer wins, rumors and general scuttlebutt floating around the big data, data science and machine learning industries including behind-the-scenes anecdotes and curious buzz.

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$6M Series A funding for blockchain startup that helps businesses improve their sustainability

Diginex

We all know how big of an impact, companies can have on the world around us. ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) reporting is a great way to assess this impact and traditionally, a few large organisations with budgets and resources to spare were the ones publishing these reports. However, the pressure to publish ESG reports is mounting on companies of all sizes and it can be difficult for smaller companies. This is where the UK-registered startup Diginex comes in, which aims to make ESG reporting more accessible and mainstream. 

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Europe’s shot for Artificial General Intelligence  — Why we invested in Aleph Alpha

Aleph Alpha

We are excited to have co-led the € 23 million Series A financing round of Heidelberg-based Aleph Alpha together with our friends at Lakestar, UVC and existing investors LEA Partners, 468 Capital and Cavalry Ventures. The exceptional team around AI-serial-entrepreneur Jonas Andrulis and co-founder Samuel Weinbach research, develop and operationalise a new generation of huge and powerful AI like GPT-3, DALL-E or MuZero to maintain European sovereignty for Artificial General Intelligence (AGI).

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OpenAI releases Triton, a programming language for AI workload optimization

Open AI

OpenAI today released Triton, an open source, Python-like programming language that enables researchers to write highly efficient GPU code for AI workloads. Triton makes it possible to reach peak hardware performance with relatively little effort, OpenAI claims, producing code on par with what an expert could achieve in as few as 25 lines.

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Gupshup nabs $240M to power messaging channels

Gupshup

Conversational messaging platform Gupshup today announced that it raised $240 million led by Tiger Global Management, with participation from Fidelity Management, Think Investments, Malabar Investments, Harbor Spring Capital, and others. The tranche, which values the company at $1.64 billion, will be used to build new tools, infrastructure, and services while expanding Gupshup’s global reach, CEO Beerud Sheth said.

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[Paper] MIT & Google Quantum Algorithm trains wide and deep Neural Networks

Quantum algorithms for training wide and classical neural networks have become one of the most promising research areas for quantum computer applications. While neural networks have achieved state-of-the-art results across many benchmark tasks, existing quantum neural networks have yet to clearly demonstrate quantum speedups for tasks involving classical datasets. Given deep learning’s ever-rising computational requirements, the use of quantum computers to efficiently train deep neural networks is a research field that could greatly benefit from further exploration.

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Noetic Cyber raises $20M to automate cybersecurity remediation

Noetic Cyber

Noetic Cyber, a startup creating a platform that leverages automation to identify cyber threats, today emerged from stealth with $20 million, including $15 million in series A funding from Energy Impact Partners, TenEleven Ventures, and Glasswing Ventures. Cofounder and CEO Paul Ayers says that the funds will be used to scale up Noetic’s operations and go-to-market capabilities, allowing the team to grow particularly on the sales and marketing side.

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Dixa nabs $105M to unify customer service channels

Dixa

Dixa, a startup developing conversational customer engagement software, today announced that it raised $105 million in a series C funding round led by General Atlantic, with participation from Notion Capital and Project A. CEO Mads Fosselius says that the proceeds will be put toward product development, new acquisitions following Dixa’s purchase of Melbourne-based Elevio in January, and quadrupling Dixa’s engineering team by the end of 2022.

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DataRobot’s Busy Day: Nabs $300M in Series G Funding and acquires Algorithmia

DataRobot

In a move to solidify its position in the emerging market for enterprise AI platforms, DataRobot today announced the completion of a $300 million Series G round of funding. The Boston company also announced the acquisition of MLOps provider Algorithmia for an undisclosed sum.

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Qualcomm stakes beachhead in Artificial Intelligence with Foxconn Gloria AI Edge Box

Qualcom cloud AI 100

When most folks think of Qualcomm, the first technologies that likely come to mind are the company’s industry-leading mobile platform system-on-chips for smartphones, as well as the company’s end-to-end 5G connectivity solutions. However, whether you consider applications like image recognition, speech input, natural language translation or recommendation engines, modern smartphone platforms typically require a lot of artificial intelligence (AI) processing horsepower as well.

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InVia Robotics raises $30M for warehouse robotics push

InViva Robotics

InVia Robotics, an industrial robotics company based in Los Angeles, California, today announced that it raised $30 million in series C financing co-led by Microsoft’s M12 Ventures and Qualcomm, with participation from Hitachi. InVia says that the new tranche of equity funding will be used to support its growth, specifically through adopting Qualcomm’s Robotics RB5 Platform and drawing on AI expertise from Hitachi and Microsoft.

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A Roadmap On The Geopolitical Impact Of Emerging Technologies By Chuck Brooks And Dr. David Bray

World roadmap

Earlier this summer, the Atlantic Council’s GeoTech CentEarlier this summer, the Atlantic Council’s GeoTech Center published a new bipartisan report of Commission on the Geopolitical Impacts of New Technologies and Data (www.atlanticcouncil.org/geotechreport). Fourteen months in the making, the bipartisan recommendations highlight that the technological revolution is advancing at such speed and enormity that it is reshaping both societies globally and the geopolitical landscape.er published a new bipartisan report of Commission on the Geopolitical Impacts of New Technologies and Data (www.atlanticcouncil.org/geotechreport).  Fourteen months in the making, the bipartisan recommendations highlight that the technological revolution is advancing at such speed and enormity that it is reshaping both societies globally and the geopolitical landscape.

We are now entering a new era of emerging “connected” technologies that blend engineering, computing algorithms, and culture. Along with connected computing comes new capabilities enabled by machine learning and artificial intelligence. This technology convergence will be immensely impactful. Human/computer interface will extend our human brain capacities, memories, and capabilities, and that the power of computing doubles, on average, every two years. These connected technology tools can be stepping-stones to a new world in diverse areas such as genetic engineering, augmented reality, robotics, renewable energies, big data, digital security, quantum computing and artificial intelligence.
If you think about the transformative role that technology is already playing in our lives, it is easy to envision how emerging technologies can proceed in effecting societal change. We are in the early stages of profound technological innovation – namely the digital revolution, the Internet of Things, health and medicine, and manufacturing. It is no exaggeration to say we are on the cusp of scientific and technological advancements that will change the human condition. Incredibly, technology continues to evolve at a pace we could not have envisioned even two decades ago, and these advancements can greatly improve our lives if we harness them properly.

The GeoTech Commission Report poignantly states that “the world must now start to understand how technology and data interact with society and how to implement solutions that address these challenges and grasp these opportunities.”  For example, data analytics has the potential to improve healthcare by identifying the best pathways in treatments and administration of patient medicines, as well as predicting the spread of the flu. In commerce and trade, data analytics can predict when and what consumers are buying. The mathematical applications used in analyzing large data sets can be used to predict societal change at almost every level of human interaction.

Collaboration is Key:
A thematic takeaway from the Commission co-chaired by John Goodman and Teresa Carlson was the urgent need for collaboration and that “governments, industries and other stakeholders must work together to remain economically competitive, sustain social welfare and public safety, protect human rights and democratic processes, and preserve global peace and stability.”

Success in these cooperative public private partnerships is dependent on information sharing, planning, investment in emerging technologies, and allocation of resources coordinated by both the public and private sectors in special working partnerships. 

The result of such collaboration will both keep us apprised of new paradigms and contribute to a seismic shift in breakthrough discoveries. Such cooperation could speed up the realization of the next industrial revolution and bring benefits beyond our expectations.

Personal information concept. Group of engineer.

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Emerging Technologies for Public/Private Partnerships:
Technologies can impact society across many industry verticals. For example

Health & Medicine

Abstract luminous DNA molecule. Doctor using tablet and check with analysis chromosome DNA genetic … [+] of human on virtual interface. Medicine. Medical science and biotechnology.

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* Health- Implantable devices, (bionic eyes, limbs)
* DNA nanomedicines
* Genomic techniques – gene therapy (Gene therapy to enhance strength, endurance and lifespan Gene therapy to enhance human intelligence
* Remote sensing tech (Wearables)
* Medicine for longevity, enhancement
* Real-time biomarker tracking and monitoring
* Artificially grown organ
* Human regeneration Human cells interfaced with nanotech
* Cybernetics
* Exoskeletons for mobility
* Telemedicine

 Transportation:  

Global business logistics import export background and container cargo freight ship transport … [+] concept

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* Sustainability of infrastructure
* Converged transportation ecosystems and monitoring
* Autonomous and connected cars
* Predictive analytics (parking, traffic patterns)
*  Smart Cities 

Ecology concept. Hand holding light bulb against nature on green leaf with icons energy sources for … [+] renewable, sustainable development, save energy.

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Energy & Environment:
* New Materials for stronger construction and resilience
* Solar power
* Converting waste to biofuels
* Protecting the Electrical Grid
* Batteries (long lasting)
* Renewables
* Energy efficiency.
* Instrumenting the planet to respond to crises faster

Professional policemen tracing group of bandits in room of video monitoring watching movements on … [+] city map while other colleagues working

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Public Safety: 
 * Instrumenting the planet to respond to crises faster
* Better situational awareness for emergency management (chemical and bio sensors, cameras, drones)
* License plate readers
* Non-lethal public safety technologies
* Advanced forensics, both physical and digital
* Interoperable and secure communications

future technologies

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Please also see: GovCon Expert Chuck Brooks: A Guide to Emerging Technologies Impacting Government in 2021 and Beyond GovCon Expert Chuck Brooks: A Guide for Emerging Technologies Impacting Government in 2021 and Beyond – GovCon WireFour Emerging Technology Areas Impacting Industry 4.0 Advanced Computing, Artificial intelligence, Big Data & Materials Science — COGNITIVE WORLD
In the GeoTech Commission report there are several areas of specialized cooperation that get attention, including two of the biggest threats that society faces today, pandemics, and cyber-attacks.

Doctor wearing highly protective suit and holding globe in her hands. Globe link: … [+] https://visibleearth.nasa.gov/images/2181/the-blue-marble/2182w

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Mitigating Pandemics:
As we are now acutely aware of the implications of a global pandemic from Covid19, The Commission suggested that “government should launch a global pandemic surveillance and warning system and develop “rapid” and automated treatments for unknown pathogens. It should also build a digital infrastructure that includes, among other systems, “emerging biosensors and autonomous sequencers deployed in water systems, air filtration systems and other public infrastructure—to integrate their diverse data for analysis and modeling with protocols for activating rapid analysis of new pathogens, including new strains of extant pathogens to evaluate ongoing vaccine efficacy,”

Cyber Security and Digital Data Protection Concept. Icon graphic interface showing secure firewall … [+] technology for online data access defense against hacker, virus and insecure information for privacy.

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Implementing Cybersecurity:
Cybersecurity is a big focus area of the report. Cybersecurity, information assurance, and resilience are the glues that will keep our world of converged sensors and algorithms operational. This has become one of the largest areas of both public and private sector spending and is consistently ranked the top priority among CIOs, CTOs, and CISOs. 
The commission urged for strengthening the National Cyber Strategy Implementation Plan, developing a geopolitical cyber deterrence strategy for critical digital assets and hardening the security of commercial space capabilities. To advance security, the government should increase its oversight of supply chain assurance, organize data on critical resources, and with allied partners, evaluate the physical and digital information technology supply chain.”
Furthermore, the report highlighted that “Governments, especially democratic governments, must work to build and sustain the trust in the algorithms, infrastructures and systems that could underpin society,” the commission noted. “The world must now start to understand how technology and data interact with society and how to implement solutions that address these challenges and grasp these opportunities. Maintaining both economic and national security and resiliency requires new ways to develop and deploy critical and emerging technologies, cultivate the needed human capital, build trust in the digital fabric with which our world will be woven and establish norms for international cooperation.”
We have entered a new renaissance of accelerated technological development that is exponentially transforming our civilization. Yet with these benefits come risks. The Atlantic Council Commission Report provides a working roadmap on the Geopolitical Impact of emerging technology and the correct paths to follow.
Please see the Report of the Commission on the Geopolitical Impacts of New Technologies and Data at Report of the Commission on the Geopolitical Impacts of New Technologies and Data – Atlantic Council

Atlantic Council Report of the Commission on the Geopolitical Impacts of New Technologies and Data

Atlantic Council

Dr. David A. Bray has served in a variety of leadership roles in turbulent environments, including bioterrorism preparedness and response from 2000-2005, time on the ground in Afghanistan in 2009, serving as the non-partisan Executive Director for a bipartisan National Commission on R&D, and providing leadership as a non-partisan federal agency Senior Executive. He accepted a leadership role in December 2019 to incubate a new global Center with the Atlantic Council.
David also provides strategy to both Boards and start-ups espousing human-centric principles to technology-enabled decision making in complex environments. Business Insider named him one of the top “24 Americans Who Are Changing the World” under 40 and he was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum for 2016-2021. From 2017 to the start of 2020, David served as Executive Director for the People-Centered Internet coalition Chaired by Internet co-originator Vint Cerf, focused on providing support and expertise for community-focused projects that measurably improve people’s lives using the internet. He also was named a Marshall Memorial Fellow and traveled to Europe in 2018 to discuss Trans-Atlantic issues of common concern including exponential technologies and the global future ahead. Later in 2018, he was invited to work with the U.S. Navy and Marines on improving organizational adaptability and to work with U.S. Special Operation Command’s J5 Directorate on the challenges of countering misinformation and disinformation online. He has received both the Joint Civilian Service Commendation Award and the National Intelligence Exceptional Achievement Medal.
Dr. David Bray LinkedIn Profile: 
AC GeoTech Center on Twitter:  @ACGeoTech

Chuck Brooks, President of Brooks Consulting International, is a globally recognized thought leader and subject matter expert Cybersecurity and Emerging Technologies. LinkedIn named Chuck as one of “The Top 5 Tech People to Follow on LinkedIn.” He was named by Thompson Reuters as a “Top 50 Global Influencer in Risk, Compliance,” and by IFSEC as the “#2 Global Cybersecurity Influencer.” He was featured in the 2020 Onalytica “Who’s Who in Cybersecurity” – as one of the top Influencers for cybersecurity issues. He was also named one of the Top 5 Executives to Follow on Cybersecurity by Executive Mosaic. He is also a Cybersecurity Expert for “The Network” at the Washington Post, Visiting Editor at Homeland Security Today, Expert for Executive Mosaic/GovCon, and a Contributor to FORBES. He has also been featured author in technology and cybersecurity blogs & events by IBM, AT&T, Microsoft, Cylance, Xerox, Malwarebytes, General Dynamics Mission Systems, and many others.
Chuck is on the Faculty of Georgetown University where he teaches in the Graduate Applied Intelligence and Cybersecurity Risk Programs. In government, Chuck was a “plank holder” at The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) serving as the first Legislative Director of The Science & Technology Directorate at the Department of Homeland Security. He served as a top Advisor to the late Senator Arlen Specter on Capitol Hill covering security and technology issues on Capitol Hill. He has an M.A from the University of Chicago and a B.A. from DePauw University
Chuck Brooks LinkedIn Profile: 
Chuck Brooks on Twitter:  @ChuckDBrooks

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MLOps: Bringing AI to the tactical edge – and making it work

Edge computing

Machine learning (ML)—the ability for machines to perceive, learn from, abstract, and act on data—has been a catalyst for innovation and advancement across sectors, with national security being no exception. In the last year alone, there have been several prime examples of the enormous opportunity ML offers regarding artificial intelligence (AI) for defense and the intelligence community. The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) is continuing efforts to scale AI and celebrating new achievements, like using AI to help control a U-2 “Dragon Lady” reconnaissance aircraft – the first time AI has been put in command of a U.S. military system. 

The possibilities for advancement are endless: by helping with tasks related to data collection, processing, and analysis, ML can catch cyber breaches and hacks before humans can, speed up responses to electronic warfare attacks, and more closely target responses to kinetic fire through its continual updating and learning capabilities. Warfighters can also use ML to look across domains and resources, from ships to artillery, to match targets to resources.

As we settle into 2021, there’s one aspect of AI/ML that should not be overlooked: how to effectively get it into the hands of warfighters at the tactical edge, where fast decisions are at a premium and compute power and connectivity are often scarce. It is critical that these edge use cases characterize and shape planning for AI and ML-driven investment as digitization continues to accelerate the pace of war.

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Orum raises $25M to automate outbound sales workflows

Orum

Sales support platform Orum today announced that it closed a $25 million series A funding round led by Craft Ventures, with participation from several existing backers. The funding brings the company’s total raised to $29 million at a $125 million valuation, and cofounder and CEO Jason Dorfman says the round will be put toward general expansion, mostly focused on product, customer service, and international market expansion.

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Bluetooth-enabled tracking startup Wiliot raises $200M

Wiliot

Wiliot, a startup creating a low-cost, self-powered chip that attaches to products to sense physical and environment data, has raised $200 million. The company’s latest tranche, a series C, was led by Softbank Vision Fund 2, and brings the company’s total raised to date to $270 million.

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Robotic AI firm Covariant raises another $80 million

Robotic arm - Covariant

In May of last year, Covariant announced that it had raised a $40 million Series B. It was a healthy sum of money for the young company, bringing its total funding up to $67 million. Just a little over a year later, the Berkeley-based AI startup is adding another $80 million to its coffers, riding on a wave that dramatically accelerated interest in robotics and AI during the pandemic.

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Intel aims to regain chip manufacturing leadership by 2025

Intel Innovations

Under new management, Intel aims to recapture a crown that it owned for decades and regain technology leadership in manufacturing chips by 2025. This will be challenging, as the company has to invest tens of billions of dollars and get its technology right in the wake of numerous missteps, but new CEO Pat Gelsinger said at an event that the big chipmaker is accelerating its investments in manufacturing processes and packaging innovations.

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