• • How Twitter will fight fake news
  • • Banks are late to the blockchain party
  • • There’s a right way and a wrong way to study genetic editing

Twitter goes after “fake news”…

Twitter just bought an artificial intelligence (AI) company called Fabula AI. Fabula is focused on deep learning – a segment of AI that teaches computers to learn by example… like humans do.

Fabula developed AI to spot manipulative messages online. “Fake news,” if you will.

To do this, the AI examines how a piece of content is spread. It compares this to how credible sources disseminate news. And it takes into account who is spreading the messages… something other approaches don’t do.

That’s why Twitter wanted Fabula.

As you likely already know, Twitter has a “fake news” problem: 131,000 messages were posted on Twitter during the lead-up to the 2016 presidential election. This was part of a Russia-backed social media disinformation campaign.

And the problem will only get worse for Twitter.

We have talked before about how AI is now able to create lifelike “deepfake” videos that mimic a person’s voice and face. These fake videos look and sound just like the real thing. And they are hard to detect.

And, of course, social media platforms like Twitter are the perfect place to send out such videos.

And with another presidential election around the corner, we can imagine how much worse it could get the second time around with this technology so available. Any major problems on Twitter’s social media platform could put Twitter in the U.S. government’s crosshairs… even more than it is now.

So Twitter knows that it must do something to combat fake news now. And Fabula AI is its answer.

This is a proactive solution, and I think it is a wise one. Fabula gives Twitter the team and the technology to address fake news before it gets out of control. When questioned by politicians and policy makers, the company will at least be able to demonstrate that it has taken concrete actions to try to stop the problem.

Given that the next U.S. presidential election cycle has already begun, the timing for the acquisition is most certainly not a coincidence.

Recommended Link

Tech Legend Reveals: Technology Bigger Than iPhone?

Silicon Valley legend Jeff Brown is hosting the first-ever Early Stage Tech Summit on June 12th. He will share details on four tiny tech stocks that can change the world. Including the company helping to make the device Jeff calls the “next iPhone.” Bleeding Edge readers are invited to attend 100% free. However, your RSVP is needed ASAP.

Banks try to reinvent this blockchain wheel…

Fourteen banks in the U.S., Europe, and Japan are working on a blockchain-based settlement platform. It will use a digital token to settle cross-border trades.

The banks created a new company called Fnality International to develop the platform. And they have invested $63 million in Fnality over the last four years.

In an article this week, the Wall Street Journal said this was one of the biggest developments in blockchain technology… And I chuckled.

These banks are pouring time and money into a technology that already exists. The big development already happened.

Ripple Labs launched a blockchain-based settlement platform for banks back in 2012… That was seven years ago. And the technology works better than any settlement platform the world has ever seen.

Cross-border transactions through Ripple’s technology settle in seconds for pennies on the dollar. Compare that to the legacy financial system where transactions take 3–5 days to settle and cost roughly $1.6 trillion per year.

That’s why Ripple’s technology has now been adopted by more than 200 banks around the world.

It’s a bit ironic that this group of legacy incumbents, led by UBS, are banding together to recreate the wheel. But I can understand why.

Ripple is a private company. Nobody can see behind the curtain.

We don’t know if Ripple is well-run. Or if its finances are solid. That being the case, you can see why the megabanks may not trust it.

This is why I believe major blockchain financial services companies will have to go public to take the next step. Companies like Ripple and Coinbase will need to demonstrate the transparency of a public company to gain major institutional adoption and trust.

They need to file annual and quarterly reports… release quarterly earnings… and host investor calls so we can be sure that they are healthy. That’s the only way their legacy partners will fully trust them. And that’s the path to mass institutional adoption.

It is inevitable that we start to see some of the large, financially healthy blockchain companies go public within the next two or three years…

CRISPR babies face an increased mortality rate…

As regular readers know, I am bullish on CRISPR genetic editing technology. Remember, CRISPR is like software programming for DNA. Basically, CRISPR allows scientists to “cut out” a genetic mutation in our DNA and replace it with a “healthy” version.

But CRISPR comes with its own ethical implications.

Last year, a Chinese scientist named Dr. He Jiankui used CRISPR to edit the embryos of twin babies… and later a third child by different parents.

Dr. He edited the embryos to make the children immune to HIV. But he did this before a single CRISPR therapy had been through clinical trials. In other words, he ignored any potential risks that are yet to be discovered and corrected.

Dr. He was criticized by the international scientific community… and rightly so, it turns out.

New research just came out showing that Dr. He’s genetic edits, while potentially good for resisting HIV, make these children susceptible to a 21% higher mortality rate after they hit 41 years old.

This is why we should not be editing embryos. We just don’t fully understand the ramifications of every possible edit yet.

The good news is that Dr. He’s edits are likely reversible. That’s the power of CRISPR…

While a therapy is often a one-time treatment, it’s not necessarily permanent. We have the potential to reverse edits back to their original state or edit a second time to correct an edit.

And that is good news for these three children. But I’m not suggesting that this is good practice. Ideally, when physicians and geneticists are applying CRISPR to correct a mutation, they should get it right the first time. This is why clinical trials are so important.

We’ll look back in five years’ time and view 2019 as the year when it all started to happen with CRISPR – when the first clinical trial results began to come in.


Jeff Brown
Editor, The Bleeding Edge

P.S. If you haven’t heard already, I’m hosting a free technology investing summit next Wednesday, June 12. And because you’re a reader of The Bleeding Edge, I’d love it if you could attend.

I’ll reveal my four biggest predictions for the world of bleeding-edge technology. And I’ll discuss the tech companies that will likely make investors a fortune in the years ahead.

If you’re serious about investing in the technology market, you’ll want to be there. Reserve your spot here.