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How your data could be managed on Web3

Protocol Enterprise

Hello and welcome to Protocol Enterprise! Today: Updating data governance and privacy for the metaverse, C3.ai’s CEO explains his donation to trucker protests and metaverse salespeople and brand ambassadors are here — even if the metaverse isn’t.


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Giant batteries are coming to the data center. Analyst firm Omdia reports that 90% of data center pros surveyed expect uninterruptible power supply that can interact with smart electrical grids will be mainstream in the next four years.

AI could make our data privacy choices in the metaverse

Dense privacy policies and misleading website cookie notices are legacies of a bygone era. Today, data collection is becoming more ambient, and data is gathered in all sorts of places like virtually augmented environments and through IoT devices on city streets or in our homes.

To prepare, government and private-sector organizations want to update data privacy and management approaches. Some say data intermediaries are what could be next for managing data governance in Web3:

  • Data intermediaries are third parties that would serve as links between people and entities collecting their data, or between businesses and their partners.
  • They could take on many forms, from digital agents and fiduciaries to trusts.
  • They could even make automated decisions using artificial intelligence.

The World Economic Forum published a report on Tuesday overviewing various types of data intermediaries.

  • The WEF report follows similar work from the UN, EU and U.K.
  • In general, all these groups are in evaluation mode, assessing a variety of models for enabling secure and trustworthy data connections and sharing as the digital landscape evolves.
  • The EU passed the Data Governance Act in November, establishing a framework for data sharing, data management and consent controls using data intermediation services like data wallets.

Still, it’s early days and there are lots of open questions at this point. For one, could — or should — AI play a role?

  • Some anticipate AI models could learn from people’s previous data choices and then take over to automate future decisions.
  • But once deployed, these models risk drifting away from their original state, making decisions in ways that were not intended.

Another key question: Should data intermediaries be for-profit?

  • Some privacy advocates — including FTC Chair Lina Khan — have opposed the data fiduciary concept, suggesting they would perpetuate business models “built on pervasive surveillance” and supplant what might be “more robust visions of public regulation.”
  • The WEF, whose task force included academics and representatives of companies including Mastercard and Facebook parent Meta, also questioned for-profit and private data intermediary models in its report.
  • During an event held Tuesday, Anne Flanagan, project lead of Data Policy at WEF, said, “It is likely that a for-profit intermediary might need to have additional checks and balances to prevent corruption. But regulatory capture, or capture by other entities, is possible across all types of regulatory models.”
— Kate Kaye (email | twitter)

A MESSAGE FROM DATAIKU

Dataiku is the only AI platform that connects data and doers, enabling anyone to transform data into real business results — from the mundane to the moonshot. Because AI can do so much, but there's no soul in the machine, only in front of it. Without you, it's just data.

Learn more

C3.ai chief Siebel waffles on reason for supporting trucker protest

Thomas Siebel, CEO of C3.ai — one of many companies promising to “democratize” AIconfirmed that he donated $90,000 to the so-called "Freedom Convoy” of truck drivers that has shut down large parts of Canada's capital and a key border crossing to protest COVID-19 mask and vaccine mandates designed to protect public health.

Siebel said the contribution was a “personal initiative.” However, he offered mixed messages about why he made a donation.

“I have a long record of providing substantial support to efforts to improve education, advance research, improve access to education, address homelessness, alleviate food scarcity, assure climate security, fund stem cell research, reduce substance abuse, assist the underprivileged, and protect human rights,” he said in a statement sent to Protocol.

But in a near-identical statement that Siebel gave to Illinois newspaper The News-Gazette, Siebel swapped his goal to “protect human rights” with “protect individual liberty.”

— Kate Kaye (email | twitter)

Startup takes King Kong AI to sell avatars

The metaverse may not be technically feasible yet, but digital people are. Soul Machines, a CGI startup that builds human-like avatars, has raised more than $100 million from SoftBank, Salesforce and other investors.

Soul Machines uses a combination of CGI, AI and natural-language processing to build digital versions of salespeople, customer service agents and brand ambassadors. The startup was co-founded by Mark Sagar, who did AI engineering work for the films “Avatar” and “King Kong.”

Ultimately, the startup wants to move customer service experiences beyond just text and audio, to dynamic 3D.

As the metaverse populates, expect more AI-based avatar startups. Synthesia, which lets people upload video or voice files to create avatar-hosted presentations, closed a $50 million series B round of funding in December.

— Aisha Counts (email | twitter)

Around the enterprise

Zendesk is now facing a proxy battle over its acquisition of SurveyMonkey parent company Momentive, after rejecting a $17 billion takeover bid earlier this month.

Shopify stock plummeted by 18% today even though the company reported record revenue of $1.38 billion last quarter.

Salesforce launched its net zero cloud offering globally to help enterprises track sustainability goals.

Ericsson may have made payments to ISIS for access to transport routes, CEO Borje Ekholm admitted during a regulatory investigation.

Amplitude’s revenue grew 63% year-over-year, after adding scores of big tech customers and going public last year.

Nvidia reported record revenue amid the global chip shortage.

A MESSAGE FROM DATAIKU

Dataiku is the only AI platform that connects data and doers, enabling anyone to transform data into real business results — from the mundane to the moonshot. Because AI can do so much, but there's no soul in the machine, only in front of it. Without you, it's just data.

Learn more

Thanks for reading — see you tomorrow!

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