Take on tech: NY’s new AI guidance for insurers, Coinbase faces SEC in court

Recent developments in the realms of AI, crypto and cybersecurity.

The nation’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, Coinbase, and the SEC met in court on Wednesday to argue about whether the SEC’s case should be thrown out.

Coinbase’s summary judgment motion argues that the SEC’s case should be dismissed, because the SEC’s contention that it is conducting securities transactions on its platform and is operating an unregistered exchange are both false. It contends that it does not list any securities, as there is no actual investment contract between the issuers of the tokens in question and the buyers.

Coinbase also argues the SEC is relying on an enforcement approach to regulating in the absence of clear rules for the digital asset industry.

The SEC says Coinbase allows users to trade tokens and buy products that are securities – because people buy them with the expectation that the teams that create them will do a good job building around those assets, appreciating their value. And the agency argues that Coinbase’s staking service is a security that was never listed.

The SEC has listed 13 cryptocurrencies that it considered securities, including SOL, ADA, Matic and FIL.

As Axios points out about the court case: It probably would have been smart for the SEC to have learned the colloquial pronunciation of the abbreviation “DEX,” short for “decentralized exchange” (which is “Dex, just as it looks, as in “Dexter”) instead of enunciating it like this repetitively in court: “Dee-Eee-X.”

Upskilling in AI

The education technology platform Coursera added a new user every minute on average for its artificial intelligence courses in 2023, CEO Jeff Maggioncalda said on Thursday. This seems to point to trends of people upskilling to tap the increased use of and growing dependence on generative AI tools in the workplace.

Coursera is looking to offer AI courses along with companies that are the frontrunners in the AI race, including OpenAI and Google’s DeepMind, Maggioncalda said.

Enhancing one’s skillset in this arena is smart and warranted. There is evidence that companies are using the focus on AI as a justification for “streamlining their workforce”.

In other words, some recent layoffs at some large firms were due to these businesses spending more money on developing AI tools than other areas of their business. Such companies include Google, Salesforce and Duolingo.

JPMorgan faces wave of cyber attacks

JPMorgan Chase is experiencing a wave of cyber attacks as fraudsters get “smarter, savvier, quicker, more devious, more mischievous”, Mary Erdoes, the bank’s head of asset and wealth management said when speaking at Davos on Wednesday.

Erdoes said the bank spent $15 billion on technology every year and employed 62,000 technologists, with many focused solely on combating the rise in cyber crime. “We have more engineers than Google or Amazon. Why? Because we have to.”

JPMorgan suffered one of the largest cyber attacks on a bank in 2014 when the data on 83 million accounts were compromised.

According to speakers at Davos, such as Gita Gopinath, the deputy director of the IMF, the use of AI by cyber criminals has propelled the surge of cyber crime in terms of number of incidents and the increased sophistication of them.