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Killexams : IBM Collection basics - BingNews https://killexams.com/pass4sure/exam-detail/P2020-012 Search results Killexams : IBM Collection basics - BingNews https://killexams.com/pass4sure/exam-detail/P2020-012 https://killexams.com/exam_list/IBM Killexams : Buy 4 S&P 500 August Dog Days Dividend Aristocrats
lady and dog fidelity concept

marcogarrincha/iStock via Getty Images


As supplement to this article, please note that Kiplinger has published an on-line slide-show detailing the latest 2022 65 S&P Dividend Aristocrats. The article, entitled 65 Best Dividend Stocks You Can Count On in 2022, is by Dan Burrows, a contributing editor.

Most of this collection of 65 S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats are too pricey to justify their skinny dividends. However, three of the top ten live up to the dogcatcher ideal of paying annual dividends (from a $1K investment) exceeding their single share prices and one more outside the top ten does too.

Four top ten Dog Days Aristocrats show annual yields (from $1K invested) meeting or exceeding their single-share prices at this time. They are Leggett & Platt Inc (LEG), Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA), Franklin Resources Inc (BEN). Then, one more outside the top ten, Amcor plc (AMCR), keeps the average up. One more could soon join the ideal four, V.F. Corporation (VFC) was within $0.43 of making the team as of 8/4/22.

As we are now five months beyond two years removed from the anniversary of the 2020 Ides of March dip, the time to snap up these four lingering top yield Aristocrat dogs is at hand... unless another big bearish drop in price looms ahead (at which time, your strategy would be to add to your position in any of those you then hold).

Actionable Conclusions (1-10): Analysts Predict 14.54% To 40.69% Top Ten Aristocrat Net Gains To August 2023

Four of the ten top Aristocrats by yield were Tested as being among the top ten gainers for the coming year based on analyst 1-year target prices. (They are tinted gray in the chart below.) Thus, this yield-based August 4 forecast for Aristocrats (as graded by Brokers) was 40% accurate.

Estimated dividend returns from $1,000 invested in each of these highest-yielding stocks and their aggregate one-year analyst median target prices, as reported by YCharts, produced the 2022-23 data points for the projections below. Note: target prices from lone analysts were not used. Ten probable profit-generating trades projected to August 4, 2023 were:

ARI (1A) 10GAINERS AUG, 22-23

Source: YCharts.com

Stanley Black & Decker Inc (SWK) was projected to net $406.86, based on the median of target price estimates from seventeen analysts, plus dividends, less broker fees. The Beta number showed this estimate subject to risk/volatility 67% less than the market as a whole.

Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM) was projected to net $223.20 based on target price estimates from twenty-five analysts, plus annual dividend, less broker fees. The Beta number showed this estimate is subject to risk/volatility 7% greater than the market as a whole.

V.F. Corp was projected to net $217.02, based on dividends, plus the median of target price estimates from eleven analysts, less broker fees. The Beta number showed this estimate subject to risk/volatility 15% greater than the market as a whole.

Caterpillar Inc (CAT) was projected to net $209.74, based on the median of target price estimates from twenty-one analysts, plus dividends, less broker fees. The Beta number showed this estimate subject to risk/volatility 17% less than the market as a whole.

Chevron Corp (CVX) was projected to net $198.70, based on dividends, plus the median of target price estimates from thirteen analysts, less broker fees. The Beta number showed this estimate subject to risk/volatility 18% less than the market as a whole.

Medtronic plc (MDT) netted $195.25 based on a median target price estimate from twenty-seven analysts, plus dividends, less broker fees. The Beta number showed this estimate subject to risk/volatility equal to the market as a whole.

AbbVie Inc (ABBV) was projected to net $180.90, based on dividends, plus the median of target price estimates from eighteen analysts, less broker fees. The Beta number showed this estimate subject to risk/volatility 30% less than the market as a whole.

Cincinnati Financial Corp (CINF) was projected to net $173.87, based on the median of target price estimates from thirteen analysts, plus the estimated annual dividend, less broker fees. The Beta number showed this estimate subject to risk/volatility 4% less than the market as a whole.

Federal Realty Investment Trust (FRT) was projected to net $168.36, based on a median of target estimates from nineteen analysts, plus dividends, less broker fees. The Beta number showed this estimate subject to risk/volatility 13% greater than the market as a whole.

Air Products and Chemicals Inc (APD) was projected to net $145.35 based on dividends, plus the median of target price estimates from twenty-two analysts, less broker fees. The Beta number showed this estimate subject to risk/volatility 41% greater than the market as a whole.

The average net gain in dividend and price was estimated to be 21.19% on $10K invested as $1K in each of these ten stocks. The average Beta ranking showed these estimates subject to risk/volatility 6% less than the market as a whole.

ARI (2) ARISDOG JAUG/22 Open source dog art (7) from dividenddogcatcher.com

Source: Open source dog art from dividenddogcatcher.com

The Dividend Dogs Rule

Stocks earned the "dog" moniker by exhibiting three traits: (1) paying reliable, repeating dividends, (2) their prices fell to where (3) yield (dividend/price) grew higher than their peers. Thus, the highest yielding stocks in any collection became known as "dogs." More precisely, these are, in fact, best called, "underdogs", even if they are "Aristocrats."

Top 50 Dividend Aristocrats By Broker Targets

ARI (3A) 50BYTGT 1-50 AUG 22-23

Source: us.spindices/YCharts.com

This scale of broker-estimated upside (or downside) for stock prices provides a measure of market popularity. Note: no broker coverage or single broker coverage produced a zero score on the above scale. These broker estimates can be seen as the emotional component (as opposed to the strictly monetary and objective dividend/price yield-driven report below). As noted above, these scores may also be regarded as contrarian.

Top 50 Dividend Aristocrats By Yield

ARI (3B) 50BYYIELD 1-50 AUG, 22-23

Source: us.spindices/YCharts.com

Actionable Conclusions (11-20): Ten Top Stocks By Yield Are The August Dog Day Dogs of The Dividend Aristocrats

Top ten Aristocrats Dogs selected 8/4/22 by yield represented seven of eleven Morningstar sectors. In first place was the technology sector Aristocrat, International Business Machines Corp (IBM) [1].

Second place went to the list of two healthcare representatives in the top ten, Walgreens Boots Alliance [1]. The other health member placed eighth, AbbVie Inc [8].

Two consumer cyclical representatives took the third, and fourth places, V.F. Corp [3], and Leggett & Platt Inc [4].

Thereafter, one financial services firm placed fifth, Franklin Resources Inc [5].

Two real estate representatives took the sixth and seventh slots, Realty Income Corp (O) [6], and Federal Realty Income Trust [7].

Then, the energy representative placed ninth, Exxon Mobil Corp [9]. Finally, one industrials representative, placed tenth, 3M Co (MMM)[10]. This completed the August S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats top-ten, by yield.


Source: YCharts.com

Actionable Conclusions: (21-30) Ten Aristocrats Showed 13.03% To 38.27% Upsides To August 2023; (31) On The Downside Were Eight -0.71% to -12.53% Losers

To quantify top-yield rankings, analyst median-price target estimates provided a "market sentiment" measure of upside potential. Added to the simple high-yield metrics, analyst median price-target-estimates became another tool to dig out bargains, or unrealistic expectations.

Analysts Estimated A 26.61% Disadvantage For 5 Highest-Yield, Lowest-Priced of Top Ten Dividend Aristocrats To August 2023

Ten top Aristocrats were culled by yield for their monthly update. Yield (dividend/price) results, Tested by YCharts, did the ranking.

ARI (5)10LIST AUG22-23

Source: YCharts.com

As noted above, top ten Aristocrats by yield selected 8/4/22 represented seven of eleven sectors in the Morningstar sector scheme.

Actionable Conclusions: Analysts Estimated 5 Lowest-Priced Of Ten Highest-Yield Dividend Aristocrats (32) Delivering 8.51% Vs. (33) 11.6% Net Gains by All Ten, Come August 2023

ARI (6) 10GAINS AUG 22-23

Source: YCharts.com

$5,000 invested as $1K in each of the five lowest-priced stocks in the top ten Dividend Aristocrats kennel by yield were predicted (by analyst 1-year targets) to deliver 26.61% LESS gain than $5,000 invested as $.5K in all ten. The sixth lowest-priced Aristocrats top-yield stock, Exxon Mobil Corp, was projected to deliver the best net gain of 22.32%.

ARI (7)10BYPRICE AUG, 22-23

Source: YCharts.com

The five lowest-priced top-yield Aristocrats as of August 4 were: Franklin Resources; Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc; Leggett & Platt Inc; V.F. Corp; Realty Income Corp, with prices ranging from $27.63 to $72.47.

The five higher-priced top-yield Aristocrats as of August 4 were: Exxon Mobil Corp; Federal Realty Investment Trust; International Business Machines Corp; AbbVie Inc; 3M Co, whose prices ranged from $87.19 to $148.12.

This distinction between five low-priced dividend dogs and the general field of ten reflected Michael B. O'Higgins' "basic method" for beating the Dow. The scale of projected gains based on analyst targets added a unique element of "market sentiment" gauging upside potential. It provided a here-and-now equivalent of waiting a year to find out what might happen in the market. Caution is advised, however, since analysts are historically only 20% to 90% accurate on the direction of change and just 0% to 15% accurate on the degree of change.


If somehow you missed the suggestion of the four stocks ripe for picking at the start of the article, here is a repeat of the list at the end:

The following 4 (as of 8/4/22) realized the ideal of offering annual dividends from a $1K investment exceeding their single share prices: Franklin Resources Inc, Leggett & Platt Inc, Walgreens Boots Alliance, and Amcor plc.

Price Drops or Dividend Increases Could Get All Ten Top Aristocrat Dogs Back to "Fair Price" Rates For Investors

ARI (8)RecentVSFairPrices AUG22-23

Source: YCharts.com

Since three of the top ten Aristocrats shares are now priced less than the annual dividends paid out from a $1K investment, the following charts compare those three plus seven at current prices. exact pricing is shown in the top chart. Fair pricing, when all ten top dogs conform to the ideal, is displayed in the middle chart. Finally, the dollar and percentage differences between exact and fair prices are documented in the bottom chart.

S&P 500 Aristocrats Alphabetically by Ticker Symbol

ARI (9) AlphaListByTicker AUG, 22-23

Source: S&P Dow Jones Indices

The net gain/loss estimates above did not factor in any foreign or domestic tax problems resulting from distributions. Consult your tax advisor regarding the source and consequences of "dividends" from any investment.

Stocks listed above were suggested only as possible reference points for your Dividend Aristocrats dog stock purchase or sale research process. These were not recommendations.

Graphs and charts were compiled by Rydlun & Co., LLC from data derived from www.indexArb.com; YCharts.com; finance.yahoo.com; analyst mean target price by YCharts. Dog art: Open source dog art from dividenddogcatcher.com

Mon, 08 Aug 2022 14:15:00 -0500 en text/html https://seekingalpha.com/article/4531728-buy-4-sp-500-august-dog-days-dividend-aristocrats
Killexams : The Toll Facial Recognition Systems Might Take on Our Privacy and Humanity

Artificial intelligence really is everywhere in our day-to-day lives, and one area that’s drawn a lot of attention is its use in facial recognition systems (FRS). This controversial collection of technology is one of the most hotly-debated among data privacy activists, government officials, and proponents of tougher measures on crime.

Enough ink has been spilled on the course to fill libraries, but this article is meant to distill some of the key arguments, viewpoints, and general information related to facial recognition systems and the impacts they can have on our privacy today.

What Are Facial Recognition Systems?

The genuine technology behind FRS and who develops them can be complicated. It’s best to have a basic idea of how these systems work before diving into the ethical and privacy-related concerns related to using them.

How Do Facial Recognition Systems Work?

On a basic level, facial recognition systems operate on a three-step process. First, the hardware, such as a security camera or smartphone, records a photo or video of a person.

That photo or video is then fed into an AI program, which then maps and analyzes the geometry of a person’s face, such as the distance between eyes or the contours of the face. The AI also identifies specific facial landmarks, like forehead, eye sockets, eyes, or lips.

Finally, all these landmarks and measurements come together to create a digital signature which the AI compares against its database of digital signatures to see if there is a match or to verify someone’s identity. That digital signature is then stored on the database for future reference.

Read More At: The Pros and Cons of Enlisting AI for Cybersecurity

Use Cases of Facial Recognition Systems

A technology like facial recognition is broadly applicable to a number of different industries. Two of the most obvious are law enforcement and security. 

With facial recognition software, law enforcement agencies can track suspects and offenders unfortunate enough to be caught on camera, while security firms can utilize it as part of their access control measures, checking people’s faces as easily as they check people’s ID cards or badges.

Access control in general is the most common use case for facial recognition so far. It generally relies on a smaller database (i.e. the people allowed inside a specific building), meaning the AI is less likely to hit a false positive or a similar error. Plus, it’s such a broad use case that almost any industry imaginable could find a reason to implement the technology.

Facial recognition is also a hot course in the education field, especially in the U.S. where vendors pitch facial recognition surveillance systems as a potential solution to the school shootings that plague the country more than any other. It has additional uses in virtual classroom platforms as a way to track student activity and other metrics.

In healthcare, facial recognition can theoretically be combined with emergent tech like emotion recognition for improved patient insights, such as being able to detect pain or monitor their health status. It can also be used during the check-in process as a no-contact alternative to traditional check-in procedures.

The world of banking saw an increase in facial recognition adoption during the COVID-19 pandemic, as financial institutions looked for new ways to safely verify customers’ identities.

Some workplaces already use facial recognition as part of their clock-in-clock-out procedures. It’s also seen as a way to monitor employee productivity and activity, preventing folks from “sleeping on the job,” as it were. 

Companies like HireVue were developing software using facial recognition that can determine the hireability of prospective employees. However, it discontinued the facial analysis portion of its software in 2021. In a statement, the firm cited public concerns over AI and a growing devaluation of visual components to the software’s effectiveness.

Retailers who sell age-restricted products, such as bars or grocery stores with liquor licenses, could use facial recognition to better prevent underaged customers from buying these products.

Who Develops Facial Recognition Systems?

The people developing FRS are many of the same usual suspects who push other areas of tech research forward. As always, academics are some of the primary contributors to facial recognition innovation. The field was started in academia in the 1950s by researchers like Woody Bledsoe.

In a modern day example, The Chinese University of Hong Kong created the GaussianFace algorithm in 2014, which its researchers reported had surpassed human levels of facial recognition. The algorithm scored 98.52% accuracy compared to the 97.53% accuracy of human performance.

In the corporate world, tech giants like Google, Facebook, Microsoft, IBM, and Amazon have been just some of the names leading the charge.

Google’s facial recognition is utilized in its Photos app, which infamously mislabeled a picture of software engineer Jacky Alciné and his friend, both of whom are black, as “gorillas” in 2015. To combat this, the company simply blocked “gorilla” and similar categories like “chimpanzee” and “monkey” on Photos.

Amazon was even selling its facial recognition system, Rekognition, to law enforcement agencies until 2020, when they banned the use of the software by police. The ban is still in effect as of this writing.

Facebook used facial recognition technology on its social media platform for much of the platform’s lifespan. However, the company shuttered the software in late 2021 as “part of a company-wide move to limit the use of facial recognition in [its] products.”

Additionally, there are firms who specialize in facial recognition software like Kairos, Clearview AI, and Face First who are contributing their knowledge and expertise to the field.

Read More At: The Value of Emotion Recognition Technology

Is This a Problem?

To answer the question of “should we be panic about facial recognition systems,” it will be best to look at some of the arguments that proponents and opponents of facial recognition commonly use.

Why Use Facial Recognition?

The most common argument in favor of facial recognition software is that it provides more security for everyone involved. In enterprise use cases, employers can better manage access control, while lowering the chance of employees becoming victims of identity theft.

Law enforcement officials say the use of FRS can aid their investigative abilities to make sure they catch perpetrators quickly and more accurately. It can also be used to track victims of human trafficking, as well as individuals who might not be able to communicate such as people with dementia. This, in theory, could reduce the number of police-caused deaths in cases involving these individuals.

Human trafficking and sex-related crimes are an oft-spoken refrain from proponents of this technology in law enforcement. Vermont, the state with the strictest bans on facial recognition, peeled back their ban slightly to allow for its use in investigating child sex crimes.

For banks, facial recognition could reduce the likelihood and frequency of fraud. With biometric data like what facial recognition requires, criminals can’t simply steal a password or a PIN and gain full access to your entire life savings. This would go a long way in stopping a crime for which the FTC received 2.8 million reports from consumers in 2021 alone.

Finally, some proponents say, the technology is so accurate now that the worries over false positives and negatives should barely be a concern. According to a 2022 report by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, top facial recognition algorithms can have a success rate of over 99%, depending on the circumstances.

With accuracy that good and use cases that strong, facial recognition might just be one of the fairest and most effective technologies we can use in education, business, and law enforcement, right? Not so fast, say the technology’s critics.

Why Ban Facial Recognition Technology?

First, the accuracy of these systems isn’t the primary concern for many critics of FRS. Whether the technology is accurate or not is inessential. 

While Academia is where much research on facial recognition is conducted, it is also where many of the concerns and criticisms are raised regarding the technology’s use in areas of life such as education or law enforcement

Northeastern University Professor of Law and Computer Science Woodrow Hartzog is one of the most outspoken critics of the technology. In a 2018 article Hartzog said, “The mere existence of facial recognition systems, which are often invisible, harms civil liberties, because people will act differently if they suspect they’re being surveilled.”

The concerns over privacy are numerous. As AI ethics researcher Rosalie A. Waelen put it in a 2022 piece for AI & Ethics, “[FRS] is expected to become omnipresent and able to infer a wide variety of information about a person.” The information it is meant to infer is not necessarily information an individual is willing to disclose.

Facial recognition technology has demonstrated difficulties identifying individuals of diverse races, ethnicities, genders, and age. This, when used by law enforcement, can potentially lead to false arrests, imprisonments, and other issues.

As a matter of fact, it already has. In Detroit, Robert Williams, a black man, was incorrectly identified by facial recognition software as a watch thief and falsely arrested in 2020. After being detained for 30 hours, he was released due to insufficient evidence after it became clear that the photographed suspect and Williams were not the same person.

This wasn’t the only time this happened in Detroit either. Michael Oliver was wrongly picked by facial recognition software as the one who threw a teacher’s cell phone and broke it.

A similar case happened to Nijeer Parks in late 2019 in New Jersey. Parks was detained for 10 days for allegedly shoplifting candy and trying to hit police with a car. Facial recognition falsely identified him as the perpetrator, despite Parks being 30 miles away from the incident at the time. 

There is also, in critics’ minds, an inherently dehumanizing element to facial recognition software and the way it analyzes the individual. Recall the aforementioned incident wherein Google Photos mislabeled Jacky Alciné and his friend as “gorillas.” It didn’t even recognize them as human. Given Google’s response to the situation was to remove “gorilla” and similar categories, it arguably still doesn’t.

Finally, there comes the issue of what would happen if the technology was 100% accurate. The dehumanizing element doesn’t just go away if Photos can suddenly determine that a person of color is, in fact, a person of color. 

The way these machines see us is fundamentally different from the way we see each other because the machines’ way of seeing goes only one way.  As Andrea Brighenti said, facial recognition software “leads to a qualitatively different way of seeing … .[the subject is] not even fully human. Inherent in the one way gaze is a kind of dehumanization of the observed.”

In order to get an AI to recognize human faces, you have to teach it what a human is, which can, in some cases, cause it to take certain human characteristics outside of its dataset and define them as decidedly “inhuman.”

That said, making facial recognition technology more accurate for detecting people of color only really serves to make law enforcement and business-related surveillance better. This means that, as researchers Nikki Stevens and Os Keyes noted in their 2021 paper for academic journal Cultural Studies, “efforts to increase representation are merely efforts to increase the ability of commercial entities to exploit, track and control people of colour.”

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, how much one worries about facial recognition technology comes down to a matter of trust. How much trust does a person place in the police or Amazon or any random individual who gets their hands on this software and the power it provides that they will only use it “for the right reasons”?

This technology provides institutions with power, and when thinking about giving power to an organization or an institution, one of the first things to consider is the potential for abuse of that power. For facial recognition, specifically for law enforcement, that potential is quite large.

In an interview for this article, Frederic Lederer, William & Mary Law School Chancellor Professor and Director of the Center for Legal & Court Technology, shared his perspective on the potential abuses facial recognition systems could facilitate in the U.S. legal system:

“Let’s imagine we run information through a facial recognition system, and it spits out 20 [possible suspects], and we had classified those possible individuals in probability terms. We know for a fact that the system is inaccurate and even under its best circumstances could still be dead wrong.

If what happens now is that the police use this as a mechanism for focusing on people and conducting proper investigation, I recognize the privacy objections, but it does seem to me to be a fairly reasonable use.

The problem is that police officers, law enforcement folks, are human beings. They are highly stressed and overworked human beings. And what little I know of reality in the field suggests that there is a large tendency to dump all but the one with the highest probability, and let’s go out and arrest him.”

Professor Lederer believes this is a dangerous idea, however:

“…since at minimum the way the system operates, it may be effectively impossible for the person to avoid what happens in the system until and unless… there is ultimately a conviction.”

Lederer explains that the Bill of Rights guarantees individuals a right to a “speedy trial.” However, court interpretations have borne out that arrested individuals will spend at least a year in prison before the courts even think about a speedy trial.

Add to that plea bargaining:

“…Now, and I don’t have the numbers, it is not uncommon for an individual in jail pending trial to be offered the following deal: ‘plead guilty, and we’ll see you’re sentenced to the time you’ve already been [in jail] in pre-trial, and you can walk home tomorrow.’ It takes an awful lot of guts for an individual to say ‘No, I’m innocent, and I’m going to stay here as long as is necessary.’

So if, in fact, we arrest the wrong person, unless there is painfully obvious evidence that the person is not the right person, we are quite likely to have individuals who are going to serve long periods of time pending trial, and a fair number of them may well plead guilty just to get out of the process.

So when you start thinking about facial recognition error, you can’t look at it in isolation. You have to ask: ‘How will real people deal with this information and to what extent does this correlate with everything else that happens?’ And at that point, there’s some really good concerns.”

As Lederer pointed out, these abuses already happen in the system, but facial recognition systems could exacerbate these abuses and even increase them. They can perpetuate pre-existing biases and systemic failings, and even if their potential benefits are enticing, the potential harm is too present and real to ignore.

Of the viable use cases of facial recognition that have been explored, the closest thing to a “safe” use case is ID verification. However, there are plenty of equally effective ID verification methods, some of which use biometrics like fingerprints.

In reality, there might not be any “safe” use case for facial recognition technology. Any advancements in the field will inevitably aid surveillance and control functions that have been core to the technology from its very beginning.

For now, Lederer said he hasn’t come to any firm conclusions as to whether the technology should be banned. But he and privacy advocates like Hartzog will continue to watch how it’s used.

Read Next: What’s Next for Ethical AI?

Fri, 22 Jul 2022 06:54:00 -0500 en-US text/html https://www.itbusinessedge.com/business-intelligence/facial-recognition-privacy-concerns/
Killexams : August Dogs Of The Dow Show 4 To Buy + One To Watch
Target CEO Brian Cornell Rings NYSE Opening Bell On Black Friday

Andrew Burton/Getty Images News


While more than half this collection of Dow Industrials is too pricey and reveals only skinny dividends, four of the five lowest priced Dogs of the Dow are ready to buy. This month, Intel Corp (INTC), Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA), Verizon Communications Inc (VZ), and Dow Inc (DOW) live up to the dogcatcher ideal of annual dividends from $1K invested exceeding their single share prices. Furthermore, one more, showed its price within $6.70 of meeting that goal.

With renewed downside market pressure of 51.5%, it would be possible for all ten (even CVX) to become elite fair-priced dogs with their annual yield (from $1K invested) meeting or exceeding their single share prices by year's end. [See a summary of top ten fair-priced August Dow Dogs in Actionable Conclusion 21 near the middle of this article.]

Actionable Conclusions (1-10): Brokers Expect 20% To 29.36% Net Gains From Top-Ten Dow Dogs By August 2023

Four of ten top dividend-yielding Dow dogs (tinted gray in the chart below) were among the top ten gainers for the coming year based on analyst 1-year target prices. So, this August, 2023 yield-based forecast for Dow dogs, as graded by Wall St. wizard estimates, was 40% accurate.

Estimated dividend-returns from $1000 invested in the ten highest-yielding stocks and their aggregate one-year analyst median target prices, as reported by YCharts, created the 2022-23 data points for the projections below. Note: one-year target prices estimated by lone analysts were not applied. Ten probable profit-generating trades projected to August 3, 2023 were:


Source: YCharts.com

Salesforce Inc (CRM) was projected to net $293.56, based on the median of target price estimates from forty-six analysts, less broker fees. The Beta number showed this estimate subject to risk/volatility 8% greater than the market as a whole.

The Walt Disney Co (DIS) was projected to net $287.01, based on the median of target estimates from twenty-eight analysts, less broker fees. The Beta number showed this estimate subject to risk/volatility 21% over the market as a whole.

Boeing Co (BA) was forecast to net $274.21, based on the median of target price estimates from nineteen analysts, less broker fees. The Beta number showed this estimate subject to risk/volatility 38% greater than the market as a whole.

JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM) was projected to net $246.33, based on the median of target price estimates from twenty-six analysts, plus the estimated annual dividend, less broker fees. The Beta number showed this estimate subject to risk/volatility 12% more than the market as a whole.

Visa Inc (V) was projected to net $226.09, based on dividends, plus the median of target price estimates from thirty-two analysts, less broker fees. The Beta number showed this estimate subject to risk/volatility 11% under the market as a whole.

Caterpillar Inc (CAT) was projected to net $223.62 based on the median of target price estimates from twenty-five analysts, plus dividends, less broker fees. The Beta number showed this estimate subject to risk/volatility 10% more than the market as a whole.

Verizon Communications Inc was projected to net $220.12, based on dividends, plus the median of target price estimates from twenty-two analysts, less broker fees. The Beta number showed this estimate subject to risk/volatility 67% less than the market as a whole.

Nike Inc (NKE) netted $214.39 based on the median of target price estimates from thirty-one analysts, less broker fees. The Beta number showed this estimate subject to risk/volatility 2% greater than the market as a whole.

Dow Inc was projected to net $205.79, based on the median of target prices estimated by nineteen analysts, less broker fees. A Beta number is still not available for DOW.

Cisco Systems Inc (CSCO) was projected to net $200.29, based on dividends, plus the median target price estimates from twenty-four analysts, less broker fees. The Beta number showed this estimate subject to risk/volatility 3% less than the market as a whole.

The average net gain in dividend and price was estimated at 23.91% on $10k invested as $1k in each of these top ten Dow Index stocks. This gain estimate was subject to average risk/volatility 1% greater than the market as a whole.

DOW (2) DOWDOG AUG,22-23 Open source dog art DDC 1 from dividenddogcatcher.com

Source: Open source dog art from dividenddogcatcher.com

The Dividend Dogs Rule

Stocks earned the "dog" moniker by exhibiting three traits: (1) paying reliable, repeating dividends, (2) their prices fell to where (3) yield (dividend/price) grew higher than their peers. Thus, the highest yielding stocks in any collection became known as "dogs." More precisely, these are, in fact, best called, "underdogs".

The August, 2022 Dow 30 By Yield

DOW(3)YCRTvsNDXAYields AUG22-23

Source: YCharts.com and indexArb.com

Actionable Conclusions (11-20): 10 Top Dow Dividend Stocks By Yield Ranged 3.15% To 5.65% Per YCharts And 3.32% To 5.73% Per IndexArb

Top ten Dow dogs as of 8/3/22 represented seven of eleven Morningstar sectors by YCharts and IndexArb. All ten stocks were the same on the two lists and the order was also identical.

Both YCharts and IndexARB put the lone communication services sector member on their lists in first place, Verizon [1]. In second place was the lone basic materials dog, Dow Inc [2].

Then three technology dogs were placed in the third, sixth, and ninth positions, International Business Machines (IBM) [3], Intel Corp [6] and Cisco Systems Inc [9] per YCharts and IndexArb.

However both lists put the first of two healthcare members fourth, Walgreens Boots Alliance [4] and the other health member was tenth, Merck & Co Inc, (MRK) [10].

The two lists showed a lone industrials dog in fourth, 3M Co (MMM) [4], and that the lone energy representative was seventh, Chevron (CVX) [7]. They also

Finally, the two lists agreed that ninth place belonged to the financial services firm, JPMorgan Chase & Co [9], to complete their August top ten dogs of the Dow by yield lists.


Source: YCharts.com and indexArb.com

Dividend Vs. Price Results

Graphs above show the relative strengths of the top ten Dow dogs by yield as of market close 8/3/2022. The two sets of charts show the variation of dividends calculated by YCharts.com estimates and those from the arbitrage firm IndexArb.com. There was a $5.90 difference in total estimated single share dividends between YCharts and IndexArb top ten, resulting in a $0.42 average cost per dividend dollar differential. These numbers were just enough to show a 1% variance on the pie charts.

This month six of the top-ten Dow dogs show an overbought condition (in which aggregate single share price of the ten exceeds projected annual dividend from $10k invested as $1k each in those ten). A dividend dogcatcher priority is to select stocks whose dividends from $1K invested exceed their single share price. As mentioned above, that condition was reached by four of the five lowest priced Dogs of the Dow, Intel Corp, Verizon Communications, Walgreens Boots Alliance, and Dow Inc live up to the dogcatcher ideal of annual dividends from $1K invested exceeding their single share prices. Furthermore, one more, Cisco Systems, showed a price within $6.70 of meeting that goal as of August 3.

Actionable Conclusion (21): Six of Ten Top Dow Dogs Are Overbought

This gap between high share price and low dividend per $1k (or oversold condition) means, no matter which chart you read, 23 of all 27 Dow dividend payers are low risk and low opportunity dogs, with the non-dividend payers being particularly dismal. The Dow top-ten average cost per dollar of annual dividend for August 3, 2022 was $24.32 per YCharts or $23.909 by the IndexArb reckoning.

One that cut its dividend after March, 2020, Boeing, has re-learned (and is now certified that it knows how to fly in some countries) and is thus prepared to take off again if airlines ever trust planes made in the USA again. The used plane and airbus market, however, is soaring. BA may not ever recover from being in worse shape than was GE when excused from the Dow index.

As for DIS, the magic kingdom may be close to reinstating a dividend but don't hold your breath. Furthermore, the latest of the three latest no-dividend stocks on the block, CRM, is simply overpriced. Those three non-dividend payers are the true down in the dumps dogs of the Dow, despite analysts high-balling their future share price estimates. All of the three demonstrate a total disregard for shareholders.

Remember this dogcatcher yield-based stock-picking strategy is contrarian. That means rooting for (buying) the underdog is productive when you don't already own these stocks. If you do hold these stocks, then you must look for opportune pull-backs in price to add to your position to best Excellerate your dividend yield. Plenty of pull-back opportunities appear to be ahead.

Price Drops or Dividend Increases Could Get All Ten Dow Dogs Back to "Fair Price" Rates For Investors


Source: YCharts.com

The charts above retain the current dividend amount and adjust share price to produce a yield (from $1K invested) to equal or exceed the single share price of each stock. As this illustration shows, four are ideally priced. Beside Intel Corp, Walgreens Boots Alliance, Verizon Communications, and Dow Inc breaking into the ideal zone, one more low priced stock is within $5.90 of making the grade [CSCO].

Five more, however (IBM; MMM; CVX; JPM; MRK ) need to trim prices between $35.09 and $79.96. to attain that elusive 50/50 goal.

The alternative, of course, would be that these companies raise their dividends but that is a lot to ask in these highly disrupted, inflationary, yet cash-rich times. Mr. Market is much more effective at moving prices up or down to appropriate amounts.


Source: YCharts.com

Actionable Conclusions: (22-31) The Dow Index Showed 17.70% To 30.36% Top Ten Upsides To July, 2023; (32) No Downsides Were Revealed By Broker 1-Yr. Targets

To quantify top dog rankings, analyst median price target estimates provided a "market sentiment" gauge of upside potential. Added to the simple high-yield "dog" metrics, analyst median price target estimates provided another tool to dig out bargains.

Analysts Forecast A 10.02% Advantage For 5 Highest-Yield, Lowest-Priced of 10 Dow Dogs As Of August 3, 2023

Ten top Dow dogs were culled by yield for their monthly update. Yield (dividend / price) results as Tested by YCharts did the ranking.

DOW (6)10LIST AUG22-23

Source: YCharts.com

As noted above, top-ten Dow dogs selected 7/1/22 by both the YChart and IndexArb methods revealing the highest dividend-yields represented seven of the eleven sectors. Consumer Cyclical and Consumer Defensive selections were missing. (Real Estate is not reported and Utilities has its own Dow Index.)

Actionable Conclusions: Analysts Expected 5 Lowest-Priced of the Ten Highest-Yield Dow Dogs (34) To Deliver 18.39% Vs. (35) 16.72% Net Gains by All Ten Come August 3, 2023

DOW (7) 10GAINS AUG22-23

Source: YCharts.com

$5000 invested as $1k in each of the five lowest-priced stocks in the top ten Dow Dividend kennel by yield were predicted by analyst 1-year targets to deliver 10.02% more gain than from $5,000 invested in all ten. The seventh lowest priced, JPMorgan Chase & Co, showed top analyst-estimated gains of 24.6%.

DOW (8) 10xPR AUG22-23

Source: YCharts.com

The five lowest-priced Dow top-yield dogs for August 3 were: Intel Corp; Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc; Verizon Communications Inc; Cisco Systems Inc; Dow Inc, with prices ranging from $36.52 to $51.49.

Five higher-priced Dow top-yield dogs for August 1 were: Merck & Co Inc; JPMorgan Chase & Co; International Business Machines Corp; 3M Co; Chevron Corp, whose prices ranged from $87.62 to $155.36.

The distinction between five low-priced dividend dogs and the general field of ten reflected Michael B. O'Higgins' "basic method" for beating the Dow. The scale of projected gains based on analyst targets added a unique element of "market sentiment" gauging upside potential. It provided a here-and-now equivalent of waiting a year to find out what might happen in the market.

Caution is advised, since analysts are historically only 20% to 90% accurate on the direction of change and just 0% to 15% accurate on the degree of change. (In 2017 the market somewhat followed analyst sentiment. In 2018 analysts estimates were contrarian indicators of market performance, and they continued to be contrary for the first two quarters of 2019 but switched to conforming for the last two quarters.) In 2020 analyst projections were quite contrarian. The first half of 2021 most dividend stock price actions exceeded all analyst expectations. The last half of 2021 was still gangbusters. The 2022 Summer sag may free-up five or more Dow dogs, sending them into the ideal zone where returns from $1k invested equal (or exceed) their single-share price.


Lest there be any doubt about the recommendations in this article, this month there were four Dow Index stocks showing dividends for $1k invested exceeding its single share price: Intel Corp, Walgreens Boots Alliance, Verizon Communications, and Dow Inc.

The dogcatcher hands off recommendations are still in place referring to one that cut its dividend in March, 2020. While Boeing, has re-learned (and is certified in certain countries) how to fly, it still has to coax customers to get airborne again. BA faces strong headwinds to stay on the Dow index (despite analyst optimism for the lone American commercial air-crafter).

Also keep hands off the latest non-dividend member of the Dow, Salesforce Inc, until it declares a dividend from $1K invested greater than its single share price.

While subscriptions keep the ship afloat, Disney needs audiences to get strapped back into buying tickets to watch and ride before resuming a dividend. The DIS parks are now open in CA & FL. And what about the cruise ships? Will anybody cruise, play on the parks, or attend movies again? If so, when will the DIS dividend return? Looks like all viewer loyalties have switched to Apple productions and streaming entertainment options. Happily, Disney franchised offerings compete well in the streaming market.

The net gain/loss estimates above did not factor in any foreign or domestic tax problems resulting from distributions. Consult your tax advisor regarding the source and consequences of "dividends" from any investment.

Stocks listed above were suggested only as possible reference points for your Dow dividend dog stock purchase or sale research process. These were not recommendations.

Thu, 04 Aug 2022 22:02:00 -0500 en text/html https://seekingalpha.com/article/4530127-august-dogs-dow-show-four-buy-plus-one-watch
Killexams : Best Identity Theft Protection Services: Top Identity and Credit Protection Companies

How astonishing are these stats?;

  • An American suffers identity theft every 14 seconds - The Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
  • 33% of US citizens have experienced ID theft - Proof Point
  • 15 million Americans suffer identity fraud every year - Crime Museum

Crazy, right?

Moreover, with nuggets of our sensitive information on the web, on social media and pretty much everywhere, the risk of ID fraud becomes even uglier.

Many of us are doing a great job with passwords and other forms of data protection, still, ID thieves are crafting new ways to steal our information. 

Plus let’s face it, keeping track of every bit of our personal and financial detail can be overbearing.

However, with the Best Identity Theft Protection Services such as Aura, you can let ID security experts handle that for you.

So, we dug in and compiled the most reliable and top-rated Identity Theft Protection providers for you to choose from.

Doing things like identity monitoring, identity restoration, and even stolen funds reimbursement, these ID protection services offer layered security to protect your financial health and reputation.

Best Identity Theft Services:

1. Aura - Best Identity Protection Service of All

Aura (1).jpg



  • A+ BBB score
  • 4.7 Trustpilot score
  • Comprehensive compatibility
  • Inclusive family protection
  • 60-Day Money-Back Guarantee


  • Not the cheapest (but worth it)

Straightaway, Aura sets to win you over with its credibility;

  • Better Business Bureau accredited with an A+ rating
  • An Excellent Trustpilot score
  • Highest rated ID theft protection company on Security.org
  • Positive recognition on Forbes and Business Insider

Proving it has a reputation for best practices and a knack to satisfy its customers, Aura also makes its forte being a one-stop protection shop for your information.

This company handles;

  • ID theft protection for your Social Security Number, Credit info, online accounts, and more
  • Three bureau credit monitoring
  • Parental control to block risky sites
  • Experian credit lock to stave off unauthorized access
  • Steadfast fraud management team

On top of ID protection and monitoring, Aura’s dedicated fraud management team captures real-time ID threats and sends you immediate alerts for timely security measures.

Also, the company works on restoring your identity and gives every person covered in your plan $1M identity theft insurance in case of stolen funds.

Better yet, all Aura information protection services come with antivirus, VPN protection, and PIN management assistance to safeguard your devices and internet experience.

Best of all, this platform works on all devices from Mac, Windows, iOS, and Android, hence you’ll be secured on any device you’re using.

Plans Available

  • Individual - $12/m billed annually OR $15/m monthly
  • Couple - $22/m billed annually OR $29/m monthly
  • Family - $37/m billed annually OR $50/m monthly

You’d love that Aura gives you the option to choose between monthly and annual subscriptions, with the latter coming with some good discounts too.

While its prices may be relatively higher, the services, ranging from monitoring to restoration to multiple device protection means the company gives value for money.

Additionally, you first get to test the waters with a 14-day trial. Better still, if you’re not impressed in 60-days, Aura will be happy to provide a refund.

Lastly, unlike other companies that limit their family packages to two adults, Aura’s includes 5 people regardless of age. Besides, adults get their Aura accounts to protect their information more effectively.

Try Aura’s 14-Day Trial

2. Identity Guard - Fastest Identity Theft Products

Identity Guard (1).jpg

Identity Guard


  • From 1996
  • Intelligent information monitoring
  • Incredibly fast alerts
  • Business protection available


Identity Guard brings the brains to identity monitoring with an innovative IBM Watson AI that makes it capture threats faster.

Along with seamless monitoring, Identity Guard sends near real-time alerts. It’s said to send alerts about 4 times faster than the average ID theft protection services, and this can save you heavy damage.

It’s not just speed, the service has the credentials too, with an excellent Trustpilot score and BBB accreditation to show for it.

Moreover, the fraud protection service has served more than 38 million clients, so they also have a proven and seasoned record on customer satisfaction.

Along with its 3-bureau credit monitoring and identity theft protection, you can also benefit from;

  • Financial accounts protection
  • Tax ID protection
  • Home title protection
  • Medical information protection

Even away from individuals, Identity Guard further provides identity theft protection solutions to businesses. 

Business-wise, the company can help your organization or business effectively prepare and respond to data breaches, and even protect your employees from fraudsters.

Plans Available

  • Value plan - Individual - $8.89/m OR $90 yearly
  • Value plan - Family - $14.99/m OR $179.88 yearly
  • Total plan - Individual - $19.99/m OR $200.04 yearly
  • Ultra plan - $29.99/m OR $300 yearly

On plans, Identity Guard offers some pocket-friendly prices. 

Unfortunately, they don’t have a trial period, however, going with their high customer ratings, they’ll most probably make it worthwhile for you.

Every plan is additionally covered with a $1M identity theft insurance policy to offset any loss you incur.

Also, if you choose the Ultra plan, you get home title monitoring and 401k protection as extra perks.

Try Identity Guard Today

3. IdentityForce - Unmatched Best Identity Theft Monitoring Experience

Identity Force (1).jpg



  • 40+ years reputation
  • By TransUnion
  • Top-class client support
  • 30-Day Free Trial


Established by TransUnion, one of the three major credit bureaus in the US, IdentityForce’s legitimacy speaks for itself.

What’s more, the company has an astonishing 40-year identity protection experience, setting it as the most seasoned ID theft protection service on our list.

IdentityForce provides ID and credit information protection in the form of;

  • Identity monitoring
  • Rapid alerts
  • Credit monitoring and control
  • Identity recovery services

The company’s credit control caught our eye the most for the careful way it breaks down credit information and potential threats.
To add, IdentityForce uses certified experts to recover your stolen information. 

Better yet, this is also accompanied by cutting-edge live customer support to coordinate smooth communication with the resolve team.

Even if you suffer any financial injury, IdentityForce covers your loss with a $1M identity theft insurance policy.

For business people, it’s also amazing to know that the service has identity protection to keep your business’ identity away from lurking defrauders.

Plans Available

  • UltraSecure - $17.95/m OR $179.50/year
  • UltraSecure + Credit - $23.95/m OR $239.50/year

As seen, IdentityForce only offers two individual plans, so you might be a little limited on that front.

Still, the UltraSecure and UltraSecure Credit plans offer general protection and extra credit monitoring solutions respectively, hence you can pick a fitting option.

The basic plan gives you a 30-day trial period, and you can additionally phone customer support to create a personalized plan for your family.

Try IndentityForce’s 30 Day Trial Period

4. IdentityIQ - Best Identity Monitoring Company for Credit Information

Identity IQ (1).jpg



  • Heightened credit monitoring
  • Extensive ID theft education resources
  • $25,000 child identity theft insurance
  • Flexible identity theft protection plans


  • Relatively limited starting plan

IdentityIQ secures your financial and personal information by providing a round-the-clock identity theft protection service.

The company staves off and fights identity thieves through;

  • Real-time credit monitoring
  • Dark web monitoring
  • Internet monitoring

Of all, IdentityIQ’s pinnacle is with its credit monitoring services.

Credit monitoring here can deliver alerts on;

  • Authorized card user activity
  • Bank card overspending
  • New foreclosures
  • 10-point increase/decrease on your TransUnion credit score

All the above helps you be more aware of your credit data.

Furthermore, there’s also VPN and Antivirus protection to protect your device and online presence as well.

Also, IdentityIQ boasts resourceful ID theft educational information that can help you make future healthy identity decisions.

It isn’t just you, you can also protect your children. Besides, IdentityIQ allows you to protect kids of up to 24 years, which is way higher than the 18 age cap most sites give.

And, on top of a $1M insurance for you, your kids get up to $25,000 identity theft insurance to cover any loss from identity theft.

Plans available

  • Secure Plus - $9.99/m 
  • Secure Pro - $19.99/m
  • Secure Max - $29.99/m

IdentityIQ’s Plus plan is a little scant, still, it comes with credit monitoring and credit reports and credit scores, which is decent enough.

On the positive side, the service has pretty flexible plans, allowing you to choose what works for you.

Flexible Identity Theft Protection Plans With IdentityIQ

5. LifeLock - Great Extra Identity Theft Protection Products

lifelock (1).jpg



  • 30-day free trial
  • 60-day money-back guarantee
  • TransUnion Credit lock
  • Monitors social media accounts


  • VPN and device protection cost extra

With a 30-day free trial and a 60-day assurance guarantee, LifeLock straight up gives you the confidence you need in its ID protection services.

In addition, the company is reported to have attracted over 80 million customers, which suggests that they are sublime at what they do.

Identity theft protection on LifeLock takes the shape of;

  • Dark web monitoring and internet scans
  • Speedy alerts
  • Identity restoration by US-based credit specialists
  • Reimbursement

On reimbursement, LifeLock gives a $1M identity theft insurance cover for lawyer and expert costs and $25k to $1M on any financial loss.

Even more, LifeLock casts a wider dragnet with additional social media monitoring and a TransUnion credit file lock.

Also, there’s device protection like VPN, they cost a little extra but could be a nice way to ensure wholesome information security.

Plans Available

  • Standard - $124.99/year OR $8.99/m
  • Advantage - $179.88/year OR $17.99/m
  • Ultimate Plus - $239.88/year OR $34.99/m

Summing up, it’s great that Life Lock also has extra family packages for two adults, and one for two adults and up to five children to protect your whole family.

6. Experian - National Credit Reporting Agency With Identity ProtectionServices

experian (6).jpg



  • National credit bureau
  • Free dark web monitoring
  • Free credit reports, FICO monitoring
  • 30-day free trial


  • Credit card needed for free trial

You have heard about Experian. 

If not, Experian is one-third of the major credit bureaus in the US, and that status alone lends it all legitimacy.

One of the biggest identity theft protection services here are the free features, which are;

  • Free dark web monitoring
  • Free credit reports
  • Free FICO credit score monitoring

Moreover, Experian scans over 600,000 web pages, which is quite a large base to capture malicious attempts at your private information.

Mainly, everything is covered with 24/7 3-bureau credit monitoring and immediate alerts in case of suspicious activity.

Even better, the company has a specific and highly responsive fraud resolution team to help you fix data breaches in time.

Besides, you additionally have a $1M max identity theft insurance cover for any damages incurred.

Another option is, you can also regulate who looks at your credit file with Experian’s credit file lock and unlock tool.

Plans available

  • Experian IdentityWorks Plus - $9.99/m
  • Experian IdentityWorks Premium - $19.99/m

Looking at the plans, Experian has one of the most affordable packages for people seeking to protect their information.

To add, you can save 17% more if you choose the annual billing option.

You start for 30 days free, however, you’ll need your credit card for that.

All Experian plans are good for credit monitoring, still, the Premium option gives you extra services like social network monitoring and financial account monitoring.

7. Intelius - Best Identity Protection Company for In-depth Public Record Scans

Intelius (5).jpg



  • 18+ years experience
  • 2o+ billion public record access
  • Multiple identity monitoring
  • 24/7 personal support help


  • Not an exclusive ID protection company

Already, Intelius is a renowned data collection service, but its Identity Protect feature has taken it to higher depths as an exceptional data protection company as well.

The company carves its name by being perhaps the most thorough public record monitoring service with outstanding access to over 20B public records.

While it might not be a direct ID protection service, Intelius’ ability to pull general activity and transactions using your personal information is almost unmatched.

Again, the company takes varied monitoring angles by also tracking your;

  • Social Security Number
  • Credit
  • Bank accounts
  • Phone number
  • Address

Intelius also stands out from others by offering you a personal 24/7 customer representative to deliver your identity protection and resolution utmost attention.

Equally important, the service provides monthly 1-bureau credit reports and credit scores, but you can opt to pay extra to get credit info from all three major credit bureaus.

Plans Available

8. PrivacyGuard - Best Identity Theft Monitoring Company With Tailored Plans

privacy guard (2).jpg



  • Personalized plans
  • Award-winning customer support
  • Immense education resources
  • Device protection available


  • No bank account monitoring

Recognized as a top ID protection platform by esteemed publications like CNBC, CNET, Investopedia, and more, PrivacyGuard right off seems to have what it takes.
Additionally, the site’s customer support has been ranked as the best identity resolution team by Contact Center World, hence you can trust them to solve any ID theft issues.

PrivacyGuard tackles ID fraud from two main angles; credit monitoring and identity monitoring.

On credit monitoring, the service does 24/7 triple-credit bureau monitoring to curb any potential credit info theft. Furthermore, PrivacyGuard keeps you in the know with monthly triple-credit bureau scores and credit reports.

With direct ID protection, we bet you’d appreciate the web browser and keyboard protection that the company offers to keep marauding fraudsters at bay.

Only, PrivacyGard doesn’t appear to offer bank account monitoring services. Nevertheless, you’d appreciate their comprehensive ID theft educational tools that may help you make fewer information lapses.

Plans Available

  • Identity Protection - $9.99/m
  • Credit Protection - $19.99/m
  • Total Protection - $24.99/m

In summary, PrivacyGuard also adds the convenience of choosing a protection plan for what’s important to you.

With identity, credit, and an all-inclusive package option, you can pick a customized plan for the Identity theft protection you prioritize.

9. ReliaShield - Best Identity Protection for Free Kids Coverage

ReliaShield (1).jpg



  • Since 1999
  • Competitive prices
  • High restoration rates
  • Kids are covered for free


ReliaShield finds the sweet spot between price and effectiveness; posing itself as one of the most cost-effective identity protection services.

While its main idea is to protect your identity and financial details, the company boasts a 100% restoration ID restoration rate, which is assuring knowing you’re in capable hands.

You also get a $1M identity theft insurance cover to offset any expenses or fund loss.

While some information protection companies may charge extra for children, it’s all free on ReliaShield for plans that cover two adults.

Plans Available

  • Essential - $7.99/m
  • Prime - $14.99/m
  • Elite - $21.99/m
  • Essential - $14.99/m
  • Prime - $24.99/m
  • Elite - $34.99/m

Off the bat, all ReliaShield plans include unlimited identity theft protection services. 

In sum, these packages are quite comprehensive, but the two highest plans deliver you extra credit score tracker and bank account monitoring to secure your financial well-being some more.

10. IDShield - Investigator-led ID Protection Service




  • Licensed private investigators to help
  • Guaranteed ID restoration
  • Wide cybersecurity services


  • Alerts can be overwhelming
  • No annual plan discount

Noticed by Forbes and Yahoo, and with a great 4.1 Trustpilot score, IDShield has the reputation to back up its commitment to securing your identity.

What’s more, IDShield guarantees restoration in case of identity theft. Quite notably, the company uses licensed private investigators to make sure that you claim back what’s yours.

As well, the fraud protection platform also handles cybersecurity by giving you tools to keep scammers away from your device.

These cyber protection resources include; 

  • VPN
  • Malware protection
  • Password protection
  • Parental control

It’s also very helpful that IDShield keeps you in the loop with numerous alerts on your financial account, dark web activity, and high-risk activities. 

Sometimes, these notifications might seem too much, but if maximum protection is what you’re going for they shouldn’t be much of a bother.

Plans Available

  • Individual Plan - $14.95/m
  • Family Plan - $29.95/m

How We Chose the Best Identity Theft Protection Services

Company Legitimacy

To see that you were getting data protection from the most credible companies, we sought to choose sites accredited by the Better Business Bureau.

Moreover, these sites aren't just accredited by the BBB, they have high ratings too, and most have an A+ rating to show they are highly reliable.

To add, most of the sites we finally selected have been around for years, some even decades, hence you can tell they’re good for their longevity.

Try Aura’s 14-Day Trial!

Also, we selected sites that illustrated their promises with high customer reviews, and all the sites that made our compilation have Great to Excellent Trustpilot ratings.

How Easy They Are To Use and Access

Also, we put user-friendliness on the front foot, and we were first desparate to select the most accessible identity theft protection platforms.

With this we were intentional to choose services that were compatible on most devices. 

As a standard all the fraud protection sites here can be accessed both on Mac and Windows to suit most people.

Try Aura’s 14-Day Trial!

On the same breadth, the majority of the sites here have mobile app versions to add extra on-the-go convenience. And, we also made sure that the apps were available on both Android and iOS.

Still, on customer-friendliness, we picked sites that had the most responsive and friendly customer support to facilitate smooth communication.

How Extensive They Are

Our personal and financial identities are very wide, thus naturally we had to pick the most comprehensive identity theft monitoring services.

At the top, all of our services monitor your credit, identity, and financial records, as these are what most people are very concerned about.

That said, we gave an edge to companies that went ahead to offer more unique protection services like home title monitoring, 401k tracking, medical records monitoring, just to mention a few.

While at it, we also prioritized sites that offered complimentary identity theft protection features, e.g. educational resources to help people nurture healthier information habits.

Possible Reimbursement Amount

Identity theft might occur, and damage can be suffered, and with this in mind, we made sure the services we chose offered reimbursements.

Furthermore, we made sure to see that the reimbursements were significant enough to weigh off any loss from ID theft.

So, all the sites here offer a $1M identity theft insurance policy to replace any expenses or stolen funds due to identity theft, and some even deliver extra for family plans.

Try Aura’s 14-Day Trial!

Are There Free Trials and Assurance Guarantees

While we had already shortlisted reputable identity protection companies, we wanted to deliver customers an extra buffer as a measure.

For this, we gave a leg-up to platforms that offered either a free trial, an assurance certain or both.

This way, customers can test out the site, or use it with confidence to see if they like it first.

Best Identity Theft Protection Companies: FAQs



What Is the Highest-rated Identity Theft Protection?

The highest-rated identity theft protection service is Aura.

Aura currently has a 4.7/5 customer Trustpilot score which says it has a reputation to satisfy consumers.

Along with the high customer standing, Aura has an A+ Better Business Bureau rating which is the highest possible rating the BBB gives to credible businesses.

Is Identity Guard Worth the Money?

Yeah, Identity Guard is worth the money.

To start, Identity Guard is one of the most experienced identity monitoring companies having launched in 1996. Even more, the company has served 38M+ customers, which solidifies its reputation.

Moreover, the company is one of the fastest at noticing malicious activity, and is reported to send identity risk alerts four times faster than the average company.

Try Aura’s 14-Day Trial!

Is Identity Guard Better Than LifeLock?

Identity Guard is apparently better than LifeLock.

Both Identity Guard and LifeLock are both seasoned companies with 38M+ and 80M+ clients served respectively.

Nonetheless, Identity Guard gets the nod for its different personalized individual and business services for individuals.

While LifeLock offers only individual identity protection its 30-day free trial and 60-month money-back certain makes it quite appealing.

Which Is Better: Identity Guard or IdentityForce?

Identity guard is slightly better than IdentityForce, however, they’re both worth their salt.

IdentityForce beats Identity Guard on experience as it’s been around for more than 40 years. 

Even so, Identity Guard has a record of speedy services. The company is known for superfast alerts and speedy identity restoration to ensure that you nab potential identity risks before major damage is done.

How Can I Find Out if Someone Is Using My Identity?

The best way to find out if someone is using your identity is by using an identity theft protection service.

Identity restoration companies have the experts and tools to monitor your information and send you prompt alerts when your information is at risk.

If you desire to figure out identity theft on your own, here are a few red flags you might want to look out for;

  • Unknown accounts on your credit reports
  • Missing emails - may suggest someone changed your address
  • Unfamiliar purchases on your bills
  • Strange mobile devices linked to your online accounts
  • Unusual verification SMS and email verification notifications
  • Suspicious withdrawals on your bank statement

How Do Identity Theft Services Work?

Identity theft services work by monitoring your identity information and resolving any data breach that may occur on your information.

Typically, identity theft services will offer data tracking services and will send you alerts when your information is compromised or under great risk.

Try Aura’s 14-Day Trial!

In the case your identity is stolen, identity theft services have dedicated restoration teams that will work to reclaim your data.

Also, these services can deliver you compensation if you suffer loss while under their protection.

How Do I Report Identity Theft?

Identity theft can be reported to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) through their website on IdentityTheft.gov or on phone using their 1-877-438-4338 report line.

Alternatively, you can also report identity theft to the police if you know the exact person who stole your data.

Which Are the Top 10 Identity Theft Protection Services?

The top 10 identity theft protection services currently are;

Is Identity Theft a Felony?

Identity theft is not necessarily a felony, but it can be one.

Depending on the state and seriousness of the crime, identity theft can be categorized as either a misdemeanor or a felony.

In some states an ID theft case causing loss of $300 or more can be a felony, while in some states the threshold is higher, typically at $500.

Also, identity theft can easily be a felony if it’s a second time offense.

Why Should I Buy an Identity Theft Service?

You should buy an identity theft service for the convenience it brings to keeping your information safe.

An identity theft protection service can handle basically everything for you from identity monitoring to identity restoration.

Also, it’s also calming to know that identity professionals are helping you prevent ID theft while you focus on other things.

Try Aura’s 14-Day Trial!

How Can I Avoid Identity Theft in Addition to These Services?

A couple of ways to help you avoid identity theft are;

  • Review your credit card statements to see that you recognized the transactions
  • Assess your credit history often and look out for inconsistencies
  • Install anti-malware software on your devices
  • Lock your credit files
  • Shred used documents containing your personal and financial information
  • Sign up for credit and bank alerts to keep track of transactions
  • Treat your SSN as vital information

Which Is the Best Identity Theft Protection for Families?

The best identity theft protection for families is ReliaShield.

The identity theft protection company offers free coverage for children under the age of 18 for any plan that enlists two adults.

Better yet, there’s no limit to the number of children, as long as they reside within the same household.

Best Identity Theft Protection Services: Conclusion

We’re glad you got to the tail end with us, and from this review we hope you’ve gained a good insight into finding the ideal identity protection service for you.

Honestly, all our identity theft protection services are worth your while, with massive identity monitoring, immediate alerts, and speedy identity restoration.

For us, Aura’s credit, financial account, and cyber protection services are unbeatable. Even more, the website has a high customer-standing, so it checks the right boxes of a leading company.

Try Aura’s 14-Day Trial!

Nevertheless, Identity Guard and IdentityForce are right up there too, and their fast and robust monitoring services stick out from the rest.

DISCLAIMER: Use identity theft protection services to tunes you can afford to avoid accumulating debt.

Thu, 28 Jul 2022 10:42:00 -0500 en text/html https://www.thedenverchannel.com/brand-spotlight/best-identity-theft-protection-services
Killexams : Population Health Management (PHM) Market Is Thriving Incredible Growth With An Outstanding CAGR Of 19.53% By 2022-2029

(MENAFN- EIN Presswire)

Global Population Health Management (PHM) Market

Population Health Management (PHM) Market Size, Share, Analysis, Dynamic Opportunities and Forecast to 2029

PUNE, MAHARASHTRA, INDIA, August 8, 2022 /EINPresswire.com / -- The universal Population Health Management (PHM) Market research report gives detailed market insights with which visualizing market place clearly become easy. The market report endows with an utter background analysis of the Healthcare industry along with an assessment of the parental market. This marketing report puts forth the comprehensive analysis of the market structure and the estimations of the various segments and sub-segments of the Healthcare industry. The process of creating this market report is initiated with the expert advice and the utilization of several steps. To perform several estimations and calculations, the definite base year and the historic year are considered as a support in the winning Population Health Management (PHM) business report.

Data Bridge Market Research analyses that the population health management (PHM) market was valued at USD 24.9 billion in 2021 and is expected to reach USD 103.76 billion by 2029, registering a CAGR of 19.53 % during the forecast period of 2022 to 2029.

Grab a PDF demo Copy with Complete TOC, Figures and Graphs @ 

Population Health Management (PHM) Market Scenario

Population health management (PHM) is a focused, holistic strategy to collecting and evaluating a patient's health-related data. Patient involvement, care coordination, integration, value-based care measurement, data analytics, and health information management are all part of the package. It focuses on improving population health, the whole patient experience, and improving healthcare outcomes.

Moreover, growing focus on value-based medicines and increasing the number of emerging markets will further provide beneficial opportunities for the population health management (PHM) market growth during the forecast period. Also, technological advancement and implementation of various government initiatives for promoting public health will enhance the market's growth rate.

The Key Companies Profiled in the Population Health Management (PHM) Market are : 

McKesson Corporation (US)
ZeOmega (USA)
Verisk Analytics, Inc (US)
Forward Health Group, Inc (US)
Health Catalyst (US)
Athena health, Inc (US)
Cerner Corporation (US)
Medecision (US)
Xerox Corporation (US)
Allscripts Healthcare, LLC (US)
Fonemed (Canada)
Well Centive, Inc. (US)
General Electric Company (US)
HealthBI (US)
NXGN Management, LLC (US)
Optum Inc. (US)
i2i Population Health (US)
Conifer Health Solutions, LLC (US)
Koninklijke Philips N.V. (Netherlands)
Siemens Healthcare GmbH (Germany)
Arthrex (US)

Global Population Health Management (PHM) Market Scope And Market Size:

The population health management (PHM) market is segmented on the basis of platform, component and end-user. The growth amongst these segments will help you analyze meagre growth segments in the industries and provide the users with a valuable market overview and market insights to help them make strategic decisions for identifying core market applications.





End User

Healthcare Providers
Healthcare Payers

Today's businesses choose market research report solution such as Population Health Management (PHM) market survey report because it lends a hand with the improved decision making and more revenue generation. The industry report also aids in prioritizing market goals and attain profitable business. This business document is also all-embracing of the data which covers market definition, classifications, applications, engagements, market drivers and market restraints that are based on the SWOT analysis. Analysis and estimations attained through the massive information gathered in the top notch Population Health Management (PHM) market report are extremely necessary when it comes to dominating the market or creating a mark in the market as a new emergent.

Key Points of Global Population Health Management (PHM) Market will Excellerate the revenue impact of businesses in various industries by:

Providing a framework tailored toward understanding the attractiveness quotient of various products/solutions/technologies in the Population Health Management (PHM) Market.
Guiding stakeholders to identify key problem areas pertaining to their consolidation strategies in the global Population Health Management (PHM) market and offers solutions.
Assessing the impact of changing regulatory dynamics in the regions in which companies are desparate on expanding their footprints.
Provides understanding of disruptive technology trends to help businesses make their transitions smoothly.
Helping leading companies make strategy recalibrations ahead of their competitors and peers.
Offers insights into promising synergies for top players aiming to retain their leadership position in the market & supply side analysis of Population Health Management (PHM) market..

To Check The Complete Table Of Content Click Here @ 

Competitive Landscape and Population Health Management (PHM) Market Share Analysis:

The Population health management (PHM) market competitive landscape provides details by competitor. Details included are company overview, company financials, revenue generated, market potential, investment in research and development, new market initiatives, global presence, production sites and facilities, production capacities, company strengths and weaknesses, product launch, product width and breadth, application dominance. The above data points provided are only related to the companies' focus related to population health management (PHM) market.

Regional Outlook of Global Population Health Management (PHM) Market:

North America (U.S., Canada and Mexico)
Rest of Europe in Europe (Germany, France, U.K., Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium, Russia, Italy, Spain and Turkey)
Rest of Asia-Pacific (APAC) in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) (China, Japan, India, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines)
Rest of Middle East and Africa (MEA) as a part of MEA (Saudi Arabia, U.A.E, South Africa, Egypt and Israel)
Rest of South America as part of South America (Brazil and Argentina)

The latest industry analysis and survey on Population Health Management (PHM) provides sales outlook in 20+ countries, across key categories. Insights and outlook on Population Health Management (PHM) market drivers, trends, and influencing factors are also included in the study.

Crucial Insights in Population Health Management (PHM) Market Research Report :

Underlying macro- and microeconomic factors impacting the Sales of - market growth.
Basic overview of the comprehensive evaluation, including market definition, classification, and applications.
Scrutinization of each market player based on mergers & acquisitions, R&D projects, and product launches.
Adoption trend And supply side analysis across various industries.
Outline prominent regions holding a company market share analysis in the global market along with the key countries.
A comprehensive evaluation of the changing pattern of consumers across various regions.
New project investment feasibility analysis of Population Health Management (PHM) industry.
Key market trends impacting the growth of the Global Population Health Management (PHM) Industry.
Market opportunities and challenges faced by the vendors in the Global Population Health Management (PHM) market.
Key outcomes of the five forces analysis of the Global Population Health Management (PHM) market.
Stay up-to-date about the whole market and light holistic view of the market.
Experience detail information from the trustworthy sources such as websites, journals, mergers, newspapers and other authentic sources.

Research Methodology : Global Population Health Management (PHM) Market:

Data collection and base year analysis is done using data collection modules with large demo sizes. The market data is analyzed and estimated using market statistical and coherent models. Also market share analysis and key trend analysis are the major success factors in the market report. To know more please request an analyst call or can drop down your inquiry.

Points Covered in Table of Content of Global Population Health Management (PHM) Market:

Chapter 1: Report Overview
Chapter 2: Global Market Growth Trends
Chapter 3: Value Chain of Population Health Management (PHM) Market
Chapter 4: Players Profiles
Chapter 5: Global Population Health Management (PHM) Market Analysis by Regions
Chapter 6: North America Population Health Management (PHM) Market Analysis by Countries
Chapter 7: Europe Population Health Management (PHM) Market Analysis by Countries
Chapter 8: Asia-Pacific Population Health Management (PHM) Market Analysis by Countries
Chapter 9: Middle East and Africa Population Health Management (PHM) Market Analysis by Countries
Chapter 10: South America Population Health Management (PHM) Market Analysis by Countries
Chapter 11: Global Population Health Management (PHM) Market Segment by Types
Chapter 12: Global Population Health Management (PHM) Market Segment by Applications

Key Questions Answered in this Report Such as:

How feasible is Population Health Management (PHM) market for long-term investment?
What are influencing factors driving the demand for Population Health Management (PHM) near future?
What is the impact analysis of various factors in the Global Population Health Management (PHM) market growth?
What are the exact trends in the regional market and how successful they are?

Thanks for memorizing this article; you can also get individual chapter wise section or region wise report version like North America, West Europe or Southeast Asia.

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Sun, 07 Aug 2022 22:42:00 -0500 Date text/html https://menafn.com/1104662029/Population-Health-Management-PHM-Market-Is-Thriving-Incredible-Growth-With-An-Outstanding-CAGR-Of-1953-By-2022-2029
Killexams : Will Amazon’s Foray Into The Primary Care Market Be A Wake-Up Call Or A Torpedo For Legacy Health Systems?

Our nation’s beleaguered and failing healthcare delivery system saw another warning shot across the bow last week as Amazon announced a $3.9 billion acquisition of One Medical. For years, Amazon and other retail giants have been chipping away at a system rife with inefficiencies, declining patient satisfaction, higher costs and care that delivers less than optimal outcomes. But this announcement was different as it’s the first time a powerful and very successful private company, which has already transformed retail, customer service and now healthcare, will acquire a sizable footprint with a corresponding influence in the U.S. primary healthcare market. The move is as predictable as it is revolutionary as traditional services once rendered in a physician’s office will now be coming straight to living rooms across America. Consumers stand to benefit, but the unanswered question is if and how executives running legacy health systems will respond to this latest disruptive move by a non-traditional provider.

Unconventional approaches to disrupting healthcare delivery are not a new phenomenon. As I’ve covered extensively before, Walgreens moved into the clinic space over a decade ago. At around the same time, CVS Pharmacy rebranded itself as CVS Health; Target and Walmart began opening urgent and primary care clinics too. In 2020 there were 1,200 such locations in the U.S. These vendors have made serious inroads into what was traditionally a doctor/patient-centered service relationship in a traditional office setting, an arrangement that has been quietly eroded by these novel players ever since. So, why, amid so much disruption are traditional provider organizations so reluctant to change course to meet changing consumer demands and expectations created by their own delivery failures?

The problems took root long ago, as much out of institutional complacency as a lack of foresight. After all, the big players considered themselves the only ones in the “real“ business of healthcare delivery because no one with a “real problem” would go to these new urgent care entities, or so they assumed. So what began as a model in which the masses went to the few for care is now accelerating in the other direction.

Failing to take the erosion of patients seriously, they doubled down and spent more money on doing what they've always done — staying the course. Sure, some dabbled in population health and “value-based care”. But this was a peripheral effort and never really became an integrated business philosophy that guided their actions, even when a world-class pandemic came calling.

As we saw play out with Covid-19, technology had advanced to the point that, almost overnight, it enabled more remote access to patients via telehealth than had ever been seen in healthcare previously. In fact, it is estimated that around 25% of Americans accessed virtual healthcare during the worst phase of the pandemic. These and other advancements, like having drones deliver medical supplies to remote areas, became almost a requirement when a crisis intervened. Unfortunately, there are reports now that telehealth utilization is beginning to decline, a sign that some providers are going back to their old ways. Even now, legacy healthcare providers have failed to embrace technology that enables care to be delivered to a patient’s home because they are so attached to a system that demands that patients go to them, regardless of medical necessity. What legacy providers have invested in has been driven more by how to get paid than on how to Excellerate what they do.

As a result, they have become blind to the changes occurring around them. We are not just talking about specimen collection or Covid-19 tests, but hospital care at home. The technologies that are emerging now allow care to be delivered in less intensive and far more comfortable settings. Remote and mobile care has taken tremendous strides in exact years.

Ambulatory surgery centers which operate outside the traditional hospital setting are one example; hip and knee replacements are just two of the common procedures that are increasingly done as routine outpatient services. Incredible things can also be accomplished in medically equipped mobile units, especially urgent care functions like setting a broken bone. As we witness this transformation, legacy organizations remain busy rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. We saw this coming and even warned about it.

In my last book, Bringing Value to Healthcare, we predicted that at this rate, all that will be left for traditional players is tertiary and quaternary care delivered in the most intensive settings. These will be for really serious problems that require a higher level of specialty care, equipment and expertise that can only be delivered in hospitals. These are complex treatments or procedures including but not limited to things like coronary artery bypass surgery, organ transplants, or treating very severe burns. Everything else will be handled by entities far more attuned and responsive to people’s everyday needs. And while the Amazons of the world likely won’t compete here (at least in the short term) their focus will be instead on their sweet spot: volume and customer service, as it is in other areas where they compete.

What Amazon brings to the healthcare delivery industry is a deep understanding of the customer experience and how to deliver on rising consumer expectations. They’ve focused on little else since they began. And they have information systems through which they can connect with likely customers who could benefit from technologies that health care delivery has refused to invest in to Excellerate its business model.

To be sure, concerns about privacy, market share and how a large private company will safeguard patient data have arisen. However, most of the healthcare system is already privately based and governed by laws ostensibly aimed at protecting patient privacy. We all know it hasn’t been without serious problems, as hacking is reported regularly at some of the biggest systems. There’s nothing unique to this new arrangement and Amazon would still be subject to the same privacy rules that govern all private providers.

Amazon’s success is hard to dispute, and it has successfully upended many other industries. Think about booksellers, music stores, and almost the entire brick-and-mortar retail establishment that has been challenged by their know-how and aggressive vision. As Amazon enters the arena, the old guard decision makers in healthcare delivery seem incapable of innovating to meet the moment. To be clear, these are smart and capable people who run large enterprises and have seen and weathered change before.

The trouble deepens when it comes to looking at what's around the corner, especially when what they see is so different from what they’ve known, to the point that the threats often become unrecognizable. The plight of industries in transition is not unique to healthcare. This was true of the industry executives heading up Kodak during the development of digital replacements for film. It was true for those heading up Blockbuster before VHS rentals gave way to DVDs and on-demand movies. Look what happened to the auto industry in this country when Japanese cars overtook American dominance in auto manufacturing. IBM came perilously close to the brink just at the height of its heyday—holding onto what it knew (mainframe computers) as the PC–which they invented—began to take off. The phenomenon plays out in industry after industry, to the point where the blinders become a fundamental shortcoming of older systems.

Absent a coherent and workable response, the rationalizations begin. Executives of industries in transition convince themselves that maybe things won't change, or the government will come and rescue them. Or maybe they try to convince a receptive and compliant Federal Trade Commission (FTC), like the healthcare delivery industry has done, that they need to be bigger to deal in “value-based care.” This is precisely the illusion that fueled the creation of our current regional mega systems. And yet the system still is awash in inefficiencies with unsatisfied patients paying the price.

In my last column, I discussed in depth how retail health has taken off by relief from many of the symptoms plaguing a broken system. Amazon’s latest move is poised to not only reduce the hide-and-seek aspects of acquiring basic health care today, but also significantly alter the primary care landscape through increased access to in-home services with a patient-centered focus.

It remains to be seen how this will all play out for legacy players, which my colleague, Michael Abrams, rightly warns is mired in a “too big to fail and too big to care” mindset. But make no mistake, failure will be their inevitable demise if a once burgeoning and uncontested industry doesn’t wake up and right the course of a ship that by all accounts is sinking in plain sight.

Thu, 28 Jul 2022 23:00:00 -0500 Rita Numerof en text/html https://www.forbes.com/sites/ritanumerof/2022/07/29/will-amazons-foray-into-the-primary-care-market-be-a-wake-up-call-or-a-torpedo-for-legacy-health-systems/
Killexams : New Whistic VP Jake Bernardes says transparency is the key for businesses to strengthen cybersecurity

Press release content from Business Wire. The AP news staff was not involved in its creation.


It may sound counterintuitive, but new Whistic Security & Compliance Vice President Jake Bernardes says the best way for a company to have robust cybersecurity is to increase trust, drive transparency and shift it earlier in the sales cycle. Whistic, the vendor security network for both buyers and sellers, makes it possible for companies to assess, publish and share their security information more effectively and build real trust in the supply chain.

“I am a big advocate for transparency and trust,” said Bernardes. “I believe we should share all of our security data in its entirety, warts and all. If you look at the work we’ve been doing with the Security First Initiative, that’s exactly the culture we’re trying to build across the industry.”

Bernardes will be sharing his views in an upcoming webinar from Whistic and RiskRecon on August 24, 2022, “ Maximizing Your Spend in Vendor Risk Management.” Readers can register for the webinar (or gain access to the post-event recording) here.

Bernardes believes a company’s security posture should be publicly available like a LinkedIn profile, and he is excited to help turn that belief into a reality with Whistic. The company allows vendors to create a Whistic Profile by self-assessing against industry-standard frameworks, adding supporting documentation, audits and certifications, and publishing that Profile to the Whistic Trust Catalog, publicly on a website, or sharing it directly with customers.

The Whistic platform enables customers to conduct Zero-Touch Assessments ™ of the vendor’s security posture. “Imagine being able to complete assessments of your vendors on-demand, with no chasing or data collection. That’s where we are heading,” said Bernardes.

“We can automate much of the currently very manual processes and it’s going save businesses a lot of time and money. My goal is to unite with my peers across the globe that believe in transparency and trust, and work together to drive change in the industry. We all know you can’t fix everything and you don’t know what you don’t know. We already have a strong community that is coalescing around this movement and I can’t wait to help accelerate that growth.”

Bernardes has been working in cybersecurity for more than a decade with significant experience in helping companies scale, delivering security transformation and building best-in-class security functions.

“Whistic is fortunate to have Jake because he’s not afraid to be a disrupter or to take a contrarian viewpoint in the cybersecurity field,” said Whistic CEO Nick Sorensen. “Together, we are building an ecosystem where everything stays in sight--a future where transparency helps drive greater trust across supply chains globally.”

Bernardes has been a global consultant and worked for SingleStore, NCC Group, Baringa Partners, KPMG and IBM. He became interested in joining Whistic because he believes strongly in Whistic’s network-based vision for the future of vendor security and because Sorensen is such a respected thought leader in cybersecurity.

Whistic’s Vendor Security Network already has more than 45,000 profiles that organizations can access on-demand, which increases trust and transparency. The company recently received $35 million in Series B funding and launched Basic Profile, a free, limited version of its popular proactive vendor security solution.

About Whistic

Located in the heart of the Silicon Slopes in Utah, Whistic is the network for assessing, publishing, and sharing vendor security information. The Whistic Vendor Security Network accelerates the vendor assessment process by enabling businesses to access and evaluate a vendor’s Whistic Profile and create trusted connections that last well beyond the initial assessment. Make security your competitive advantage and join businesses like Airbnb, Okta, Zendesk, Asana, Atlassian, Snap, Notion, TripActions, and G2 that are leveraging Whistic to modernize their vendor security programs. For more information, visit https://www.whistic.com/.

View source version on businesswire.com:https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20220728005195/en/

CONTACT: Cheryl Conner or Paul Murphy

SnappConner PR





SOURCE: Whistic

Copyright Business Wire 2022.

PUB: 07/28/2022 09:00 AM/DISC: 07/28/2022 09:03 AM


Thu, 28 Jul 2022 01:03:00 -0500 en text/html https://apnews.com/press-release/BusinessWire/technology-183bda3c385a49d88000b33490af9736
Killexams : How to be an AI & ML expert: A Webinar with Cloud Architect Subhendu Dey


The webinar outlined what AI and ML mean in today’s world and how students could get involved

Mr Subhendu Dey also laid out a comprehensive roadmap for those looking to start a career in AI and ML

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning as disciplines have taken the world by storm, particularly in the 21st century. While many youngsters have drawn inspiration from some of the best science fiction featuring AI and robots, the genuine world of AI and ML has been growing by leaps and bounds. But what does the world of AI and ML have to offer? How can you transition from campus to career with AL & ML? And how can you be an expert in AI & ML? To answer these and many other questions, The Telegraph Online Edugraph organised a webinar with Subhendu Dey, a Cloud Architect and advisor on Data and AI.

The webinar saw participants from class 8 right up to those in advanced degrees, as well as teachers. Hence, the subject matter of the webinar contained takeaways that would be relevant at all stages. Mr Dey also highlighted that he would be focusing on showing how things that have always existed around us contribute to AI - giving students a more intuitive idea of AI and making it more interesting.

The webinar started by taking a look at a simple action like sending a text. People would find that their mobiles would keep suggesting words to them. Be it as soon as they have typed a few letters or after they have typed a few words, they would get suggestions that are surprisingly accurate. This is called Language Modelling and requires an intuitive understanding of language. A human may be able to do it from his or her extensive knowledge of words and language, but in this case, it is a fine demonstration of the intuitiveness of AI.

Let’s look at another aspect of AI - when we key in a question into the Google search bar, a decade or so ago, Google would have analysed the keywords and thrown up a list of links that feature the keywords. But fast-forward to this decade and Natural Language search is today capable of not just memorizing the keywords but also finding out the intent behind the query. This means that Google will, in addition to giving you the links, also deliver you the answer, as well as other questions that have the same or related intent. In fact, Google also has a system for taking feedback, which facilitates the Google AI to learn to be even more intuitive and better at giving suggestions.

One need only look at the digital assistant - Siri, Google Assistant or Alexa - to understand the advancements in AI. From understanding spoken queries to giving intuitive, and often very witty, answers, these assistants communicate in a surprisingly human-like manner. Of course, there is a cycle of tasks that they must perform behind the scenes, which Mr Dey spoke about in detail.

While these changes that we can observe are new, AI has been around for a long time now. One of the earliest feats was in 1997, when the IBM Supercomputer Deep Blue beat world chess champion Gary Kasparov, in a six-match tournament.

Today artificial intelligence is a booming area of development and the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology projects the addition of about 20 million jobs in the sector by 2025. In fact, this is also underscored by multiple studies and reports prepared by global auditing firms like Deloitte, NASSCOM and PwC.

However, one question that has always baffled scientists and engineers working in the domain of AI, is striking a balance between behaviour and reasoning on the one hand and human/irrational and rational on the other, when designing the various Artificial Intelligence agents. It has, however, been found that more intuitive AI agents with better user experience interfaces have a higher penetration in human society.

Next we take a look at Machine Learning. When an AI agent learns on its own from the interactions it has, this is known as Machine Learning. When humans learn something, it registers in some form in the mind. However, machines perceive data in the form of functions and variables. With Machine Learning, AI agents create models which exist as executable software components made up of a sequence of mathematical variables and functions. Hence, becoming an expert in AI and ML usually requires a person to have a sound understanding of mathematics and statistics.

Speaking of building a career in AI and ML, Mr Dey threw light on three avenues into the industry. These are:

  • As a scientist
  • As an engineers
  • As a contributor

Let’s take a look at each of these.

As a Scientist

As mentioned above, to communicate with AI, your query must be represented in a mathematical/logical format. Hence, when choosing your educational degrees or courses, go for courses that cover the following syllabus which contribute to the core of AI:

  • Vectors and Matrices
  • Probability
  • Relation and Function
  • Differential Calculus
  • Statistical Analysis

Choosing a major which covers these aspects should arm you with the knowledge and skills you need to become a scientist in AI.

As an Engineer

Being a scientist is not your only option, though. AI also depends heavily on engineers to grow and develop. From the engineering perspective, here is a list of functions that need to be carried out:

  • Visualisation/representation of data
  • Collection of data from multiple sources
  • Building pipelines to prepare data to scale
  • Using Machine Learning services/frameworks available on clouds to scale up
  • Test, audit and explain to various stakeholders the Machine Learning output

As a contributor

If you find you are not interested in being a scientist of an engineer, there are other significant ways you can contribute to AI. That could be in the following areas:

  • User experience design
  • Process modelling
  • Domain knowledge
  • Linguistic details
  • Social aspects

Mr Dey discusses all these avenues at length in the course of the webinar with examples. At the same time, he lays out the basic qualities that one must have - irrespective of which role one chooses to pursue. And these are creative vision, innate curiosity and perseverance.

Here are some courses that you should explore if you want to build a career in the core AI aspects:

  • A Bachelors or Masters degree in Computer Science or Engineering or Mathematics or Statistics.
  • A specialisation in any of the following areas:
    • Artificial Intelligence
    • Machine Learning
    • Data Science
    • Automation and Robotics
  • B Tech/ BE in other engineering fields, followed by work experience in the field of software or IT.
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Machine Learning
  • Data Science
  • Automation and Robotics

The webinar ended with a detailed Q&A session which opened with some questions received from participants submitted at the time of registration and carried on to questions asked by participants in the course of the webinar. The Q&A covered a range of interesting syllabus like:

  • Neural networks/deep learning
  • Importance of Maths and Statistics in AI/ML
  • How valuable are practical projects for developing skills needed to work in AI/ML
  • Which programming language is the best to learn for a career working with AI/ML
  • Which are the best courses to consider as a student - traditional degrees or online certification courses
  • How does AI compare to the human brain
  • Will AI and automation endanger human jobs in the future
  • What are intelligent agents and how are they useful in AI

To learn the answer to these and many more questions, watch our video recording of the live webinar.

A career in AI and ML is an excellent choice now - and this small initiative of The Telegraph Edugraph was aimed at providing the right guidance for you to make the transition from Campus to Career. Best of luck!

Last updated on 26 Jul 2022

Mon, 25 Jul 2022 01:52:00 -0500 text/html https://www.telegraphindia.com/edugraph/career/how-to-be-an-ai-ml-expert-a-webinar-with-cloud-architect-subhendu-dey/cid/1876427
Killexams : Is the metaverse going to suck? A conversation with Matthew Ball

Let’s talk about the metaverse.

You probably can’t stop hearing about it. It’s in startup pitches, in earnings reports, some companies are creating metaverse divisions, and Mark Zuckerberg changed Facebook’s name to Meta to signal that he’s shifting the entire company to focus on the metaverse.

The problem, very simply, is that no one knows what the metaverse is, what it’s supposed to do, or why anyone should care about it.

Luckily, we have some help. Today, I’m talking to Matthew Ball, who is the author of the new book called The Metaverse: And How It Will Revolutionize Everything. Matthew was the global head of strategy at Amazon Studios. In 2018, he left Amazon to become an analyst and started writing about the metaverse on his blog. He’s been writing about this since way before the hype exploded, and his book aims to be the best resource for understanding the metaverse, which he sees as the next phase of the internet. It’s not just something that you access through a VR headset, though that’s part of it. It’s how you’ll interact with everything. That sort of change is where new companies have opportunities to unseat the old guard.

This episode gets very in the weeds, but it really helped me understand the decisions some companies have made around building digital worlds and the technical challenges and business challenges that are slowing it down — or might even stop it. And, of course, I asked whether any of this is a good idea in the first place because, well, I’m not so sure. But there’s a lot here, so listen, and then you tell me.

Okay, Matthew Ball. Here we go.

Matthew Ball is the managing partner of Epyllion and the author of a new book called The Metaverse: And How It Will Revolutionize Everything. Welcome to Decoder.

Glad to be here.

You are also the proprietor of an excellent Twitter feed about the metaverse. Do you think of Twitter as your primary platform?

I do. It is my most used app. TikTok is creeping up there — and of course my Screen Time doesn’t register Fortnite — but Twitter is definitely my primary channel and where I learn the most.

You have been tweeting about the metaverse for quite some time, and you obviously have a big audience on Twitter. From a media nerd perspective, why turn it into a book?

Thanks for the tee up. I started writing about this fascinating course in 2018. The term comes from the early ‘90s, but the ideas span back to the ‘30s. This truly century-old idea was finally practical, that is to say, we could start building it and trying to realize it. Over the following years, I got smarter in the area, received more input from other people, and more projects came to bear.

Then suddenly last year it became the word du jour. Not only did Facebook rename themselves, but Google also did a reorg, Amazon started redoing job descriptions, and many of the fastest-growing companies in media tech — Roblox, Unity, Epic — wrapped themselves around the theme. Yet there was very little actually articulating what it is, why it mattered, and what the challenges were.

I was really excited about crystallizing that, distilling my thinking into something more concrete, updating the things that I got wrong, making sure that it was comprehensible, but the most important thing was actually social. Every time we have a platform shift, we have an opportunity to change which companies lead, which philosophies, which business models. I think many people are coming out of the last 15 years dissatisfied with the lack of regulation, the take rates, the role of algorithms, monetization, and which companies lead — and who leads, frankly. The best way to positively affect that outcome was to be informed about what was next. That is the goal.

We have to start at the beginning. There are a couple chapters at the beginning of the book where you talk about that long history and how it has built up to this moment. The third chapter is called “A Definition Finally,” which is great because I feel like the definition of the metaverse really does need that “finally” moment. What is your definition of the metaverse?

I cheat here a little. It is more helpful to describe it similarly to defining the internet as TCP/IP, the internet protocol suite. The description is what is more helpful.

It is a massively scaled and interoperable network of real-time, rendered, 3D virtual worlds that can be experienced synchronously and persistently by an effectively unlimited number of users, each with an individual sense of presence. It has the technologies, capabilities, and standards to support what is essentially a parallel plane of existence that spans all virtual worlds and the physical world. From a human outcome, it means that an ever-growing share of our time, labor, leisure, wealth, happiness, et cetera, will exist in virtual spaces.

One of the key pieces of that definition is “3D virtual worlds.” I have heard other definitions of the metaverse that are a little bit more expansive, that get you to a place where Wordle is the metaverse. We are all doing it together once a day, so we exist in the universe of Wordle, however that universe is defined. You are saying this has to be 3D; it effectively has to be a video game. You get to a place where Fortnite, Roblox, or any number of other massively multiplayer online games is the metaverse. Does that count for you?

It is really a question of “what is” versus “what connects to and is part of” it. My building that I am speaking to you from right now is not the internet, nor really on the internet, yet it is part of the internet in one way, shape, or form. Wordle, of course, is mostly locally run on your device. You would not really call it an internet service, but some of it is delivered.

When you are talking about the metaverse as a new computing platform, for me, 3D is a requirement to do many new things, to elevate human existence — especially in key categories such as healthcare, education, and so forth — but the term really does not matter. What is in and out does not matter. It is likely we never say “metaverse.” In China, they have adopted the term “hyper-digital reality.” We may talk about the 3D internet, or we may just use the term internet. What matters is the real-time rendered element, which basically means the world as it exists is legible and changeable to software, and the advent of graphics compute. It does not need to be a game, it is just an expression.

I understand what you are saying. It is the description that matters, and this word may go out of fashion. Let me just push on that description and definition a little bit.

Right now you can log into Fortnite and run around with a bunch of friends. It is cross-compatible with many different kinds of devices, so it does not matter what hardware you have in your house. You are in a persistent online space where lots of other people are. Are you saying that because Fortnite does not connect to Roblox, it is not the metaverse?

This would be a little bit like asking, “If AOL ran on multiple different devices and a few different networks, is that the internet?” We could say it is, but if you talked about just AOL services in particular, you would be talking about a proprietary platform. You would not be talking about a unified experience that spans into industry with myriad different outputs, servers, or domain registrars.

The metaverse is really describing that unified experience, rather than a single expression, much like we would not say Facebook is “an” internet or “the” internet. When you are talking about Fortnite, there are certainly a bunch of things that do not fit there. It is not actually a persistent experience, and there are very few people who can connect to it at one point. Nominally, there are 100 people in a match, but they use a bunch of cheats so that there are only really 12 people that matter. It also does not connect into anything that isn’t purely game-like and leisure-oriented.

The definition of the internet at its most basic levels is a network of networks. You are connected to the network at university, work, or home, where you can go out and connect to Amazon’s network of servers to browse, then leave Amazon and connect to Facebook’s network of servers to do stuff there. You are saying the metaverse is the same thing as that overarching network of networks; it is the connectivity between multiple, different 3D worlds.

That is right.

What I would push on there is that the internet did not have to be built that way. The AOL example is very interesting, because AOL did not want it to go that way. The value plummeted when AOL went from being a provider of first-party services — like chat rooms, groups, and email — to an ISP that connected you to better versions of those services run by other people.

What is the push for Epic Games or Roblox to enable that connectivity? Historically, the people who own those experiences faced a raft of competition the second they gave them up. They kind of became dumb pipes and disappeared.

Let’s pause for a second. Of course, that was not the necessary outcome for AOL. We know now that no matter how successful AOL might have been in expanding its geographic footprint in connectivity, the largest opportunity for them was in horizontal software and services. There is a world where AIM, AOL Instant Messenger, becomes one of the world’s most significant communication platforms, like WhatsApp or Snapchat. There is a world in which its search engine turns into one of the world’s most dominant ad networks.

Microsoft is a pretty good example of that. They have never had a smaller share of computing devices, hardware, or operating systems, but their horizontal business is far more valuable than ever.

When you are talking about the incentives, first of all, we are already seeing this progress. The Roblox founder and CEO has been talking a lot about their explicit designs for interoperability. They have open-sourced some of their scripting languages, and he is even talking about embracing NFTs to take some projects off of Roblox.

Last week, the Metaverse Standards Forum was established by the Khronos Foundation — 28 companies such as Qualcomm, Epic, Meta, and others — specifically to solve this problem. Coming together is the easiest part. It is not forcing anyone to make a concession yet, to pick something that they did not advocate for, but is all in service of expanded network effects.

The belief is if consumers can buy 3D objects that can be used in more places, or encounter history that has more persistence and utility, it will grow much like the world economy, did through trade. There were individual instances of compression with some markets, some products, and some countries, which suffered from time to time, but the network was much stronger.

I will say you are right that the internet could have gone a different way, but we did have many competing inter-networking standards. There was a point in time in the early ‘90s where the Department of Commerce and the Department of Defense disagreed and pushed different standards. The idea that Comcast could email IBM, could email Telefónica, could email China Mobile, was really not the consensus. We had the protocol wars, but network effects and utility won out in the end.

The idea of a Metaverse Standards Forum is very funny to me. When covering consumer technology, you come up against standards bodies all the time, and they are hyper political. I would not say that Bluetooth is an example of the tech industry making something great that everyone loves, but it is pervasive in its way. The beginning of a standard and that early energy is great.

At some point, dollars are going to get allocated across whatever the metaverse is, and owning the early access points seems really valuable. This race and amount of hype we are in now, is it really about initiating the customer into whatever the metaverse is, to make sure that every time they buy something in another 3D world, you will get your 30% cut? Or is it, as you were saying at the beginning, that the technical ability to start building an early version of what you might consider the metaverse a net good? Should we just start doing it and see what happens along the way?

I think the latter is more likely, but it is more of an organic process. If you take a look at one idea that we have long believed would have utility, a federated universal identity in digital space, Microsoft has tried that multiple times. The .NET Framework was the last big time they tried, but no one wanted it. It was rarely deployed, for many of the reasons you just mentioned. I do not want to use Microsoft’s account system.

What happened to be the best way to build the de facto standard for identity was Facebook, which started as a college hot-or-not. The best way to build a or the metaverse for Epic was not by trying to build it. It happened to be a battle royale game that was not even intended to be a battle royale. That is to say, this process starts from building something tangential, that is 3D-oriented and social, that connects into another thing. Then you start to get organic alignment around that standard set.

You are right to be skeptical when someone says, “This is the thing, let’s all do it.” It rarely happens that way. It is actually more power-based.

You have described the metaverse as this parallel reality that you can live in and transact in, that will grow an economy that mirrors the world economy, because we will figure out some way to have scarce digital goods. I will come to the blockchain portion of this conversation later, but that is what you are describing.

In science fiction, where the word metaverse comes from, that vision is always dystopian. In the book, you refer to Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash a lot, and you point out that the metaverse in Snow Crash made life in the real world notably worse. The heart of tension for me is the idea that we will build a parallel world and end up as so many brains transacting on other people’s platforms. I have an instinctive recoil from that which makes me skeptical of the entire enterprise, because I think life in the real world is actually rich and rewarding. I can go out and touch grass, and Apple, Google, Facebook, Epic, or whoever cannot get in the way of me doing that. Fundamentally, what makes this not the dystopia that it is always described as?

I agree with a lot of that and disagree with some of that. The literature for the metaverse in its antecedence is dystopic. One of the important reasons why that is the case is because the point of most fiction is human drama, especially science fiction.

Put another way, utopias tend not to make for much human drama. This is true that when you look at Neuromancer, The Matrix, Ready Player One, or back to the 1930s with Philip K. Dick and Isaac Asimov; these virtual planes of existence are not described favorably. Why? Because even when they are not negative in and of themselves, they lead to some disengagement with reality, and that is the problem. The technology is amoral, the consequences are not.

When you take a look at the genuine examples to build these things, whether that is multi-user shared hallucinations in the ‘70s, Second Life and other metaverse-style experiences from the ‘90s, or Roblox and Fortnite from the 2000s, the tone is very different. It is not dystopic, it is creation, exploration, identification, and collaboration. Those are all very important.

At the end of the day, I don’t know that scarcity is that important, and this is actually where I think I disagree with many of my peers in the investing community, especially in relation to the blockchain. I don’t really get virtual land, certainly not scarce virtual land. The two brilliant things about the internet are network effects and zero marginal costs. Trying to create a next-version of the internet that constrains networks through money and introduces scarcity that need not be there, for a virtual plane of existence that does not actually need to simulate the real world, I don’t get and frankly don’t believe in.

We have done a lot of interviews with various Web3 folks on the show. I would say some of the themes there echo the themes you have brought up. There are a lot of people who, having built or invested or experienced the last 15 years of the internet, are dissatisfied with where we have landed. Can we build a new kind of internet that more effectively rewards creators and is not just about engagement metrics?

You talk about the metaverse and say, “Okay, I want to have digital goods. I want to buy and sell things here that create a world economy that rivals the real-world economy.” How do you do that without scarcity? Are we going to DRM all the virtual clothes? There is an element here that you need to create some sort of scarcity if your goal is to buy and sell 3D digital objects at a rate of transaction that mirrors the real world.

It is really interesting. This is where we get into a fundamental break between how different believers in the metaverse actually imagine the value. Just as I am not a believer in scarce virtual land that costs thousands if not millions of dollars, there is probably a pretty low ceiling to virtual goods and apparel. They are usually in support of experiences. It is either the experiences that drive the underlying value — as is the case in Fortnite — and not the items per se, or it is what we would consider graphics-based computing or simulation at large.

Let me make that less abstract. Jensen Huang, the founder and CEO of Nvidia, now the seventh-largest company globally, believes that the economy of the metaverse will eventually exceed that of the physical world. We are talking 51 percent, which would be $50 trillion per year in spending right now. He is not at all interested in virtual clothes or leisure. He is talking about real-time 3D simulations running the world’s best development platform, which is the world. A building or infrastructure, where goods flow and why, how you programmatically advertise in 3D space, often for physical things, certainly does not require scarcity of the odd avatar.

Explain that a little more directly. When you say the best development platform in the world is the world itself, do you mean the 3D environment that you are in?

I mean the physical world, the one that you are standing on and exist in right now, which has many of the attributes I mentioned such as persistence, maximum capacity, et cetera. I will deliver two examples that are perhaps helpful.

Nvidia redesigned its headquarters with a real-time, rendered 3D simulation to understand every design choice. “What happens when you put a piece of window in one spot, or use one construction material or another? At exactly 3:22 p.m., November 22, what is the climate implication in the conference hall? How do you simulate the flow of energy, of heat, or the refraction of light to drive energy to operate the building?”

We are seeing that premise being used to operate airports in real time. “Do we really want to move the flight from gate 82 to gate 80 because it is close by? Should we actually move it farther away for operational efficacy and safety reasons in case there is a flash flood, fire, or terrorist event?” We are talking about making the entire physical world with an augmented layer on top of it that is legible to software in real-time, impacting production flows in a factory or the flow of people in a facility and so forth.

Connect that to the metaverse for me. This is a concept that is often called digital twins. You build an operational, digital twin of an airport or your office building, and they can proceed down different timelines based on different choices to deliver you a sense of what might happen if you make changes in the physical world. Do they interact? If someone is going from the digital twin of your office to the digital twin of the airport, is that where you think the metaverse is?

I think the idea of simulating physical environments more directly, more accurately, is very powerful. The idea that there will be some layer of commerce in those digital twins that is independent of what is happening in the real world seems like the big step.

There are two things to unpack. Number one, digital twins are not the metaverse. If the internet is a network of networks, of different autonomous systems exchanging information consistently under common protocols, then a digital twin is like an office network. It is the Vox ethernet.

It is the interconnection with other digital twins, other simulations, for the exchange of information — your user identity, your payment history, or your avatar if you so choose — that collectively produces the metaverse. In this instance, there is not necessarily any utility or purpose for you, the consumer, to explore the digital twin of the environment you are in.

You might wear augmented glasses in 2037, in which case a version of that digital twin is being overlaid selectively to you, but I don’t agree with the premise that we are going to navigate an airport by putting on a headset or taking out our device.

Are you saying you don’t agree with the premise that there will be pervasive augmented reality?

No, I do. My point is the digital twin, at least foreseeably, is a B2B application, not something that you, the consumer, is going to log into and explore. There is very little practical value right now in you saying, “I want to go navigate MIA, the Miami airport, in a 3D digital twin.” It is not interesting or useful. That does not mean it isn’t super valuable to the operator.

As you describe this, there are a bunch of very hard, technical problems to solve to make this all work. If I build a digital twin on Nvidia’s platform of the airport and someone builds another digital twin on another platform for the office building, it is not just me, the builder of the digital twin, that needs to want to inter-operate.

The platforms need a core capability to inter-operate. If I want to jump from Roblox to Fortnite, those companies have to agree that my avatar can go between the worlds. If I buy a gun in one video game and want to go to another video game where that gun is 100 times more powerful, I might just wreck it for everyone. Some of that is a very difficult technical problem, some of that is cultural, and some of that is straight up business and politics. Have you seen the beginnings of solutions to those problems?

You’re right. Most technology problems are only masquerading as technical problems, and are actually business and/or societal problems, as in “can we agree?”. In the gaming community, I see limited benefit from taking your gun or avatar from one environment to another. That is not to say that there isn’t some utility, particularly with cosmetics with no functional value. It is easier, but at the end of the day, how important is it that I can wear a banana peely skin in Call of Duty? Probably not that important. The technical impediments, not to mention the commercial and creative ones, are pretty high.

When you take a look at industrial simulation, the utility there is a lot higher and the technical solutions are already in place. You mentioned Nvidia’s omniverse platform, which is not really a platform in the same sense as Roblox or Minecraft; it is actually more of a middleware simulation DMZ. It is actually where DeSo and Boeing take their simulations and interconnect them, with Nvidia’s machine learning upscaling, downscaling, translating, and then operating that simulation.

There is a lot of work to do if you want to talk about the progress. We do have some standards groups, but there is an old xkcd joke that basically says when 14 people disagree about 14 competing standards, you get a 15th standard that no one uses. So I don’t want to be too optimistic there.

What you see with Epic is one potential example. They launched their Epic Online Services, a live services suite where independent game developers can access Epic’s 500-million-account user base with 3.5 billion user connections — and at this point $30 billion in invested avatars and skins. This is just like The New York Times tapping into Facebook’s account system to speed up the user flow. Not to say that they don’t prefer their own account, but they recognize there is utility in getting some information.

You and I can go make a game and then access Epic’s avatar suite and its users, therefore driving from smaller developers, who are less endowed technically and financially, to consolidate around their conventions, their file types, and their engine to tap into their networks.

I feel like we are bouncing back and forth between where the money is now and where the money will be in the future. To some extent, this is making my head spin. You are saying the money in the future is not just avatars, skins, and items. It is some massive B2B market where the real world is being simulated at a level of high fidelity, and some revenue will be created there as different businesses find different things to do for each other. The money right now is very much in Fortnite skins, right? How do you go from one to the other?

I don’t mean to oscillate between the two points. My point is rather that when people express skepticism as to whether or not standards and interoperability can be achieved, it is important to say that progress is happening. We had cross-platform gaming in 2018, we now have common account systems and entitlement systems for Epic, and we have the omniverse platform for Enterprise.

The fundamental tension you are talking about stems from the fact that, for decades, game engines, 3D simulations, have essentially been good enough for leisure and not much else. Unreal, for example, is a non-deterministic physics engine. That means that if you throw a grenade eight times, you might get seven different answers, somewhat.

It is only recently that the fidelity and sophistication of the simulation, and the investment that Epic has made into vertical solutions, make it practical enough for deployment in healthcare, military, education, and automotive. We are very early on that deployment curve. You need to get it right, then you need people to adopt it and so forth.

That is one of the reasons why we struggle with this odd juxtaposition of talking about the trillion-dollar metaverse economy while turning over and saying, “Right, but we are talking about $200 billion in gaming spent mostly on cosmetics.”

I just keep coming back to the notion that the metaverse is the inter-connection between these worlds. That is where the value multiplier is. You can build all this stuff as one-offs, and all you have really ended up with is AOL and CompuServe. If you connect those things together and to 100 different networks and servers, then you have multiplied the value of all of it. Everyone rushes into it because it is so compelling that you cannot say no. Suddenly we end up in 2022, and every now and again I’m like, “Maybe we should turn it off.” It eats the world in a way that seems remarkable.

The immediate, compelling use of the internet was obvious to everyone, in the sense that if you wanted to look something up, you could just do it faster. Wikipedia comes into existence and suddenly the Encyclopedia Britannica seems unwieldy, old, and not up to date anymore. The other day I wanted to figure out how to cook something, so I watched a YouTube video and that was the end of it. I knew how to do it and we were off to the races. Whrere are the compelling, immediate uses of the metaverse that showcase that multiplicative effect, beyond just getting to the Boeing simulation faster?

To start with, I would personally disagree that the utility of the internet was self-evident. I mean, we have the classic Paul Krugman example in 1998.

Well, I am not saying some people weren’t wrong. I’m kidding around when I say that I was just smarter.

No, I agree with you. One of the weird things is that transition point was actually relatively late. Even as late as 1996, there were fewer than 50 million Americans who would use the internet in a month, and most of that use case was pretty frivolous. When I was in high school, Wikipedia was seen as deleterious, that it actually worsened education. I think that is part of it.

What we are seeing here is network effects. I don’t mean to be evasive, but we are talking about combinatorial innovation that is not yet present and therefore remains speculative. Take a look at the world economy, as an example. It is not that having independent nations and industries wasn’t hugely profitable, it was that the utility of all investments of all products in all markets went up.

In the social era, we easily take for granted that anything we create works everywhere. I create text, audio, video and I can take it anywhere. I can take a photo with my iPhone, it stores to iCloud, and I don’t have to say, “Well, darn, now I can’t put it on Facebook.” I can put it on Facebook, right click, save as, upload it to Snapchat, screenshot it on Snapchat, and put it into TikTok.

The utility of global commerce and trade, the utility of having common file formats, is really profound on the internet. It is so hard to create in 3D. Then you have this issue where the thing you want to do in 3D is a different system from your partner. Unity and Unreal actually use different XYZ coordinates, if you can believe it.

It is kind of intuitive at this point to say we have had hundreds of billions of dollars in 3D assets invested, and all of those essentially get deprecated after their first use. That means that we either need to remake them, or we just will never use them. That is part of the premise here.

I will deliver you a counterexample. Emoji is a big standard. It is run by a consortium, but it is rendered differently by every phone, by every platform. So the smiley face emoji…

I am an Android guy, I know it well.

It’s the grimace emoji, right? On Samsung phones, for a long time, it looked like it was smiling. Samsung owners were sending people grimaces when they meant they were smiles or vice versa.

You have a 3D file format, and everyone has agreed, “Okay, this is the one.” How do you make sure it is rendered across all these systems? Over time, will Samsung have to realize, “A lot of people are confused by our emoji, we should come together with Apple and make sure they look the same”? Google had to go from blobs to faces, which was very controversial in the virtual world, I will point out.

I like the blobs.

People love the blobs, and Google got rid of them because Apple is dominant and they needed to conform to what Apple emoji looked like. Do you see that playing out with 3D objects? Will an outfit or briefcase in Fortnite eventually come to dominate what it looks like everywhere else?

The example with emoji is a good one. It shows where slow-moving standards bodies, even when they are successful, end up being corralled through standard participants. They are not overtly saying, “Here is what the standard should be,” but drive all of the other members along. That actually helps with standardization.

When you are talking about 3D objects, there is a large contingent who believe that the consumer-facing 3D objects are less important. Bringing your briefcase from one environment to another is less important than having the environment itself be useful or repurposable for more developers. As an example, take the investment that Disney has made into Hoth, and make that into a virtual biking course used by Peloton, a dating simulation on Tinder, or a theme park in Fortnite. That is probably more useful.

When it comes to your question of visual cohesion, it is not just a question of how you want to express it. What dimensions do you need? What pixel density do you have? The technology for machine learning, particularly from Intel, to up- and downscale is pretty strong. You can take a 2D object and 3D-ify it. You can say The Verge makes virtual shoes that don’t separate between the sole and the fabric, but our system can actually separate the two for different designs. A lot of that is going to be interpretive software that takes what is not standardized and modifies it.

I feel like this is beginning to unlock for me in an important way. Unreal has moved into Hollywood, and it has moved into cars. You see this graphical engine appear in more and more places where graphics need to be rendered. So The Mandalorian renders the background on giant LED monitors behind the actors in Unreal, and now that same virtual world is available for Peloton to say, “We are going to bike through this environment.” Is that somehow an open platform for that kind of development?

You are quite right. Let me frame it a slightly different way. Entertainment is such a good example. Disney will spend $100 million producing backdrops in virtual environments for a film. Those are essentially all deprecated. They are increasingly used for the next film, but that is about it. What does that mean?

Well, if Peloton wants to build a Star Wars biking sim, they need to build it all. The business case might not be there. In addition, Disney might say, “Well, we have to make the thing, then we have to brand approve the thing, so we need to charge a lot.” So a lot of this does not happen. Once you start to standardize these 3D assets, you start to say, “We have made this investment and now we can use it wherever we want, or at least more extensively without building it anew.”

You take that from consumer leisure to, “Well, Ford has dimensionalized its next Ford Escape, so now we can simulate it in other enterprise environments, such as a car park for parking simulations.” A Hummer vehicle can use its lidar sensors to map the local area, then you can pre-drive that environment, like you would in a video game, to make sure that you can make the path. Making all of this information more repurposable starts to have extreme combinatorial effects, either by making new creations easier or cheaper.

Who controls the access and the connections between those things in your view of the metaverse? That seems like a very powerful vision, but then I start to pull the thread. If Disney has rendered out the world of The Mandalorian, I’m like, “I want to make print versions of The Verge for The Mandalorian.” I can imagine all these things we could do, but it feels like I still have to go get permission. The asset may be cheaper, but over time, content creation gets cheaper and cheaper anyway. Where does the technical part of availability come from? That seems like the hardest problem that we have been talking about.

There is no simple answer. These environments are managed centrally, and their permissions are going to be managed deliberately to start. If we have learned anything from the era of Shutterstock, TurboSquid, Quixel, or 3D asset databases, it is that the most valuable stuff, the IP, is not easily or cheaply licensed.

This is where we get into one of those fundamental questions of decentralization versus centralization. There are good arguments to be made that the last 15 years were too centralized, because the internet protocol suite has too little in it. We can get into that one way or another, but there are many forms of centralization that have nothing to do with technology per se. Revenue leads to greater investment and better products. IP centralizes or drives habit and retention. Brand keeps people inside of a system that they trust more than another.

This is the case even if you believe that the metaverse is a big, disruptive, next-generation internet, or if you believe in the wide deployment of blockchain and Web3 to democratize more of the stack. OpenSea is a great example of how we may still end up with no technical barriers to switching, but enormous habit and brand-based, or IP-based, stickiness to a few.

I feel like we have arrived at the Web3 portion of the conversation, so let’s talk about it. The ideas are in parallel, right? The amount of Web3 hype that has happened over the past 18 months is right next to the amount of metaverse hype. It feels like everybody wants to conflate them for some reason. Certainly, it is trendy in the business world to conflate them, to juice your stock price in some insane way.

They are not necessarily connected, but it does feel like the game of, “What are some use cases for Web3?” is best answered by, “There will be scarce digital objects in the metaverse.” There is a connection there. The open, technical questions of how these 3D worlds might work and how you might transact in them are actually answered by the blockchain, by Web3 technologies. Do you see that connection as directly? Do you think it is just a quirk of timing? Do you think there are other possible solutions?

I think that there are a few different things that we can unpack here. First and foremost, I and others, like Mark Zuckerberg and Tim Sweeney, describe the metaverse as a successor state, or quasi-successor, to today’s internet. Web3 is so named because it succeeds Web2. If both things come after the current thing, it makes sense that you have conflation.

In addition, there is a good reason to believe that the philosophies at minimum, or perhaps the technology at maximum, of blockchain are essential or important to the metaverse. Which is to say, property rights are probably going to be important, as they are to most economies. The ability to tap into decentralized or wide networks of contributors to provide extra GPU cycles, broadband, or just time and assets, which are currently hard to accumulate from individuals — Patreon only scales so much —are good reasons to believe that it is important to have a thriving metaverse, one that we want rather than one that is just technically possible.

I understand why the two are conflated, but I would say that they are separate. When you are talking about a good technological solution, when you talk about interoperability, you need a standard. You need someone to effectively take custody of an object and you need everyone to agree that they trust it.

The big problem that we have right now is EA and Activision do not have a good system to exchange anything. They certainly do not want to use one another’s new thing, should it exist. When other aggregators like Steam have tried in the past, no one opts in because the platform is already powerful enough.

Irrespective of whether or not blockchains are actually the ideal solution, they clearly have some revenue attached, speculative or not. They are proving themselves to get a wide collection of different deployed solutions. At the end of the day, it is not always important whether something is perfect, insofar as whether or not everyone uses it. The GIF file format is awful. We have known that for decades and yet everyone uses it, and so that ends up being the thing. That to me is part of the case.

One of the very hard problems with all of this is the amount of compute that is required. We are going to render a bunch of persistent virtual worlds that have unlimited maximum capacity, then potentially we are going to run blockchains to manage scarce digital goods inside those virtual worlds. That is a lot of compute; it is more compute than we have right now. Do you see that coming down because of Moore’s Law? Is TSMC going to figure out the next process node and we are just going to get there? Is it an agglomeration of other kinds of compute? Who builds this stuff? Where does it come from?

There are three dominant theories here. One is just Moore’s Law, slowing or not, continues to improve, and as part of that we get better at compression. We start to prune out the inelegant data formats and architectures, just like moving off of GIF to MP4 for lighter performance.

The second school is really organized around more efficient resourcing. This is the cloud argument. There are problems with it, but the argument would basically be that it is kind of stupid that we put the most intensive computing at the individual user, whose device has to be affordable, lightweight, and replaced every two to three years, versus the power plant approach of saying, “No one should have a generator in their home. We should deliver it from industrial scale.”

Then third are the bigger punts. There is a large contingent of people, Intel or TSMC, who are starting to believe that quantum computing — another idea that has long been considered fanciful — is no longer a crazy thing to believe in and ends up being essential.

The last and the most fun is decentralized computing, not necessarily in the blockchain sense, but in the solar panel sense. I am sitting talking to you right now. I have two consoles with incredible GPUs both sitting unused. There may be someone in my building right now who could use that. Right now they either do not have it, or they need to rent it from a data center that is expensive and far away, thus producing latency. Do you have a model potentially on blockchain or not? Is that a more effective system of renting out excess capacity, like a solar panel, or like Elon imagines Teslas will do in a self-driving car?

I love that idea and have heard variations of it for a decade now. I used to run SETI @ home on the computers at the college computer lab that I managed.

It is in my book. It is so fun.

It’s all right there. We have been chasing it for a minute. That requires that your personal power bill might go up and down in ways that you cannot predict. Your bandwidth might get strained in a way that you cannot predict. It would be sad if right now our call was diminished in quality because someone was running the GPU in your PS5 at 100 percent.

On top of that, at least in this country, the bandwidth required to do that is actually not evenly or equitably distributed. Some people have really fast connections, and many people have bad connections. There is virtually no competition for those connections whatsoever. You can make that bet, but you think about how it would play out in practice and it just feels like a lot of people will be selfish, first of all. That seems like a thing you can count on. Then second, the infrastructure to actually pull that off does not really exist.

I agree with you. I characterize it as the fun one because it remains the elusive one, just like when we talk about peer-to-peer servers for multiplayer games. It is a fun idea, but no one has figured out how to do it.

There are some technical solutions, of course, one of which could be that you do not necessarily need to congest the neighborhood if you geographically constrain who your GPUs are available to. You can also have different bidding. One of the problems I talk about in the book is the fact that we actually have very poor systems in TCP/IP to manage the prioritization of traffic once it leaves our network. I am not talking about paid peering or net neutrality, but literally the ability to differentiate if it needs to be there in 10 milliseconds or 50 milliseconds.

These are actually more fundamental issues. We do not have an effective way to split GPUs. It is not like you can say, “I need 80 percent of it but the remaining 20 percent can go.” I will say that there are some systems for this that are being deployed. J.J. Abrams and Ari Emanuel are on the board of a company called Otoy. They have a blockchain-based system called the Render Network, and it is designed to do exactly that.

An architectural firm that perhaps does not need its high-end GPUs overnight can rent those out on a bid-ask, blockchain-based system, and Hollywood studios do use them. This is not the expectation of every single person’s sitting devices used minute to minute, but we are starting to see it work on a more regular basis for industrial use cases with high-end, low-supply hardware. I put this in the, “if you woke up in 2045, it might be answered” bucket.

Let’s wrap up here by talking about the companies that are building this stuff now and where they are. You run an ETF called Meta that invests in various metaverse companies, and you obviously pay very close attention. Let’s start with the obvious candidate here, Meta.

In your book, you call it Facebook, because it is too confusing to call Meta “Meta” in a book with a metaverse, which I appreciate. Facebook obviously rebranded itself to Meta, Zuckerberg is all in on this pivot to the metaverse. In VR headsets at least, they are the market leader; the Quest 2 is a really good consumer product. Though I do not know if it is a metaverse product, since it is a pretty closed system. But they are ahead. How do you think they are doing and where do you think they go next?

I would say that the Oculus device is actually pretty open. They support side loading, and they do not require a central identity system. You can use alternative payment solutions for side-loaded apps, which is not even side loading, it is just not app store direct. The Oculus is unique in that it is effectively the only mainstream console that uses open standard rendering collections, WebGL, OpenGL, WebXR. Those are pretty significant. No one else did it. PlayStation 3 did, but PlayStation has never done it since.

The truth is, if you were to talk about number of users, amount of spend, number of developers, amount of developer profits, and cultural impact, they are frankly nowhere near leads like Roblox, Fortnite, Minecraft, or Unity on the B2B side. They also have a much harder path to doing that.

One of the challenges Facebook has in particular is that the economy is slowing down. Apple’s ad changes have had huge effects on Facebook’s revenue. They are trying to manage this big pivot and this bet on the future. People might buy fewer Quest consoles, and they are investing less in future hardware. Do you think they are going to be able to make it through?

The AT&T shift from Apple is particularly brutal. The estimated cost of that is $10 billion in operating cash flow in 2022. That happens to be exactly what Facebook Reality Labs was spending on their many projects, the various XR devices, the wearables, their operating system, and the Horizon Worlds platform. Anyone finding out that they are going to have $10 billion less in cash flow is going to have to trim budgets, especially in special projects with limited revenue and probably a negative 80 percent gross margin overall.

I think the biggest challenge — one that Mark has consistently underestimated, it seems — is that the timeline for those new devices, that would allow him to get out from the hegemony of Apple and Google, is probably farther out than was ever imagined.

2015 was the first time Mark said publicly that they imagined by the end of the decade, last decade, wearable headsets would replace the smartphone. They have reiterated that this decade, but as you and your colleagues have reported, they have now delayed the first edition three times. We may not see consumer AR hardware until 2025 or 2026, and he has called it the hardest technological challenge of our era, putting a supercomputer into lightweight wearables.

If that is their biggest opportunity to have hardware, to have their own operating system, and they are already sitting behind when it comes to what I call integrated virtual world platforms — Horizon versus Roblox or Fortnite Creative Mode — and they are simultaneously experiencing decline, not necessarily secular, of the core business, the timing starts to feel tight.

You said that it is the hardest technological challenge. I always think about it as a stack of problems, especially for AR glasses. You need a camera that can see the world around you in sufficient fidelity. That has to go to a processor that can interpret that data and spit out something good to put over top of it to augment reality. You need a battery that can power that processor and that camera. You almost certainly need persistent connectivity. Then most importantly, you need a display solution that actually works, which does not exist yet. Do you think Facebook is on the road to solving any or all of those problems?

I would add two more problems. It has to actually fit and weigh little enough that you are comfortable wearing it, and it has to not melt your face while you do it. Every single thing that you just mentioned trades off with one another. You want another two sensors that are good for UIX, it drains the battery and the GPU power, increasing the cost and the form factor, generating more heat.

Put another way, we take for granted that today’s most computationally powerful consumer devices, consoles, really just need to manage for a few constraints. The size, not really; the new PlayStations are four times bigger than the first PlayStation. They do not need to manage the battery, as they have constant access to power. They can put fans in there so that the overheating problem is not that bad. And they know that the build of materials has to cost between $400 and $700. When you are talking about these devices, you have several new problems: size, heat, you cannot have a fan, you need battery power, and the GPUs are smaller. All of the other things get harder despite that.

We see that Facebook is investing in its own semis and you are right, it’s the stack. All of these things need to be solved. We know that Apple is planning up to 12 or 14 cameras. I think the current Oculus has 6. Well, maybe you do need 12 or 14. Every time you put another pair in there, you are going to find that the GPU you thought was going to power experience X just cannot. It is incredibly hard.

I think that set of challenges is very difficult for Facebook. When we talk about hardware, we have to go to Apple next, which is very good at hardware. They are very good at performance chips that run a long time on batteries. There are lots of rumors about Apple’s headset out there.

But they are pretty bad at ecosystems and playing nice with others, and with interoperability. As you have mentioned with their ad tracking stuff, they are pretty good at locking things down. They are good at preventing innovation from taking place; game streaming does not exist the way it could because Apple will not allow it on their platforms. OpenSea cannot transact NFTs because they would have to pay Apple a 30 percent cut. How do you think Apple is doing?

One thing that is fun to put on the side of this is that six days before Epic Games sued Apple, Tim Sweeney, the founder and CEO, tweeted out that Apple had outlawed the metaverse. His point was exactly the cloud gaming one. I cite The Verge a few times in there with these fun quotes that basically say, “Arguing about what Apple does or does not allow is irrelevant because they can change the rules any time they want.”

The Apple constraint here is really profound. They have incredible hard, soft, and often accidental power, and they do work hard to prevent many standards and solutions coming into place.

You just teed up my favorite example, which is what happens with NFTs. Let’s keep in mind that they allow you to buy fungible tokens, ETH, on Coinbase, but you cannot buy a non-fungible token, an NFT, on Coinbase. If you choose to fractionalize an NFT into a billion fungible tokens — you could actually increase it so that there are more fractionalized tokens than there are Bitcoin tokens — that is still not allowed, even though you might own one trillionth of an NFT.

This just reflects the extent to which they are contending with not just business model disruption, but control of their own ecosystem. Outlawing is not wrong, but I think we will see how that turns out. When it comes to new hardware, it is obvious. If AR and VR are going to be things, Apple will be at least a player, but it is more likely that they have the most performance, best-looking, lightest weight, and preferred early additions. The advantages there, especially at scale and cost — development cost or production cost — are simple.

In the book you have a section about how the metaverse need not actually take place in headsets. It could be expressed in all kinds of ways. As we talk about these companies, their metaverse bets are very much headsets.

Facebook wants to be first to headsets at scale, because then they can just leave the iPhone and the complications of Apple’s platform behind. Apple does not want to have the iPhone disrupted, so they are racing towards a headset. I think Tim Cook wants to shift the AR headset as his last big reveal before he moves on in 10 years. Right now, to do a non-headset metaverse, you are kind of stuck behind whatever Apple will allow, because they are the most pervasive computing platform that exists.

That is quite right.

Is there a way around that? Do we just hope Amy Klobuchar can find the votes for her anti-trust bill, or is there a business model or industry solution that solves that?

This is where we get into some of the interesting answers. Is there a way around it? Are there alternatives? Yes and no.

Cloud gaming is a potential answer, but we should keep in mind exactly how many ways Apple stymies them. It probably works 95 percent of the time for 40 percent of users. That is not a good technical solution for a social platform, but it can work. Doing it from the browser is not a great experience. Apple, for security reasons, valid and not valid, also constrains your ability to send notifications. That is not great if I am trying to tell you to log onto Fortnite. First of all, you cannot have an app, and secondly, you don’t ever get the notification.

The other way to do it is browser-based rendering, but Apple has historically constrained WebGL, so the non-application alternative of using a browser, what they call the open web, doesn’t really work. The way in which Apple constrains WebGL is because Safari does not support it comprehensively, whereas I can obtain Chrome for iOS, and I am really just using the Chrome wrapper on the Safari engine. Their technical decisions for Safari mean what Google can and cannot do is inherited, and the app stores hegemony over software means that I cannot obtain true Chrome.

We are finding out this is why Tim sued Apple. He says that Apple has outlawed the metaverse rather than gotten in its way. A properly motivated Apple can effectively stymie most things. There is a reason why Web3 games are either based on non-real-time collecting and trading, or really primitive browser-based games, like Axie Infinity visually. You cannot pull off complex rendering without most of WebGL or a native app, and Apple will not allow it.

You mention the open web, which means we should talk about Google next. Google is Google. They have multiple competing projects. They have just restructured some things, and they have announced some little things. Are they a player?

That is a great question. Google has spent quite some time focused here. Google Glass was a famous disaster, but they have released another two versions of Google Glass, or enterprise editions. They made a billion-dollar acquisition last year, a $200 million acquisition the year before. Clay Bavor, an SVP in charge of essentially all special projects, plus AR and VR, and has been for some years, was realigned to directly report to Sundar.

It is clear that they are focused here. The problems have always been that their software is never considered best for consumer applications, their hardware has never really taken off, and their efforts in gaming have barely been funded. Many of their best potential plays, Niantic and others, were divested, spun off, or allowed to competitors.

If Android is and remains the most used ecosystem globally — it is the second highest revenue-generating games platform globally — they are likely to benefit, but the big opportunities with new hardware, a virtual world platform, or managing the standards, all seem tough. Even when you take a look at Google Cloud, it is estimated to be losing $5 or $6 billion per year. AWS has more profit than Google Cloud does in revenue. Even with the tangential argument that increased computing power is going to be good for Google, their business currently loses money every time a new server gets stood up. They are harder to see.

You mentioned AWS, so let’s keep going down the list. Amazon has some pretensions here, in the sense that they have a big hardware division that invents a bunch of stuff all the time. They have the most pervasive voice assistant, which I think is an interesting side light into the idea of a secondary world that you can interact with in different ways. Are they a player? Do you see them making an investment?

I would guess that they are number one in virtual assistant hardware, but I would also guess that Siri and Google Assistant are the most-used virtual assistants. They have the other benefit of having the device everywhere; mobile is better tailored.

Amazon is really interesting. The computing and data center business is going to be an extraordinary beneficiary. How much that moves into value-added services in machine learning and others has yet to be known. Snowflake is a good example of other companies building value-added services on top of the pure racks.

The bigger challenge is one I find really interesting. Amazon has spent a lot of time focused on more traditional media categories than it has in gaming or interactive, even though the latter seems a lot closer to their core business on the AWS side, and their success rate has been mixed. Jason Schreier at Bloomberg has estimated billions were spent into Lumberyard, their game engine. That was given over to the Linux Foundation earlier this year. Luna, their cloud gaming service, seems to have had less of an impact than Google Stadia did.

That is a very quiet burn. I just want to put that out there.

There is a good question of whether or not it is a quiet burn because they have been a lot quieter as well. Part of the problem that doomed Stadia was much bigger and more public ambitions, and much greater out-of-the-gate spend. Amazon is best in the world at the slow burn strategy and they remain committed to it, though I have not seen any big leaps.

While Amazon Game Studio has had some success with New World and others more recently, it is operating as the publisher. They are not developing the titles themselves, and they are not using AWS in an innovative or new way. As you take a look at Amazon’s interactive business, they have rewritten many job descriptions to focus on the metaverse in name. They are a big proponent of the Unreal ecosystem. They are trying to advance certain standards. But externally a lot of it still feels like more potential and conjecture than it is, as yet, a product.

I want to ask about two more here. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has said the metaverse is already here, so he is buying Activision and the Xbox seems to be growing. They just keep buying everything, but they do not have great hardware. The HoloLens is not a huge success; they just shuffled that team and fired Alex Kipman, who was in charge of the HoloLens. Are they on track, or are they just going to be a horizontal software provider, which has been an enormously successful strategy for them as you pointed out?

I talk about this quite a bit in the book. There is this fascinating aspect in which the company has absolutely thrived under Satya by becoming horizontal, shedding the stack requirement and rich vertical integration.

But when Satya took over, the games business was being called on for divestment. Yet the first acquisition he did was of Minecraft. He did something really unique at the time; he committed to keeping it fully horizontal, available on all platforms, not exclusive to Xbox, and keeping it agnostic to the end point, not even preferring Xbox hardware.

It was about five or six years before he did another large acquisition, that of LinkedIn. Then you have Activision Blizzard, the most expensive big-tech acquisition in history, at $75 billion. In the opening graph, the last line, he says, “It is for the foundations of the metaverse.”

In many ways, Minecraft presaged everything that he was going to do with the strategy at large, and they have been very focused here. The number of different pieces they have is actually really exciting. I talk about Microsoft Flight Simulator as perhaps the most technically impressive consumer-deployed, persistent live digital twin or metaverse-style experience that any of us can do.

This is a company where, putting aside the fact they were public about the metaverse before Facebook was, it feels like execution of bringing the pieces together — which is the same for Google and Amazon, but less clear — could be extraordinary for them. I think that is why you have always seen this commitment, and why he is so quick to bet FTC scrutiny, DOJ scrutiny, and $75 billion to build it.

I could keep doing companies forever. It’s a fun game, but I want to actually end on the regulatory scrutiny piece.

This space is unregulated, in a way that if you make the comparison to the early internet, it is very different. The early internet was a government project. There was the idea that we would keep regulators away from it. Even that decision to keep regulators away is, itself, a regulatory decision, and then you had all of the public investment into the internet around the world.

That is not happening here, right? This is all a purely private company kind of investment. Regulators seem like they have no idea what to do here, in the same way that even regulators have no idea what to do with crypto, but they have a lot of ideas. Here it is just silence. Where do you think that comes into play? Where do you think the government comes into play here with the metaverse?

The interesting thing about regulators leaving their hands off the internet is, of course, that the internet came from government. Many of its foundational bodies, the internet engineering task force that stewards most of TCP/IP, was developed by DOD and then relinquished, but is still strongly influenced by government. One of the reasons why governments left it was because there were pretty strong and important self-regulating bodies that worked together effectively that they had helped to create.

You are right that we do not see this here, but I actually think it is changing pretty quickly. Yesterday the EU released their Think Tank’s Policy Memorandum. The chief negotiator of the EU for the Digital Services Act has been very critical and very vocal about what they need. The South Korean government has established the South Korean Metaverse Alliance, an effectively required body that is also effectively mandating national standards.

Their perspective seems to be that the standards group will force things that many do not want and are individually disadvantaged by, but to the national benefit. Of course in China, which is a whole other issue, I do not think it is a coincidence that just after Tencent unveiled its Hyper Digital Reality vision — which is their essential trademark for the metaverse — they began the biggest ever crackdown of the space.

I think the US is probably the furthest behind, in at least formal recommendations. I think that in many territories — Southeast Asia, China, and the EU — governments seem very focused on this now in a way that surprises and inspires me. The fact that it coincides with regulation designed to fix the problems of the past 15 years raises the specter of accidental damage to an area that does not really exist yet. I am more hopeful that it actually sets us on a clearer path, rather than 15 years of catch-up.

Let’s end with a look to the future. I think one of the things that you and I would both agree on is that this is not going to be a light switch. The metaverse is not going to just turn on one day; it is going to happen to us slowly over time. I am curious. In that big picture, what is the sign post for you that the metaverse is more likely than not, or that it has arrived in a real way? What would be the indicator for you?

The indicator that I would pay attention to is the early demographic transition. Seventy-five percent of those ages 9 to 12 in most Western markets use Roblox, and just Roblox, on a regular basis. That is not to say that they do not use other things. We know fundamentally that Gen Y games more than Gen X, Gen Z more than Gen Y, and Gen A more than Gen Z, and that trend is not turning around.

I think the big things that I am getting excited about are the industrial applications, the deployment in what we call ACE — architecture, construction, and engineering. The challenge with those is that lead times are long. You have to convince businesses to use new technology to solve problems they are not used to solving. They have to then deploy them, and they have to get good at using them. They need to start to share with the city and with other partners.

Once we actually find a way to make development of the real world more productive, to live-operate businesses and infrastructure together — which can be as simple as lighting systems in a smart city with proper civil engineering — that is what gets exciting to me.

Matt, this has been incredible. I could keep going for another hour. Thank you so much for being on Decoder.

Thank you.

Tue, 19 Jul 2022 03:00:00 -0500 en text/html https://www.theverge.com/23269170/what-is-the-metaverse-matthew-ball-interview-decoder-podcast
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