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Artificial intelligence: Commission takes forward its work on ethics guidelines

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The Commission presents today next steps for building trust in artificial intelligence by taking forward the work of the High-Level Expert Group.

Building on the work of the group of independent experts appointed in June 2018, the Commission is today launching a pilot phase to ensure that the ethical guidelines for Artificial Intelligence (AI) development and use can be implemented in practice. The Commission invites industry, research institutes and public authorities to test the detailed assessment list drafted by the High-Level Expert Group, which complements the guidelines.

Today’s plans are a deliverable under the AI strategy of April 2018, which aims at increasing public and private investments to at least €20 billion annually over the next decade, making more data available, fostering talent and ensuring trust.

Vice-President for the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip said: “I welcome the work undertaken by our independent experts. The ethical dimension of AI is not a luxury feature or an add-on. It is only with trust that our society can fully benefit from technologies. Ethical AI is a win-win proposition that can become a competitive advantage for Europe: being a leader of human-centric AI that people can trust.”

Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society Mariya Gabriel added: Today, we are taking an important step towards ethical and secure AI in the EU. We now have a solid foundation based on EU values and following an extensive and constructive engagement from many stakeholders including businesses, academia and civil society. We will now put these requirements to practice and at the same time foster an international discussion on human-centric AI.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) can benefit a wide-range of sectors, such as healthcare, energy consumption, cars safety, farming, climate change and financial risk management. AI can also help to detect fraud and cybersecurity threats, and enables law enforcement authorities to fight crime more efficiently. However, AI also brings new challenges for the future of work, and raises legal and ethical questions.

The Commission is taking a three-step approach: setting-out the key requirements for trustworthy AI, launching a large scale pilot phase for feedback from stakeholders, and working on international consensus building for human-centric AI.

1.Seven essentials for achieving trustworthy AI

Trustworthy AI should respect all applicable laws and regulations, as well as a series of requirements; specific assessment lists aim to help verify the application of each of the key requirements:

  • Human agency and oversight: AI systems should enable equitable societies by supporting human agency and fundamental rights, and not decrease, limit or misguide human autonomy.
  • Robustness and safety: Trustworthy AI requires algorithms to be secure, reliable and robust enough to deal with errors or inconsistencies during all life cycle phases of AI systems.
  • Privacy and data governance: Citizens should have full control over their own data, while data concerning them will not be used to harm or discriminate against them.
  • Transparency: The traceability of AI systems should be ensured.
  • Diversity, non-discrimination and fairness: AI systems should consider the whole range of human abilities, skills and requirements, and ensure accessibility.
  • Societal and environmental well-being: AI systems should be used to enhance positive social change and enhance sustainability and ecological responsibility.
  • Accountability: Mechanisms should be put in place to ensure responsibility and accountability for AI systems and their outcomes.

2. Large-scale pilot with partners

In summer 2019, the Commission will launch a pilot phase involving a wide range of stakeholders. Already today, companies, public administrations and organisations can sign up to the European AI Alliance and receive a notification when the pilot starts. In addition, members of the AI high-level expert group will help present and explain the guidelines to relevant stakeholders in Member States.

3. Building international consensus for human-centric AI

The Commission wants to bring this approach to AI ethics to the global stage because technologies, data and algorithms know no borders. To this end, the Commission will strengthen cooperation with like-minded partners such as Japan, Canada or Singapore and continue to play an active role in international discussions and initiatives including the G7 and G20. The pilot phase will also involve companies from other countries and international organisations.

Next steps

Members of the AI expert group will present their work in detail during the third Digital Day in Brussels on 9 April. Following the pilot phase, in early 2020, the AI expert group will review the assessment lists for the key requirements, building on the feedback received. Building on this review, the Commission will evaluate the outcome and propose any next steps.

Furthermore, to ensure the ethical development of AI, the Commission will by the autumn 2019: launch a set of networks of AI research excellence centres; begin setting up networks of digital innovation hubs; and together with Member States and stakeholders, start discussions to develop and implement a model for data sharing and making best use of common data spaces.

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Addepar Broadens Reach with Expanded Offerings for RIAs

Vlad Poptamas

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Addepar, Inc., a leading technology platform for wealth management, announced a number of releases aimed at helping RIAs that serve a variety of client types excel in an increasingly competitive market. The new capabilities and features make it easier than ever for firms to adopt Addepar’s modern technology stack, streamline their operations and offer a truly differentiated client experience powered by best in class data, analytics and reporting.

“As the wealth management industry continues to undergo a dramatic transformation, we’re making good on our goal to meet wealth advisors where they are. We’re delivering new functionality in our platform that empowers RIAs to navigate these changes with purpose-built, intuitive solutions so that they can deliver lasting value to clients and grow their business for years to come,” said Addepar CEO Eric Poirier.

Making it easier for RIAs to modernize their tech stack
For established RIAs who want to modernize their reporting technology but find it daunting to make the switch, Addepar is introducing a broader and more flexible set of data migration options to efficiently and precisely fulfill each client’s data onboarding needs. This includes a newly introduced “Advent Converter,” which streamlines migrating data from Advent’s APX and Axys systems into Addepar. Addepar will continue investing in additional data management and conversion solutions to make it easy for any firm to upgrade to Addepar’s technology.

Addressing emerging demand and delivering more client value
Addepar’s strong traction with large RIA firms, banks and broker-dealers has exposed a previously unmet need in the market: the power to use Addepar’s platform for all advisor teams, from those with ultra-high net worth clients to those who serve the mass affluent. Today, the company is introducing AddeparGoSM, an offering that tailors Addepar’s software to the specific needs of these larger firms. AddeparGo is designed with a set of features, capabilities and custodial data feeds that optimize for speedy implementation and make it easy for larger firms who have a range of advisor teams to adopt. The company is making AddeparGo available to key partners and clients now, and will continue shaping this offering based on feedback.

Helping the back-office streamline operations and scale productivity
Many well-established firms have turned to Addepar for its ability to support sizable and complex implementations and provide data aggregation, analytics and reporting at scale. To offer even greater support, the company is pleased to announce the release of Addepar Teams. Teams is a set of advanced controls and permissions to serve firms that need to grant varying access by team, branch, role and functional responsibility. This set of digital capabilities dramatically simplifies the previously time-intensive and error-prone operational process of managing reporting controls, while achieving legal, risk and compliance goals.

 

SOURCE Addepar

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FinTech Startup TheGuarantors Announces New Chief Operating Officer

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New York-based FinTech company, TheGuarantors, has announced the hiring of Sean O’Donoghue as Chief Operating Officer. Since its founding in 2015, TheGuarantors has been a leader in finding innovative ways to solve for risk in leasing, using its expertise in real estate, risk, and technology. This recent addition to the leadership team reflects the company’s expanding product suite, geographic footprint, and client-base.

Mr. O’Donoghue is a solutions-driven leader with 30 years of proven excellence in developing and executing market leading technology and digital strategies, product development, operations, and financial management at a variety of established companies including DreamWorks Animation SKG, Madison Square Garden, Macerich, Oracle and KPMG. Mr. O’Donoghue excels in helping companies optimize existing business models, and identifying and developing new technology-based solutions. Most recently, Mr. O’Donoghue was Chief Operating Officer at Trōv Inc., a renowned InsurTech startup that powers digital insurance solutions for innovative businesses in the finance, insurance, mobility, and retail sectors, enabling the new ways people live, work and move.

Mr. O’Donoghue’s broad background aligns well with TheGuarantors’ own profile. Having worked in both corporate and startup environments, he has domain expertise in insurance, technology, real estate, media and entertainment, and he has delivered enterprise and B2B solutions, platform technology, as well as direct-to-consumer products. “At TheGuarantors, we pride ourselves on our agility and cross-functionality,” says CEO Julien Bonneville. “Different stakeholders from real estate, risk, insurance, technology, asset-management, etc. come to us for solutions because of how well we work across different verticals and domains – Sean is a perfect fit.” Mr. O’Donoghue adds, “TheGuarantors has established itself as an innovative and execution-oriented player at the cross-section of Real Estate, FinTech and InsurTech. It’s an exceptionally strong team, with a wealth of knowledge and new ideas, and I look forward to helping the company thrive and expand.”

In 2019 TheGuarantors announced $15 million in Series B funding, bringing their total amount raised to $27 million. Last year the company also launched a new product (Securiti, the smart commercial deposit), built out their current product offerings (Guaranti, an expanded program of multifamily products), re-branded, and successfully expanded nationally. With O’Donoghue as a trusted insurance and technology pioneer and leader, TheGuarantors will continue to provide tools, products, and solutions that can change with the market. Their vision is to be the “go-to” most trusted brand for insurance products and financial solutions throughout the real estate industry (servicing every real estate professional, resident and corporate tenant alike).

 

SOURCE TheGuarantors

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American Discovery Capital Announces Strategic Growth Investment in SmartBug Media®

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American Discovery Capital (ADC)—a private equity firm focused on investing in leading family-owned and middle market companies in high-growth sectors—today announced its strategic growth investment in and partnership with SmartBug Media®.  SmartBug® is the highest-rated HubSpot partner in the world and a leading Intelligent Inbound® marketing agency that assists businesses in generating leads, increasing awareness, and building brand loyalty through inbound marketing, digital strategy, design, marketing automation, and public relations. As part of its investment strategy, ADC will work closely with SmartBug to develop new growth channels and expand the company’s capabilities and team, while supporting its continued delivery of the highest levels of customer service and value.

ADC focuses on partnering with business owners and entrepreneurs who have built successful, established businesses with strong fundamentals that can benefit from ADC’s operational experience and capital to support future growth. Its partnership with SmartBug demonstrates ADC’s ability to identify unique investment opportunities and exemplifies its partnership approach with innovative owners and entrepreneurs.

“SmartBug demonstrates the quality and attractive attributes we look for in an investment,” said Mike Denbeau, partner at ADC. “Its unique business model—which includes strong and steady growth, recurring revenue and long-term customer relationships, a strong culture of innovation, and a unique ‘remote’ business model that provides access to a nationwide talent recruitment pool—has already proven very successful in the digital agency space and is one we look to build upon in partnership with the company’s highly talented management team.”

John Joliet, partner at ADC, added, “Over a decade ago, Ryan Malone anticipated the coming shift from traditional outbound marketing to data-driven, inbound marketing services for middle market growth companies, and he saw an opportunity to build a world-class professional team by employing an innovative ‘remote’ business model.  We believe this unique philosophy has paved the way for SmartBug to develop its strong reputation throughout the industry as a market leader and respected advisor, which has resulted in numerous awards and accolades over the past few years. ADC believes that SmartBug’s ability to ‘productize’ this value in a recurring, long-term relationship model using its proprietary recruitment, employee training, and customer delivery processes makes its future prospects even more compelling.”

SmartBug has a number of unique and impressive attributes that made it an attractive investment for ADC:

  • SmartBug is a leader in the high-growth inbound marketing sector, which is benefiting from a rapid shift of spend from traditional outbound marketing channels to data-driven, digital inbound marketing.
  • Unlike the traditional agency model, which has historically focused on project-based, short-term campaign work that can be high cost with unclear ROI implications for the client, SmartBug offers customers a compelling, data-driven retainer model. This model allows customers to outsource their digital marketing needs on a turnkey basis, driving long-term value for the client with a heavy emphasis on ROI.
  • The need for SmartBug’s services is especially mission-critical in the large middle market segment of the U.S. economy, where companies typically do not have in-house digital marketing capabilities and access to the level of marketing talent that larger firms possess, creating a large untapped opportunity for SmartBug.
  • As the highest-rated HubSpot Partner in the world and HubSpot’s Global Partner of the Year, SmartBug has won a number of prominent industry awards recognizing the quality of the company’s work product, team, and workplace culture, including winning more than 150 MarCom Awards in the past two years alone, making the Inc. 5000 list three years in a row, being named to the inaugural Adweek 100: Fastest Growing Agencies list, and earning a number of Comparably and Great Place to Work® awards.
  • SmartBug’s strong value proposition and unique retainer model have driven strong growth for the company and provide a reliable base of recurring revenue to re-invest in growing the company’s customer relationships and talent.

“We are very excited to partner with ADC, and we feel like their team and goals align fully with our values, our remote business model, where we believe the market is headed, and most importantly, our people,” said Ryan Malone, founder and CEO of SmartBug Media. “The ADC team is a uniquely talented and forward-looking group that understands and values the overarching purpose of our remote model: that you can win in business while retaining the flexibility to do the things that matter to you and your family. We believe there is a large, underserved opportunity to provide high quality digital marketing services to clients with the cost certainty and emphasis on ROI that clients highly value and our unique model affords, at scale—and we are excited to partner with ADC to address this compelling market need.”

 

SOURCE American Discovery Capital

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