September has unfolded in a blend of hope, innovation, and challenges for technology, artificial intelligence, finance, and blockchain. Here are some of the pivotal moments from September.
5G Expansion Continues Across the Globe
Global telecom giants have been ramping up the pace of 5G rollouts, pushing wireless connectivity with faster speeds and lower latency. A recent report from Business Wire saw 5G connections reaching the 1.4 billion mark by the end of Q2 2023, with projections estimating about 8 billion connections by 2028. This latest expansion is set to surpass 4G LTE saturation by over 2.5 billion. By the end of 2023, another 30 countries are estimated to launch 5G services.
SpaceX’s Starlink Broadens Its Connectivity Horizons
In its aim to bridge the digital divide, SpaceX’s Starlink has expanded its service to over 60 countries across all seven continents, having already connected over 2 million active customers globally. This expansion has been a part of SpaceX’s larger goal to provide continuous global coverage, which was initially projected by September 2023.
AI’s Role in Cardiac Healthcare Matures
The use of AI algorithms continues to affect healthcare, with the technology now capable of anticipating heart attacks with remarkable accuracy. A study led by the University College of London and Barts Health NHS Trust and funded by the British Heart Foundation details how AI was used to analyze blood flow. The AI can also see routine cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging data to know when a heart attack or stroke is imminent.
SEC Chair Gensler Highlights Crypto Misconduct in Senate Testimony
SEC Chair Gary Gensler testified before the US Senate Committee to express concerns over misconduct within the increasingly mainstream cryptocurrency industry. He emphasized the need for clearer regulation to protect investors and maintain financial system integrity. Gensler revealed forthcoming SEC actions, including rulemaking and enforcement aimed at enhancing industry transparency. His stance found support from Committee Chair Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH).
Google’s AI Ethics Scandal
The debate on AI ethics surged after Google fired two ethical AI team leaders — Dr. Timnit Gebru and Dr. Margaret Mitchell. The move prompted a global conversation on the ethical deployment of AI. Gebru and Mitchell’s terminations were linked to their critique of Google’s minority hiring and AI biases, causing internal uproar and a series of resignations within Google’s ethical AI team. The scandal also spurred Dr. Gebru to launch Diverse Approaches to Responsible AI (DAIR) — a nonprofit focused on evaluating big-tech AI usage, catalyzing a broader industry-wide dialogue on the ethical deployment of AI.
A Grim Month for Stocks
September 2023 saw a major decline in US equities, marking the first quarterly dip since Q3 2022. The S&P 500 also finished the quarter in the red as investors weighed the US economic outlook alongside the looming threat of an impending government shutdown. September’s return ratio for the S&P 500 stood at -1.77%, substantially lower compared to the previous month’s +3.11%.
FSB and IMF Unveil Joint Framework to Tame Crypto-Asset Risks
The Financial Stability Board and the International Monetary Fund published a joint synthesis report putting forth an extensive policy and regulatory blueprint to address the macroeconomic and financial stability risks emanating from global crypto-asset activities. The report includes collective recommendations to aid authorities in navigating the complex landscape of crypto-asset activities and markets, including those linked with stablecoins and DeFi platforms.
Bank of England Holds Interest Rates
Amidst ongoing financial turbulence, the Bank of England held its interest rate levels at 5.25%, reflecting a cautious stance towards the global economy. The decision came as a surprise to many, as there were expectations to raise the base rate to 5.5%.
Toyota Manages to Accrue Electrifying Sales
Toyota’s North American branch reported a 13.9% year-over-year sales increase in the US, with total sales reaching 203,904 vehicles. A significant driver behind this increase was the electric vehicle segment, which saw a surge of 81.5% in sales compared to the same period last year.
Visa’s Solana Blockchain Integration
Visa has announced its integration with the Solana blockchain to enhance cross-border payment processes for all of its users, marking a significant move towards incorporating crypto technology into mainstream financial systems. The financial giant is working alongside merchant acquirers Worldpay and Nuvei. The integration will primarily support the USDC Stablecoin, linking traditional finance with digital assets and offering a faster and more cost-effective settlement process for payment processors and merchants.
US CFTC Proposes Crypto Regulatory Framework
US Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s Commissioner Caroline Pham proposed a limited pilot program to help the US align its governance structures with a crypto-friendly regulatory framework. The aim of the move is to foster open, transparent, and competitive crypto markets while ensuring retail investor protection.
OneCoin Co-Founder Sentenced to 20 Years in Jail
OneCoin Co-Founder Karl Sebastian Greenwood was sentenced to 20 years in prison following a guilty plea to fraud and money laundering charges in December 2022. The court also mandated a $300 million forfeiture due to the fraudulent scheme of OneCoin, which was falsely marketed as a cryptocurrency with a claimed market capitalization of $4 billion.
The scheme, which affected investors in 175 countries, came crashing down in 2017 when its fraudulent nature was uncovered. Despite Greenwood’s sentencing, his co-conspirator, Ruja Ignatova (aka the Cryptoqueen), remains at large, though global law enforcement agencies are on her trail.
OpenAI Rolls Out Major Upgrades to ChatGPT
OpenAI has rolled out a quartet of substantial enhancements for ChatGPT, significantly boosting its prowess in voice generation, image recognition, and web browsing functions. ChatGPT can now handle and interact with image queries, engage in dynamic conversations, and search the web in real time for current information. This change transcends its former constraint of accessing data only up until September 2021.