CIO SA tech news round-up: International DJ David Guetta bets on AI, Kenya’s central bank pardons Flutterwave, and Neobank Be Mobile Africa introduces crypto trading in South Africa

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David Guetta: The future of music is in AI

After winning a Brit Award for the ‘Producer of the Year’ category, chart-topping DJ David Guetta said that “the future of music is in AI but only as a tool” to create new sounds in the future, because “every new music style comes from a new technology”.

Guetta’s remarks came just days after he used two AI sites to create lyrics and rap in the style of American rapper Eminem for a live performance.

In conversation with BBC music correspondent Mark Savage at the Brit Awards, Guetta said, “Nothing is going to replace the taste. What defines an artist is, you have a certain taste, you have a certain type of emotion you want to express, and you’re going to use all the modern instruments to do that,” he continued.

When comparing AI to instruments that have sparked musical revolutions in the past, David said that without the electric guitar, there would most likely be no rock ‘n’ roll. Without the Roland TB-303 [bass synthesiser] or the Roland TR-909 drum machine, there would be no acid house. Without the sampler, there would be no hip-hop.

Last week, Guetta posted a video on Twitter and said that he created the Eminem-style vocal “as a joke”, but it worked so well he could not believe it.

He told the BBC that he posted the video to start a conversation and raise awareness. “It's very funny, actually, because a lot of people are reacting. Some of them are like, ‘Oh, this is genius.’ Some of them are getting super mad at me, but I’m not going to release the record. It is impossible to think that it’s a real collab, but it sounds exactly like him [Eminem],” he said.

Kenya’s Central Bank drops charges against Flutterwave

The Kenyan government has dropped charges against Flutterwave, a pan-African fintech unicorn founded in the US, which is now set to recoup more than $50 million (R893 million) in previously frozen funds.

Last year, the Kenyan government and the Central Bank of Kenya sued fintech firms Chipper Cash and Flutterwave, alleging that neither was licensed to operate as a financial payments or remittance provider in the East African country.

“It has come to the attention of the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) that Flutterwave Payments Technology Limited and Chipper Technologies Kenya (Chipper) have been engaging in money remittance and payments services without licensing and authorisation by CBK,” said, Matu Mugo, former CBK supervision deputy director.

“You are therefore directed to immediately cease and desist from dealing with Flutterwave and Chipper,” he added.

One of the suits filed by the Kenyan government charged Flutterwave, originally founded in the US by two Nigerians, with “financial impropriety”, with further allegations that bank accounts belonging to both companies were being used for fraudulent operations.

According to the Kenyan Wall Street, the Kenyan Asset Recovery Agency (ARA) was then directed to freeze the assets in 62 bank accounts belonging to Flutterwave and four Kenyans.

The Kenyan government apparently dropped the charges last week, and the ARA filed a notice to drop its own suit and lift the asset freezing order.

The Kenyan government has not stated why the charges were dropped, but it is worth noting that Flutterwave co-founder and CEO Olugbenga Agboola flew into Kenya last week to obtain a licence from the CBK to conduct business.

Neobank Be Mobile Africa launches crypto trading in South Africa

Neobank Be Mobile Africa has announced the South African launch of its cryptocurrency exchange platform. Individuals will be able to buy and trade cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Solana (SOL), and USD stablecoins such as USDC as a result of this.

The service is now live and available to all South African users. Users can convert rands to crypto and vice versa.

Despite the challenges that the tech industry and crypto market will face in 2022, Be Mobile Africa, which launched in South Africa last year, has seen significant growth in both user registration and revenue.

In the past, the platform has used blockchain technology to enable low-cost, fast, and transparent peer-to-peer transactions. It is now providing this capability to its users, allowing them to buy, keep, and trade cryptocurrencies. The cryptocurrency trading platform's launch marks the beginning of Be Mobile Africa's mission to bring digital currencies to everyone.

Be Mobile Africa is taking a giant leap forward with the introduction of its cryptocurrency trading platform, which will transform the way South Africans engage with digital currencies. The platform is designed to be secure, simple, and intuitive, offering users a convenient and seamless way to trade and manage their crypto holdings.

Enabling our users to buy, sell and hold cryptocurrencies easily and securely is a natural evolution for us,” says Dr Cédric Jeannot, CEO of Be Mobile Africa. “Many local African currencies are losing value against the US dollar, and accessing USD stablecoins and other cryptocurrencies is a way to preserve wealth for many.”

China’s tech giants are launching ChatGPT copies

Over the last week, Chinese technology titans have announced their intentions to launch ChatGPT-style products, joining the artificial intelligence arms race sparked by the popular chatbot.

However, announcements from China’s largest firms have not stated that they are working on all-encompassing platforms like ChatGPT, a move that may concern Beijing, which heavily censors internet content. Instead, companies ranging from Alibaba to NetEase have discussed the technology in context-specific scenarios.

Chinese authorities have tight control over internet content, frequently blocking or censoring sites that do not agree with Beijing. Although ChatGPT is not officially blocked in China, OpenAI does not allow Chinese users to sign up.

Some of China’s largest tech firms, including Baidu, Alibaba, JD.com, and NetEase, have announced plans for ChatGPT rivals in the last week. This comes after two years of intense scrutiny from Chinese regulators on the country’s technology firms, during which time new regulations covering issues such as antitrust and data protection have been implemented.

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