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The emergence of artificial intelligence (AI) has caught the attention of entrepreneurs from across the tech sector.

AI startups have accounted for a significant portion of venture capital funding in the first quarter of 2023, and the trend is still on its way up. In the context of a global economic downturn, this is a promising sign of the potential which this technology offers. 

For Pang Xue Kai, founder of Tokocrypto – the top crypto exchange in Indonesia – the opportunity was too good to pass up. After stepping down from his CEO position in December 2022, Pang announced his new role as the co-founder of Untukmu.ai in March.

Dubbed “the future of gifting”, Untukmu aims to revolutionise the gift-giving experience with the use of AI technology. Specifically, Untukmu grants users access to a virtual assistant which can consider interests and personality traits to recommend the ideal gift. 

Given the significance of gift-giving culture in Indonesia, Pang and his co-founders identified this need to simplify the online shopping experience. 

With the onset of e-commerce platforms like Tokopedia and Shopee, consumers have missed out on that personalised touch. By leveraging AI, we believe that we can bring the essence of a personal shopping assistant to the online space.

– Pang Xue Kai, co-founder of Tokocrypto

E-commerce has been on the rise ever since the pandemic and AI is set to bring a new level of sophistication to the shopping experience. Untukmu will not only benefit consumers, but also merchants and small businesses which partner with the platform.

Moving from crypto to AI

Although he has given up his position as CEO, Pang remains a Commissioner at Tokocrypto alongside his role at Untukmu. He still sees potential in blockchain technology and believes the development of AI will only help drive it further.

“AI has the potential to vastly improve traditional industries and drive innovation. I am still a strong believer in crypto and I feel the only way for crypto to really progress is if AI also progresses,” Pang says.

untukmu ai
Image Credits: Untukmu.ai

I think that entrepreneurs will leverage AI to innovate and solve issues yet to be addressed in the crypto space such as fraud detection. Beyond this, AI can also be used to help educate people and encourage them to actively participate in the crypto space.

– Pang Xue Kai, co-founder of Tokocrypto

Although AI has overshadowed crypto in recent times – at least in mass media – it’s not here to put an end to the progress we’ve seen over the past decade. “They both serve different purposes and are applied in different ways,” Pang explains, adding that each technology has enormous potential. 

While blockchain focuses on transparent record-keeping and removing middlemen in transactions, AI offers uses in areas such as data analysis and prediction.

Not a hype cycle

With the amount of money pouring into AI right now, there have been speculations of a bubble burst sometime in the future. After all, the crypto markets experienced this on a number of occasions.

Fortunately, a closer look at the investment trends provides some reassurance. Pang cites a number of differences between the growth of crypto and AI, a key one being the investor profile. 

“The ICO boom consisted of a large number of large retail investors and newly-minted crypto funds. On the other hand, AI investments are largely from accredited investors and traditional venture funds.”

ico total capital raised
Image Credits: NFT Tech

Crypto’s crowdfunding mechanics allowed retail investors to gamble away money without doing due diligence. The barriers to entry were minimal and FOMO (fear of missing out) played a significant role in investment decisions, which allowed scams to prevail and lead to billions in losses.

On the other hand, AI investments are generally made with a lot more caution and research.

“Investors who poured funds into the ICO boom were looking to 10 times or 100 times their investments in a short period of time. Investors in AI are looking at longer-term investments,” Pang notes.

Innovating for good

The funding landscape might be different, but the rapid pace of innovation in AI is comparable to crypto. As history teaches, this isn’t always desirable. Regulators are playing catch-up and the threats of AI – from privacy concerns to ethical dilemmas – are becoming more apparent by the day. 

There have even been calls to put a pause to AI developments for the next six months, co-signed by leading personalities such as Elon Musk and Steve Wozniak. 

Pang acknowledges the “hazards and ethical ramifications” of AI and believes such is the case with any disruptive technology.

I think that the advantages of AI far outweigh the hazards, and that it is crucial to keep funding its development while putting an emphasis on its moral and responsible application.

– Pang Xue Kai, co-founder of Tokocrypto

He adds that it is important for society, as a whole, to collaborate on frameworks for ethical AI development.

“Similar to the experience I’ve had in the crypto space in Indonesia, it is important to work closely with regulators to ensure that the necessary guard rails are in place so that the technology does not fall in the hands of wrongdoers.”

Featured Image Credit: Tokocrypto / Untukmu.ai

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