Yahoo Finance  – Highlight Learning Machine CEO @chrisjagers

Yahoo Finance – Highlight Learning Machine CEO @chrisjagers

– Education is in sore need of improvement for how academic records are
held and used in the world. In my previous company, we
started to see high schoolers try to take pictures
of the computer screen and text it to admissions
officers directly to turn in their grades
because they thought they’re my grades, why
should I have to pay money and wait a long time to have them be sent. And while it’s funny, it shows a mindset that we all want. We all want to be able to
hold our official records and use them directly in
the world when needed. And Blockchain is a technology that, together with mobile and the web, allows people to hold
their own official records and use them directly in
the world when needed. – So the idea is to have
everything from your resume to transcripts, even birth
certificate all on the Blockchain in kind of a full stack here. I can understand from
an efficiency standpoint why that’s necessary. What’s the security case for it? – Well, there’s security on all sides. For the institutions, let’s say lots of people
may pretend to go to MIT by posting an image on LinkedIn. Well that’s easy to fake. So institutions need
to protect their brand with a credential that’s
less easy to fake. On the student’s side, they get a level of durability. Because these credentials aren’t dependent on any vendor or any institution, the vendor could go away and their credentials will
still work in the world. And verifiers get a level of security too. Because these credentials
are not easy tampered with or faked, verifiers, like employers, get a greater sense of security that the claim they’re
seeing in front of them is legitimate. – There’s a lot of Blockchain companies that are represented at this conference, but one of the things that you offer is something called Blockcerts, which is open sourced and open standard. What exactly does that mean? – That’s right. When we started to pursue this
technology in 2016 with MIT, we knew that we shouldn’t
take a proprietary approach ’cause then we end up with the same silos that we’ve had before. So we started with an
open sourced code base that could function as an open standard because it’s aligned
with other data standards and evolving with other
data standards with the W3C. But we wanted to create a way of reading and writing to any Blockchain that would allow
credentials to be verified. So this is very different from
some specific vendor token or some specific Blockchain. The point was to insure interoperability and longevity of records through a standards-based
approach to this new technology. And that can be found at We released that with
MIT at the end of 2016. – What I think is interesting, we were having a
conversation off camera here about the hurdles that people go through when they try to apply for a job. They try to get a transcript, and just so happens that
company is no longer there to get a transcript. You want to get your certificate
from your university, but it takes a month to get there. What does that mean in terms of efficiency from a jobs perspective? Because a lot of times,
this happens right when somebody is looking to
hand over their transcripts for a specific job. A month is a long time to wait. So can you talk a bit more about what this means from an efficiency standpoint.
– Sure. I mean as the world becomes more global, more interconnected, speed
matters more and more. And being able to, let’s say
send your official records to another country where
you’re applying for a job or subsequent education, it
becomes increasingly important to make that fluid and safe. UNESCO datasets said that
international student flows were at five million
students that were studying outside of their country
of origin in recent years, and that’s expected to grow
to seven million by 2020. So we need an infrastructure
that can facilitate the rapid transmission and
verification of credentials in a way that’s safe
for everyone involved. – [Akiko] And where are you seeing the biggest growth
opportunities outside of the US? – Everywhere, particularly
in smaller countries that are nation building and moving from a
paper-based infrastructure to their first digital infrastructure. They want to skip the PDF hellscape that we’ve been living through and move to the most secure digital technology as possible.
– As in scanning and attaching everything to an email.
– Yeah, exactly, because PDFs are basically not much better than paper, right? They’re static. They are not software. They can’t be programmed. They’re not easily machine-readable. It’s basically just a paper analog. And what we’re trying to
do at Learning Machine is essentially replace paper. – Yeah.
– Because the world’s official records are still paper-driven. – You know, a lot of people
are gonna hear this and say I keep hearing that Blockchain is this very secure ledger, essentially, but how do we know that, you know, in a time where every week, it seems like we’re getting this drip-drip of another hack, another cyber attack. What makes it so secure,
and why does that matter in terms of the documents that you keep? – Well, the heritage of
Blockchain was in Bitcoin out of a response to the financial crisis to provide a decentralized
network, much like the internet, that is not controlled by
any company or government. And there’s real monetary value to it, so it’s been engineered
to be hacker-proof, and if it’s ever hacked,
people will get a lot of money. And so not having a
single point of failure and having all kinds of
security rules built in makes it inefficient in some ways. It makes it slower and expensive. But when you get security
that’s hackproof, it’s the appropriate technology
for things that matter like money and official records. – Okay, we’re gonna
have to leave it there. Chris, great to have you on today. Chris Jagers joining us
from Learning Machine. I’ll toss it back to you. – All right, Akiko, at the
Arizona State University Global Silicon Valley Summit. We appreciate that, thanks.


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