Blockchain influencer caught in plagiarism scandal

Popular blockchain influencer caught in literary theft scandal

Popular blockchain influencer Siraj Raval has been caught plagiarizing the works of other researchers. The AI expert has apologized for this grave offense, claiming the literary theft was in a bid to meet a tight deadline.

It was a field day in the crypto space when news about Siraj Raval’s plagiarism began to circulate.

The tech enthusiast is famous in certain segments of the crypto space, with a massive 700,000 YouTube followers and 70,000 Twitter followers who religiously follow his teachings on the blockchain, artificial intelligence, and entrepreneurship.

Engineer uncovers Raval’s plagiarism

Raval recently published an academic paper titled “The Neural Qubit,” which focuses on quantum qubits.

However, upon reading it, a vTime machine-learning engineer named Andrew Webb suspected that something was off with Raval’s work and decided to dig deeper.

Webb uploaded “The Neural Qubit” to an online plagiarism checker which revealed that significant portions of the paper were copied word-for-word from the works of other scientists.

Specifically, the plagiarised works include those from researchers at MIT, a private research university, Texas A&M, a public research university, and Xanadu, a quantum computing firm.

Webb called out Raval on Twitter over his attempts to make the plagiarized paper his own by replacing original phrases like “quantum gate” and “complex Hilbert space” with spun phrases like “quantum door” and “complicated Hilbert space.”

Raval addresses plagiarism allegations

In the face of Webb’s allegations, Raval has admitted to “partly” plagiarising portions of “The Neural Qubit,” but attempted to excuse his actions by explaining that he only did it to keep to his busy “2 vids/week schedule.”

Raval’s apology did not seem to mollify his followers on Twitter, many of whom commented on the disingenuousness of his actions.

Twitter user @s_lelli didn’t buy the apology, noting that “partly plagiarisng” was an understatement:

Another follower, @alkalait, lambasted Raval over his actions, stating that he was “in no position to inspire anyone getting into research.”

Others remarked that this is not the first time Raval has been involved in a plagiarism scandal.

For instance, the AI educator was accused in September of presenting plagiarized Github code to students during his 10-week machine learning course.

Raval’s book not faring any better

While Raval is getting raked over the coals for plagiarising his academic paper, his book, titled Decentralized Applications: Harnessing Bitcoin’s Blockchain Technology, is getting savaged for an entirely different reason.

Raval’s popularity is evident in the high interest in his works, which in the past, has not been quite impressive as well.

The book, published in 2016, promises to teach readers how to “take advantage of Bitcoin’s underlying technology, the blockchain, to build massively scalable, decentralized applications known as dapps.”

Out of the book’s 17 total reviews, nearly half of them were one and two stars.

One reader, who’s review was short and to-the-point, said: “This is a terrible book. Very little on details and the code samples and repos don’t work. Waste of money.”

“For a book with under 100 pages, I’m not sure where the fluff ends and content starts,” said reviewer Evan Carroll.

“It’s horrible and filled with unexplained terminology, examples written in Go, lengthy documentation from the author’s own unmaintained library, bad links, and unrelated applications,” he added.

“At 103 pages, this booklet is the thinnest O’Reilly volume I have ever owned (by a factor of three). The author uses Word Salad liberally, throwing around terms and marketing boilerplate while defining very little,” said reviewer MPI.

“In short, this book was a waste of my $20, and a waste of my attention awaiting its arrival. (Its publication was delayed twice. It now appears that the author ran out of time and shipped the ill-composed draft, broken URLs and all.)”

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