Last month I had the pleasure of attending SciFest Africa Festival which is now on its 23rd year running. The event which is an initiative of the Grahamstown foundation is aimed at promoting the public awareness, understanding and appreciation for Science, Technology and Innovation (STI). Learners from all around Eastern Cape, private and public schools ranging from grade 4 – 12 attended the festival all in the quest to learn something new and exciting about what the world of STI has to offer.
As one of the exhibitors showcasing the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR’s) 3D printing capability – which forms part of the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR), I had the opportunity to engage with some of the learners and educators. While engaging with the learners, I noticed that there’s a difference between learners who were in the private school system, former model c and the township or rural public school system and I wondered, during these exciting times of 4IR, who would get the short end of the stick?
When showcasing our technologies to a young audience, we use an interactive approach by running quiz competitions, games and as part of the SciFest programme, we sometimes host workshops too. However, this year, we focused more on quiz competitions and this is where I began to observe the differences. The private school learners who came to our exhibition stand, could recognise 3D printed objects from afar. Quite often, we would be met with enthusiastic comments like: “This is 3D printing right? My dad has one too but it prints plastic objects” or “This is so cool, we learnt about 3D printing in class and we also went on a field trip.” When it came to asking questions, they answered with confidence and those who were not sure, were not afraid to ask questions. They were simply excited to learn more and throughout, they engaged with confidence whether they answered correctly or not.
The former model c school learners who visited our exhibition stand knew of the 3D printing concept. They understood its application in the health and housing sector and so they also answered the questions with confidence but, they had never seen or touched a 3D printer, they simply had a good theoretical understanding of it whereas, private school learners had been exposed to both. Learners from township and rural schools on the one hand said that they have never heard of 3D printing or seen a 3D printer. So, we had to introduce the concept by making reference to everyday examples such as the process of how a normal printer would work – which they understood very well, especially when the concept was explained in isiXhosa.
I also noticed that when the concept of 3D printing and 4IR was being explained in English, they eyes wondered and we somehow lost their interest but, when we switched to isiXhosa and we aligned these concepts to everyday things which they have seen or experienced, they were more willing to express themselves freely and ask questions.
Another observation I made throughout the year last year, was that most of the school tour visits I received largely came from private or former model c schools in the Gauteng region. Rarely did I receive requests from township and/or rural schools. It then dawned on me that for schools where affordability, access to facilities and the internet is not an issue, class work and fieldwork learning is being integrated as part of everyday learning.
However, for learners who struggle to access the internet, don’t have a family member that owns a technology piece like a 3D printer and cannot afford to travel to facilities like the CSIR to learn about cool technologies that contribute towards 4IR, they are ultimately left behind. Over and above the lack of exposure, the one subject that most people perceive to be intimidating is being communicated in a language that is not their own using concepts they have never heard of or seen before.
A report on Education in South African Rural Communities done by the Nelson Mandela Foundation states that out of South Africa’s 11.4 million learners, 2.6 million are in KwaZulu-Natal, 2.0 million are in the Eastern Cape and 1.7 million are in Limpopo. The remaining provinces have far smaller learner populations. Levels of adult illiteracy and youth unemployment are also highest in these three provinces. Further, according to a study published by Brand South Africa, the quality of education for most black children is poor. In poorer communities, schools are still substandard, access to electricity and sanitation is still a problem. Textbooks are not delivered and teachers are not motivated and well-supported.
Additionally, poor communities cannot support their schools and school governing bodies to the same extent as wealthier communities. In this report, it is also noted that while socioeconomic conditions of learners constrain learning achievement, it is clear that in South Africa, unequal schooling also aggravates socioeconomic disadvantage, rather than mitigate it.
This realisation left me feeling concerned because when I connected the dots post-observation, I wondered who would then be in a better position to take full advantage of 4IR? Would it not be the child that has access to information and the financial resources to experience education outside of the classroom?In part 2, I’ll explore possible solutions to establishing a relatable and accessible approach to communicating 4IR.
Author: Chumisa Ndlazi (Communications Professional)
EMURGO Africa Unveils EMURGO Labs
EMURGO Africa, the investment and commercial arm of Cardano in Africa, today announced the launch of EMURGO Labs, a dedicated development entity for emerging Web3 technologies. The Labs is designed to support the growth of established and nascent Web2 and Web3 organizations. EMURGO Labs is set to spearhead the digital transformation across borders, leveraging the transformative power of the Cardano blockchain.
This will will serve as the central hub for fostering the growth of both established and burgeoning Web2 and Web3 organizations throughout the region. By leveraging the unparalleled power and potential of the Cardano blockchain, EMURGO Labs aims to empower innovation, facilitate cross-border expansion, and contribute to the overall expansion of the global blockchain ecosystem.
“The launch of EMURGO Labs marks a significant step forward in our mission to unlock the transformative potential of blockchain technology in Africa, Middle East and GCC,” said Ahmed M. Amer, CEO of EMURGO Labs. “Through comprehensive support services, strategic partnerships, and industry-leading expertise, I am confident that EMURGO Labs will become the premier destination for Web3 ventures seeking to thrive in this dynamic region” added Amer.
EMURGO Labs is dedicated to delivering a broad spectrum of services, meticulously designed to meet the evolving needs of the digital era, enabling organizations to seamlessly migrate from Web2 to Web3 while also enhancing and expanding the capabilities of already established Web3 entities.
- Blockchain Solutions Development: Partnering with global enterprises, startups, and accelerators, EMURGO Labs is at the forefront of investing in and developing groundbreaking blockchain solutions with real world use cases
- Custom Software Development: Tailored software solutions are crafted to drive digital transformation, propelling enterprises into the future.
- UI/UX Design: With a focus on user-centric design, The Labs ensures intuitive user experiences and sleek interfaces for Cardano blockchain applications, setting a new standard in usability and aesthetics.
Aiming to engage a broad spectrum of stakeholders, from Web2 and Web3 startups, banks, and large corporations to governments and the wider business community, The Labs is strategically positioned. By appealing to investors, blockchain enthusiasts, media, and policymakers, it is poised to become a pivotal player in the global blockchain ecosystem.
LG Electronics unveils latest state-of-the-art home appliances
LG Electronics continues to set new standards in consumer electronics with the unveiling of its latest lineup featuring sleek, minimalist designs tailored to enhance the modern lifestyle.
In a world where technology seamlessly integrates into daily routines, LG Electronics understands the importance of design that not only complements living spaces but also elevates them. With a commitment to innovation and aesthetics, LG’s new range of products embodies the perfect balance of form and function. From cutting-edge Televisions to state-of-the-art home appliances, LG’s minimalist design ethos shines through in every product. With clean lines, premium materials, and intuitive interfaces, consumers can enjoy both sophistication and simplicity in their everyday interactions.
“We believe that great design should enhance the user experience, not distract from it,” said Mr. Hari Elluru, Head, Corporate Marketing, LG Electronics, West African Operations. “Our latest lineup embodies our dedication to creating products that seamlessly integrate into modern lifestyles, providing both style and substance.”
At LG, we have the latest designs, very durable and innovative products for every household, and it’s for this reason that, to prevent the incidence of the paradox of choice, we curated some budget-friendly home appliances we believe will make living comfortable for you.
Why go to the cinema when you can create a cinematic experience in your home? When friends and family visit you, you can entertain them either by watching content together on an LG TV or by connecting your game with the LG TV so you can have an immersive experience. As far as picture and sound quality goes, LG TVs deliver only the best. So, immerse yourself and treat your guests to unforgettable TV experiences by investing in any of LG’s range of smart TVs. And what is more? Its ThinQ app feature is there to help maximize your TV experience in such a way you can’t imagine. You get to choose your favorite voice assistant and control your TV with your voice with an all new home screen to provide more convenience and control.
Portable Bluetooth Speaker & Soundbar
Whether you are the indoor type or outdoor type, there is that speaker that helps whatever vibe you are in. And regardless of what your taste is, you can get a premium audio experience no matter the size of the speaker. Take, for instance, our portable speakers that allow you to carry your fun with you with or without the absence of power or our soundbars that serve as the perfect companion to your LG TVs. The good thing about these speakers is that even with their sleek design, there’s no compromise on sound quality.
Enjoy sound the way it’s meant to be enjoyed where all your movies and music are brought to life with sound that’s clearer and more immersive; thereby, giving you a more realistic audio experience. And not only that, with this sound bar, there is dimensionality to your sound as well as a greater sense of space and depth which all culminates in you discovering hidden audio details with unparalleled clarity, hearing every emotion just as the creator of the sound intended for you to hear.
Want a fridge that keeps your food items and drinks cool and fresh for a long period without drilling a hole in your pocket? Well, you don’t have to think too far. This fridge is the perfect addition to your household gadgets. One amazing feature of this LG Instaview fridge is that when you knock twice on the door, you can see the contents of the fridge without opening the door. This helps to save time while saving the air inside the fridge. Cool, isn’t it?
Who says you have to retire to the kitchen after a stressful day at work? And who says you need a massive cooking gadget just to create little wonders that delight your tummy? LG NeoChef microwave is the go-to appliance for quick and easy meals. Whether it is to heat the food, bake, fry, or even ferment your homemade yogurt, LG NeoChef has the bells and whistles you need for gastronomy.
There is air and there is cool refreshing air that’s void of impurities. The latter is the kind of air that comes from the LG ArtCool air conditioner. LG’s ArtCool AC not only fills your space with the right kind of air for your lungs and skin, its design allows it to harmonise perfectly with your wall, adding to the beauty and style of your interior in a way most air-conditioners were not designed to. In addition to that, it is more energy saving and thanks to its inverter compressor, it expels air farther and faster. And not only that, you can access your air-conditioner at any time and from anywhere with a Wi-Fi equipped device and LG’s exclusive home appliances control app – ThinQ.
Dr. Omolaraeni Olaosebikan on the use Of AI In Risk Communication
Dr. Omolaraeni Olaosebikan, the CEO of McEnies Global Communications has identified Artificial Intelligence’s (AI) predictive capabilities to be invaluable for risk communication, adding that it has the potential to put forward flawless strategies that can aid disaster prevention and management.
According to this integrated marketing expert, machine learning algorithms now have the foolproof ability to predict potential risks based on historical data and past occurrences. She maintained that this feat allows organizations to proactively address risks before they escalate and communicate with relevant stakeholders in a more informed manner and in the nick of time.
Dr. Omolaraeni dropped these hints during an interactive session with brand and tech reporters on Thursday, February 1, 2024, at her Lagos Office in Magodo GRA off CMD Road.
Recall that Omolaraeni last year won a contract with The Meteorological Office UK (Met Office) to develop improved communications practices on flood crisis information and work out meaningful risk communication strategies to mitigate perennial flooding in Nigeria.
The project is being sponsored by the UK Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and it is expected to bring together several relevant government agencies, like NIMET, NASRDA, NIHSA, NEMA, etc while also engaging in some desk-based research and consultations.
She said: “Artificial Intelligence (AI) has revolutionized risk communication by enabling organizations to analyze data, predict risks, and communicate with stakeholders more effectively with precision to solutions.
“In recent times, I have been involved in flood management, and natural disaster studies with the MET Office and FCDO which you are aware of and I desire I go steps further to be more involved in ways to help the vulnerable people amongst us. Those who day-to-day live in abject poverty and deprivation because of what natural disasters, pandemics, and other related crises have done to them and the government possibly not even looking to help their needs and preferences.”
The very engaging session took a better part of the female CEO’s time on Thursday even as she professionally responded to how to mitigate social vulnerability through AI-assisted risk communication strategies.
Her words, “Risk communication essentially relies heavily on data analysis to identify potential threats, trends, and patterns. As I’ve said previously, AI-powered tools can process vast amounts of structured and unstructured data from various sources, including social media, news articles, and reports, to uncover valuable insights. By analyzing this data, organizations can gain a better understanding of emerging risks and tailor their communication strategies accordingly.
“AI’s predictive capabilities are invaluable for risk communication. Machine learning algorithms can predict potential risks based on historical data and past occurrences. This foresight allows organizations to proactively address risks before they escalate and communicate with stakeholders in a more informed manner.”
Fielding questions on empowering vulnerable communities with risk communication and AI technology strategies for resilience and safety, the McEnies Global Communications CEO reacted and said:
“AI can seamlessly help to mitigate the risks identified by providing recommendations, actions, and solutions. It can equally use data-driven awareness to suggest the best ways to reduce or eliminate the risk and create safety nets for the target or vulnerable segments of society. The aggregates of insights drawn from this can ultimately help to either enforce policies through government agencies or legislation from the Parliament, or run advocacy programmes to deepen the right message and techniques for the target groups and relevant stakeholders especially during, before, or after emergency situations.”
While stressing on risk communication and AI technology strategies and dose for saving social vulnerability, Omolaraeni gave this submission to the media:
“I’m not here to stir any scare, but the reality is that the fourth industrial revolution is in full swing, bringing with it a wave of technological advancements that have the potential to reshape every aspect of human life across the globe. Artificial Intelligence is at the forefront of this revolution, promising to transform various sectors and drive inclusive growth. In Africa, could the adoption of AI and related technologies accelerate the continent’s development and help to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)? The answer is Yes!”
“Natural disasters are inherently unpredictable, but their consequences can be mitigated through early intervention and effective preparedness. These events can have devastating economic, social, and environmental impacts. Preventing natural disasters or minimizing their damage is a global imperative. AI, with its ability to process vast amounts of data, analyze patterns, and make real-time predictions, will definitely revolutionize our approach to disaster prevention.
“Before delving into the ways AI can assist in disaster prevention, it’s crucial to understand the nature of these events. Natural disasters are broadly categorized into geological, meteorological, hydrological, and climatological phenomena. Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and tsunamis fall under geological disasters, while meteorological disasters include hurricanes, tornadoes, and blizzards. Hydrological disasters involve floods and landslides, and climatological disasters encompass droughts, heatwaves, and wildfires.
“One of the most crucial aspects of disaster prevention is providing early warnings to vulnerable populations. AI-powered systems can process data from various sources, including weather sensors, satellites, and social media, to detect early signs of impending disasters. For example, in the case of hurricanes, AI algorithms can analyze atmospheric data to predict their path and intensity accurately. These predictions enable authorities to issue timely warnings and evacuate individuals at risk-prone areas and saving countless lives”
In the aspect of enhancing social vulnerability with AI Technology and risk communication, she noted; “Data-driven artificial intelligence technologies are progressively transforming the humanitarian field, the use of digital technologies in humanitarian action again should not be seen as a new phenomenon. Yet, contemporary advances in computational power, coupled with the availability of vast amounts of data, have allowed for more widespread use of digital technologies in the humanitarian context.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has further accelerated the trend of using digital technologies to help maintain humanitarian operations. AI is broadly understood as a collection of technologies that combine data, algorithms, and computing power. These technologies based on my understanding consist of software and possibly also hardware systems designed by humans that, given a complex goal, act in the physical or digital dimension by perceiving their environment through data acquisition, interpreting the collected structured or unstructured data, reasoning on the knowledge, or processing the information, derived from this data and deciding the best action to take to achieve the given goal and mitigate against disaster.”
On the need to bridge the gap and explore the intersection of AI technology and risk communication, she said;
“Globally, modern workplaces are undergoing a profound digital transformation, and of course here in Nigeria, we shouldn’t be caught napping. In line with this global shift. We must start to recognize and utilize the unparalleled value of AI’s capabilities. These capabilities bring enhanced operational procedures, heightened productivity upscale success stories, and a growing range of innovative service offerings. As AI systems become increasingly integrated, we must learn to follow the trend, reshaping the foundation of communication in risk and disaster management, know how to predict right, and cater to diverse needs and preferences. This transformation weakens the traditional ties within incumbent financial institutions and paves the way for entirely new operational models.
“AI is reshaping the landscape of risk communication, empowering organizations to analyze data, engage with stakeholders, and respond to crises more effectively. By harnessing the potential of AI and upholding ethical standards, organizations can enhance their risk communication strategies and build stronger relationships with stakeholders in today’s rapidly changing world. As technology continues to evolve, AI’s role in risk communication will only become more significant, making it an indispensable tool for modern risk managers and communication professionals. And for us at McEnies Global Communications we’re moving at the speed of light to meet up with contemporary standards in tandem with global best practices.” She stated.