When she was a little girl, Jeanne Yamfashije wanted to be a doctor. Her goal was to make her parents proud and serve her people.
The 29-year-old IT specialist did not become a doctor but she has certainly fulfilled her other wishes. For the past five years, Yamfashije has been working with a project that promotes science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) among girls in Rwanda.
The group, called Girls in ICT Rwanda, offers mentorships, boot camps and a competition to encourage innovation among students. The organization reaches 500 girls each year.
“I am serving my people by making sure that women reach where they want to be, especially in the area of IT,” she said.
“My message to young women is: ‘Always believe in yourself, work hard and smart to achieve what you want, and seek help. Walk away from your comfort zone … Become women with vision and goals.’”
Yamfashije is a graduate of the Carnegie Mellon University in Rwanda, a local branch of the technology-focused American institution.The university, which is being co-funded by the African Development Bank and the Rwandan government, aims to create Africa’s next generation of technology leaders, and encourages them to apply their highly sought-after skills where they are most needed: at home. Since the university opened its doors in 2011, 90% of its students have remained in Africa.
Sylvia Makario found her way to Carnegie Mellon after hearing about the school while she was completing the prestigious Mandela Washington Fellowship in the United States in 2015.
“I got drawn to Carnegie Mellon University Africa, particularly due to the pan-African vibe to it, which enables you to interact with different perspectives from various corners across the region and learn to collaborate to deliver solutions to cross-cutting issues in the continent,” she said.
Makario, who is Kenyan, co-founded Kigali-based data company Hepta Analytics in 2017, together with other graduates from Carnegie Mellon and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Hepta Analytics is a gender-balanced outfit, with 50% male and 50% female ownership. It wants to be part of the digital revolution in Africa, using data to help organizations reach their full potential.
One of Hepta’s greatest accomplishments was a product it designed for the Samburu Girls Foundation to assist women affected by genital mutilation. The RecReporter system connects callers to social workers via a toll free number and records messages as well as mapping the location of the caller for easier tracking within a certain radius.
Such undertakings have found fertile ground in Rwanda, which has established a ministry of ICT and innovation in order to position itself as a knowledge hub in this part of the world. The East African nation has also become a global leader in promoting gender equality, which is enshrined in legislation.
In November 2019, Rwanda will host the Global Gender Summit, a biennial event organized by multilateral development banks, including the African Development Bank.
Makario is looking forward to the opportunities on offer in Rwanda and elsewhere on the continent, such as the African Continental Free Trade Area, which envisions a borderless continent that would increase trade among its 55 states.
“My ultimate goal is to see businesses in the African continent use various tools to make quality decisions, based on data and not guesswork. We are working day and night to help more organizations reach that objective,” Makario said.
OWS Capital Launches Glassie In The Middle East Region
Glassie Co-founder Neels Visser (Press Release and Images: Adlink PR)
Glassie, LA-based start-up unveiled its personalized mobile screen protectors earlier this year and instantly caught the attention of celebrities such Adriana Lima, Delilah Belle Hamlin, Presley Gerber, Winnie Harlow, and Dubai favorite Fai Khadra amongst many more.
What’s made the Glassie brand popular so quickly is its dual functionality. The protective mobile screen covers feature tempered glass screen protectors as well as a personalized message that disappears once your phone screen lights up.
OWS Capital choose Glassie as its first tech collab due to its innovative appeal. Glassie co-founder, model-turned-entrepreneur, Neels Visser’s simplistic, essential yet funky product has immediately become a must-have accessory.
“As I came up with the concept for Glassie, I wanted to find a way to introduce something new and exciting to the consumer electronics industry that has not been done before. Understanding that mobile phones are the most valuable real estate…I wanted to find a way to innovate a user’s connection and experience with their phone,” explains Visser.
Middle Eastern consumers will soon be able to get their own personalized premium glass protector screen covers for US$39.99. Michael Cardone, Director of OWS Capital said: “Personalization is the direction that most brands are going for now. This ability to create a sense of togetherness is what we at OWS Capital love most about it, as it taps into our brand mission of creating a sense of synergy between Middle Eastern and Western cultures, using unique business ventures.”
‘Your phone is your world. Your wallet will thank you’ – that’s the simple yet trendy solution Glassie is offering all its customers.
(L-R) Delilah Belle Hamlin, Elisha Herbert and Meredith Mickelson with their personalized Glassie screen protectors. (Press Release and Images: Adlink PR)
Watch this space for more cool concepts being introduced in the Middle East by OWS Capital.
AI for Good Global Summit founder Stephen Ibaraki confirmed as AI Expo Africa 2021 keynote speaker
AI for Good Global Summit founder, Stephen Ibaraki (Source: AI Expo Africa)
AI for Good Global Summit founder, Chairman of the AI for Good Outreach Committee, industry analyst, venture capitalist and serial entrepreneur Stephen Ibaraki has been confirmed as a keynote speaker for AI Expo Africa 2021 ONLINE which takes place 7th to 9th September.
Ibaraki is the first VIP keynote speaker to be confirmed for AI Expo Africa 2021 ONLINE. In his keynote address, entitled, “5th Machine Age Driving Digital Reshaping” he intends to explore the “Society 5.0” and “Smart Humanity”.
Ibaraki who is a 16 time recipient of the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award, most recently in the Artificial Intelligence (AI) category, is also the chairman and managing general partner of REDDS Capital. In addition to more than 300 awards and recognitions as well as over 300 global engagements impacting over $100-trillion in sustainable investments, Ibaraki is also a contributor for IT World Canada and Forbes on issues around AI.
Ibaraki’s keynote abstract states, “In popular stories about Chaos Theory, the wing beats of a butterfly in Geneva, are connected to the violent storms in your hometown in Africa. Global ecosystems, all interconnected thus force multiplied and amplified, are at an historical inflection point. These are founded on technology acceleration, with more disruption in 5 years, than the last 10,000 years. This Digital Reshaping will forever change governments, industry, academia, education, investments, startups, media, society, culture, our lives and our children’s future. What will the world look like, advanced by Smart Humanity, Society 5.0, 5th Machine Age, AI and innovation trends addressing global challenges and opportunities? What are the exponential change making innovations you must track, implement, and resources you must use to ensure success and not failure during these chaotic next five years?
Now entering it’s fourth successful year, AI Expo Africa is Africa’s largest B2B / B2G AI, RPA and 4IR smart tech trade event and conference, with the 2021 edition building to be the biggest yet with over 5000 delegates registering interest and expected to join the three-day online event.
Dr Nick Bradshaw, founder of AI Expo Africa and CEO of AI Media Group commented, “It’s a real honour to welcome Stephen as one of our VIP keynote speakers. We have been working with the ITU, Geneva since 2019 around partnering with the global AI4Good movement and the Africa region and this is another great commitment towards growing collaborations around AI4Good in our region. This announcement follows the recent conclusion of the first African focused ITU AI4Good Innovation Factory Challenge that received 44 applications from 12 African countries & 5 finalists using AI-powered innovation for diverse sectors in Africa covering Fintech, Agritech, Cleantech, and Insurtech.”
Over 30 organisations have so far signed up to exhibit at the expo. These include headline event partner Intel, Darktrace, Future Tech, Automation Anywhere partner 1ai, The Embassy of Switzerland in South Africa, InstaDeep, Aizatron, IBA Group, Zindi, Versus, Comparisure, Robotiq AI Africa, ecosystem Ai, Cognizance, Inspired Testing, Atura, Amathuba AI, COGO People Analytics, Elzware, WizzPass, Fliptin, Kosa AI, Learning Machines, Social Lab, Ashanti AI, and Curacel. In all about 80 speakers will make up the speaker list at AI Expo Africa 2021 ONLINE, with more keynotes set to be announced in the coming weeks.
Lessons Learned: Social Media Platforms and Blockchain Mass Adoption
The inception of blockchain as a solution to secure data is a welcome change. All the more now, as social media platforms have leveraged their pervasive presence to abuse people’s privacy constantly. It is a fact. A fact that has attracted massive public outcry in the last few years.
Just last year itself, Facebook came under heavy fire for misusing the personal data of 1 million users in England and Wales. The Mark Zuckerberg-led social media giant was also implicated in the notorious Cambridge Analytica (CA) scandal that involved harvesting the data of 87 million folks (globally) to polarise political opinions and target political advertisements for donations during elections.
Only if there was a blockchain -based social media platform immune to such malversations. Life would be so much better.
Moving on, although CA drew the ire and criticism of the entire world, an article published on Vox on May 2, 2018, explored why this was more “a Facebook scandal more than a Cambridge Analytica one.”
According to Alvin Chang, the author of the article:
“…this highlights a larger debate over how much users can trust Facebook with their data. Facebook allowed a third-party developer to engineer an application for the sole purpose of gathering data. And the developer was able to exploit a loophole to gather information on not only people who used the app but all their friends — without them knowing.”
What’s the solution to this egregious situation? A blockchain –based authentication system. Period.
How Can Blockchain Help Prevent Social Media Privacy Violations and Data Pilferage?
Usually, there is a tendency to connect blockchain technology to Bitcoin. But, it’s much more than just a ledger for settling BTC transactions. Along with payments, blockchain has sufficient potential to redefine supply chain management, data validation, and identity protection.
Now, you must be wondering how a nascent technology that appeared only 12 years ago can redefine all these sectors.
Well, that’s because every “block” of data on a blockchain is secured cryptographically through hashing algorithms. Data gets verified by a network of computers before entering the ledger, eliminating any possibility of manipulation, a hack, or a malicious network takeover.
Therefore, using blockchain for authentication makes perfect sense when it comes to social media platforms. Why? Because social media platforms use traditional infrastructure for personally identifiable information (PII) storage and management. This centralized infrastructure provides huge business advantages, but is also a massive target for hackers – as Facebook recently saw with the hacking of 533,000,000 user’s accounts.
Transparent Application Access Without Significant Digital Traces
Blockchain can solve this problem. , in a decentralized system, each user can control their own data, making a single hack of hundreds of millions of people almost impossible to achieve. The inclusion of public key cryptography further enhances data security, allowing people to use applications pseudonymously without leaving a significant digital footprint.
Distributed ledger technology (DLT) reduces third-party access to personal data significantly. It ensures that the application authentication process is transparent and that only the authorized person can access his/her data.
A blockchain-based social network would empower you to control your own identity by letting you control the cryptographic keys that allow access to your data.
The Marriage of Blockchain Adoption and Social Media
Blockchain adoption still faces crucial bottlenecks. The technology has proven itself ideal for protecting sensitive data, but the idea of actually going through the process comes across as daunting. People still don’t fully understand blockchain and seem to get intimidated by a whole lot of technical jargon, complex user interfaces, and reclusive developer communities.
Most of the available access points have a very high barrier for entry. Compared to social media platforms, the blockchain space is riddled with technicalities that ordinary people don’t understand. And the ecosystem has developed somewhat of a negative reputation for fostering scams and rug pulls (as they call it in DeFi terminology).
This has inhibited the blockchain industry’s growth. It has been over 12 years since Satoshi Nakamoto introduced the world to blockchain first, and despite its seminal potential, DLT still hasn’t found sufficient traction.
However, some platforms are helping ease the process of blockchain adoption by introducing workarounds that make decentralized apps (dApps) user-friendly and widen their access. One such platform is AIKON which simplifies blockchain usage through its proprietary solution called ORE ID.
The team at AIKON has designed ORE ID to enable the constructive integration of blockchain via social media platforms. People can utilize their social logins (Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc.) for blockchain identity verification.
Even organizations can onboard their clients into the blockchain ecosystem by seamlessly creating their (clients’) decentralized identities with their existing social media logins.
The idea behind it is to reduce the complexities in accessing blockchain applications. AIKON’s ORE ID solution makes logical sense and borrows from the already existing practice of traditional applications enabling access through social logins.
Why is a Smooth User Experience Necessary for this Marriage to Work?
Unlike social media platforms, complex blockchain app user interfaces are the most significant obstacles preventing blockchain technology from experiencing mass adoption. People who are not so technically sound feel left out and don’t feel motivated enough to move forward with using blockchain-based services.
Seamless integration of blockchain and social media platforms (through intuitive user interfaces) can help businesses and corporations effortlessly onboard their clients atop the DLT bandwagon, spurring the technology’s mass adoption. People should be able to use blockchain services just by logging in with their email, phone, or social login. There should be no need to understand all the underlying decentralized technologies’ intricacies.
That is if we want to achieve mass blockchain adoption.