NEWS DIGEST 25.11.2021: Technology Thursday

Hi everyone! Our news for today is from Twitter.

Away from prying eyes, in the parts of parliament which journalists don’t pay much attention to, Priti Patel has effectively criminalised the act of protest. The mechanism she’s used is the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts bill, which first went before the Commons in March for its initial debate, and is now being turned into something even more alarming in the House of Lords. Anyone found guilty of obstructing a stop and search during a protest faces a jail term “not exceeding 51 weeks”. There is no definition of the term “attach”, so it could equally be applied to protestors who link arms during a sit-down protest or even hold hands. This category alone is extremely broad. It potentially applies, under the provisions of the bill itself, to the examples above – possessing superglue near a demonstration, or holding hands during a protest – Priti Patel has quietly been stuffing even more punitive anti-protest powers into the policing bill (i Opinion)

We asked over 150 experts to discuss these challenges and share their positive AI futures. In April 2020, an ambitious initiative called Positive AI Economic Futures was launched by Stuart Russell and Charles-Edouard Bouée, both members of the World Economic Forum’s Global AI Council. What follows is a summary of these conversations, developed in the Forum’s report Positive AI Economic Futures. Six AI scenarios that could build a positive future. For this reason, the workshop attendees and interview participants, from science-fiction writers to economists and AI experts, attempted to articulate positive visions of a future where Artificial Intelligence can do most of what we currently call work – 6 positive AI visions for the future of work (World Economic Forum – Artificial Intelligence – Future of Work – Fourth Industrial Revolution)

Fast forward to Q4 2021 and there is an argument that COVID-19 was exactly the sort of catalyst that companies needed to not only accelerate their plans for digital transformation but also ensure that they were able to think both digitally and effectively. While there were other agents for changes, decision makers quickly realized that effective digital transformation needs to done right from day one. To add to the confusion, all three are often used interchangeably: digitization, digitalization, and digital transformation. Digitization is the process of moving from an analog to a digital format – Gartner defines this as digital enablement. Digital first had been pivoting towards digital only, but there were questions based around what the process should be that suddenly had more obvious answers – Three concepts to embrace for effective digitally driven innovation (CIO United Kingdom – IT Leadership – Digital Transformation – IDG TECHtalk Voices)

The trendy cosmetics company Lush has announced it’s quitting social media just as the holiday season kicks off. Lush’s UK operations made a similar announcement in 2019, saying it was quitting Instagram and Facebook because it was “tired of fighting with algorithms.” Lush said in its press release it returned to some of its abandoned social-media accounts last year in response to the pandemic driving customers inside. In its statement last week, Lush said it was motivated to quit social media again in the wake of revelations from the Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen. “We at Lush don’t want to wait for better worldwide regulations or for the platforms to introduce best practice guidelines, while a generation of young people are growing up experiencing serious and lasting harm,” Lush said. Internal company documents leaked by Haugen on a variety of subjects, including teen mental health, hate speech, and misinformation, prompted renewed scrutiny of Meta – Facebook’s rebranded parent company – Cosmetics company Lush says it’s shutting down its Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat accounts because of the Facebook whistleblower (Insider – Tech)

Kigali, Rwanda – 4 November 2021 – Smart Africa and Hewlett Packard Enterprise have signed a Memorandum of Understanding outlining the principles of a pilot of a Proof-of-Concept for a decentralized cloud federation within selected Smart Africa Member States. “The benefits of this partnership with HPE will be experienced across multiple industries in Africa that depend on data. We are making significant progress to ensure data sovereignty and data protection and encourage increased investment into African businesses,” said Mr. Lacina Koné, CEO/Director General, Smart Africa Secretariat. “It is a privilege to be selected to lead the first POC project to create a decentralized cloud federation across Africa,” said Xavier Poisson Global Vice President, Service Providers and Cloud28+, Hewlett Packard Enterprise. “Our alliance with Smart Africa will deliver the first transformation project to create a single digital market in Africa and increase digital inclusion across the region.” With a vision to create a single digital market in Africa by 2030, the Smart Africa Alliance brings together Heads of State who seek to accelerate the digitalization of the continent and create a common market – Smart Africa signs Memorandum of Understanding with Hewlett Packard Enterprise to pilot decentralized cloud federation in Africa (Smart Africa – Blog)


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