Tag: technology

TECHNOLOGY GOT US INTO THIS CLIMATE MESS, AND IT CAN HELP GET US OUT — IF WE LET IT

Challenges of this scale require people to want to solve it, and we’re not there yet.

When you look to the year ahead, what do you see? Ensia recently invited eight global thought leaders to share their thoughts. In this interview with Ensia contributor Lisa Palmer for the 2017 Ensia print annual, IT Technology Review editor in chief and publisher Jason Pontin responds to three questions: What will be the biggest challenge to address or opportunity to grasp in your field in 2017? Why? And what should we be doing about it now?

The challenge in 2017 existed in 1989: the civilizational challenge of climate change. Technology created the problem, and technology plausibly offers ways to ameliorate and manage it. But we have to want to solve the problem. Great civilizational challenge of that scale requires government, academia, business and ordinary people to want to solve it, and I don’t think as a species we are there yet.

Despite IT Boom, over 90% of Africa Has No Internet Access

The Internet is one of the most important enablers of social development and education. While Internet services have been quite phenomenal in the rest of the world, access to the Internet remains very low in Africa, especially in the rural communities. According to the Internet World Stats for Africa 2016 (http://APO.af/AvhzA), only 9.3% of people across the African continent are Internet users.

“A few years ago anyone who could not read and write was considered illiterate, but today this concept goes further, encompassing people who do not know how to use information and communication technologies. Health organizations and schools in Africa often face a unique set of obstacles, including a lack of access to much-needed health education and counselling platforms. The Community Tablet was created to help solve these problems”, says Dayn Amade.

Censorship: Tech Firms Should Abandon the EU to Its Madness

The European Union has a censorship addiction, and a desire to inflict the costs of indulging that addiction on the world’s top tech companies.

Vera Jourova, the EU’s Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, complains that Facebook, Twitter, Google and Microsoft respond too slowly to demands that they delete posts deemed “hate speech” from their platforms.

In May, those companies “voluntarily” affirmed a code of conduct committing themselves to 24-hour turnaround on doing Jourova’s dirty work for her. Six months later, she claims the companies are too slow and that the EU may be “forced” to enact laws to punish them for not shutting people up as quickly as she wants them shut up.

Interview: Tech Professional Narek Safaryan Talks About Renderforest

Narek Safaryan is a 24-year-old entrepreneur from Yerevan, Armenia. He is the founder and CEO of Renderforest. What is that you ask?

“Renderforest is free online video and animation maker. Easily create family, wedding, or travel slideshows with music, promotional animations, explained or animated business videos, logo or intro animations, event invitations, kinetic typography and more.”

Narek is also the founder and CEO of Wildek Creative Videos which is a video production company for clientele seeking services beyond that of a basic start-up. He is a humble, but straight-forward individual with plenty of ideas, and a passion towards helping others brainstorm and achieve their long-term goals. Aside from business Narek has a love for the outdoors, and is a practicing snowboarder. This interview will delve a little deeper into his ideas, and how you could benefit from his expertise.

Why Inequality Turns Technology Toxic

A new book draws from thousands of years of history to show that innovation flourishes in egalitarian settings and is stifled by cut-throat by competition.

In The Bleeding Edge: Why Technology Turns Toxic in an Unequal World, European academic and activist Bob Hughes exposes how inequality significantly diminishes our technological options and turns successful inventions into their evil counterparts.

Advertisers, Target Me, Please

The world of marketing and business is markedly different in the 21st century, since the rise of modern capitalism, than the preceding centuries. While the 20th century was defined by large corporate behemoths with huge bureaucracies, today’s world is defined by small, lean, hungry groups of individuals – also known as start-ups. Nearly all of the change and innovation, which more and more defines our world, stems from these small organizations, which often then try to hold on to that small-culture feel, should they start to grow.

Drones, surveillance, population control: how our cities became a battleground

A new kind of warfare: how urban spaces are becoming the new battlefield, where the distinction between intelligence and military, and war and peace is becoming more and more problematic.

In the late 18th century the institutional building of the so called panopticon, was designed by British Jeremy Bentham. The aim was to obtain “power of mind over mind”.[1] Since its design the panopticon has served as an inspiration for the construction of prisons since it allows for people to be observed without their knowing whether or not they are being observed. The constant uncertainty of being under surveillance serves as a behaviour changer.

Terraforming And Geoengineering: A Climate Change Silver Bullet, Or Dormant Blowback?

Adaptive technologies have begun creeping into center stage recently in the global climate conversation. Some of those technologies are radical, however, and pose nagging questions. For instance, researchers now considering using geoengineering and terraforming to reverse CO2 emissions now explore the line between earth guardians and god players.

The UN-affiliated Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recently announced it’s condonment of terraforming. Simply put, humanity’s collective greenhouse emissions must staggeringly decline immediately. If this doesn’t happen, TVN reports, then warming may rack worldwide societies with unmanageable disasters.

What We Need To Learn From Native Cultures About Climate Adaptation

When it comes to climate change, now is the time to react and develop defenses. Unfortunately, very few western resources are allocated to prepare for future environmental challenges. That’s not the case in areas inhabited by indigenous peoples, who’re already dealing with environmental changes. Recent months have seen adaptation techniques field tested in indigenous areas, for eventual use elsewhere. One of the many questions going forward, however, is whether progress itself is sustainable.

As important as the actual technologies is including as many voices as possible in climate conversations. Climate change affects humanity more than any war, or plague. In fact, grimmer predictions for the future suggest it may eventually cause those things. According to Glacier Hub, whereas indigenous peoples occupy 65% of earth’s land, they’re rarely included in climate debate.

Online surveillance: we all have something to hide

Why continuing to shrug at mass data collection is lazy, irresponsible, and borderline stupid.

We’ve all got secrets. We’ve all done things we’re ashamed of. We’ve all done things we’re worried about. We’ve all done things we’re embarrassed of.

Yes, we’ve all got something to hide.

Despite Edward Snowden’s 2013 revelations of a secret US/UK mass electronic surveillance program worldwide, it’s almost every other day that I still come across otherwise intelligent minds who insist that they do not fear online privacy invasions because they’ve either ‘done nothing wrong’ or have ‘nothing to hide’.

US Navy Authorized To Train Despite Massive Injury Or Death Of Over 12 Million Sea Mammals, That We Know Of

We live in a time where the fragile, finite nature of surrounding ecosystems has never been more apparent. That’s why environmentalists find the US Navy’s reputed disregard for marine life, in it’s endless rhyme of testing and training, beyond disturbing. Recently, a group found the Navy’s been given impunity to harm up to 12 million marine mammals, and asks military brass if it’s worth it.

West Coast Action Alliance, a multi-state, international citizen watchdog group, did a recent tally of the number of “takes” allowed to the US Navy. According to Truthout, a “take” is a form of harm to an animal ranging from harassment, to injury, to death. The data WCAA examined came directly from the Navy’s own Northwest Training & Testing EIS (Environmental Impact Statement), and authorizations to commit “takes”.

“The numbers are staggering”, proclaims Karen Sullivan, spokeswoman for WCAA and a former endangered species biologist. “When you realize the same individual animals can be harassed over and over”, she continues, “as they migrate to different areas, there is no mitigation that can make up for these losses except limiting the use of sonar and explosives where these animals are trying to live.”