Getnet Assefa shuffled uneasily in his office seat and wondered aloud why he couldn’t connect to the internet on his laptop.
It was mid-morning on Tuesday (June 11), and even though he didn’t know it yet, it was the beginning of the latest days-long internet cutoff. Authorities in Ethiopia disrupted connectivity nationwide to prevent students from cheating in national exams. Social media platforms like WhatsApp and Telegram were restricted, SMS text messaging disabled, leaving banks, businesses and tech startups left in a quandary.
“I am young, ambitious and ready to transform my country, Ethiopia,” Selam Wondim announces to a conference room packed with high-profile executives and politicians in one of Addis Ababa’s most prestigious hotels. Read More
As climate change intensifies across the world, impoverished nations in Africa are taking the brunt of the impact. The reality is that they are among the most ill-equipped countries in mitigating its effects. The economy of many African nations, like the majority of Third World countries, relies heavily on climate-dependent activities such as farming and tourism. This reflects the historical inequity between developed and developing countries, which magnifies the impact of climate change on the latter.
“I DON’T think Homo sapiens-type people will exist in 10 or 20 years’ time,” Getnet Assefa, 31, speculates as he gazes into the reconstructed eye sockets of Lucy, one of the oldest and most famous hominid skeletons known, at the National Museum of Ethiopia. “Slowly the biological species will disappear and then we will become a fully synthetic species,” Assefa says.
For thousands of years, social inequality has been arguably the most important question in need of an immediate answer. Ironically the question that needs an immediate answer has been with us, unanswered, since the dawn of history. It is one of the major causes of humanity’s integral problems like war, crime, disease, racism, irrationality, etc. Name the problem and you will find inequality either at the root of it, or the fertilizer.
One can easily argue humanity’s primary mission on earth is to learn, discover what is hidden, and make life a little bit easier than it was before. Moreover, sharing of what
one has learned has been at the heart of this learning endeavor.
The advent of electronic computer and the Internet has helped in both the discovery and sharing efforts significantly. It has also changed the way people acquire, analyze and disseminate information. Starting from the use of search-engines to fully automated class rooms experiences and even artificial intelligence tutors; the teaching learning world has changed considerably.
At first, it was all about creating illusions. Asking questions endlessly was the golden trick back when a computer parody by the name of Eliza kick-started the era of computers conversing with human beings in the 1960s. With a restricted set of scripted rules, the bot had no clues to grasp the user input, let alone being a good friend of a human.
The long awaited grand event for the Makers Initiative was underway at the premises of Ministry of Science and Technology on March 3, 2017. While I was watching the little cute toys on the pitch, it occurred to me that they never get tired; lifeless expressions! Then I saw the competing students and ah and I saw the familiar signs, weary, worried, but determined. How did we get here?