Friday November 24, 2017
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“The Restorers” : Kenyan Girls Use Technology to Combat Female Genital Mutilation

5 Kenyan Girls and Dorcas Owinoh, the team’s mentor have together created an app called i-Cut, which connects girls at risk of FGM with rescue agents and offers support for those who have already been cut

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  • They have created an app called i-Cut which connects girls at risk of FGM with rescue agents and offers support for those who have already been cut
  • The pain of having your clitoris cut just because someone wants to have you go through a rite of passage

“It’s still fresh in my mind, the scene of female genital mutilation,” said Purity Achieng, a 17-year-old from Kenya.

Achieng was speaking on stage in the finals of the Technovation Challenge World Pitch Summit, a competition that invites girls from around the world to come up with tech solutions to local community problems. Since it began in 2009, 15,000 girls from more than 100 countries have participated in the competition.

Achieng and her team of four other Kenyan teen girls call themselves “The Restorers.” They are taking on Female Genital Mutilation or FGM. They have created an app, called i-Cut, which connects girls at risk of FGM with rescue agents and offers support for those who have already been cut. It also provides information for anyone seeking to learn more about the practice.

ALSO READ: In Malawi, a Kenyan NGO trains Girls in Self Defense to counter Sexual Abuse

“The pain of having your clitoris cut just because someone wants to have you go through a ‘rite of passage,’” said Achieng, during her pitch at the competition. “It’s painful and no one wants to listen to you. You cry and there you are, almost dying but nobody is caring about that.”

At least 200 million girls and women have undergone female genital mutilation or FGM in 30 countries, reports UNICEF and 44 million are girls 14 and younger. The practice involves cutting out all or part of a woman’s clitoris, which is said to eliminate almost completely a woman’s sexual pleasure, in hopes of ensuring her virginity and keeping her faithful in marriage.

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The Kenyan girls in this competition have not experienced FGM firsthand, as their tribe does not practice it, but they have friends who have. One of Achieng’s best friends was forced to drop out of school and into an early marriage at 15 after FGM, which greatly affected Achieng.

“I think for teenagers to be able to identify problems around them and provide a solution, that is really inspiring,” said Dorcas Owinoh, the team’s mentor, who works as a community manager at LakeHub, a technology innovation hub in Kisumu, Kenya. It was Owinoh who brought the idea of the Technovation Challenge to the team.

ALSO READ: Kenyan girls pedal towards a better future

Achieng said it was her friend dropping out of school after FGM that inspired the team to create the app.

Other teams in the international event came from Armenia, Kazakhstan, Canada, Cambodia, the U.S. and other countries. The Restorers were the only team who qualified from the African continent.

“It’s always better when the people who face the problems, come up with their own solutions because they’re the most organic,” said Tara Chklovski, founder, and CEO of Iridescent, the nonprofit behind Technovation.

Though the i-Cut app has the potential to save lives, it has not been embraced by all Kenyans. “One village elder drove six hours to their school to protest the app because, according to him, that’s an African culture and the girls are being, according to him, Westernized,” Owinoh said.

The man had learned of the app after local media reported of the girl’s acceptance into Technovation. Owinoh said school leaders and teachers remained calm, spoke with him, and then asked him to leave.

ALSO READ: Sexual Exploitation of Women and Girls in Kenya in Return for Food

Technovation comes at a time when women in technology are facing blowback, not just in Kenya, but even at the Google headquarters where the competition was held. A Google employee was recently fired after writing a memo positing that women are biologically inferior to men in regards to working in technology.

“I know the journey won’t always be easy but to the girls who dream of being an engineer or an entrepreneur and who dream of creating amazing things, I want you to know that there’s a place for you in this industry, there’s a place for you at Google—don’t let anyone tell you otherwise,” Google CEO Sundar Pichai told the girls.

The Restorers did not win the Technovation Challenge, but they will continue their fight against FGM and hope to get i-Cut into the Google Play Store soon. (VOA)

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Stephen Hawking believes Technology could end Poverty and Disease, says Artificial Intelligence could be the Worst or Best things for Humanity

Hawking said everyone has a role to play in making sure that this generation and the next are fully engaged with the study of science at an early level to create “a better world for the whole human race.”

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Stephen Hawking
Cosmologist Stephen Hawking delivers a video message during the inauguration of Web Summit, Europe's biggest tech conference, in Lisbon, Portugal, Nov. 6, 2017. (VOA)

Lisbon, November 7, 2017 : Technology can hopefully reverse some of the harm caused to the planet by industrialization and help end disease and poverty, but artificial intelligence (AI) needs to be controlled, physicist Stephen Hawking said on Monday.

Hawking, a British cosmologist who was diagnosed with motor neuron disease aged 21, said technology could transform every aspect of life but cautioned that artificial intelligence poses new challenges.

He said artificial intelligence and robots are already threatening millions of jobs — but this new revolution could be used to help society and for the good of the world such as alleviating poverty and disease.

“The rise of AI could be the worst or the best thing that has happened for humanity,” Stephen Hawking said via telepresence at opening night of the 2017 Web Summit in Lisbon that is attended by about 60,000 people.

“We simply need to be aware of the dangers, identify them, employ the best possible practice and management and prepare for its consequences well in advance.”

Hawking’s comments come during an escalating debate about the pro and cons of artificial intelligence, a term used to describe machines with a computer code that learns as it goes.

ALSO READ Humanity’s days are numbered, Artificial Intelligence (AI) will cause mass extinction, warns Stephen Hawking

Silicon Valley entrepreneur Elon Musk, who is chief executive of electric car maker Tesla Inc and rocket company SpaceX, has warned that AI is a threat to humankind’s existence.

But Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, in a rare interview recently, told the WSJ Magazine that there was nothing to panic about.

Stephen Hawking said everyone has a role to play in making sure that this generation and the next are fully engaged with the study of science at an early level to create “a better world for the whole human race.”

ALSO READ Indian Origin Scientist Part of the team that Developed Nanotechnology-based Test that quickly Detects Zika Virus

“We need to take learning beyond a theoretical discussion of how AI should be, and take action to make sure we plan for how it can be,” said Stephen Hawking, who communicates via a cheek muscle linked to a sensor and computerized voice system.

“You all have the potential to push the boundaries of what is accepted, or expected, and to think big. We stand on the threshold of a brave new world. It is an exciting — if precarious — place to be and you are the pioneers,” he said. (VOA)

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Google CEO Sundar Pichai Serves Employees a Real Version of Android Burgers Emoji

At its Seattle office, the workers were served "Android burgers" during Friday's lunch, ending the debate that Android burger emoji is the winner when it comes to placing the cheese.

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Android Burgers
Google CEO, Sundar Pichai relished its employees with Android Burgers. Wikimedia.

San Francisco, Nov 4: After an intense debate on the social media over the placement of cheese in Android’s and Apple’s burger emojis — which was joined by India-born Google CEO Sundar Pichai — the tech giant has finally served “Android burgers” to its employees.

At its Seattle office, the workers were served “Android burgers” during Friday’s lunch, ending the debate that Android burger emoji is the winner when it comes to placing the cheese.

Android Burgers
Android Burgers were served to Google employees at Seattle. Twitter.

“The key difference between this burger and any other is that the slice of cheese is placed beneath the patty and atop the lower bun. It looks exactly like Android’s burger emoji, which sparked heated controversy earlier this week over the correct ingredient order of America’s beloved staple,” The Verge reported on Saturday.

ALSO READ: Apple losing out AI race to Google, Amazon: Report

The whole thing started when Thomas Baekdal, a writer and media analyst, tweeted early this week on the placement of cheese in Android and Apple burger emojis.

“I think we need to have a discussion about how Google’s burger emoji is placing the cheese underneath the burger, while Apple puts it on top,” Baekdal tweeted.

Reacting to this, Pichai tweeted, promising to “drop everything” and address the issue if people on the platform agree on what the correct placement of ingredient should be.

With serving “Android burgers,” it appears the kitchen department at Google has heard Pichai loud and clear.

The hamburger emoji, also known as the cheeseburger, was approved as part of Unicode 6.0 in 2010 and added to Emoji 1.0 in 2015, according to Emojipedia — an emoji reference website. (IANS)

 

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Aspiring to Become a Future CEO? Plan your Career with Efficacy and Security

Work on your ideas and plan your career like a CEO to spread your wings efficiently in the desired industry. Maybe, you're born to become a CEO!

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Plan your Career
Secure the position of a CEO by taking the right steps towards your career goals. Pixabay.

Are you inspired by CEO’s like Sundar Pichai and Mark Zukerberg raging the global industry? Do you want to be a CEO yourself, someday?

  • Plan your career goals by setting an achievable priority based action plan 
  • Stop procrastinating; show some action instead that will help you explore yourself
  • Plan your career based on your level of efficiency, security and mental ability

Plan out a successful career that will enable you to get hold over the aspiring seat of a CEO and make an enthusiastic and encouraging future. The following tips will surely help you to plan your career like a CEO,

Engage in Self-exploration

Plan your Career
Self Exploration is the key to plan your career wisely. Pixabay.

The key to career planning and decision making is self exploration. You need to know yourself better to plan your career wisely. Explore your capabilities, hobbies, passion, interest, inborn talents that could work wonders. Get a job and a hands-on experience related to your interests to decide the stream that you can opt for. Ask yourself questions like : What do you love the most? What hobbies do you still carry from your childhood? Where do you picture yourself, five years down the line? Put down your choices and then strategize. It works the best with your own intuitions.

Examine the key Competencies and Skills Required

Plan your career
Find out your skills and work on them to plan your career timely. Pixabay.

Before you plan your career, throw some light on the competencies that you already acquire and how you can utilize them for making some money and fame. After you select one or two career options, list down the skills that you would require to excel in the selected career. Fill out the empty skills by learning from work experiences within stipulated time and examine those skills on a regular basis. To plan your career, you need to understand time management and security position as well.

Find out Colleagues with Common Interests and Goals

Plan your career
Seek help from people with common interest to plan your career. Pixabay.

You need to figure out atleast 5 people who are working in the same field that you desire to work on. Talk to them and know about the changes in the industry. While you plan your career, be curious to learn from every person you meet in your life. Those colleagues will  help you frame a strategy according to your common interests and goals. Meet them to get clear cut answers to your mysterious mind exasperating about the near future.

Stay Self Motivated and Energized

Plan your career
While you plan your career, stay self motivated and energised. Pixabay.

If you’re looking forward to play the role of a CEO, you’ll have to maintain your position on top of the game. Staying self-motivated and energized will enhance your thirst to reach your goals. By now, you already know that career planning takes a lot of your energy and time, so plan your career where you can nourish and nurture yourself. Your daily morning routine should be inspiring and motivated due to your enthusiasm for work. Feed your day with the desired energy and motivation.

Stay Connected and Be a Jugadu’

Plan your acreer
Stay connected and updated with the world.Pixabay.

Being a CEO is an efficient position where you need to be the resource person of your whole team anytime and everytime. You need to stay well connected with the one’s whom you think could help you out when in need, be it financial help or mental help. Plan your career in a way to make your Junoon so greedy that it does’t stop until you have reached the destination in reality.

Now, that you’re ready to think like a CEO, work on your ideas and plan your career to spread your wings efficiently. In the words of Steve Jobs,”You can’t connect the dots by looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust in something…your gut, destiny, life, karma.”

-Prepared by Bhavana Rathi of NewsGram. Twitter @tweet_bhavana