Collaborating Authors

Middle East

Ericsson's AI and Analytics hub hits software milestone in Egypt


Swedish tech giant Ericsson has announced that its Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Analytics Hub in Egypt shipped its first Cognitive Software to be used by Ericsson customers worldwide in the design and optimisation of their networks. Ericsson's research and development hub focuses on R&D in the fields of AI and Automation, leveraging cutting-edge technologies to create data-driven, intelligent and robust systems for automation, evolution and growth. "We are excited to reach this milestone and deliver a top-notch technological innovation through our local talent in Egypt. Our AI & Analytics Hub both leverages and collaborates with our customers in order to collectively drive industrialization of new opportunities while enabling access to world-class talent from which we can recruit," said Eva Andren, vice president and head of managed services at Ericsson Middle East and Africa. The hub showcases Ericsson's commitment towards the local Egyptian market and aims to develop local talent in advanced technology areas of Artificial Intelligence and software.

Egypt's AI digital assistant and human concierge startup Elves raises $2 million - Tech In Africa


The Cairo-based startup Elves has raised $2 million in seed funding from Egyptian VC fund Sawari Ventures. According to Menabytes, part of the investment was received in February and the other in July. Sawari Ventures was the investor in both cases. If we are to factor in this recent investment, the startup will have thus far raised $5 million. In 2017, Elves raised a record sum of investment in what was MENA region's largest seed round.

UAE gets American drones as China ramps up sales

Al Jazeera

The White House's recent decision to allow the sale of advanced weapons systems to the United Arab Emirates highlights the deliberate shift in US policy towards the UAE after it signed "normalisation" accords with Israel. Why would the UAE want American drones as it already has dozens of Chinese armed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in its inventory? And why has the United States now agreed to these sales, overcoming its traditional reticence to sell sophisticated weapons to other countries? Chinese armed drones have made a significant effect on the battlefields across the Middle East and North Africa. They have been used to assassinate Houthi rebel leaders in Yemen, kill ISIL-affiliated fighters in the Sinai, and for a time help Khalifa Haftar dominate the battlespace in Libya.

Setting Digital Banking Transformation Priorities During a Pandemic


Today, financial mobile applications and similar digital platforms need to provide much more than simple banking processes like payments and transactions, due to consumers' high expectations and an increasingly competitive e-banking industry. FIs already recognize that advanced technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), applied robotics, and biometrics are more and more relevant to deliver innovative products and services that cater to consumers' dynamic needs. These ever-changing needs require solid prioritization by FIs in terms of investment and shifting their budgets to the proper channels in hopes of overcoming the competition and delivering what their customers expect. A dramatic shift was shown in global priorities in the banking sector post-COVID-19, pertaining to 2020 and into 2021. The actual digital transformation stood out as a top priority for banks, with 75% of them acknowledging that these dire times are in critical need for them to fully switch their offerings to digital channels.

General DeepLCP model for disease prediction : Case of Lung Cancer Artificial Intelligence

According to GHO (Global Health Observatory (GHO), the high prevalence of a large variety of diseases such as Ischaemic heart disease, stroke, lung cancer disease and lower respiratory infections have remained the top killers during the past decade. The growth in the number of mortalities caused by these disease is due to the very delayed symptoms'detection. Since in the early stages, the symptoms are insignificant and similar to those of benign diseases (e.g. the flu ), and we can only detect the disease at an advanced stage. In addition, The high frequency of improper practices that are harmful to health, the hereditary factors, and the stressful living conditions can increase the death rates. Many researches dealt with these fatal disease, and most of them applied advantage machine learning models to deal with image diagnosis. However the drawback is that imagery permit only to detect disease at a very delayed stage and then patient can hardly be saved. In this Paper we present our new approach "DeepLCP" to predict fatal diseases that threaten people's lives. It's mainly based on raw and heterogeneous data of the concerned (or under-tested) person. "DeepLCP" results of a combination combination of the Natural Language Processing (NLP) and the deep learning paradigm.The experimental results of the proposed model in the case of Lung cancer prediction have approved high accuracy and a low loss data rate during the validation of the disease prediction.

News at a glance


SCI COMMUN### Astronomy Talk about a sharper image: A recently constructed imaging sensor array (above) that will be used when the Vera C. Rubin Observatory in Chile opens in 2021 has captured a world-record 3200 megapixels in a single shot. It recorded a variety of objects, including a Romanesco broccoli, at that resolution, which is detailed enough to show a golf ball clearly from 24 kilometers away. The sensor array's focal plane is more than 60 centimeters wide, much larger than the 3.5-centimeter sensors on high-end consumer digital cameras, says the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, which built the array. When the telescope, funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation, begins operating next year, it will image the entire southern sky every few nights for 10 years, cataloguing billions of galaxies each time. The surveys will shed light on mysterious dark energy and dark matter, which make up most of the universe's mass. With its repeat coverage, the telescope will make the equivalent of an astronomical movie in order to discover objects that suddenly appear, move, or go bang. ### Biomedicine Corticosteroids given orally or intravenously should be the standard therapy for people with “severe and critical” COVID-19, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in new guidelines issued last week—but they should not be given to patients with mild cases. In June, a large U.K. trial named Recovery first showed that the steroid dexamethasone cut deaths among ventilated COVID-19 patients by 35% after 28 days of treatment. That result was confirmed by a WHO-sponsored metaanalysis published in JAMA on 2 September that included Recovery and six other studies testing dexamethasone, as well as two other corticosteroids—hydrocortisone and methylprednisolone. Many countries, including the United States, had already included corticosteroids in their national treatment guidelines. But WHO's recommendations will be important as a signal to low- and middle-income countries, says Martin Landray, one of Recovery's principal investigators. ### Public health COVID-19 virus particles drifting through a Chinese apartment building's plumbing may have infected some residents, a study has found, raising fears of yet another way that the disease could spread. The case echoes a 2003 outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) that spread through the pipes of a Hong Kong apartment building. Such transmission is difficult to prove. But scientists suspect that aerosolized coronavirus may have spread from the bathroom of a Guangzhou family of five through a floor drain and into the building's wastewater pipes. Two middle-aged couples living in apartments above the family later contracted COVID-19. The study appeared last week in Annals of Internal Medicine . ### Conservation A plan to reforest a cross-continental strip of Africa to hold back expansion of the Sahara Desert and the semi-arid Sahel has made little progress—even though the project is halfway toward its planned completion date in 2030, a report says. Participating countries have planted only 4 million hectares of trees and other vegetation for the Great Green Wall, well short of the 100 million planned to stretch 7000 kilometers from Senegal to Djibouti, says the report by the Climatekos consulting firm, presented on 7 September at a meeting of the countries' ministers. Supporters predicted the project would also create jobs and capture carbon dioxide. Scientists have said creating grasslands may be more effective than planting trees to resist desertification, The Guardian reported. ### Philanthropy Rice University last week received a $100 million gift for materials science. It is the largest to date in that discipline recorded in a database of gifts for engineering maintained by The Chronicle of Philanthropy . The funding will be used to pair materials science with artificial intelligence to advance the design and manufacturing of new materials, for applications that include sustainable water systems, energy, and telecommunications. The donor was the Robert A. Welch Foundation, which supports chemistry research in Texas. ### Conservation Scientists hailed a move last week by the European Union to ban the use of lead ammunition near wetlands and waterways. The European Chemicals Agency has estimated that as many as 1.5 million aquatic birds die annually from lead poisoning because they swallow some of the 5000 tons of lead shot that land in European wetlands each year. Its persistence in the environment is also considered a human health hazard. The EU Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) committee approved the ban after years of controversy. The German delegation, which had abstained in a July vote on the issue, changed its stance to support the measure after a letter from 75 scientists and petitions signed by more than 50,000 people called for it to do so. The European Commission and the European Parliament are expected to formally approve the ban, allowing it to go into effect in 2022. REACH may debate a complete ban on lead ammunition and fishing weights later this year. ### Chemical weapons Alexei Navalny, a Russian opposition politician, was poisoned with a nerve agent “identified unequivocally in tests” as a Novichok, an exotic Sovietera chemical weapon, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on 2 September. Navalny fell ill on 20 August after drinking a cup of tea at a Siberian airport. He was flown to Berlin and this week emerged from a coma. German military scientists at the Bundeswehr Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology in Munich haven't released details of their tests, but they had clear targets to hunt for: Like other nerve agents, Novichoks bind to the enzymes acetylcholinesterase and butyrylcholinesterase, creating a telltale conjugate compound. Novichok agents came to wide public notice in 2018 after one was used in an assassination attempt against former Russian spy Sergei Skripal in the United Kingdom. The attack prompted nations to push for a crackdown on Novichok agents, and last year they were added to the list of toxic chemicals regulated under the Chemical Weapons Convention. ### COVID-19 In one of the largest surveys of Americans since COVID-19 lockdowns began, a majority reported having some symptoms of depression, up from one-quarter in a prepandemic survey. The prevalence of symptoms graded as moderate to severe tripled, to 27.8% of respondents. A research team compared results from two surveys used to screen for depression: one administered to more than 5000 people in 2017 and 2018 by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the other given to 1400 people in early April by NORC at the University of Chicago. Prevalence of depression symptoms rose in all demographic groups and especially among individuals facing financial problems, job loss, or family deaths. The increases in self-reported symptoms are larger than those recorded in previous surveys after large-scale traumatic events in other countries, including outbreaks of the severe acute respiratory syndrome, H1N1, and Ebola, the authors write in the 2 September issue of JAMA Network Open . ### A U.S. vaccine leader's vow: Politics stays out “I would immediately resign if there is undue interference in this process.” So said Moncef Slaoui, scientific director of Operation Warp Speed, the U.S. effort to quickly develop a vaccine for COVID-19, in an interview with Science . To date, Warp Speed has invested more than $10 billion in eight vaccine candidates. Three are now in large-scale efficacy trials, and interim reviews of their data by independent safety and monitoring boards could reveal evidence of protection as early as October. Slaoui, an immunologist who formerly headed vaccine development at GlaxoSmithKline, answered questions from Science last week about how Warp Speed operates and addressed concerns that political pressure before the 3 November U.S. presidential election may lead to an emergency use authorization of a COVID-19 vaccine before it is proven safe and effective. (On 8 September, nine companies developing vaccines for the pandemic coronavirus pledged not to seek a premature authorization.) “It needs to be absolutely shielded from the politics,” Slaoui says. “Trust me, there will be no [authorization request] filed if it's not right. … The science is what is going to guide us. … And at the end of the day, the facts and the data will be made available to everyone who wants to look at them and will be transparent.” Slaoui defended Warp Speed's decision to not consider vaccines made of whole, inactivated viruses, a time-tested approach. China has three such vaccines in efficacy trials, but he worries they could cause serious side effects in people who receive them. Slaoui also said if it had been his choice, the United States would have participated in COVAX, a mechanism for countries to invest collectively in vaccines and share them; the Trump administration declined to join. The full interview—one of Slaoui's most detailed since taking the job in May—is at .

Artificial Intelligence helps counter COVID-19 misinformation in – IAM Network


CAIRO: With most credible information on COVID-19 and its symptoms supplied in English, Arabic-speaking populations have faced a significant barrier, falling prey to hysterical and inaccurate social media posts that come from questionable sources. This urgent and potentially life-threatening problem was quickly identified by the team at DxWand, an Egyptian startup providing conversational artificial intelligence (AI) solutions -- and they sought a fast and effective fix for it. "In late February, we, as a team, were struggling to find credible information about COVID-19, and we found that one needs certain access to find credible information," said Ahmed Mahmoud, co-founder of DxWand. "That made us think about others who would find it challenging to make a distinction between credible and false information. Even on official websites it was sometimes hard to find an answer to a specific question. Or worse -- you would get your information from social media."

Democracys backsliding in the international environment


If the end of the 20th century was defined by the relatively widespread acceptance of democracy, the second decade of the 21st century is marked by concerns about backsliding in new and established democracies alike and by a notable decline in foreign support for democracy around the world. As democracy's global tailwinds shift to headwinds, scholars have an opportunity to better understand how experience with even superficial forms of democratic institutions across a diverse set of contexts influences citizen behavior when formal democratic institutions erode or disappear. This shift also provides the opportunity to examine whether citizen movements alone--absent external support--are sufficient to check newly emboldened autocrats. Initiated with the 1974 Carnation Revolution in Portugal, the most recent global wave of democratization has been filled with images of exuberant citizens marching to demand democracy from vicious tyrants, individuals taking sledgehammers to the Berlin Wall, and new voters proudly displaying indelibly inked fingers on election day. In many narratives, the picture is one of bottom-up demand for democratic governance. Although domestic factors, including citizen movements, are undeniably important, a complete picture of the worldwide diffusion of democracy also includes the often-overlooked roles of international pressure on leaders to democratize and transnational support for prodemocracy movements (1–7).

Video Games May Be Key to Keeping World War II Memory Alive. Here Are 5 WWII Games Worth Playing, According to a Historian

TIME - Tech

The 75th anniversary of Japan formally surrendering to the U.S. aboard the battleship USS Missouri on Sept. 2, 1945, arrives at a moment when the question of how the war is remembered feels more necessary than ever. Veterans' stories, books, movies and TV shows have kept memories of the war alive for the last 75 years, but how will those stories be told when there are fewer people around who lived through those era-defining years? Recently, some people in younger generations have turned to a perhaps surprising source for World War II stories: video games. Games have become more realistic not only in terms of technological advancements, but also in terms of featuring real people and, at least in terms of blockbuster games like Medal of Honor and Call of Duty, getting input from real experts on military history. For example, the upcoming virtual-reality game Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond will feature documentary shorts, and creators interviewed WWII veterans about their wartime experiences to inform the set, which includes missions across Europe and in Tunisia.

Artificial intelligence has a high IQ but no emotional intelligence, and that comes with a cost


Several years ago, I packed up my life in Cairo, Egypt, and moved to the UK to pursue my PhD – thousands of miles away from everyone I knew and loved. As I settled into my new life, I found myself spending more hours with my laptop than with any other human being. I felt isolated and incredibly homesick. Chatting online with my family back home, I was often in tears, but they had no idea how I was feeling behind my screen (with the exception of a sad face emoticon that I would send). I realised then that our technology and devices – which we consider to be "smart", and helpful in many aspects of our lives – are emotion blind.