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Al Jazeera


The Charlettes: An AI engineer in Ivory Coast and Ghana

Al Jazeera

Charlette Désiré N'Guessan comes from an intriguing family, where all the women share the same name: Charlette. It is confusing, and also a little ironic, since she is a software engineer who has invented a facial recognition app. In The Charlettes, by filmmaker Gauz, we see how this particular Charlette has made an impact in the tech world in Ivory Coast and Ghana, winning prizes and plaudits for her artificial intelligence (AI) identity invention. Gbaka-Brede Armand Patrick, known professionally as Gauz, is a multidisciplinary and self-proclaimed iconoclastic artist, based in Ivory Coast.


Gay dating app Grindr to go public via blank-cheque company

Al Jazeera

Popular gay dating app Grindr has agreed to go public through a blank-cheque firm whose founder was part of a consortium that bought the company in 2020, according to a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday. The deal with Tiga Acquisition Corporation will raise $384m including $284m of the special-purpose acquisition company's (SPAC) cash in trust plus up to $100m in a forward purchase agreement, valuing the company at $2.1bn including debt, according to the filing. The dating app was valued at $620m when it was sold in 2020 by its Chinese owner. Tiga Acquisition Corp went public in November 2020 to raise $240m, a few months after the Grindr sale. The SPAC would have to liquidate later this month if it failed to reach a deal with a potential merger target, after several extensions of the liquidation deadline.


The kidnapping of Ukraine's 'Angels of Taira' medic

Al Jazeera

In the days before Yulia Pajevska, 53, was abducted by Russian-backed separatists, the decorated Ukrainian volunteer medic had been evacuating Ukrainians from the besieged city of Mariupol. Her husband, Vadym Puzanov, had only had brief contact with Pajevska through messages and short videos when the patchy internet and her hectic schedule allowed for updates about the dramatic evacuations and airlifts she had been organising in the southeast of the country. Puzanov found out about his wife's abduction when his friend rang him to say he had come across a video uploaded onto Facebook by a former Ukrainian politician which claimed that Pajevska and her driver Serhii were illegally detained at a checkpoint near the town of Manhush in the Donetsk region on March 16. "At first I was shocked and couldn't believe it," Puzanov recalls. According to Puzanov, who is currently in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, Pajevska and Serhii had been evacuating women and children along a so-called humanitarian corridor between the southeastern cities of Mariupol and Zaporizhzhia when they were stopped and detained.


Mairabot: A student-built robot in Nigeria

Al Jazeera

When COVID-19 hit, an enterprising group of pupils in Abuja, Nigeria, used their robotics class to design and build a simple robot to cut down on interpersonal contact in hospitals. Using only scraps they found around the classroom, they each contributed to the ideas, concept, mechanics and AI elements of their robot "Mairabot" – which earned praise from health officials and their teachers alike. Mairabot, by filmmaker Philip Okpokoro, introduces us to Nabila Abbas and her fellow students in this short, inspiring film. Philip Okpokoro is a Nigerian director and cinematographer with an impressive record in both documentary and live TV directing. He has directed a wide array of film projects from high-end live TV to intimate documentaries for global broadcasters, and has been awarded for best director of photography.


Chinese drone giant DJI suspends business in Russia, Ukraine

Al Jazeera

DJI, the world's largest drone manufacturer, has announced it is temporarily halting operations in Russia and Ukraine, in a rare example of a Chinese firm suspending business in response to the war in Ukraine. The Shenzhen-headquartered company said on Wednesday it would suspend its business in the two countries while "internally reassessing compliance requirements in various jurisdictions". DJI, which was founded in Hong Kong in 2006, added it was "engaging with customers, partners and other stakeholders regarding the temporary suspension," according to a company statement. Adam Lisberg, DJI's director of corporate communications for North America, told Al Jazeera the company had taken the action "not to make a statement about any country, but to make a statement about our principles". "DJI abhors any use of our drones to cause harm, and we are temporarily suspending sales in these countries in order to help ensure no one uses our drones in combat," Lisberg said.


Google parent Alphabet misses estimates on YouTube, Europe ads

Al Jazeera

Google parent Alphabet Inc. reported first-quarter revenue that fell short of analysts' expectations, a rare miss for the technology giant reflecting slower ad sales in Europe and a lackluster performance by its YouTube video service. The shares declined about 6% in extended trading. The company also announced a $70 billion share buyback program. Revenue, excluding payouts to distribution partners, increased 20% to $56 billion in the period ended March 31, Alphabet said Tuesday in a statement. Analysts, on average, projected $56.1 billion.



Is artificial intelligence the future of warfare?

Al Jazeera

If we're looking for that one terminator to show up at our door, we're maybe looking in the wrong place,


Under Israeli surveillance: Living in dystopia, in Palestine

Al Jazeera

It has been more than five months since the United States sanctioned the Israeli spyware company NSO Group, and stories about the use and abuse of its Pegasus product continue to break. As various organisations try to push for further measures against Israel for supplying human rights abusers with this tool to further their violations, it is important to remember that Israeli military and surveillance technology is first developed for and tested on Palestinians, before being exported. Unsurprisingly, Pegasus has already been found on the phones of six Palestinian human rights activists, one of whom is now suing NSO in France. Another target happened to be my friend and colleague whose field of work is directly connected to the relationship between Palestine and the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague. The thought that the Israelis have had full access to our personal conversations and exchanges in group chats has been quite disturbing, to say the least. However, this is not the first time Israel has violated my privacy and it won't be the last.


NASA Vande Hei, Russian Shkaplerov, Dubrov ready to land on Earth

Al Jazeera

A US astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts are close to returning to Earth together, despite heightened tensions between the United States and Russia over the war in Ukraine. The Russian Soyuz capsule carrying NASA's Mark Vande Hei and his cosmonaut peers Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov undocked from the International Space Station at 2:45am EDT (06:45 GMT) on Wednesday. They are scheduled to make a parachute landing in central Kazakhstan nearly five hours later. The landing zone lies roughly 250 miles (400km) to the northeast of Russia's space launch facility at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 7:28am EDT (11:28 GMT). Vande Hei, 55, completing his second ISS mission, will have logged a US space-endurance record of 355 consecutive days in orbit, surpassing the previous 340-day record set by astronaut Scott Kelly in 2016, according to NASA.