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Algorithms that run our lives are racist and sexist. Meet the women trying to fix them

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Timnit Gebru was wary of being labelled an activist. As a young, black female computer scientist, Gebru – who was born and raised in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, but now lives in the US – says she'd always been vocal about the lack of women and minorities in the datasets used to train algorithms. She calls them "the undersampled majority", quoting another rising star of the artificial intelligence (AI) world, Joy Buolamwini. But Gebru didn't want her advocacy to affect how she was perceived in her field. "I wanted to be known primarily as a tech researcher. I was very resistant to being pigeonholed as a black woman, doing black woman-y things."


Chinese firm to help build artificial intelligence infrastructure in Ethiopia - Xinhua

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A Chinese firm has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Ethiopia authorities on establishing a National Artificial Intelligence Infrastructure (NAIF) in Ethiopia, reported state media outlet Ethiopia News Agency (ENA) on Saturday. The MoU was signed between Ethiopia Innovation and Technology State Minister, Sisay Tola and Chen Kuan, the founder and CEO of Chinese firm Infervision Technology Corporation in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa on Friday evening, reported ENA. Ethiopia hopes the partnership with Infervision will boost the technological capacity of its education, health care and medical services. Ethiopia also hopes the partnership will facilitate a platform for exchange of ideas and investment opportunities between enterprises of both countries in various sectors including energy, textile, agriculture, construction and information technology. Ethiopia and China have recently signed various agreements in the Information Communication and Technology (ICT), as Ethiopia looks to modernize its largely agrarian economy.


Boeing defends 'fundamental safety' of 737 Max after crash report but admits system error

The Japan Times

WASHINGTON - Embattled U.S. aviation giant Boeing on Thursday insisted on the "fundamental safety" of its 737 Max aircraft but pledged to take all necessary steps to ensure the jets' airworthiness. The statements came hours after Ethiopian officials said pilots of a doomed plane that crashed last month, leaving 157 people dead, had followed the company's recommendations. The preliminary findings released Thursday by transportation authorities in Addis Ababa put the American aircraft giant under even greater pressure to restore public trust amid mounting signs the company's onboard anti-stall systems were at fault in crashes involving its formerly top-selling 737 Max aircraft -- incidents that left nearly 350 people dead in less than five months. "We remain confident in the fundamental safety of the 737 Max," CEO Dennis Muilenburg said in a statement, adding that impending software fixes would make the aircraft "among the safest airplanes ever to fly." Muilenburg also acknowledged, however, that an "erroneous activation" of Boeing's Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System had occurred. The system is designed to prevent stalls but may have forced the Ethiopian and Indonesian jets into the ground.


SingularityNET Monthly Updates #2

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Newly elected Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali of Ethiopia was elected on a mandate of transformational change and has promised a new era for Ethiopia and the African continent. Ethiopians are jubilant and excited about the future as Abiy launches significant political and economic reforms. Abiy Ahmed and his team are building towards a vision that embraces all Ethiopians and facilitates their effective participation in the global economy. When our team visited the beautiful city of Addis Ababa two weeks ago, we were energized by the passion of her people and also their unwavering optimism and faith in the future. Sophia echoed our sentiments too and Dr. Ben Goertzel had in-depth discussions with Abiy and his team.


Dozens killed during stampede at religious celebration in Ethiopia

Los Angeles Times

Several dozen people died in a stampede Sunday morning when a religious celebration in Ethiopia turned into an anti-government protest that led police to fire tear gas and rubber bullets. An estimated two million people were attending the annual Irrecha event in Bishoftu town southeast of the capital, Addis Ababa. The event took place in one of the country's most sensitive regions, Oromia, which has seen several months of sometimes deadly protests demanding wider freedoms. Ethiopia's government acknowledged deaths during the event and, though a spokesman, blamed "people that prepared to cause trouble" for the chaos. The spokesman's office said many people were taken to hospitals, but it did not provide any figures.


South Sudan's vice president responds to report over misuse of aid

PBS NewsHour

Taban Deng Gai, who is now first vice president of South Sudan, speaks to reporters in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa on Jan. 8, 2014. In an interview airing on Monday's PBS NewsHour, South Sudan Vice President Taban Deng Gai responded to a report that the country's top leaders were profiting off the five-year conflict by saying it's under investigation, but the report might be false. Human rights group The Sentry this month released the results of a two-year investigation that found South Sudanese politicians were spending international aid on mansions and fancy cars, and giving expensive contracts to family members. "They say that my president, for example, they accuse him of having a house in one of the suburbs of Nairobi city. I don't think a crime for a president -- a sitting president for more than 10 years" to have a house there, Deng told PBS NewsHour Weekend anchor Hari Sreenivasan.