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OECD to host Secretariat of new Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence

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The OECD will host the Secretariat of the new Global Partnership on AI (GPAI), a coalition launched today that aims at ensuring that Artificial Intelligence is used responsibly, respecting human rights and democratic values. Arrangements for the OECD’s role as host will be finalised in the coming days.

The GPAI will bring together experts from industry, government, civil society and academia to conduct research and pilot projects on AI. Its objective, as set out by founding members Australia, Canada, the European Union, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore, Slovenia, the United Kingdom and the United States, is to bridge the gap between theory and practice on AI policy. An example would be looking at how AI could help societies respond to and recover from the Covid-19 crisis.

Basing its Secretariat at the OECD will allow the GPAI to create a strong link between international policy development and technical discourse on AI, taking advantage of the OECD’s expertise on AI policy and its leadership in setting out the first international standard for trustworthy AI – the OECD Principles on Artificial Intelligence. The OECD Principles formed the basis of the G20 Principles on AI endorsed at the Osaka Summit in June 2019.

“AI is a truly transformational technology that could play a catalysing role in our response to Covid-19 and other global challenges provided it is developed and used with trust, transparency and accountability,” said OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría. “The launch of GPAI, an initiative grounded in the OECD AI Principles, marks an important step toward this goal. The OECD is looking forward to building powerful synergies between cutting-edge scientific work envisioned by GPAI and the OECD’s AI policy leadership.”

Born out of the Canadian and French G7 Presidencies in 2018 and 2019, GPAI was officially proposed by France and Canada at the Biarritz Summit in August 2019. G7 Leaders then officially welcomed the OECD’s willingness to support their work to advance AI, in line with its Recommendation on AI. The GPAI will initially be comprised of four working groups focused on responsible AI, data governance, the future of work, and innovation and commercialisation.

Under the hosting arrangement being finalised, GPAI’s governance bodies, consisting of a Council and a Steering Committee, would be supported by a Secretariat housed at the OECD. The OECD would also be a Permanent Observer to GPAI’s governing bodies and its experts participate in the working groups and plenary meetings. Inaugural meetings of these groups are expected in late 2020. The GPAI Secretariat would also liaise with Centres of Expertise in Montréal and Paris.

The complementarity of GPAI activities to OECD work should strengthen the evidence base on which the OECD’s policy analysis is developed, and the OECD’s substantive policy work will equally inform discussions in the GPAI’s bodies and working groups. Hosting the GPAI Secretariat will strengthen the OECD’s potential to disseminate and implement its standards and its policy analysis in areas such as data governance, future of work, and diffusion and productivity.

The OECD’s AI Principles, adopted in May 2019 and now supported by more than 40 countries, comprise five values-based principles for the responsible deployment of AI and five recommendations for international co-operation and policy. They offer a guide for designing and running AI systems in a way that puts people’s best interests first and ensuring that AI system designers and operators are held accountable for their proper functioning.

The OECD also operates an online platform – the OECD AI Policy Observatory, or OECD.AI – where all players in the AI sphere can share insights and collaborate on shaping AI-related policy. The platform contains data and information on AI trends and policies in around 60 countries and material from partners in academia and the private sector. The Observatory brings together work from across the OECD on AI-related measurement and policy issues and will provide a robust basis for analysis and further use by the GPAI. 

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Choosing the Best Engine Hoist for your Garage

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An engine hoist is an extremely valuable piece of equipment. It will allow you to remove an engine from a vehicle easily, without putting yourself or others in danger. People have been using ropes and pulleys for centuries to lift heavy objects – and some modern engine hoists work via the same principles. However, there are a few alternatives which offer distinct advantages.

So, what’s the best kind of engine hoist for your garage? Let’s look at choosing the best engine hoist for your next car repair job.

Manual

The manual hoist uses old-fashioned pulleys and cords to lift a heavy object. These tend to be the simplest option, and therefore the cheapest. Simply pull on the chain, and the other chain will move. The main drawback here is that the manual hoist needs to be suspended above the room. That means that you’ll need a suitably-rated ceiling that’s capable of carrying the load.

A manual chain can allow a single person to lift tonnes of weight, since the arrangement of pulleys will result in a larger transfer of force. The cost is that you’ll be moving the chain a large distance to move the engine just a small one.

Hydraulic Hoists

Hydraulic hoists work using fluid, spread over multiple vessels. By reducing or increasing the amount of fluid in one vessel, you can change the amount of fluid in another, attached by a length of hose. In this way, you can push or pull heavy loads. A telescopic boom arm actually does the lifting, with the help of pumps, cylinders, and oil.

Hydraulic hoists are positioned on the ground rather than the ceiling, and they tend to come with plenty of castors so that they can be moved from one side of the workspace to the next. The relative mobility of the hydraulic hoist puts it at a considerable advantage over the mechanical one in situations where you need to be flexible. You can even use a hydraulic hoist outdoors.  

Electric Hoists

The electric hoist is similar to the manual one, except that you don’t have to pull on the chain – an electric motor will do that for you. This makes life much more convenient – though you can expect to pay a little extra for the remote-control console. Electric hoists tend to be underpowered in comparison to hydraulic ones, which might be something to consider if you’re lifting loads heavier than a few hundred kilos.

Electric hoists tend to be operated by a single dangling button, which means that you might not have the same degree of precise control as you do on a manual hoist. For most applications, however, this won’t be an issue.

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Tech Start-ups Key to Africa’s Digital Transformation but Urgently Need Investment

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The World Economic Forum’s latest report, “Attracting Investment and Accelerating Adoption for the Fourth Industrial Revolution in Africa” analyses the challenges Africa faces in joining the global knowledge-based digital economy and presents a set of tangible strategies for the region’s governments to accelerate the transition.

The Forum’s report, written in collaboration with Deloitte, comes just weeks after the announcement by Google of a $1 billion investment to support digital transformation across Africa, which centres on laying a new subsea cable between Europe and Africa that will multiply the continent’s digital network capacity by 20, leading to an estimated 1.7 million new jobs by 2025. Africa’s digital economy could contribute nearly $180 billion to the region’s growth by the by mid-decade. Yet with only 39% of the population using the internet, Africa is currently the world’s least connected continent.

Tech start-ups such as Kenya’s mobile money solution Mpesa and online retail giant Jumia, Africa’s first unicorn, represent what the continent’s vibrant small business sector is capable of. Despite raising $1.2 billion of new capital in 2020 – a six-fold increase in five years – this represents less than 1% of the $156 billion raised by US start-ups in the same year. Meanwhile, Africa’s investment in R&D was just 0.42% of GDP in 2019 – less than a quarter of the global average of 1.7%.

“African governments urgently need to drive greater investment in the tech sector and the knowledge economy,” said Chido Munyati, Head of Africa Division at the World Economic Forum. “Policy-makers can make a difference by reducing the burden of regulation, embedding incentives within legislation and investing in science and technology skills.”

The report breaks down these three policy enablers:

  • Pass legislation such as “Start-up Acts” designed to spur private sector innovation, reduce the burden of regulation and promote entrepreneurship, in which Tunisia and Senegal are leading the way.
  • Embed incentives for start-ups in legislation, such as start-up grants, rebates on efficiency gains through technology implementation, co-investment of critical infrastructure, tax-free operations for the early years, and incentives for R&D.
  • Invest in workforce education, skills and competencies. Currently, only 2% of Africa’s university-age population holds a STEM-related (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) degree.

However, the analysis of 188 government incentives for business across 32 African countries finds that just 14 incentives – fewer than 10% – facilitate investment in Fourth Industrial Revolution technology. And most of these incentive schemes lack an efficient monitoring and evaluation system to gauge their effectiveness.

Delia Ndlovu, Africa Chair, Deloitte, believes that digital transformation promises to boost economic growth in Africa: “Connecting the region to the global digital economy will not only open new avenues of opportunity for small businesses, but will also increase intra-Africa trade which is low at 16% compared to markets such as intra-European trade which is approximately 65% to 70%.”

African governments have much to learn from each other. In Côte d’Ivoire, an R&D tax incentive has been created to direct investment away from commodities and into innovation. In South Africa, the Automotive Investment Transformation Fund created by the largest manufacturers in the country is facilitating the development of a diverse supplier base to realise the 60% local content target set by the Automotive Production and Development Programme (APDP). In Tunisia, the government offers state salaries for up to three start-up founders per company during the first year of operations, with a right to return to their old jobs if the venture fails.

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Coding – what is it and what are the benefits?

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Coding has become more popular in recent years with everyone from entrepreneurs, hobbyists, children and professionals. And with many different kits now available, it’s easier than ever to try your hand at coding.

If you’re unsure what coding is or where to begin, read on to discover more and find out the benefits of learning this new skill.

What is coding and what is it used for?

In a nutshell, coding is writing a set of instructions in a language understood by machines to enable a computer to follow to carry out a task. It’s used daily across the world in multiple applications from appliances to traffic systems and the motor industry.

With more of the world relying heavily on digital systems, there is an increased need for those who know how to code. But it’s not just for professionals. Anyone can now try their hand at coding and it’s increasingly popular amongst hobbyists who are creating exciting projects during their spare time.

A good place to start when thinking about coding as a hobby is by using a Raspberry Pi kit. Starter kits are great for beginners and allow you to develop your coding skills with everything you need in one package.

Benefits of learning to code

Whilst some benefits of learning to code such as future career options might be obvious, there are other advantages to this skill:

  • You could become smarter – Coding can utilise the logical part of your brain which is useful for other tasks, not just the coding process. It can also be very creative if you use your coding skills to work on different projects.
  • It increases your employability – and not just in the computer software industry. Skills learnt from coding are transferrable and the kind of qualities employers across many industries will be looking for.
  • It helps you understand technology – By getting to grips with computer languages, you’ll learn how technology works at a base level – knowledge that will filter through to everyday life as well as in your career.
  • Enhance problem solving skills – By learning to code you’ll learn how to address problems and, in turn, become skilled at solving them. Tools that will be transferred to other aspects of life.
  • Coding is a universal language – so there are endless opportunities to learning this skill.  

Whatever knowledge you have of coding, why not give it a go? You could be creating the next big robotics project, having fun playing games with your kids or even developing a new software programme in no time.

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