On Wednesday morning at the Marriott Hotel, Google had a press briefing with the members of the press to officially open its Artificial Intelligence (AI) Research Centre. The briefing also included discussions about its overall AI initiatives and they also share some information about their CSquared Fibre project.
Google recently made headlines when they initially announced that they would be opening their first AI centre in Africa and it would be based in Accra, Ghana. The press briefing was to shed more light and information of the centre as well as give the press a personal tour of the center.
Moustapha Cisse, the head of the AI Research centre in Ghana, gave a brief introduction of the centre and its mission before officially introducing the Google Ghana AI research team which is made up of a group of diverse individuals from different backgrounds and countries.
There was a panel discussion where the panelists talked about Machine Learning where they tried to demystify the concept. The panel included members from the AI Team including Jorg Doku (Software Engineer), Sara Hooker (Google Brain Researcher) and Mohammed Nassar (Software Engineer).
There was a second panel about the real world applications of Machine Learning and included panelists from the Google team including Andrea Frome (Software Engineer), Yann Dauphin (Research Scientist) and Nyallen Moorosi(Software Engineer).
Estelle Akofio-Sowah, West Africa Regional Manager at CSquared gave a presentation about their Fibre Project which was formally Google Link. The Fibre project was created in 2011 with the aim of laying fibre infrastructure across different African cities. It was later rebranded in 2013 as Csquared with Google, Convergence Partners, International Finance Corporation (IFC), and Mitsui & Co., Ltd all having investments in the company.
Csquared’s current mission is to be a wholesale provider for ISPs and MNOs in Africa. They currently operate in Ghana, Uganda, and Liberia
Google established it’s AI Research Centre in Accra to meet the increasing interest in machine learning research across Africa.
The AI Centre will collaborate with local universities, research organisations and policy makers in Ghana and across Africa to deploy AI in solving challenges in the healthcare sector, agriculture, education, and other sectors.
Regarding the AI Centre’s mission, Moustapha Cisse had this to say, “We’ll work and collaborate with institutions across the continent; the team itself is very international; it’s already about 10 people coming from more than 12 different countries; Africans and non-Africans as well so we’re looking forward to collaborating with African Institutions. Our goal is to advance the frontiers of this science so we expect to have a scientific impact but also we expect to through collaborations with different institutions working on local challenges, have an impact to be on our field by applying the technology to agriculture to health and to other areas.”
With the official establishment of the AI Centre in Accra (Google’s first in Africa), Ghana’s capital city will join the likes of Paris, Zurich, Tokyo, Beijing, Montreal, Toronto, Seattle, Cambridge/Boston, Tel Aviv/Haifa, New YorkandSan Franciso as having research centres purely dedicated to AI research.
Uber and Lyft drivers caught tampering with ride fares at DC airport causing artificial price surges
According to WJLA, Uber and Lyft drivers at Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C. are being accused of manipulating ride fare.
The drivers are reportedly turn off their ride share apps simultaneously for a few minutes to trick the app into thinking there are no drivers available in the area which then creates a price surge. As a result, the fare instantly increases when the drivers turn their apps back on.
The lot outside Reagan National airport is estimated to hold an estimated 120 to 150 drivers each day, waiting for the busy evening rush.
“All the airplanes we know when they land. So five minutes before, we turn all our apps off all of us at the same time. All of us we turn our apps off. They surge, $10, $12, sometimes $19. Then we turn our app on. Everyone will get the surge,” one driver told ABC7.
Both ride sharing companies have since then responded. See official statements below.
Lyft takes any allegations of fraudulent behavior very seriously as it violates our community guidelines and can lead to deactivation from the Lyft platform. – Lyft
At Uber, we work to ensure the reliability of our service for our riders and drivers. This behavior is neither widespread or permissible on the uber platform, and we have technical safeguards in place to help prevent it from happening. – Uber
Facebook Co-founder calls for Company’s Breakup
The co-founder of Facebook is calling for the government to break up the tech giant in an op-ed article published in The New York Times Thursday morning.
Could Facebook trump Tinder with new Dating Service
One of the standout highlights from the F8 conference was Facebook announcing it was joining the online dating community. Awkward!
These new additives will be built into Facebook’s existing app, aggregating information from your profile to match you with potential lovers based on mutual interests and friends.
During his F8 keynote, Zuckerberg went on to say the new features the company’s introducing will be for “real, long-term relationships, not just hook-ups.”
Your dating profile will reportedly be separate from your main Facebook profile, and that your friends can’t access it. In fact, you’ll only be suggested people who aren’t already your friends.
Further looks at the features revealed users could meet up by adding events they were attending to their dating profile, and seeing other singles who had done the same. The messaging service they would use to connect is built into the dating profile, separate from Messenger, and text-only.
Coincidentally, shortly after Facebook made this announcement, the stock of Match plunged precipitously. Match – the company that owns Tinder, OKCupid, and Plenty of Fish – saw its stock plunge precipitously. It still managed to throw some shade at Facebook in a statement to TechCrunch:
“We’re surprised at the timing given the amount of personal and sensitive data that comes with this territory. Regardless, we’re going to continue to delight our users through product innovation and relentless focus on relationship success.”
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