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OPINION: How COVID-19 accelerated the clampdown on online civic spaces

OPINION: How COVID-19 accelerated the clampdown on online civic spaces

KOKETSO MOETI The growing adoption of digital devices and technologies over the last two decades has enabled new forms of political participation, extending civic space beyond the physical realm. In response to the use of these technologies to open up civic space, reactionary actors have tried to close these online spheres through tactics like internet shutdowns, the expansion of surveillance and targeted misinformation/disinformation campaigns. An analysis of the state of digital rights in ten African countries, for instance, identified "65 examples of citizens opening democractic spaces online and 115 examples of governments closing online civic space". A demonstrator paints 'End Sars', referring to the…
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How to help entrepreneurs adopt cutting edge technologies to grow their businesses

How to help entrepreneurs adopt cutting edge technologies to grow their businesses

ENTREPRENEURS are known to drive innovation and progress in various fields. The Fourth Industrial Revolution has provided an unprecedented platform to do so. SEAN KRUGER, Coordinator Strategic Innovation, University of Pretoria ADRIANA ALETTA STEYN, Senior Lecturer in Informatics, University of Pretoria This global concept was coined in 2016 by Professor Klaus Schwab. He said that this revolution entails “nothing less than the transformation of humankind” because it is the integration of technologies across the digital, physical and biological spheres. Moreover, the speed at which this is happening is influencing work, services, educational needs and people’s everyday activities. Entrepreneurs have the…
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As the world changes, science does too — and that’s a good thing

As the world changes, science does too — and that’s a good thing

THE term “Industry 4.0” has been used for years to describe the need for societies to adapt their work and productivity to the “4th Industrial Revolution”, in which new technologies bridge the virtual, physical and biological domains. These terms have become so dominant that governments have adopted them into their policies and planning. CAROLINA ODMAN, Associate Professor, University of the Western Cape KEVIN GOVENDER, Director, International Astronomical Union Office of Astronomy for Development Against this backdrop it is important to ask whether – and how – the world of science is effectively adapting to an ever more connected and data…
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‘Algorithms of oppression’: Big tech urged to combat discrimination

‘Algorithms of oppression’: Big tech urged to combat discrimination

AVI ASHER-SCHAPIRO NEARLY a decade has passed since Safiya Noble googled "Black girls" and found the search results were mostly pornographic - a discovery that drove her to explore how algorithms can perpetuate discrimination and inequality. Google went on to fix that search engine issue, but Noble said the problem is far from solved. Research this year found Google's advertising platform linked the search phrases "Black girls," "Latina girls," and "Asian Girls" to adult content ads. "The Black girl search is the thread on the sweater we are trying to unravel. It's a way into a larger conversation about the future of…
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