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Capacity development

2019

The Internet Society and the Pew Research Center have launched research on mobile connectivity in emerging economies. The results of the research conducted in 11 emerging economies have shown, among others, that majorities (67%) think that the mobile phones have been beneficial for education. According to the report, since 2014 public opinions about influence of the internet on education have grown more positive in six of the countries subject to the research (Jordan, South Africa, Kenya, Vietnam, Lebanon and Mexico).

Microsoft launched an Artificial Intelligence (AI) Business School to help private sector executives to 'learn more about AI strategy, culture, responsibility and technology'. The initiative consists of free, online course series designed to help business leaders learn more about AI and its integration into the economy. The course materials range from written case studies and guides to videos and talks mostly focused on issues related to how companies can manage the impact of AI on their strategies, culture and responsibility.  A non-technical initiative, the AI Business School complements other Microsoft programmes focused on capacity development in the field of AI, such as the AI School for developers and the Professional Program for AI for engineers and others to enhance their skills in AI and data science.​

The Big Data for Development Network (BD4D) released its first newsletter which notes the importance of big data in monitoring the process of the 2030 Agenda and the sustainable development goals (SDGs). According to BD4D, big data contributes to diminishing information and inequality gaps, generate evidence-based public policies, develop information inventory and statistical operations, create synergies among different stakeholders, and improve the distribution of resources. The use of big data can support better public policies through identifying critical points of crime or vehicular congestion or the impetus of social behaviors vis-à-vis collective problems. For example, the likes to special pages and records of visits to places and activities on social media could help capitalise on specific tourist destinations or local business. BD4D further reinforces the untapped potentials to the analysis of big data that could uphold a more informed decision making. BD4D is an initiative by five Southern organisations (LIRNEasia, Local Development Research Institute, African Institute for Mathematical Science, Center of Internet and Society, and Cepei), with the support of the International Development Research Center (IDRC). It produces research on big data for development with a special focus on improving the capacity of researchers on SDGs.

Singapore is another country which announced investment in experts to deal with issues connected to cyberdefence such as cyber incident responses, network monitoring and vulnerability assessment. It opened a school to arm future recruits with the necessary skill sets.

Huawei announced its digital inclusion initiative, Tech4ALL at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2019. During his speech at the ministerial program of the MWC, Deputy Chairman of Huawei, Ken H, underscored how digital inclusion should be more comprehensive. ‘While much of the telecommunications industry is focused on next generation technology like 5G and AI,’ Hu said, ‘we can't forget that there are still many people excluded from the digital world. There are still more than 3.8 billion people who are offline, and one billion people without mobile broadband coverage.’ To this aim, Tech4ALL is crafted to tackle digital inclusion for individuals and organisations equally through addressing: (a) connectivity: providing remote areas and extreme climates to access digital resources, (b) applications: providing an easy-to-use development platform, thriving in the ecosystem, and generating applications, and (c) skills: improving the digital capabilities of organisations, local communities, and national digital economies. Huawei further acknowledged that digital inclusion necessitates collaboration between governments, industry organisations, and enterprises to provide the required technology that meets the needs of local communities as well as different groups and organisations.

The government of the United Kingdom announced it would fund postgraduate students that want to study a Masters or a PhD in artificial intelligence. The move is understood to enable the country to keep up with leading AI nations such as the United States and China. The government will commit up to £115 which should cover around 1000 students.

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