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African? Trust Artificial Intelligence at your own risk!

I came across an interesting article on TechCrunch (see last picture below) that I had to share with you. It’s about artificial intelligence and social justice. You might wonder what these 2 have in common. Take a look at the picture below which I took at a conference in 2016. Notice how the algorithm captures 2 faces around me including an invisible face next to my left shoulder BUT IT DOES NOT SEE MY FACE. That day, I did quite a few moves including putting my head right next to my friends heads, but it did not work. The poor demonstrator at the stand just resolved to say “go talk to the Python people. We are only using their code.”

Why make such a big deal of facial recognition anyway?

As you have probably heard, artificial intelligence is getting into everything including our phones, TVs, cars, planes, factories, etc. What this means is that a car that normally recognizes pedestrians might have a harder time recognizing me because I am black and it may result in me being hit. A firefighting robot designed to save people from fire may save all my white friends but leave me to burn because it could not recognize me. While these examples might seem extreme, note that Tesla cars already incorporate autopilots based on this technology.

So why is it so hard to recognize black people?

To understand this, you have to understand the basic principle behind how artificial intelligence works. Essentially, AI is a program that’s written to learn from its environment and use that information to make inference. For example, AI code that is “trained” with a majority of white faces will have a hard time detecting black people faces. The same goes for everything else. For this reason, the data foundation being built as the foundation for tomorrow’s world where planes, cars and other things operate autonomously is being created with less representation from the black community.

What can we do about it?

Get involved. Learn about machine learning and AI then start building your own models bases on our realities in Africa. Let’s not be caught sleeping again. Let’s wake up now and create our own path with this next revolution. Most of the learning is free and accessible. If you have not done anything in this area, start with our free Python course at TekZone Academy: http://tek.zone/academy/.

Images from https://techcrunch.com/2020/09/21/twitter-and-zoom-algorithmic-bias-issues/

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TekZone Student Nervis wins 1st place and 10 million Fcfa

Nervis Receives his price the Minister Mme Minette LIBOM Li

After nearly a year in the TekZone Leadership Development Program, Nervis Nzometia won 1st place and took home the 10 million Fcfa prize money with his project E-Waste 3D Printer. Built with repurposed material such as DVD player motors, plywood and other recycled electronics components, the 3D printer uses the same type of filaments used by other commercial 3D printers. On the software side, Nervis leverages open source architecture making the device robust while maintaining costs low.

Originally designed and built as the project for his final year of engineering school, this device is an ideal candidate for Cameroon’s newly established ICT Innovation Week (ICT stands for Information and Communications Technology). This innovation-driven competition is organized annually since 2019 by the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications (MINPOSTEL) of Cameroon to boost the development of ICT-driven business projects initiated by youths. 2020’s edition of the ICT Innovation Week Had as theme of focus, “Young Cameroonians amidst the challenges of ICT Innovation in a context of health crisis”. The competition aims at providing long-term support for the emergence of a mature and sound digital ecosystem in Cameroon.

This win is a major victory for Nervis who faced multiple odds. With his mother as the sole provider having suffered hardship due to unrest in the region, Nervis had very limited access to the resources. Despite this challenging situation, Nervis persevered not only to bring this device to life, but also by contributing to his community. One of his main goals is to introduce as many kids as he can to robotics.

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MA64 démarre une formation en robotique à Douala

This article has an English translation appended below

La population de Douala aura bientôt accès à une formation en robotique particulière délivrée par la startup Master of Art 64 ou MA64. Ulrich Emabou, l’un des fondateurs de MA64 nous fait savoir que startup a pour objectif premier de “conquérir le marché du numérique et d’en être les leaders en Afrique” dans le domaine de la formation et la maîtrise. Pour ce faire, la startup utilise une méthode d’apprentissage mixte combinant la théorie et la pratique pour accomplir des tâches très précises. La vidéo ci-dessous montre un exemple à travers un drone pouvant naviguer de manière autonome son environnement et accomplir des tâches.

Drone Autonome controlle par l’intelligence artificielle

Les expériences de Ulrich dans sa formation académiques et les diverses stages académiques ont exposé les limites du système éducatif au Cameroun principalement dans le domaine du numérique. Comme il l’explique ci-dessous, beaucoup d’ingénieurs sont réduits aux tâches généralement réservées à des techniciens non-ingénieurs dans d’autres pays. Avec des formations en majorité théoriques et pas adaptées aux attentes de l’industrie, la plupart des entreprises préfèrent porter leur confiance aux ingénieurs d’ailleurs. Face a cette situation, Ulrich s’est lancé en autodidacte et a acquis en 3 mois les connaissances équivalentes a 2 ans d’études dans son établissement local. C’est pour cette  raison qu’il s’est associé à d’autre jeunes enthousiastes tels que le fondateur de LabRED pour lancer le project MA64.

Au niveau 4 j’ai eu à effectuer un stage ou je me rendais alors pour apprendre l’automatique dans une sociétée d’ascenseurs. Je me suis rendu compte qu’en fait rien n’est fabriqué mais que tout le dispositif était importé. Le personnel travaillant dans cet entreprise n’avait aucune orientation dans le design comme je m’attendais. Ils se contentaient de manœuvrer lors du montage. Au niveau 5, j’étais dans une autre entreprise qui était meilleure mais nous manquions cruellement de savoir pratique à l’école. C’est la que j’ai compris que les diplômes de l’ecole doivent être supplémentées par des connaissances pratiques que chaque personne peut acquérir en accéléré. C’est pour cette raison que nous nous sommes lancé dans la formation.

Ulrich Emabou

Depuis son lancement, MA64 a déjà déployé 2 modules très pratiques axés sur la modélisation et la programmation. Utilisant la plateforme TekZone Academy et les outils disponible en location sur place tels que des kits EV3 de LEGO, MA64 est capable de déployer ces cours à des prix très abordables pour la population locale. Les deux vidéos ci-dessous sont des extraits du cours. La première est une vidéo directement délivrée dans le cours a travers la plateforme TekZone Academy et la deuxième est une interrogation en direct à travers une vidéo conférence.

Extrait du cours
Extrait d’une interro en live

Cette initiative de MA64 est à saluer et rentre en ligne avec notre vision a TekZone de faciliter l’accès à la technologie avec pour objectif de résoudre les problèmes locaux localement. Tu peux bénéficier de cette formation en contactant M464 au +237 673 66 49 48 our par email a contact@themasterofarts.com.

English Version

The population of Douala will soon have access to special robotics training delivered by the startup Master of Art 64 or MA64. Ulrich Emabou, one of the founders of MA64, lets us know that the startup’s primary objective is to “conquer the digital market and be the leaders in Africa” ​​in the field of training and mastery. To do this, the startup uses a blended learning method combining theory and practice to accomplish very specific tasks. The video below shows an example through a drone that can autonomously navigate its environment and accomplish tasks.

Ulrich’s experiences in his academic training and the various academic internships exposed the limits of the education system in Cameroon mainly in the digital field. As he explains below, many engineers are reduced to tasks typically reserved for non-engineer technicians in other countries. With training mainly theoretical and not adapted to the expectations of the industry, most companies prefer to put their trust in engineers elsewhere. Faced with this situation, Ulrich embarked on the autodidact where he acquired in 3 months the knowledge equivalent to 2 years of studies in his local establishment. It is for this reason that he joined forces with other young enthusiasts such as the founder of LabRED to launch the MA64 project.

At level 4 I had to do an internship where I would then go to learn automatic control in a company of elevators. I realized that in fact nothing is manufactured but that the whole device was imported. The staff working in this company had no orientation in design as I expected. They were content to maneuver during assembly. At level 5, I was in another company which was better but we were sorely lacking in practical knowledge at school. It was there that I understood that the school’s diplomas must be supplemented by practical knowledge that each person can acquire quickly. It is for this reason that we embarked on training.

Since its launch, MA64 has already deployed 2 very practical modules focused on modeling and programming. Using the TekZone Academy platform and locally available rental tools such as EV3 kits from LEGO, MA64 is able to deploy these courses at very affordable prices for the local population. The two videos below are excerpts from the course. The first is a video delivered directly in the course through the TekZone Academy platform and the second is a live questioning through a video conference.

This initiative of MA64 is to be welcomed and is in line with our vision at TekZone to facilitate access to technology with the aim of solving local problems locally. You can benefit from this training by contacting M464 at +237 673 66 49 48 or by email at contact@themasterofarts.com.

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Take Our Online Course Without Internet

We started TekZone Academy to deliver rich content to young Africans in urban and rural areas. But we are also aware that the Internet is not always available. When it is, it might not be as reliable. To help with this challenge, we have designed TekZone Academy so that you can connect, download your courses to your phone or tablet, then go through the course offline including taking the quizzes. The next time you connect to the Internet, it will synchronize with your account.

To get started with your mobile app, follow the steps below:

Step 1: Install the Moodle app from the play store. See the screenshot below.

install moodle app

Step 2: Connect the app to TekZone Academy. When you open the app, it will ask you for the URL to the web site. put it www.tek.zone/academy

Configure Moodle app

Step 3: Login to the App. When the app connects successfully to the TekZone Academy platform, you’ll see the logo and name appear. You will also be prompted to login. Put in your username and password and click “Log In”

login to app

Step 4: You’re all done. If you followed these steps, you should now be logged in to the app (see image below). You will only be asked to login this once. The next time you launch the app, it will directly open in your dashboard.

app dashabord

Watch the video below to see how easy it is to interact with the application.

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NI LabVIEW is now Free

Hello TekZone Community. In 2015 we launched a Robotics Course designed to expose young Africans to robotics. This course covers topics such as sensors, actuators, and controls algorithms. To make this course accessible to all, we partnered with National Instruments to leverage LabVIEW Home edition which is a version of LabVIEW designed to work with Arduino, Raspberry Pi and Beaglebone Black. This was ideal because LabVIEW is graphical and easier for newbies to pick up. They could focus on building their robots rather than learning text-based programming. You can see some pictures from that class below.

Unfortunately, LabVIEW Home edition was discontinued by National Instruments. The change eliminated this option for many. It seems that we were not the only people needing this because National Instrument just announced the introduction of a new NI LabVIEW Community Edition which does the same thing and is completely free. See the official launch video below.

TekZone Robotics Course will return

We will revamp the Introduction to Robotics course using this new Community edition and make it available to the public. Stay tuned.

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Hippolyte & Nervis Win

Join us in congratulating Hippolyte and Nervis for being selected as the winners of the first African Leadership Bridge scholarship for the TekZone Leadership Development Program. They each will receive the equivalent of $6600 (3.300.000 Fcfa) in leadership development program over the 24 months duration of the program. This includes possibly a trip to the USA to further enhance skills and knowledge.

Leave Hippolyte and Nervis a congratulatory comment below.

About the TekZone Leadership Development Program

At TekZone, we believe that Africa will be lifted into the status of a world leader through its dynamic, innovative and entrepreneurial youth. This program is designed to help young Africans turn these qualities into tangible results

About The African Leadership Bridge

The African Leadership Bridge is championing the next generation of African leaders through sustainable scholarships and a strong support network to provide the tools and experience needed to drive change in the African continent. Established in 2006, African Leadership Bridge has worked with the African Leadership Academy to identify promising African students with a strong entrepreneurial drive and a dedication to the transformation of the African continent through hard work and leadership.

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Top 3 ALB scholarship finalists selected for the TekZone Leadership Development Program

Here are the finalists ALB Fellows for the TekZone Leadership Development Program. 152 showed strong interest, 10% attempted the challenging vetting process. Nervis, Bony and Hippolyte came out on top through their collective vision and their ability to have a positive impact in their community. Join us to congratulate them for this achievement.

As a next step, TekZone and The African Leadership Bridge will collaborate to select the winner(s) for this round of scholarships.

To learn more about this program, visit the following announcement page.

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Build professional website in just 1 week

Our goal at TekZone is to make it easier for you to create and market your solutions to local problems. This includes building a professional web presence similar to our own. The course titled “Build Quick and beautiful WordPress sites” available on TekZone Academy (www.tek.zone/academy) will teach how to do that in just 1 week.

Here is a screenshot of a website created by one of the participants.

Sample site from a course participant. You can visit it at
http://student.tek.zone/learnerhub/
Participants in action

Overview of the course

This course is a Web Site course using WordPress.

WordPress is a widely-known platform used by 31% of all websites on the internet! There are so many ways to approach using WordPress that it can be hard to know where to start.

This course will take you on a clear and easy journey through installationcustomization, and launch of a WordPress site (without writing a line of back-end code!) so that you can get great-looking websites up and running quickly, whether it’s for a client request or for your own use.

Visit the following page right now to get started with this course: https://www.tek.zone/wp/tekzone-wordpress-training

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Announcing TekZone Leadership Development Program

In Partnership with The African Leadership Bridge TekZone is launching a Leadership Development Program tailor-made for young Africans.

Program Overview

At TekZone, we believe that Africa will be lifted into the status of a world leader through its dynamic, innovative and entrepreneurial youth. This program is designed to help young Africans turn these qualities into tangible results. This is achieved through the following 3 steps:

  • Step 1: set a SMART 2-year goal with measurable impact.
  • Step 2: create a precise development plan with milestones and assign an experienced accountability mentor to help ensure we remain on track.
  • Step 3: execute on the development plan through a variety of activities including courses, assignments, discussions, events, book groups and others. This includes the possibility of a 1-week trip to the USA for further development.

Watch the video below for more information:

TekZone Leadership Development Program Overview

Program Qualification

This program is designed for young Africans living in Sub-Saharan Africa. Here are some high-level qualifications:

  • Have a great idea that can result in the creation of jobs, improve work environment or a positive impact in your community.
  • Be a resident of one of the participating countries*
  • Be between the ages of 18 and 35 when applying, although exceptional applicants outside of this age range will be considered
  • Proficiency in reading, writing, and speaking English is preferred but not required.
  • Fully commit to the program if selected. This include making time for your development and the requirement to reside in Africa for the full length of the program.

Selection Process

If you are interested and meet the qualification criteria, here is how you can get selected for this program:

  • Option 1: Signup and take the Leadership Fitness Test on TekZone Academy. We will reach out to you if you are selected after taking the test. Here is how you can take the test
    • Step 1: create an account at TekZone Academy. Go to
      http://tek.zone/academy/ and click on “login” at the top-right of the page. Then click on “Create New Account.”
    • Step 2: login to TekZone Academy and signup for the Leadership Fitness Class.
    • Step 3: use the key below to access the test without paying: “tekzoneldp”.
  • Option 2: current staff or alumni or TekZone or one of the participating partners and sponsors can nominate you.
  • Option 3: signup for classes at TekZone. This allows our team to get to know you better and increases your chances of being selected.

About African Leadership Bridge

The African Leadership Bridge is championing the next generation of African leaders through sustainable scholarships and a strong support network to provide the tools and experience needed to drive change in the African continent. Established in 2006, African Leadership Bridge has worked with the African Leadership Academy to identify promising African students with a strong entrepreneurial drive and a dedication to the transformation of the African continent through hard work and leadership.

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TekZone launches Lego Programming for all in Douala

What is Lego Robotics?

LEGO Robotics is a hands on, multidisciplinary, collaborative, authentic learning experience, and TekZone wants you to give it a try. In this program, you will learn how to use sensors such as sound , color and touch to have a robot identify different sounds, color and obstacles. You will learn how to make a robot move in various directions and how to measure those moves. You will learn advanced programming techniques that will allow you to build a program autonomous robots able to move and avoid obstacles. Watch the video below for what’s possible after this training:

Who can attend this session?

Anyone passionate about Robotics can attend this session. Below is a copy of the syllabus for this training (French and English).

TekZone Lego Robotics -Course-Syllabus-FR

TekZone Lego Robotics -Course-Syllabus-EN

When are the sessions?

The sessions are a month long and there is a session every month. You can apply to get the exact date for the session that works best for you. Follow the link below to apply:

How can I apply?

Follow this link to apply: https://www.tek.zone/wp/lego-robotics-class-reservation/ 

Photos of the setup

See pictures below that show the setup for the course.