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Finalists named for reality app

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Cell C, along with Blink Pictures, recently announced #BreakTheNet (#BTN) Top 30 finalists in a reality show broadcast on the Cell C Reality App.

Over the last month hundreds of participants entered a countrywide search with their original one minute YouTube videos, all vying for the chance to win R250 000 and a trip to Hollywood and the title of South Africa’s next YouTube Sensation.

Finalists from all over the country have been selected to take part in the next phase of the Cell C #BreakTheNet reality show. Each week participating contestants will be given a task to include in the filming of their videos and will be selected to continue week by week based on the number of views that they receive for each video.

The top 30 participants, who will be mentored by local social media celebrities including Suzelle DIY, cinematographer Ofentse Mwase and YouTube personality Theodora Lee. Derick Watts and the Sunday Blues will anchor the show while Darren ‘Whackhead’ Simpson will take on the role of taskmaster, where he will issue tasks to be completed by the contestants during the weekly reality show. South African actor Blessing Xaba will participate as a “celebrity” contestant.

Says Odette Schwegler, director of Blink Pictures: “The celebrities, who have been chosen for their high entertainment value, are going to encourage contestants to not only deliver on exciting material but also learn the challenges faced in the industry. We want people to tune in to a never before seen digital flow of content online, unprecedented addictive reality.”

The top 30 contestants entered one minute videos which ranged from footage of singers, rappers, comedians, video animators, magicians, and even our very own South African Crocodile Dundee.

Finalist Leewin Chen, from Bloemfontein, entered a video which he dubbed ‘Asian South African’ whereby he shows his life as a Taiwanese South African. Ian Morrison from Johannesburg shows off his DJ’ing talents while ‘Bored on a Flight’, and Quincy Mojela shows off his football skills with ‘Soccer my Everything’.

The Top 30 Finalists are:

Umar Abrahams (Rondebosch East, Cape Town) with “X-Factor Greatest Auditions”

Ursula Botha (Parktown, Johannesburg) with “How to Speak South African”

Ian Morrsion (Greenstone, Johannesburg) with “Bored DJ on a Plane”

Hloniphiswe Coleman (Rondebosch, Cape Town) with “I Call It…”

Daniel Rademeyer (Mayville, Pretoria) with “Live Life Full”

Tristan Edwards (Waterkloof, Pretoria) with “Trick Shots with T-man”

Dylan Gous (Murrayfield, Pretoria) with “Half Past Awkward Hot”

Ryan George Griffiths (Wynberg, Cape Town) with “Cell C #BTN entry”

Phephelo Fakude (Clydesdale, Pretoria) with “News with JAG”

Klara van Wyk (Gardens, Cape Town) with “Pretina’s Inescapable Truth”

James Keenan (Pinetown, Durban) with “Card Forfeits”

Kelly Ernstzen (Belhar, Cape Town) with “Songs Gone Wrong”

Werner Labuschagne (Florida Hills, Johannesburg) with “Language Barriers”

Waydene Laing (Johannesburg) with “How to be a YouTuber”

Leewin Chen (Woodlands Hill, Bloemfontein) with “Asian South African”

Nondwe Maqubela (Edenberg, Johannesburg) with “Know your Crazy 8”

Quincy Mojela (Clayville, Olifantsfontein) with “Soccer my Everything”

Puleng Moeketsi (Roodeport, Johannesburg) with “That is me trying diumb Life Hack”

Sibu Mpanza (Forest Hill, Cape Town) with “Sipu Mpanza – #BTN”

Eben Odendaal (Bryanston, Johannesburg) with “60 with EB and Dave”

Ade Omole (Vereeniging, Gauteng) with “Justin Bieber Cover”

Riaz Orrie (Plumstead, Cape Town) with “How to get a Girlfriend”

Nick Redlinghuys (Somerset West) with “Stop.Motion.Coffee”

Nduduzo Shandu (Soweto, Johannesburg) with “The Interview”

Sandile Sibuyi (Kwathema, Gauteng) with “South African Love Story”

Jeandre Strydom (Lorraine, Port Elizabeth) with “Smartydom – One Klap Man”

Troye May (Cape Town) with “#Beertime”

Thiko and Tsiko Nudau (Benoni, Gauteng) with “TweelinZA”

Graham “Dingo” Dinkelman (Hillcrest, Durban) with “How to catch a Crocodile”

Lindy Vermaak (Alberton, Gauteng) with “MAK3UPGeek”

Says Doug Mattheus, Executive Head: Marketing of Cell C, innovation leaders in the telecoms space: “South Africa has its own crop of social media celebs with a loyal local and international following. From wildlife spectacles to Afrikaans rappers, South Africans have contributed a lot to the online sensation of YouTube. We as Cell C want to provide the platform to allow people to make their dreams become a reality.”

#BTN aims to change the face of reality shows, and ultimately bring South Africa to the forefront of social media enhancement. With Cell C, believing is now a reality.

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Earth 2050: memory chips for kids, telepathy for adults

An astonishing set of predictions for the next 30 years includes a major challenge to the privacy of our thoughts.

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By 2050, most kids may be fitted with the latest memory boosting implants, and adults will have replaced mobile devices with direct connectivity through brain implants, powered by thought.

These are some of the more dramatic forecasts in Earth 2050, an award-winning, interactive multimedia project that accumulates predictions about social and technological developments for the upcoming 30 years. The aim is to identify global challenges for humanity and possible ways of solving these challenges. The website was launched in 2017 to mark Kaspersky Lab’s 20th birthday. It comprises a rich variety of predictions and future scenarios, covering a wide range of topics.

Recently a number of new contributions have been added to the site. Among them Lord Martin Rees, the UK’s Astronomer Royal, Professor at Cambridge University and former President of the Royal Society; investor and entrepreneur Steven Hoffman, Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner, along withDmitry Galov, security researcher and Alexey Malanov, malware analyst at Kaspersky Lab.

The new visions for 2050 consider, among other things:

  • The replacement of mobile devices with direct connectivity through brain implants, powered by thought – able to upload skills and knowledge in return – and the impact of this on individual consciousness and privacy of thought.
  • The ability to transform all life at the genetic level through gene editing.
  • The potential impact of mistakes made by advanced machine-learning systems/AI.
  • The demise of current political systems and the rise of ‘citizen governments’, where ordinary people are co-opted to approve legislation.
  • The end of the techno-industrial age as the world runs out of fossil fuels, leading to economic and environmental devastation.
  • The end of industrial-scale meat production, as most people become vegan and meat is cultured from biopsies taken from living, outdoor reared livestock.

The hypothetical prediction for 2050 from Dmitry Galov, security researcher at Kaspersky Lab is as follows: “By 2050, our knowledge of how the brain works, and our ability to enhance or repair it is so advanced that being able to remember everything and learn new things at an outrageous speed has become commonplace. Most kids are fitted with the latest memory boosting implants to support their learning and this makes education easier than it has ever been. 

“Brain damage as a result of head injury is easily repaired; memory loss is no longer a medical condition, and people suffering from mental illnesses, such as depression, are quickly cured.  The technologies that underpin this have existed in some form since the late 2010s. Memory implants are in fact a natural progression from the connected deep brain stimulation implants of 2018.

“But every technology has another side – a dark side. In 2050, the medical, social and economic impact of memory boosting implants are significant, but they are also vulnerable to exploitation and cyber-abuse. New threats that have appeared in the last decade include the mass manipulation of groups through implanted or erased memories of political events or conflicts, and even the creation of ‘human botnets’. 

“These botnets connect people’s brains into a network of agents controlled and operated by cybercriminals, without the knowledge of the victims themselves.  Repurposed cyberthreats from previous decades are targeting the memories of world leaders for cyber-espionage, as well as those of celebrities, ordinary people and businesses with the aim of memory theft, deletion of or ‘locking’ of memories (for example, in return for a ransom).  

“This landscape is only possible because, in the late 2010s when the technologies began to evolve, the potential future security vulnerabilities were not considered a priority, and the various players: healthcare, security, policy makers and more, didn’t come together to understand and address future risks.”

For more information and the full suite of inspirational and thought-provoking predictions, visit Earth 2050.

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How load-shedding is killing our cellphone signals

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Extensive load-shedding, combined with the theft of cell tower backup batteries and copper wire, is placing a massive strain on mobile network providers.

MTN says the majority of MTN’S sites have been equipped with battery backup systems to ensure there is enough power on site to run the system for several hours when local power goes out and the mains go down. 

“With power outages on the rise, these back-up systems become imperative to keeping South Africa connected and MTN has invested heavily in generators and backup batteries to maintain communication for customers, despite the lack of electrical power,” the operator said in a statement today.

However, according to Jacqui O’Sullivan, Executive: Corporate Affairs, at MTN SA, “The high frequency of the cycles of load shedding have meant batteries were unable to fully recharge. They generally have a capacity of six to 12 hours, depending on the site category, and require 12 to 18 hours to recharge.”

An additional challenge is that criminals and criminal syndicates are placing networks across the country at risk. Batteries, which can cost R28 000 per battery and upwards, are sought after on black markets – especially in neighbouring countries. 

“Although MTN has improved security and is making strides in limiting instances of theft and vandalism with the assistance of the police, the increase in power outages has made this issue even more pressing,” says O’Sullivan.

Ernest Paul, General Manager: Network Operations at SA’s leading network provider MTN, says the brazen theft of batteries is an industry-wide problem and will require a broader initiative driven by communities, the private sector, police and prosecutors to bring it to a halt.

“Apart from the cost of replacing the stolen batteries and upgrading the broken infrastructure, communities suffer as the network degrades without the back-up power. This is due to the fact that any coverage gaps need to be filled. The situation is even more dire with the rolling power cuts expected due to Eskom load shedding.”

Loss of services and network quality can range from a 2-5km radius to 15km on some sites and affect 5,000 to 20,000 people. On hub sites, network coverage to entire suburbs and regions can be lost.

Click here to read more about efforts to combat copper theft.

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