Dell will join members of the E-Waste Solutions Alliance for Africa in Nairobi today to mark the opening of East Africa Compliant Recycling the region’s first large-scale e-waste recycling facility and the creation of a new e-waste business to be supported by a regulatory model tailored for developing countries.
The new regulatory model was developed by Kenyan officials and representatives from non-governmental organizations and the IT and e-recycling industries. The hub was designed by industry, in collaboration with policymakers.
A practical, sustainable regulatory approach
Developing regulations from Kenya’s National Environment Management Authority will help generate capacity for the new e-waste hub by requiring electronics companies to meet certain thresholds for e-waste collection and treatment.
Underscoring the regulatory framework is the recognition that, particularly in developing countries, e-waste has monetary value. That value, combined with the lack of a sustainable e-waste recycling infrastructure in East Africa, likely would have abated the effectiveness of common regulatory approaches to funding and managing e-waste collection and recycling, such as import fees. Those means also could make computing less affordable for Kenyan citizens and public and private-sector organizations.
Other African nations have monitored the development of new regulatory model, with a view to replicating the approach.
An innovative business model that creates jobs
At the heart of the business model are shipping container-housed collection points located throughout Kenya. Each collection point functions as its own independent small businesses, purchasing e-waste from newly-trained individual collectors. To date, four collection points have been established two funded by Dell with at least forty more planned.
Once a shipping container is filled to capacity, its contents are resold to the main hub where the e-waste will be sustainably processed into material fractions and sold back to the technology industry. Each stage of the model is designed to be profitable for participants, from individual collector to collection point to hub.
In addition to protecting the environment, the model is aimed at creating thousands of green jobs at the facility and across supporting logistics and collection networks, in part by converting existing informal-sector e-waste ‚”pickers‚” into trained and legitimately-compensated e-waste collectors. Dell and others have invested in training programs to educate workers on the safe collection and recycling of e-waste.
A separate Dell-sponsored project launched last month already has micro financed and created jobs for 27 women from Nairobi’s Mukuru informal settlement, known as the Mukuru slums. Following the satisfactory completion of a training course, women use funds made available through mobile technology to purchase and resell waste. In its first two weeks, women participating in the Dell-Mukuru collected 1.5 containers of e-waste, which was resold to the new recycling hub.
Prior to the program, women from Mukuru often used unsafe and unhealthy means to collect and resell e-waste to the informal market.
Advancing Dell’s Legacy of Good 2020 goals
Dell is a global leader in the collection and recycling of e-waste. As part of its 2020 Legacy for Good Plan, the company recently set goals to recover 2 billion pounds of electronics and reuse more than 50 million pounds of recycled-content plastics in its products by 2020. Integral to both goals is the ability to access e-waste in developing countries, using methods that do not put people or the environment at risk.
The Honorable Amina A. Abdalla, MP, Chairperson, Committee of Environment and Natural Resources, Kenyan Parliament
‚”We’re looking at ensuring that e-waste is recycled in such a manner that ensures our people not exposed hazardous materials. And so basically, we’ve invested in getting out a regulation that is more proactive managing e-waste. With the regulation, its enforcement, and partnering with not only recyclers but producers, we’ll go a long way in addressing these challenges.‚”
Alice Akinyi Kaudia, Environment Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Water and Natural Resources
‚”We are seeing green technology is good business sense, not just because it creates profits, but if the persons working for such a company are of higher health status because of a good environment, then productivity also goes up. We want to create jobs, particularly for our youth. So it’s a triple way: We have a clean environment, we have jobs created, we have industrial growth and economic growth of the country.‚”
Jean Cox-Kearns, Director of Compliance, Dell Takeback
‚”It is so exciting to see this sustainable model be implemented on the ground in Nairobi, creating green jobs and implementing a solution that deals with e-waste being generated both in Kenya and the greater East African Region, and providing environmentally sound management of e-waste collected.‚”
Prepare for deepfake impact
Is the world as we know it ready for the real impact of deepfake? CAREY VAN VLAANDEREN, CEO at ESET SA, digs deeper
Deepfake technology is rapidly becoming easier and quicker to create and it’s opening a door into a new form of cybercrime. Although it’s still mostly seen as relatively harmful or even humorous, this craze could take a more sinister turn in the future and be at the heart of political scandals, cybercrime, or even unimaginable concepts involving fake videos. And it won’t be just public figures that bear the brunt.
A deepfake is the technique of human-image synthesis based on artificial intelligence to create fake content either from scratch or using existing video designed to replicate the look and sound of a real human. Such videos can look incredibly real and currently many of these videos involve celebrities or public figures saying something outrageous or untrue.
New research shows a huge increase in the creation of deepfake videos, with the number online almost doubling in the last nine months alone. Deepfakes are increasing in quality at a swift rate, too. This video showing Bill Hader morphing effortlessly between Tom Cruise and Seth Rogan is just one example of how authentic these videos are looking, as well as sounding. If you search YouTube for the term ‘deepfake’ it will make you realise we are viewing the tip of the iceberg as to what is to come.
In fact, we have already seen deepfake technology used for fraud, where a deepfaked voice was reportedly used to scam a CEO out of a large sum of cash. It is believed the CEO of an unnamed UK firm thought he was on the phone to his boss and followed the orders to immediately transfer €220,000 (roughly US$244,000) to a Hungarian supplier’s bank account. If it was this easy to influence someone by just asking them to do it over the phone, then surely we will need better security in place to mitigate this threat.
Fooling the naked eye
We have also seen apps making DeepNudes where apps were able to turn any clothed person into a topless photo in seconds. Although, luckily, this particular app has now been taken offline, what if this comes back in another form with a vengeance and is able to create convincingly authentic-looking video?
There is also evidence that the production of these videos is becoming a lucrative business especially in the pornography industry. The BBC says “96% of these videos are of female celebrities having their likenesses swapped into sexually explicit videos – without their knowledge or consent”.
A recent Californian bill has taken a leap of faith and made it illegal to create a pornographic deepfake of someone without their consent with a penalty of up to $150,000. But chances are that no legislation will be enough to deter some people from fabricating the videos.
To be sure, an article from The Economist discusses that in order to make a convincing enough deepfake you would need a serious amount of video footage and/or voice recordings in order to make even a short deepfake clip.
Having said that, In the not-too-distant future, it may be entirely possible to take just a few short Instagram stories to create a deepfake that is believed by the majority of their followers online or by anyone else who knows them. We may see some unimaginable videos appearing of people closer to home – the boss, our colleagues, our peers, our family. Additionally, deepfakes may also be used for bullying in schools, the office or even further afield.
Furthermore, cybercriminals will definitely use such technology to spearphish victims. Deepfakes keep getting cheaper to create and become near-impossible to detect with the human eye alone. As a result, alt that fakery could very easily muddy the water between fact and fiction, which in turn could force us to not trust anything – even when presented with what our senses are telling us to believe.
Heading off the very real threat
So, what can be done to prepare us for this threat? First, we need to better educate people that deepfakes exist, how they work and the potential damage they can cause. We will all need to learn to treat even the most realistic videos we see that they could be a total fabrication.
Secondly, technology desperately needs to develop better detection of deepfakes. There is already research going into it, but it’s nowhere near where it should be yet. Although machine learning is at the heart of creating them in the first place, there needs to be something in place that acts as the antidote being able to detect them without relying on human eyes alone.
Finally, social media platforms need to realize there is a huge potential threat with the impact of deepfakes because when you mix a shocking video with social media, the outcome tends to spread very rapidly and potentially could have a detrimental impact on society.
A career in data science – or your money back
The Explore Data Science Academy is offering high demand skills courses – and guarantees employment for trainees
The Explore Data Science Academy (EDSA) has announced several new courses in 2020 that it says will radically change the shape of data science education in South Africa.
Comprising Data Science, Data Engineering, Data Analytics and Machine Learning, each six-month course provides vital digital skills that are in high demand in the market place. The full time, fully immersive courses each cost R60 000 including VAT.
The courses are differentiated from any other available by the fact that EDSA has introduced a money back promise if it cannot place the candidate in a job within six months of graduation and at a minimum annual starting salary of R240 000.
“For South Africans with drive and aptitude, this is the perfect opportunity to launch a career in what has been called the sexiest career of the 21stcentury,” says Explore founder Shaun Dippnall.
Dippnall and his team are betting on the explosive demand for data science skills locally and globally.
“There is a massive supply-demand gap in the area of data science and our universities and colleges are struggling to keep up with the rapid growth and changing nature of specific digital skills being demanded by companies.
“We are offering specifically a work ready opportunity in a highly skills deficient sector, and one which guarantees employment thereafter.”
The latter is particularly pertinent to young South Africans – a segment which currently faces a 30 percent unemployment rate.
“If you have skills in either Data Science, Data Engineering, Data Analytics or Machine Learning, you will find work locally, even globally. We’re confident of that,” says Dippnall.
EDSA is part of the larger Explore organisation and has for the past two years offered young people an opportunity to be trained as data scientists and embark on careers in a fast-growing sector of the economy.
In its first year of operation, EDSA trained 100 learners as data scientists in a fully sponsored, full-time 12-month course. In year two, this number increased to 400.
“Because we are connected with hundreds of employers and have an excellent understanding of the skills they need, our current placement rate is over 90 percent of the students we’ve taught,” Dippnall says. “These learners can earn an average of R360 000 annually, hence our offer of your money back if there is no employment at a minimum annual salary of R240k within six months.
“With one of the highest youth unemployment rates in the world – recently announced as a national emergency by the President – it is important that institutions teach skills that are in demand and where learners can earn a healthy living afterwards.”
There are qualifying criteria, however. Candidates need to live in close proximity (within one hour commuting distance), or be prepared to live, in either Johannesburg or Cape Town, and need to be between the ages of 18 and 55.
“Our application process is very tough. We’ll test for aptitude and attitude using the qualifying framework we’ve built over the years. If you’re smart enough, you’ll be accepted,” says Dippnall.
To find out more, visit http://www.explore-datascience.net.