Emojis Tackle Language Disorders; Parsing Future Tech From Fiction

Posted April 25th, 2017 at 1:52 pm (UTC-4)
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Today’s Tech Sightings:

Samsung Develops Emoji-based Chat App for Language Disorders

More often than not, people use emojis for fun when they chat. But for those with language disorders like aphasia, which makes reading, writing and talking difficult, emojis might be just the thing to help facilitate communication. To address the gap, Samsung’s Italian subsidiary came up with a new app called Wemogee. The app can translate more than 140 text sentences into emoji messages.

UN, Ma, Estonia’s e-Residency Join to Support Startups in Developing World

The United Nations will start working with Estonia’s digital residency platform to help startups in developing countries. Alibaba’s founder Jack Ma will serve as advisor to the new initiative, dubbed “e-Trade For All.” Estonia’s e-Residency service gives users who pay a small fee secure digital identities for various payment transactions.

Our Sci-Fi Future: Silly vs. Terrifying

Rapid technological progress and new innovations that look like they came out of the Star Trek TV series science fiction seem to be blurring the lines between reality and fantasy. Writer Peter Suciu sifts through the real and the imaginary comparisons between the latest technologies and fictional innovations.

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Aida Akl
Aida Akl is a journalist working on VOA's English Webdesk. She has written on a wide range of topics, although her more recent contributions have focused on technology. She has covered both domestic and international events since the mid-1980s as a VOA reporter and international broadcaster.

Blockchain? What’s Blockchain?

Posted April 20th, 2017 at 1:47 am (UTC-4)
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“I don’t even know what blockchain is,” someone recently told Techtonics. So to demystify the latest buzzword in technology, blockchain is a secure, distributed digital ledger shared among all participants. For example, parties to a transaction agree to make blockchain the official source of record, say for a land deed. So they encode the deed on a digital “block.” Once it’s there, any updates can be entered by adding new blocks to the “chain.” The record cannot be altered.

Blockchain powers digital currency Bitcoin, but the two should not be confused. And it’s creating quite a stir in the health and financial sectors, to name just a couple of its potential applications. But a lot of people know little about blockchain or how it works. Hopefully, this infographic will shed some light on this promising technology.

(T. Benson for VOA/Techtonics)

Aida Akl
Aida Akl is a journalist working on VOA's English Webdesk. She has written on a wide range of topics, although her more recent contributions have focused on technology. She has covered both domestic and international events since the mid-1980s as a VOA reporter and international broadcaster.

Social Media’s Live Streaming Woes; Microsoft Kills Mobile Passwords

Posted April 19th, 2017 at 11:56 am (UTC-4)
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Today’s tech Sightings:

Police prepare to remove the body of Steven Stephens, who they say said posted a video of himself on Facebook killing an elderly man in Cleveland before he shot and killed himself following a brief pursuit, in Erie, Pennsylvania, April 18, 2017. (Reuters)

Police prepare to remove the body of Steven Stephens, who they say said posted a video of himself on Facebook killing an elderly man in Cleveland before he shot and killed himself following a brief pursuit, in Erie, Pennsylvania, April 18, 2017. (Reuters)

Saving Social Media as Live Streaming Murder Becomes New Normal

It took Facebook three hours to take down one video. Before it did, the video showing the murder of a 74-year-old man in Cleveland was copied, circulated, and watched at least 1.6 million times. CEO Mark Zuckerberg addressed the issue on the first day of Facebook’s F8 developer Conference Tuesday. But this is not the first incident. Swedish authorities arrested three men for assaulting and live streaming the rape of a woman to a private Facebook group.  And now, Germany is investigating Facebook’s role in inciting racial and ethnic hatred and could hold it accountable. Writer David Glance suggests holding companies hosting these accounts accountable might help.

Microsoft Kills Off Passwords With Authenticator’s New Phone Logins

Microsoft’s latest update to its Authenticator app is out on Android and Apple mobile devices. The app lets users sign in to Microsoft accounts without struggling to remember long and complicated passwords. In a previous incarnation, Authenticator generated one-time codes for two-factor authentication. But the update now lets smartphone users click an “approve” note when signing in to Microsoft accounts. iPhone users will see a validation option requiring an additional fingerprint scan.

Governing Body: No IP Addresses for Governments Shutting Down Internet Access

Internet registry AFRINIC will consider a new proposal at its upcoming meeting in Kenya in June to penalize governments that deny internet access to their citizens. The group manages and allocates IP addresses in Africa and is one of five such regional organizations. The proposal would add a new section to AFRINIC’s rules allowing organizations to deny new IP addresses to countries that order an internet shutdown for a full year.

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Aida Akl
Aida Akl is a journalist working on VOA's English Webdesk. She has written on a wide range of topics, although her more recent contributions have focused on technology. She has covered both domestic and international events since the mid-1980s as a VOA reporter and international broadcaster.

Murder, Graphic Content Haunt Facebook; Android Pay, PayPal Team Up

Posted April 18th, 2017 at 11:54 am (UTC-4)
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Today’s Tech Sightings:

FILE - Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg delivers the keynote address at the F8 Facebook Developer Conference in San Francisco, April 12, 2016. (AP)

FILE – Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg delivers the keynote address at the F8 Facebook Developer Conference in San Francisco, April 12, 2016. (AP)

Facebook Kicks Off F8 Developer Conference Amid Murder Controversy

CEO Mark Zuckerberg has a lot to talk about at Tuesday’s F8 developer conference in San Jose, California. But his keynote speech comes at an inopportune time as the social media giant grapples with violent videos of murder, torture and rape. In the most recent incident, U.S. police nationwide searched for the alleged killer who posted the video of the man he appeared to have murdered in Cleveland on Facebook. Police reportedly found the fugitive dead. The alleged murderer also claimed on Facebook that he killed at least 13 other people. This latest revelation comes as Facebook continues to struggle with an ongoing problem with fake news.

Steve Ballmer Launches USAFacts

Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and owner of the L.A. Clippers has launched a new nonprofit project called USAFacts, a portal that gives citizens insights into U.S. government spending. In addition to a variety of documents and resources, the portal includes a report on government operations similar to annual reports released by public corporations.

Android Pay, PayPal Join Forces to Provide New Payment Options

Android Pay and PayPal are teaming up to offer new options in electronic payments – and potentially add new customers to both platforms. The initiative will allow PayPal users and their friends and family to link their accounts to Android Pay to send or receive money. The new feature will show up in Android Pay and PayPal apps in a few weeks.

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Aida Akl
Aida Akl is a journalist working on VOA's English Webdesk. She has written on a wide range of topics, although her more recent contributions have focused on technology. She has covered both domestic and international events since the mid-1980s as a VOA reporter and international broadcaster.

‘Let Girls Learn’ Brings Education Tech to Rural Ghana

Posted April 14th, 2017 at 11:35 am (UTC-4)
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More than 62 million girls around the world are not attending school. But through the U.S. government’s ‘Let Girls Learn’ initiative, a multilateral effort is putting education technology and a future at their fingertips.

In parts of the developing world, girls are expected to do house chores, care for siblings, and fetch water. But they are last in line after their brothers to get an education, if at all. And if they are lucky enough to go to school, they sometimes are shut out.

“In many countries, such as India … it just becomes completely socially unacceptable for a girl to be attending school” when she begins to menstruate, said Gina Tesla, Chief of IBM’s Corporate Service Corps in an interview with Techtonics. And sometimes, “there just simply may not be any sort of bathroom facilities” for girls in these situations. And so they can’t go to school.

FILE - A girl fetches water from a well at Mewat district in the northern Indian state of Haryana, June 25, 2014. (Reuters)

FILE – A girl fetches water from a well at Mewat district in the northern Indian state of Haryana, June 25, 2014. (Reuters)

There are so many girls who are so desperate for education that they will get up at 3:00 in the morning. They will go and fetch water. They will go and feed their brothers and sisters and their family. And they will study. And they will walk miles and miles to go to school – Gina Tesla

To tackle some of these issues, the U.S. Peace Corps, IBM’s Corporate Service Corps, and local tech firm TechAide came together under the Let Girls Learn initiative to “provide more access to education for girls who are not receiving it.” The initiative was launched by U.S. President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama in 2015, and the Peace Corps has been “at the forefront of implementing” it, according to Tesla.

Her team has been working closely with TechAide, a recipient of IBM’s pro bono consulting services, to develop a server to provide educational content to rural areas of Ghana.

The server, equipped with Wi-Fi capability, is called ASANKA.

Speaking with Techtonics, TechAide’s CEO, Kafui Prebbie, explained that ASANKA means ‘community bowl’ in the Ghanaian language. It’s also short for All Subjects and New Knowledge Access.

Kafui Prebbie, CEO of TechAide, with Ashesi University students and teachers in Ghana, demonstrates ASANKA, a device that acts as a hotspot and server to deliver educational lessons to young women in remote villages, accessed via any Wifi-capable device. (IBM Corporation)

Kafui Prebbie, CEO of TechAide, with Ashesi University students and teachers in Ghana, demonstrates ASANKA, a device that acts as a hotspot and server to deliver educational lessons to young women in remote villages, accessed via any Wi-Fi-capable device. (IBM Corporation)

Internet subscriptions in Ghana are expensive and connectivity is spotty, particularly in rural areas with the greatest educational needs. So TechAide had to come up with a different solution to deliver educational content.

“We started to look at that small device,” he said, “cheap … easy to deploy, one watt of power, and to make it easily available in communities with content either pre-configured onto it or accessible through a mobile network, and put content that people in rural areas can access.”

The device is not free to schools. But TechAide and the Peace Corps just started a pilot program in 20 communities to drum up official support from Ghana’s Ministry of Education. The aim, according to Prebbie, is to “show the ministry that you can have this device in the schools and put the content on it and make it available to the boys and girls who cannot access the content cheaply, easily, interestingly.”

TechAide has also partnered with banks to help set up education labs in schools, where students can access approved educational content, including audio, video, and interactive games. Teachers can use a free wireless hotspot to look up content for education or community development, including textbooks and curricula which have been published over the years but are now damaged or lost.

Half of the teachers in underserved areas don’t even have a syllabus, noted Tesla. But Prebbie said TechAide is trying to “pull together all this content in soft copies – electronic formats – and put all of this on the ASANKA device and [make] it available also in the schools.”

In addition to the curricula, TechAide, IBM, and the Peace Corps visited schools and talked directly to girls to learn more about their needs. They then put together 20 topics “that were interesting to the adolescent girls about the problems that face them and making choices,” he said.

An IBM Corporate Services Crops member talks to young girls in a village in Ghana. (IBM Corporation)

An IBM Corporate Services Crops member talks to young girls in a village in Ghana. (IBM Corporation)

Some of the common issues the girls raised included chores and parents making decisions about boys going to school but not being able to pay for the girls’ education, and how to raise money to pay their own fees through school.

Reaching out to the girls, said Tesla, helped IBM and Peace Corps volunteers understand the gaps in communities that need support, perhaps with more “delicate content” to “help educate girls about some of the more nefarious … ways that they can end up in situations where they are being promised access to education and that’s not really what’s happening.”

Working within local communities, Prebbie is looking for interesting ways to present this type of information and help parents “stay extremely focused on girls’ education and the power of girls’ empowerment within the context of national development.”

All of this material will be loaded on ASANKA to help girls “take decisions by even playing those games and seeing the effect of those things … why they’re not able to go to school and how they can get around it,” he said.

Meanwhile, TechAide is building an ecosystem around the device by bringing women into its IT staff. “We’re creating something … called the ASANKA Girls Network,” he announced.

Girls in the network would know how to use the devices. “They’ve taken decisions based on what they’ve seen in the schools and they’ve used these devices to empower themselves,” he added. “…. We want these girls also in the future to be able to be coders to design the program that we put on the boxes that go into Africa.”

For Tesla, this kind of approach makes “pure business sense.” She believes the more tech companies engage in projects in emerging markets while providing their own employees with “life-changing opportunities,” the more they can innovate “to help make positive contributions to societal issues.”

In one collaboration, IBM and the Peace Corps brought 27 high school girls from rural Ghana to Ashesi University, a nonprofit college in Accra, for two days of empowerment and mentoring and an address by IBM’s Country General Manage for Ghana, Angela Kyerematen-Jimoh.

“She is [IBM’s] first female country general manager for all of Africa,” said Tesla. “And she grew up in the Ghanaian education system. And she was an example to all of the young people there, but particularly to the girls who were there to see that there really are possibilities … for advancement.”

“Implanting those seeds of inspiration” is important, she added, because education is a promise children in developed countries grow up with and expect, but in developing parts of the world, it is a promise girls may never hear.

Aida Akl
Aida Akl is a journalist working on VOA's English Webdesk. She has written on a wide range of topics, although her more recent contributions have focused on technology. She has covered both domestic and international events since the mid-1980s as a VOA reporter and international broadcaster.

Kids Lose Sleep With Touchscreen Use; an Argument for Editing Tweets

Posted April 13th, 2017 at 12:03 pm (UTC-4)
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Today’s Tech Sightings:

FILE - Children play with their iPads at the Steve Jobs school Sneek, the Netherlands. (Reuters)

FILE – Children play with their iPads at the Steve Jobs School Sneek, the Netherlands. (Reuters)

Study: Kids Who Use Touchscreen Devices Sleep Less at Night

Earlier research has linked television and video games to sleep problems, but for the first time, a new study appearing in the Scientific Advances journal, looked at the use of mobile touchscreen devices among children. The study found that infants and toddlers who spend more time with smartphones and tablets sleep less at night, although the reasons for that are unclear. University of London researchers found that children between the ages of six months and three years sleep 15 minutes less for every additional hour they spend with a tablet or smartphone.

The Case for Editing Tweets

When you make a mistake, as humans often do, Facebook lets you edit your post even after you publish it. Twitter, on the other hand, leaves you to suffer the consequences of a typo or an error. Once you send a tweet, you can’t fix it. You can delete it, but that is not recommended. Writer Casey Newton argues in favor of enabling the editing of tweets and proposes adding the option to the drop-down menu.

Amazon Gets Approval From India’s Federal Bank to Operate Digital Wallet

Competition is heating up in India’s mobile digital payments market, currently dominated by Paytm, which is backed by Amazon’s Southeast Asia main rival, Alibaba. The license allows Amazon to introduce an e-wallet for online and offline transactions in an already-crowded e-payments market.

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Aida Akl
Aida Akl is a journalist working on VOA's English Webdesk. She has written on a wide range of topics, although her more recent contributions have focused on technology. She has covered both domestic and international events since the mid-1980s as a VOA reporter and international broadcaster.

Brexit Vote Site May Have Been Hacked; Net Neutrality Fight Begins

Posted April 12th, 2017 at 1:44 pm (UTC-4)
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Today’s Tech Sightings:

FILE - An illustration picture of postal ballot papers ahead of the June 23 Brexit referendum to decide whether Britain will remain in the European Union, London, June 1, 2016. (Reuters)

FILE – An illustration picture shows postal ballot papers ahead of the June 23 Brexit referendum to decide whether Britain will remain in the European Union, London, June 1, 2016. (Reuters)

UK Lawmakers: Brexit Referendum Website Might Have Been Hacked

Rumors of possible manipulations swirled early on in last year’s Brexit referendum saga. But now, a UK legislative committee says the website that allowed more than a million potential voters to register for the referendum might have been hacked. Last June, the British government extended the registration deadline after the website crashed, an issue blamed on a late rush by young voters. But the committee’s report says it does not rule out the possibility that the crash was the result of a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack on the site.

Google, Facebook, Netflix Lobbyist Tells FCC Not to Destroy Net Neutrality

Lobbyists representing more than three dozen Web giants are urging FCC Chairman Ajit Pai not to kill the 2015 net neutrality order. In meetings with Pai, the Internet Association lobby insisted existing net neutrality rules should remain intact, though it did not demand strong regulations for internet service providers and seemed to favor the move to strike down internet privacy rules.

Japan Automakers Look to Robots to Keep Elderly Moving

Japan, which has the world’s fastest aging population, has been a leader in robotics. But now its automakers are shifting strategies to find ways to help the country’s ageing citizens retain mobility. Toyota, the world’s second largest automaker, just launched a rental service for its walk assist system, which helps patients walk again after suffering strokes and other conditions.

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Aida Akl
Aida Akl is a journalist working on VOA's English Webdesk. She has written on a wide range of topics, although her more recent contributions have focused on technology. She has covered both domestic and international events since the mid-1980s as a VOA reporter and international broadcaster.

Social Media Use Skyrocketing; Google Denies Bias Against Women

Posted April 11th, 2017 at 12:57 pm (UTC-4)
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Today’s Tech Sightings:

FILE - A man walks in front of social media logos in Jakarta, Indonesia. (Reuters)

FILE – A man walks in front of social media logos in Jakarta, Indonesia. (Reuters)

Social Media Gains 14 New Users Every Second

Internet users around the world have increased by one percent since January of 2017, accounting for more than 3.8 billion people. The percentage represents an increase of 28 million people. And in the past three months alone, nearly 110 million people started using social media. That takes the global population using social media services past 2.9 billion users. And according to writer Simon Kemp, that’s an increase of more than one million users per day or 14 new social media users every second.

Google: We’re Not Biased Against Women and These Details on Pay Prove It

Responding to a U.S. Department of Labor claim that it underpays its female workers, Google said it is blind to gender when paying employees. Going the extra mile to disprove the claim, the company released details about its methodology for calculating pay. The Labor Department claimed in court on Friday that it found “systematic disparities against women pretty much across the entire workforce” at Google.

Windows 10 Creators Update Rollout Begins With Privacy Dialogue

Windows 10 users are getting a major new update Tuesday, also known as Windows 10 Creators Update. You could wait for all the bugs to be ironed out or, if you can’t wait and want to go ahead and try it out, you probably should revisit your privacy settings to see what has changed and where they should be.

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Aida Akl
Aida Akl is a journalist working on VOA's English Webdesk. She has written on a wide range of topics, although her more recent contributions have focused on technology. She has covered both domestic and international events since the mid-1980s as a VOA reporter and international broadcaster.

Few Women in IT, Cloud Computing, but It’s Complicated

Posted April 7th, 2017 at 11:35 am (UTC-4)
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FILE - A woman uses her smartphone near a booth promoting cloud services during the Global Mobile Internet Conference in Beijing, China, April 29, 2016. (AP)

FILE – A woman uses her smartphone near a booth promoting cloud services during the Global Mobile Internet Conference in Beijing, China, April 29, 2016. (AP)

Women comprise only about 11 percent of the information security workforce and are equally underrepresented in cloud technologies in some regions, according to two new studies. But as some experts point out, this is only one part of a much bigger picture.

Despite growing demand for IT talent, the percentage has remained unchanged since 2013. And while the gender gap in the highly-specialized security field is smaller than in other tech sectors, it is still considerable even in North America and Europe.

Women in information security account for eight percent of the workforce in Latin America, nine percent in Africa, and 10 percent in the Asia-Pacific region, according to a new report from the Center for Cyber Safety and Education and the Executive Women’s Forum.

Men and women in the global information security workforce, according to the 2017 Global Information Security Workforce Study:Women in Cybersecurity, (Frost and Sullivan)

Men and women in the global information security workforce, according to the 2017 Global Information Security Workforce Study:Women in Cybersecurity, (Frost and Sullivan)

The 2017 Global Information Security Workforce Study: Women in Cybersecurity – the largest for the information security sector – found women coming into the field with higher educational levels and more diverse backgrounds and skills.

“There’s a disparity between the education levels and representation within the workforce,” said Jason Reed, Lead Statistician for Digital Transformation at Frost and Sullivan, which conducted the research.

“Women tend to hold higher levels of education on the whole than men,” said Reed, “with 51 percent holding a Master’s degree or higher – meaning more than half” – compared to 45 percent of men.  Yet on average, they earn “$5,000 or so less than their male counterparts who are doing the same work.”

The gender deficit goes beyond cybersecurity. A new report from Microsoft – The Cloud Skills Report: Closing the Cloud Skills Chasm – found a similar gap in cloud skills in the UK, in particular, although the percentages for that field are probably lower in developing parts of the world as well.

According to the report, only 20 percent of UK women are working in that space. And a significant number of IT companies surveyed have no plans to change the gender makeup of their workforce. That is cause for concern for Glenn Woolaghan, Partner Business & Development Lead and Practice Development Unit Lead at Microsoft UK.

“A fifth of firms that employ between 250 and 999 staff have no female IT workers,” he said in an email. “And more than half of respondents said they have no policy or plans in place to address this issue [35 percent] or simply don’t know what actions are being put in place [23 percent].”

The bigger picture

The skills needed for the IT sector tend to come “from infrastructure that traditionally was dominated by men,” said Claire Marrero, President of the nonprofit ITWomen.The result is a “gap where girls to date have not had a lot of role models that are security engineers or cloud architects, for example.”

And there are other “subtle things” at play.

FILE - Sayaka Osakabe is the founder of "Matahara net," a support group calling for legislation outlining more support for working women in Japan, Kawasaki, south of Tokyo Sept.11, 2014. When Osakabe, 37, returned to work after a second miscarriage, one of the first questions her boss asked was whether she was having sex again.

FILE – Sayaka Osakabe, founder of “Matahara net,” a support group calling for legislation outlining more support for working women in Japan, is pictured at her home in Kawasaki, Sept.11, 2014. When Osakabe returned to work after a second miscarriage, one of the first questions her boss asked was whether she was having sex again. (Reuters)

The careers of women who drop out of the workforce to raise a family often take a hit. Once they return, they sometimes face workplace discrimination and lack of support. Marrero herself started her own business to find the right balance between her career and family needs.

If a  woman “doesn’t put her hand up to do the project that is going to see her working overseas for six months straight,” then “she’s not going to have the same experience as the guy who did go over there and do it,” she said. “So when it comes around to promotion time, it’s not that she’s not capable of doing it, it’s just she didn’t put her hand up.”

When women who take maternity leave rejoin the workforce, they are “often criticized for leaving work to raise a family,” said Iffat Gill, founder and CEO of ChunriChoupaal, an international nonprofit working to enable women leaders.

“Women encounter systemic discrimination or ‘motherhood penalty,’ she said in an email. “The problem is not that some women choose to leave work to raise a family. The problem is the unwelcoming environment they face when they return.”

That environment, she noted, is also a legacy of a time when men were the sole breadwinners. “Those practices were designed to fit those pre-determined roles,” but as more women join the workforce, the policies to accommodate them “remain slow to change.”

“To ensure diversity and inclusion, these practices need to change,” she stressed.

That also means changing mindsets that nudge girls toward traditional career roles such as nursing or teaching, said Marrero, and educating parents about the value of the technology arena and the wide range of skills it offers, from the creative to the technical. But sparking the interest of young girls in this pursuit has to be done when the time is right.

A recent Microsoft report – Why Europe’s girls aren’t studying STEM – found that European girls between the ages of 11 and 12 are interested in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) only until they are 15 and 16. After that, they lose interest.

“Governments, teachers and parents have a four or five-year window to get girls engaged and excited about careers in STEM and foster a lifelong love of these subjects; paramount to future successful businesses and a robust global economy,” Woolaghan said.

Both Microsoft and ITWomen have programs in place to teach young girls about technology careers. Reaching out to underserved communities, ITWomen introduces girls to women engineers and other role models, while Microsoft’s DigiGirlz program gives schoolgirls insights into the life-changing benefits of technology careers.

FILE - design engineering graduate Youma Fall shows pictures of baskets, the inspiration for an app to help women sell local products from her PayDunya office in Dakar, Senegal. Young women in this largely Muslim West African country are pushing cultural and gender boundaries to enter a booming mobile technology market traditionally led by men, Sept. 7, 2016. (AP)

FILE – Design engineering graduate Youma Fall shows pictures of baskets, the inspiration for an app to help women sell local products from her PayDunya office in Dakar, Senegal. Young women in this largely Muslim West African country are pushing cultural and gender boundaries to enter a booming mobile technology market traditionally led by men, Sept. 7, 2016. (AP)

Enter the Millennials

But the picture is beginning to change, at least in some sectors. A new generation of women under 30 is entering the information security profession with engineering degrees and computer science degrees “at unprecedented levels,” said Reed.

“So what you infer is that it’s highly probable that even the educational qualifications are starting to equalize just from generation to generation,” he said.

Reed hopes that employers will then recognize the change and begin to close the pay gap as well. But he still stresses the need for more inclusive workplaces that are more supportive of women.

Both studies agree a diverse workforce is critical as the cybersecurity industry struggles to fill as many as 1.8 million positions by 2022.

Pointing to a recent global study by McKinsey & Company, Woolaghan said narrowing the gender gap could add up as much as $12 trillion to the global gross domestic product (GDP) by 2025, equivalent to 11 percent of the world’s GDP.

“But if we are to come even close to realizing such benefits,” he said, “businesses need to implement plans and policies to encourage more women into the technology industry.”

“If you are not hiring and engaging and retaining female talent,” added Reed, “you are essentially alienating 50 percent of the population.”

Aida Akl
Aida Akl is a journalist working on VOA's English Webdesk. She has written on a wide range of topics, although her more recent contributions have focused on technology. She has covered both domestic and international events since the mid-1980s as a VOA reporter and international broadcaster.

Twitter Eyes India Expansion; Facebook Goes After Fake News – Again

Posted April 6th, 2017 at 1:52 pm (UTC-4)
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Today’s Tech Sightings:

FILE - A man watches a video on his mobile phone as he commutes by a suburban train in Mumbai, India, March 31, 2016. (Reuters)

FILE – A man watches a video on his mobile phone as he commutes by a suburban train in Mumbai, India, March 31, 2016. (Reuters)

Twitter Pushes Into Countries With Poor Connectivity

Twitter’s latest “Twitter Lite” mobile service, a faster, more data-efficient version of the microblogging service, will target parts of the world where connectivity is spotty in an effort to add new users. Twitter Lite will be rolled out globally, but is primarily aimed at India, Africa and parts of Latin America.

Facebook Puts Link to 10 Tips for Spotting ‘False News Atop Feed

Facebook continues to look for ways to combat fake news that show up every so often as trending stories. Its latest effort is a link at the top of users’ news feeds with tips to help them spot fake news before they share it. The various tips draw attention to odd characteristics in the URL, story formatting, dates, pictures, and other useful advice.

Australian Regulator Sues Apple for Millions Over iPhone Repair Policies

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is suing Apple for allegedly violating local consumer laws by killing iPhones not repaired at Apple stores. Error 53, according to Apple, was intended as a protection measure for users whose touch ID sensors had been used by third-party repair shops. But then Apple said this was a mistake and showed users ways to avoid it. Nevertheless, consumer advocates take issue with Apple for preventing repairs to its products by third-party vendors.

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Aida Akl
Aida Akl is a journalist working on VOA's English Webdesk. She has written on a wide range of topics, although her more recent contributions have focused on technology. She has covered both domestic and international events since the mid-1980s as a VOA reporter and international broadcaster.