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.

All posts by Aida Akl

Even After Death, Social Media Still Connects Loved Ones

Posted November 17th, 2017 at 4:04 pm (UTC-5)
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Social media is turning into a vast graveyard for profiles of owners who have passed away, leaving them unattended or as standing memorials. And some experts are urging social networks to do more to help users prepare for their digital deaths. There are millions of them – pages that remain on social media sites, and […]

Voice Technologies Not Yet Ready to Push Literacy

Posted October 27th, 2017 at 9:11 am (UTC-5)
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Voice-enabled devices have the potential to unlock a world of information for illiterate populations around the world. But certain needs have to be met before voice recognition can significantly impact literacy, says a leading education technology expert. “There is so much going on where you need to be literate,” said Michael Trucano, the World Bank’s […]

Virtual Reality Helps Seniors With Dementia Get Back on Track

Posted October 6th, 2017 at 11:56 am (UTC-5)
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Virtual reality (VR) is helping seniors with cognitive and physical impairments express themselves and experience the outside world. But its use in therapy is far outpacing research, which has yet to determine how VR affects the brain in the long-term. Residents at Maplewood Senior Living, assisted-living communities in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Ohio, are typically in […]

Temporary Email Gives Users Edge on Spammers

Posted September 8th, 2017 at 8:40 am (UTC-5)
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Spammers around the world send out millions of emails every day, in some cases laced with malware or ransomware. To escape the inbox clutter, some users are resorting to disposable email addresses. That might curb spam, some security experts say, but it won’t stop targeted attacks. There is a range of free services that offer […]

For Low Vision, Diabetes, These Apps Can help

Posted September 1st, 2017 at 11:30 am (UTC-5)
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Data-driven apps often are criticized for sacrificing privacy in the interest of providing personalized services. But they can also help guide people with low vision or track diabetes and scoliosis. Here are a few of them: Seeing AI Microsoft’s intelligent camera app, Seeing AI, is a research project that uses artificial intelligence to analyze pictures […]

‘Michka’ App Fights Child Sex Abuse in Iran

Posted August 25th, 2017 at 10:10 am (UTC-5)
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California nonprofit United for Iran is on a mission to build technologies to help Iranian society tackle sexual violence, women’s rights, and other challenges. Its latest app – Michka – takes on child sexual abuse. Michka is an insect. Her little wings are her private parts. And when someone touches them, Michka becomes confused and […]

Teens Build Double Lives Under Social Media Pressure

Posted August 18th, 2017 at 11:43 am (UTC-5)
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Young internet users are leading double lives as social media increasingly shapes their behavior, often trapping them in a vicious cycle that experts say is detrimental to their health. Likes, followers, “friends,” instant internet stars, and viral content have become the new measure of social status, particularly with young people between 10 to 20 years old, […]

Mobile Broadband Puts More Youth, Women Online

Posted August 11th, 2017 at 11:35 am (UTC-5)
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A new generation of young people is dominating internet use around the world, thanks to the increased availability of mobile broadband. And their sheer numbers are helping close digital gender gaps along the way. Global youth “are embracing the emerging technologies, they are using social media, and that is a game-changer in itself,” said Cosmas […]

Can We Control Our Intelligent Machines?

Posted August 4th, 2017 at 11:00 am (UTC-5)
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Hardly a day goes by without news about a breakthrough in machine intelligence or some debate about its pros and cons, more recently between Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Tesla Motors’ Elon Musk. Adding his voice to the mix, author and IT specialist Peter Scott warns that rapid AI growth comes with serious risks that, if […]

Decades Later, Governments Still Wary of Social Media

Posted July 28th, 2017 at 11:35 am (UTC-5)
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Social media has become a rallying ground for global citizens at odds with their governments. And while many governments have learned to coexist with this new reality, others still see it as a potential threat. Things used to be simpler with early digital communications back in the ’70s and ’80s. Members of early pioneering social hubs […]