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

AI Ethics Missing as Machine Learning Advances

Posted June 9th, 2017 at 11:53 am (UTC-4)
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Teaching a computer to “think” the way the human brain does means feeding it huge amounts of real-world data so that it can learn, analyze, predict, and solve problems. But in this brave new world of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, there are no ethical guidelines, no regulations, and no parameters to govern how […]

New Robots Debut in Shanghai; Russian Malware Found on Instagram

Posted June 8th, 2017 at 12:51 pm (UTC-4)
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Today’s Tech Sightings: Companion Robots Featured at Shanghai Electronics Show More than 50 Chinese companies are showcasing a new generation of robots at Shanghai’s CES electronics show. The robots have heightened dexterity and skills and are being touted as potential home companions, shopping attendants or entertainers. Russian Malware Controls Hiding on Britney Spears’ Instagram Page […]

China Loves Social Media; Wikimedia’s Use of Donor Funds Questioned

Posted June 7th, 2017 at 1:30 pm (UTC-4)
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Today’s Tech Sightings: Study Shows Chinese Okay With Social Media Being Bad for Health An overwhelming majority of Chinese social media users – nearly 90 percent – are unperturbed by the negative effects of excessive online use, according to a national study from research group Kantar. Despite loss of sleep and privacy and other negative […]

Google Teaches Kids About Online Safety; Email Scams on the Rise

Posted June 6th, 2017 at 12:35 pm (UTC-4)
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Today’s Tech Sightings: Google Is Using Games to Teach Kids About Online Safety Learning how to watch your step online to avoid malware and other pitfalls is an acquired skill. And Google has just launched a new program called “Be Internet Awesome” to teach young people how to make smart decisions online. The program includes […]

‘CrowdGuard’ Fights India’s Sexual Violence, Bystander Apathy

Posted June 2nd, 2017 at 11:30 am (UTC-4)
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India has witnessed some harrowing acts of sexual and gender-based violence in recent years, some occurring in front of witnesses who watched, but did nothing. To combat this apathy, a social enterprise has come up with a crowdsourced solution that harnesses a trusted community to help people under attack. Philip Sunil Urech has seen it […]

India Mobile Use on the Rise; China’s New Law Expands ‘Great Firewall’

Posted June 1st, 2017 at 12:35 pm (UTC-4)
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Today’s Tech Sightings: Internet Trends Report: India Is Definitely World’s Next Major Tech Market Thanks to cheaper smartphones and data plans, India now has 355 million internet users. That’s about 27 percent of its population of 1.3 billion – up from 277 million in 2015. That means mobile internet use is also on the rise, […]

Uzbekistan Bans 34 Video Games; North Korea Reinvents the ‘iPad’

Posted May 31st, 2017 at 2:07 pm (UTC-4)
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Today’s Tech Sightings: Uzbekistan Bans 34 Games, Including The Sims 3 and 4, for ‘Distorting Values’ The Central Asian nation of Uzbekistan has banned The Sims video simulation game, among a growing list of video games deemed bad for the country’s values. The list also includes Mass Effect and Call of Duty: Black Ops, among […]

Getting ‘Personal’ With Google Search; Germany Unveils Robot Priest

Posted May 30th, 2017 at 12:54 pm (UTC-4)
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Today’s Tech Sightings: Google Search Just Got a Lot More Personal If you are using any of Google’s products, then everything you do is being tracked so advertisers can pay big money for your data.  But the information also allows Google to personalize your search. A new “Personal” tab in the search menu shows you […]

Tech Giants Tap Into Autism Community for Fresh Talent

Posted May 26th, 2017 at 1:30 am (UTC-4)
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One percent of the world’s population is on the Autism Spectrum Disorder, a group of complex brain development disabilities. Most are unemployed or under-employed. But several tech companies are now actively courting autistic workers for their unique skills, particularly suited for computing. Adults on the Autism spectrum excel with analytical skills. They have an eye […]

‘WannaCry’ Clues Point to China as New Vulnerability Raises Red Flags

Posted May 25th, 2017 at 1:32 pm (UTC-4)
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Today’s Tech Sightings: WannaCry Ransom Note Analysis Points to Chinese-speaking Perpetrator Cybersecurity experts continue to comb through evidence to identify the criminals who launched the global ‘WannaCry’ ransomware attack. While initial speculation linked the attackers to North Korea, researchers at cybersecurity firm Flashpoint now say Chinese speakers could be behind the English and Chinese versions […]