No. 234 – Wednesday Reads

Source: Fraym

Calibrating – “All great investments begin in discomfort.”

Issa Rae on the Return of “Insecure” and her Growing Empire – “That craving to tell the stories she’s not seeing anywhere is what’s getting her through this moment of uncertainty.”

A Game Plan to Help the Most Vulnerable – “We share the need to look out for one another. And when this global pandemic ends, our children and grandchildren will share the legacy we leave and the results of the choices we make today.”

The Far-Right Helped Create The World’s Most Powerful Facial Recognition Technology – “Thiel gave me all the money I need…[W]rote me a check on the spot.”

How data can help fight a health crisis like the coronavirus – “The right information in the hands of the right people can save lives in a time of crisis. It will be essential to ensure that such health surveillance measures will not prevail beyond the extreme circumstances we are facing today, so that people do not feel they are losing their privacy in a new world order.”

No. 233 – Tuesday Reads

Address To The Nation By President Akufo-Addo On Updates To Ghana’s Enhanced Response To The Coronavirus Pandemic – “The cynics question our capacity for the maintenance of discipline in this period, and in its aftermath; however, I am confident that we will prove them wrong.”

Masayoshi Son Talks WeWork, Vision Fund And SoftBank Under Siege – “Look at a shadow. Even within 24 hours, the length of your shadow differs dramatically, even though your height in 24 hours is unchanged. People get scared or overconfident looking at the length of the shadow.”

The Truth About Isaac Newton’s Productive Plague – “Doing the work was what mattered, and Newton did it as a student in Cambridge before the plague, he persisted at Woolsthorpe, and he kept going upon his return to college.”

Jamie Dimon Letter to Shareholders – “We know that too many people are being left behind – particularly in the black community. The Civil War ended more than 150 years ago, and we still have not come even close to parity. We need to do more as a nation, and we have more to do as a firm.”

New data methods are helping the Government of Ghana fight COVID-19 – “Understanding changes in mobility patterns is important for the government in order to establish whether the current restrictions are likely to contain the spread of the disease, and whether more, or different, interventions should be put in place in the coming days or weeks. This work shows the power of data and is a good example of how it can benefit everyone.”

No. 191: AI Bias + Data | Y-Combinates US + Nigeria | Russia + Africa Nuclear

Notes on AI Bias

Machine learning is much better at doing certain things than people, just as a dog is much better at finding drugs than people, but you wouldn’t convict someone on a dog’s evidence. And dogs are much more intelligent than any machine learning.

The problem with this statement is that we have convicted people on a dog’s evidence and later found that evidence to be faulty.

Outside of this issue, Benedict Evans provides a simple definition of artificial intelligence bias, scenarios of the potential bad effects of AI bias, and how we can mitigate those effects. Evans’ central point is a good one to keep in mind:

ML finds patterns in data – what patterns depends on the data, and the data is up to us, and what we do with it is up to us.

Paystack x Lambda School Partnership

This is an interesting partnership probably arising from both startups being Y-Combinator alums. Paystack has gotten quite a lot of traction in Nigeria providing a payment platform similar to Stripe. Lambda provides software development training free of charge until folks get a job making at least $50k. After this, they’ll have to pay 17% of their salary for tuition over two years.

I’ve seen a lot of VCs pointing to Lambda as the chosen one to lead us into a new model for education based on this model. First – their not the only education business doing this, African Leadership University uses a similar model. Second, I worry that folks could still find themselves stuck with collectors hands in their pockets. I’d be curious to see what the income threshold will be for this Paystack partnership.

Ethiopia and Russia sign three-year nuclear power plan

Russia’s State Atomic Energy Corporation has been aggressive about pushing nuclear development across Africa. Over the past five years, the company has been at various stages of talks with South Africa, Kenya, Zambia, and Ethiopia. It’ll be at least a decade before we see how all this plays out but it’s quite interesting.