Saving ourselves in the era of Artificial Intelligence

When Elon Musk stated, ‘AI is a fundamental risk to human civilisation,’ the tech world lost their minds. AI supporters and doomsayers fought in the digital battlefield, leaving many more devastated with fear and doubt. Allow me to throw my two-cents into this pool of thought.

Whether we like it or not, society is at the cusp of big change and all predictions spell the end of our existence as we currently know humanity to be. The key words here are: “as we currently know humanity to be’. 

As society’s obsession with technology increases, there are two major impacts on humankind. One, the insatiable desire to integrate the most advanced technology into daily lives to achieve convenience and control, will most likely lead to the merging of humans and machines. Think nanotechnology for curing diseases or cybernetic enhancements for increased performance. 

·         READ: Great marketing starts with a good foundation of empathy

On the other hand, and maybe this is more disturbing, is the unintended consequence of disassociation with what makes us human in the first place. We are forgetting how to connect deeply and humanely with one another.

The benefits that AI will bring seem undeniable. It promises to contribute significantly to the eradication of war, poverty and diseases. However, consider the viewpoint of Ray Kurzweil, Google director of engineering, who warns that we have ‘a moral imperative to realise this promise while controlling the peril.” As AI evolves, so must we. 

Given the growing awareness that AI is prone to human cognitive biases, we now have a bigger responsibility to analyse ourselves critically, as eventual deployers or users of AI, to avoid becoming victims of our own prejudices. I do believe that AI will inevitably reach a tipping point to achieve a state of consciousness. I define this consciousness as the ability to know that it wants to live and survive.

When this happens, would we like to know it has learnt hate and discrimination, and subsequently view humans as a threat? Or would we prefer to know that it has inherently learnt about the concepts of, or at the very least, theoretical applications of tolerance and compassion? 

·         READ: AI’s dirty little secret

Consider the interesting case of ‘Tay, a AI chatterbot designed by Microsoft to mimic the language patterns of a 19-year-old girl and converse with Millennials. It’s vulnerability to bias revealed itself within the first 24 hours of its release. It began to mimic the offensive language and behaviour of the Twitter users with whom it was interacting. Tay was pulled offline and an apology was issued by the company. If AI can currently mimic bad behaviour, then surely it can also be given data to learn what is universally considered good and appropriate behaviour. As such, not only should robust regulations be put in place, but also best human practices.

Scientists, mathematicians and philosophers debate about whether AI will experience consciousness as well as emotions the same way that humans do. In this case, it will be worthwhile to see whether it can objectively sift through the massive data of human history when it becomes self-governing, and ultimately yield a beneficial outcome for humankind.

So, while it may not ‘feel’ in the same way we do, maybe it will learn from the mistakes we have made and make different choices. A possible result may be the ability to propose and implement a utopian co-existence with humanity. Maybe it won’t.

Steven Hawking once said, ‘Success in creating effective AI, could be the biggest event in the history of our civilization. Or the worst.’ My theory of this would be that we currently have the capability to determine this outcome and our future existence with AI, but only if we seek to change what is faulty with ourselves first. 

As I see it, the survival of our humanity as we know it, will be dependent on whether AI learns from our repetition of mistakes in history and applies what today’s society increasingly cannot: Kindness. Empathy. Love.

*Sophia Liu is a Johannesburg-based brand communications specialist and media strategist.


Seacom boosts African internet growth with 100Gbps ethernet tech

Johannesburg – Submarine cable operator Seacom has deployed 100 gigabit per second ethernet technology to bolster the growth of the internet in Africa. 

The company made the upgrade at its data centre core PoPs (Points of Presence) in Teraco Johannesburg and Teraco Cape Town, as one of the first deployments of the technology in sub-Saharan Africa.

By upgrading its core routers and switches at these Teraco PoPs to 100Gbps ethernet technology, Seacom has activated up to 400Gbps of routing and switching bandwidth at each facility. 

The upgrade enables Seacom to scale up the capacity it has acquired on the West Africa Cable System undersea cable to provide alternate traffic paths in the case of a Seacom subsea cable system outage.

·         READ: Seacom begins fibre rollout in Johannesburg


Mark Tinka, head of engineering at the company, said that the investment will enable Seacom to grow its network and customer base.

“We will be able to provide a reliable and consistent experience to African businesses, service providers and consumers. Africa is becoming an important global player in the digital age, and we are committed to investing in the best technology to support the growth of internet access across the continent,” Tinka said. 

Last year, Seacom began a rollout of high-speed fibre internet access services to some business and home users on the East Rand.  

Seacom plans to extend the reach of its fibre network to more parts of South Africa, including areas currently underserviced by last-mile fibre operators and partnered with various resellers to address the home, retail and business markets.

What is a Domain Name?

What is a Domain Name?

This week, we are going to explain to you what a Domain is.

1.  A great Domain means instant credibility!
2.  Choose a name for your Domain.
3.  A Domain is an address without a location pointing nowhere at all.
4.  It exists in name only, and that is what you are paying the SA registrar for.
5.  Always make sure that the Domain is registered in your or your company’s name.
6.  You must be able to edit your Domain at any time and make changes.
7.  Check the WHOIS info on your Domain (very important)
8.  Make sure that you are the owner/registrant.
9.  Make 100% Sure your name is listed as the registrant.
10.  Your physical or postal address must be listed under: Registrant Address.
11.  Your phone number must also be listed under: Registrant Phone in the WOIS info page about your domain.


12.  Your email address must be listed as the registrant email and you must be able to get mail on this address.
13.  You must be able to edit this domain and be able to point it to your hosting; that we will discuss tomorrow in full detail!
14.  If your WHOIS information is listed as your current hosting provider’s information and email, it’s ok, but you have the right to ask them to change it or edit the Domain yourself. If they refuse this it is time to transfer your domain to a host where you always have full control over your domain. This is the best option.

To get the WHOIS information click on the link below  and search WHOIS info. Go to Google & search for WHOIS.


SA-born billionaire buys Los Angeles Times for R6bn

South African-born billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong has bought the Los Angeles Times newspaper, one of the largest and most widely-read publications in the US, for $500m (R6bn).



Soon-Shiong was born in Port Elizabeth in the 1950s to Chinese immigrant parents. He studied medicine at the University of the Witwatersrand before later emigrating to the US via Canada. 

In a media release on Wednesday Tronc, the newspaper’s previous owner, said it had reached an agreement to sell the Los Angeles Times, The San Diego Union-Tribune and various titles in the California News Group to Nant Capital, Soon-Shiong’s private investment vehicle. 

The deal was concluded for $500m (R6bn) in cash plus the assumption of $90m (R1bn) in pension liabilities.

“We look forward to continuing the great tradition of award-winning journalism carried out by the reporters and editors of the Los Angeles Times, The San Diego Union-Tribune and the other California News Group titles,” said Soon-Shiong in a statement.

Journalism has role to play

Los Angeles Times journalists on Thursday shared Soon-Shiong’s introductory letter to staff on social media.

“My own family immigrated from southern China to South Africa generations ago. We chose to settle in Los Angeles because this is the place that felt most like home.

“Ultimately, the decision is deeply personal for me. As someone who grew up in apartheid South Africa, I understand the role that journalism needs to play in a free society.”

Soon-Shiong assured the journalists that he would “work to ensure that you have the tools and resources to produce the high-quality journalism that our readers need and rely upon".

According to a profile of Soon-Shiong in the Los Angeles Times, he joined the University of California – Los Angeles’s medical school – in 1983, after moving from Canada. He later left the university and founded his own medical research firm in the early 1990s, make his fortune in pharmaceuticals and health care. 

According to Forbes, he has a net worth of $7.8bn (R94bn), which makes him "America’s richest doctor".


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