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Youth Hack 24 Commences




Youth Hack 24 has officially kicked off on Saturday, March 02, 2024.

The hackathon event brings together talented IT professionals, programmers, and coders working in teams to compete with one another to deliver creating innovative and trailblazing new software applications.

The winning team will receive a cash prize of MVR 100,000.

Minister of Homeland Security and Technology, Ali Ihusan, who attended the inauguration ceremony as guest of honor, officiated the hackathon.

Minister of Youth Ibrahim Waheed along with senior officials of Ooredoo Maldives were in attendance at Saturday’s inauguration ceremony as well.

The challenges of this year’s Youth Hack include;

  • Innovative Marketplace Challenge
  • Mental Health Innovative Challenge
  • Creative Economy Challenge

The hackathon, part of President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu’s Hafthaa-14 (Week-14) roadmap, has been organised to increase the role of women in technical fields and provide a platform for young coders to utilize their skills.

While speaking at the inauguration ceremony, Minister of Youth highlighted the importance of the Mental Health Innovative Challenge in this year’s hackathon, adding the importance of finding solutions for mental health issues.

He further highlighted the enthusiasm of local youth for entrepreneurship and innovation, adding the youth population was growing.

“A total of 10 teams are taking part here today. With 42 youths in these teams, that include 29 males and 13 females, all indicate of a positive future for the younger generations,” the minister said.

Minister of Homeland Security and Technology asserted President Dr. Muizzu’s priority on promoting local talents, in technology and innovation field, globally.

“To promote and open the talent and capabilities of the local youth for the world,” he added.

The winning team of the two-day event will be announced on Sunday evening, March 03, 2024.


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Google trial wraps up as judge weighs landmark U.S. antitrust claims





Google and the U.S. Justice Department wrapped up closing arguments on Friday over claims that the Alphabet unit has unlawfully dominated web search and related advertising, in a case the government contends could shape the “future of the internet.”

U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta in Washington for hours grilled both sides with questions, probing whether competitive platforms such as ByteDance’s TikTok and Meta’s Facebook and Instagram are competitive substitutes for search advertising dollars.

Mehta said a central issue was platform “substitute-ability” for advertisers, which the court must resolve. He will now begin preparing to render a major decision on whether Google’s conduct broke civil antitrust law. He did not indicate when he would rule, but experts say he could potentially order changes to Google’s business practices.

Mehta also questioned whether Google assesses competitors’ pricing while considering its own adjustments. Google’s advertising business is responsible for about three-quarters of its revenue.

U.S. government lawyer David Dahlquist argued that “advertising revenue is what drives Google’s monopoly power today.”

Google has boasted it feels no real market pressures, Dahlquist said, arguing that the company does not fear increasing its pricing or not improving its products.

“Only a monopolist can make a product worse and still make more money,” Dahlquist argued.

Google’s lawyer John Schmidtlein countered that Google’s share of U.S. digital advertising revenue has steadily decreased. He touted the advertising power of rival platforms ByteDance’s TikTok, Meta’s Facebook and Instagram, and Amazon.

That’s because it’s not made from plastic, but wheat straw and has seeds nestled inside.

Schmidtlein argued that Google is “constrained” by rival platforms “where the eyeballs are,” because advertisers know there are overlapping audiences and can spend their dollars elsewhere.

He also asserted that Google was continually moving to innovate its search advertising products. “If Google is a monopolist, why improve anything? Why not just jack the price up?” he told the court. He later argued that “Google has won with a superior product.”

The Justice Department has hammered away at Google in a trial that started on September 12, contending the search engine giant is a monopolist that illegally abused its power to boost profits.

Witnesses from Verizon, Android maker Samsung Electronics and Google itself testified about the company’s annual payments, $26.3 billion in 2021, to ensure that its search is the default on smartphones and browsers, and to keep its dominant market share.

Mehta also took up the government’s claim that Google intentionally destroyed internal documents that were relevant to the issues in the lawsuit.

The government asked Mehta to presume that Google deleted chats that were unfavorable to the company.

Mehta repeatedly questioned Google’s prior policies, which he said left document retention decisions to its employees.

“They should have been preserved. Should there be some consequence for what at a minimum was far from best practices?” the judge asked.

A lawyer for Google, Colette Connor, defended its data preservation practices, calling them reasonable, and urged the court not to sanction the company.

The case, filed by former U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration, was the first of several aimed at reining in the market power of tech leaders.

Another case, against Facebook parent Meta, was also filed during the Trump administration. U.S. President Joe Biden’s antitrust enforcers have followed with a second case against Google and cases against and Apple Inc.

Source(s): CGTN

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UN adopts first global artificial intelligence resolution to ensure AI is safe





The United Nations General Assembly unanimously adopted the first global resolution on artificial intelligence on Thursday, encouraging countries to safeguard human rights, protect personal data, and monitor AI for risks.

The nonbinding resolution, proposed by the United States and co-sponsored by China along with over 120 other nations, also advocates for the strengthening of privacy policies.

“Today, all 193 members of the United Nations General Assembly have spoken in one voice, and together, chosen to govern artificial intelligence rather than let it govern us,” U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield said.

The resolution is the latest in a series of initiatives – few of which carry significant enforceability – by governments around the world to shape AI’s development amid fears it could disrupt democratic processes, turbocharge fraud, or lead to dramatic job losses, among other harms.

“The improper or malicious design, development, deployment and use of artificial intelligence systems … pose risks that could … undercut the protection, promotion and enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms,” the measure states.

In November, the U.S., Britain and more than a dozen other countries unveiled the first detailed international agreement on how to keep artificial intelligence safe from rogue actors, pushing for companies to create AI systems that are “secure by design.”

Europe is ahead of the United States, with EU lawmakers adopting a provisional agreement this month to oversee the technology. The Biden administration has been pressing lawmakers for AI regulation, but a polarized U.S. Congress has made little headway. In the meantime, the White House sought to reduce AI risks to consumers, workers, and minorities while also bolstering national security with a new executive order in October.

The resolution aims to close the digital divide between rich developed countries and poorer developing countries to ensure that all are included in discussions on AI. It also aims to ensure that developing countries have the technology and capabilities to take advantage of AI’s benefits, including detecting diseases, predicting floods, helping farmers, and training the next generation of workers.

The resolution recognizes the rapid acceleration of AI development and use and stresses “the urgency of achieving global consensus on safe, secure and trustworthy artificial intelligence systems.”

It also acknowledges that “the governance of artificial intelligence systems is an evolving area” that requires further discussions on possible governance approaches and emphasizes that innovation and regulation are mutually reinforcing – not mutually exclusive.

Source(s): CGTN

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Beijing still tops Nature Index global science city rankings





Beijing has consistently ranked first in the global science city rankings for eight consecutive years, as measured by the Nature Index, according to Yin Yong, deputy secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Beijing Municipal Committee and mayor of Beijing.

Nature Index tracks the authorship of articles in prestigious research journals and Beijing’s ranking has shown that the city remains the top science city in the world.

On Tuesday, China’s State Council Information Office held a press conference on leveraging Beijing’s strategic role as the national capital, initiating a new chapter in high-quality development. Yin made the remarks while he answered questions from the media at the press conference.

Yin also introduced the capital’s achievement in seeking scientific and technological innovation and attracting high-level talent in science and technology.

Beijing has 92 colleges and universities, and more than 1,000 research institutes and its numbers of national laboratories and large scientific installations are ranked first in the country.

Beijing’s investment in research and development has also been among the largest in the country. Every 10,000 people in Beijing hold an average of over 262 invention patents, ranking first in China.

The capital has a large talent pool with more than 550,000 scientific researchers. In the field of artificial intelligence, for instance, Beijing’s top talent accounts for about 43 percent of the country’s total.

An average of 337 technology-based enterprises are established in Beijing every day, and the number of national high-tech enterprises and unicorn enterprises rank first among all cities in the country.

Source(s): CGTN

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