December 29, 2023

Here Are POCIT’s Top 10 Articles Of 2023

This year’s top stories reflect the challenges, opportunities, and dynamic changes in the tech industry and broader society. 

Unsurprisingly, many of these years’ top stories concern the boom in generative AI, from developing the “BlackGPT” to concerns around the historical and present-day harms and philosophies underpinning AI developments.

We’ve also shared stories of Black innovation, Latine entrepreneurship, workplace wins and challenges, collective triumph, and personal tragedy.

Here are the ten stories that resonated with you, our POCIT readers, the most this year.

10. Cash App’s Appeal in the Black Community

Cardi B holding $100 bills

Over the past few years, Cash App has ingrained itself into hip-hop culture, with Black many rappers and celebrities endorsing it. While payment apps like Cash App offer encrypted transactions, concerns about vulnerability persist, with Black and Hispanic users being more likely to report being hacked or scammed. Still, the convenience of payment systems like Cash App means they remain popular among Black Americans, weaving into the cultural fabric. Read more.

9. Empowering Conferences for Black and Latine Techies

Diverse conference attendees

We all know the importance of connecting with like-minded folks, and conferences are a vital way to do just that with professionals in your industry. So, we rounded up conferences for people of color in tech that provide a safe space for professionals to network, grow in their careers, and learn from industry leaders and executives who understand their unique challenges and opportunities. Plus, we shared some tips for getting past the cost barrier. Read more.

8. The Workplace Plight of Black Women

Katara McCarty, founder of EXHALE

Almost 2 in 5 Black Black women have left their jobs because they felt unsafe, according to a revealing report by EXHALE, a well-being app for Black women and women of color. The women emphasized the need for more tools and resources tailored to support their needs.

“As Black Women, we’re surrounded with messages telling us we’re strong and resilient enough to manage stress, but this survey proves that a lack of necessary support negatively impacts us,” said Katara McCarty, founder of EXHALE. Read more.

7. Musician-Turned-QA Engineer Matt Castilla’s Unconventional Path To Intuit Mailchimp

Matthew 'Matt' Castilla

In this interview, Matt Castilla shared his journey from being an accomplished musician to a thriving career as a senior software quality assurance engineer at Intuit Mailchimp. He also told us about his paternal grandfather, Willenham Castilla, a civil rights icon in Mississippi and one of the first Black supervisors in the state and overseeing one of its largest outposts. Two years after the Civil Rights Voting Act of 1965 passed, he used his promotion to register Black voters who the poll tax had disenfranchised. Read more.

6. The Tragic Case of Yohanes Kidane

Yohanes Kidane

Yohanes Kidane, a 22-year-old software engineer graduate who had just moved to the Bay Area, went missing a week after starting his new role as a software engineer at Netflix. Our worst fears were confirmed a couple of weeks later, and we said goodbye to a budding tech talent. Read more.

5. Confronting the Tech Elites’ Racist Ideologies

Émile P Torres and Timnit Gebru

More and more prominent tech figures are voicing concerns about superintelligent AI and risks to the future of humanity. But as leading AI ethicist Timnit Gebru and researcher Émile P Torres point out, these ideologies have deeply racist foundations and perpetuate present-day harms. We dove into some concerning philosophies underpinning how many influential tech leaders are approaching the AI boom. Read more.

4. Dwyane Wade and Square’s Accelerator Program

Square's small business accelerator program for Black and Latino entrepreneurs: FORWARD.

For Black and Latino entrepreneurs, there’s only one direction: forward. This is the message driving Square’s small business accelerator program for Black and Latino entrepreneurs: FORWARD. The accelerator, launched in partnership with Dwyane Wade’s Social Change Fund United, 1863 Ventures, and American Express, provides Black and Latino entrepreneurs with the education, mentorship, coaching, and capital needed to thrive. Read more.

3. The Revolutionary Black GPT

John Pasmore, founder of Latimer

Latimer, named after African-American inventor Lewis Latimer, is a new AI platform that aims to represent the experiences of Black and brown people more accurately. Thanks to a new exclusive agreement, Latimer is now training its “BlackGPT” large language model on the New York Amsterdam News’ extensive library, which dates back to 1929. Read more.

2. Ashley Grayson’s Downfall

Ashley Massengill Grayson

From TikTok fame to facing RICO charges, the shocking tale of Ashley Grayson’s indictment captured your attention this year. The content creator and entrepreneur, formerly Ashley Massengill, became widely known after claiming to have made $1 million within 40 minutes through her online platform, Digital Course Recipe. Read more.

1. Google’s Pay Gap Exposed

Black woman typing at laptop

A leaked spreadsheet revealing that Black employees at Google make $20,000 less on average than their white coworkers ignited a discussion on the stark pay disparity between Black and white employees at the tech giant. We also spoke to Black former Google employees about their experiences negotiating employment contracts at the tech giant and their insights. Read more.

Samara Linton

Community Manager at POCIT | Co-editor of The Colour of Madness: Mental Health and Race in Technicolour (2022), and co-author of Diane Abbott: The Authorised Biography (2020)