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The Black AI Consortium has officially launched, aiming to encourage dialogue and advancement in artificial intelligence (AI) with Black scholars at the forefront.  The consortium, established in May, seeks to provide a network for individuals across the African diaspora interested in AI, encouraging the sharing of ideas and insights while addressing current industry concerns. A Network for AI Enthusiasts Across the African Diaspora The mission of the Black AI Consortium, as reported by Black News, is to “cultivate a vibrant and supportive community where individuals of the African diaspora can

NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston will honor Black mathematician Dorothy Vaughan and the women of Apollo with events on the eve of the 55th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing. The highlight will be the renaming and ribbon-cutting ceremony on July 19 to dedicate Building 12 as the “Dorothy Vaughan Center in Honor of the Women of Apollo.” The Legacy Of Dorothy Vaughan Vaughan, a pioneering mathematician, human computer, and NASA’s first Black manager, will be remembered for her groundbreaking work and leadership. She headed the National Advisory

The Mall of America is facing backlash following the implementation of its new facial recognition technology.  The use of the technology has raised privacy concerns among lawmakers, civil liberties advocates, and the general public. Concerns Over Privacy and Misuse Minnesota State Senators Eric Lucero (Republican) and Omar Fateh (Democrat) have united in urging the Mall of America to halt its facial recognition operations.  “Public policy concerns surrounding privacy rights and facial recognition technologies have yet to be resolved, including the high risks of abuse, data breaches, identity theft, liability and

The National Park Service (NPS) has awarded $10.67 million to 15 projects across eight states under the Historic Preservation Fund’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) grant program.  This initiative is dedicated to repairing historic structures on HBCU campuses, ensuring that the sites are preserved for future generations. Preserving Historic HBCU Landmarks The grants will support the restoration of several significant buildings, such as Simmons College’s Steward Hall, Delaware State University’s Hope House, and Cheyney University of Pennsylvania’s Melrose Cottage.  Simmons College, the only private HBCU in Kentucky, will use

Blapp is changing the way Black-owned businesses connect with their communities and attract new clientele.  Blapp: Bridging the Gap for Black-Owned Businesses Jon Laster, a comedian-turned-app developer, created Blapp to help Black-owned businesses thrive. Following George Floyd’s murder in 2020, Laster sought a sustainable way to support his community.  “Blapp works by simplifying people’s desire to help,” Laster said according to ABC News. In Blapp, users can see nearby Black-owned businesses—from restaurants to nail salons—on a map or in a list and search for products and services offered by Black business

Caliza has secured $8.5 million funding. Founded in 2021 by Ezra Kebrab, the Brazil-based startup transforms cross-border transactions in Latin America through the use of crypto stablecoins. The company recently secured funding led by Initialized Capital, enabling them to expand their innovative payment solutions that leverage Circle’s USDC (USD Coin), according to TechCrunch. “Caliza is building global financial infrastructure that removes borders from commerce,” Kebrab wrote on LinkedIn. “I’m excited to unveil the latest including our recent $8.5M round.” Bringing Speed and Stability to Cross-Border Payments Unlike traditional transfers made

Microsoft’s recent decision to lay off its Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) team due to “changing business needs” has stirred controversy within the company, Business Insider reports. Internal Email Criticizes Microsoft’s Commitment A prominent leader from the DEI team, whose identity has been confirmed by Business Insider, sent an email to thousands of Microsoft employees. The email criticized the company for deeming DEI work “no longer business critical or smart” as it was perceived in 2020.  This message resonated strongly across the organization, reflecting a sense of betrayal among employees

Business leaders have acknowledged that their companies are lagging behind in their diversity efforts, according to a new report by The IN Group. The “UNLOCKED: Tech and the Boardroom” report surveyed 705 C-level executives in the UK, US, Germany and Netherlands. In today’s competitive business environment, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) have become critical components of organizational success, however companies are falling behind. We’re falling behind, Say C-level execs In the report, 3 in 4 (76%) respondents confirmed that they have a diversity and inclusion strategy in place when it

Data workers are exposing the severity of exploitation in the tech and AI industry through the Data Workers’ Inquiry. As part of the community-based research project, 15 data workers joined the Distributed AI Research (DAIR) Institute as community researchers to lead their own inquiry in their respective workplaces.  Funded by the Distributed Artificial Intelligence Research (DAIR) Institute, Weizenbaum Institute, and Technische Universität Berlin, the project sheds light on labor conditions and widespread practices in the AI industry. The Plight of African Content Moderators Fasica Berhane Gebrekidan, an ex-content moderator for

South Africa’s leading digital bank, TymeBank, has successfully raised $77.8 million in a pre-Series C funding round. The round was co-led by African growth-stage investor Norrsken22 and global impact investment firm Blue Earth Capital.  This increase of capital brings TymeBank’s total raised funds to over $260 million, marking a milestone in the bank’s growth and expansion plans. Existing investor Tencent, which spearheaded TymeBank’s $180 million Series B round in December 2021, also participated in this round, further increasing its stake to become the third-largest shareholder.  Strategic Investments and Growth Launched

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