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April Fools’ Day is known for its jokes, but in the tech world, it can be challenging to tell what’s real and what’s not, even on regular days. A lot is happening in tech, from ingenious deceits to blatant scams. We’ve got stories about everything from a Black tech pro who made up a fake assistant to earn more respect to the wrong use of AI in politics and huge money tricks in the crypto world.  Here are 9 POCIT stories to check out this April Fools’ Day. 1. The

Pa Edrissa Manjang, a Black Uber Eats driver in Oxfordshire, UK, received a payout after facial-recognition checks prevented him from accessing the app, the BBC reported. Racially Discriminatory Facial Recognition Checks  Initially, when Manjang began working for Uber Eats in November 2019, the Microsoft-powered app didn’t frequently request facial verification.  However, as the app’s AI-driven checks increased, Manjang faced an unexpected hurdle. Manjang said he was asked to take photos of himself “multiple times a day” because the system failed to recognize him. He told Uber Eats: “Your algorithm, by the looks of things, is racist.”

Google and Apple are potentially joining forces to integrate Google’s chatbot technology, Gemini, into every iPhone amid controversies surrounding its promotion of diversity. Google’s Gemini The two tech giants are discussing licensing parts of Google’s Gemini bot for the iPhone’s built-in AI tools, such as its Siri assistant. Bloomberg reported that Google’s shares surged 6.6% following the news. The move comes after Gemini was criticized for generating images of historical figures that inaccurately represented their genders and ethnicities. The backlash prompted Google to pause the image generation tool. The potential partnership also raises questions of privacy

Leigh Higginbotham Butler has a pioneering AI platform and network for Black women, Akina. Akina, which means “strong family bond” in Swahili, originated from a personal need to create a safe space for discussions and support among Black mothers. It has since evolved into a Community-as-a-Service (CaaS) app and platform that leverages culturally competent AI and machine learning technology. From A Social Network To A Movement Akina was initially started 2020 as a social media platform for Black mothers. “It came about in the aftermath of the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmuad

Atlanta-based agency Chroma Creators is using artificial intelligence to deliver branding and marketing that is crafted by AI but inspired by Black culture. Chroma Creators Chroma Creators founder, CEO, and chief creative officer Octavia Warren is known for her success with multicultural branding and marketing agency Creative Juice. With over a decade of debunking stereotypes, Warren is now using the power of artificial intelligence to reshape how brands connect with Black audiences.  “I remember a time when you could not find a stock photo of a black hand holding an iPhone,” said Warren in

Women’s History Month 2024 shines a spotlight on ‘Champions of Change,’ celebrating women who advocate for equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI).  This month-long observance in March honors the role of women in American history and acknowledges their ongoing efforts to create a more equitable world.  This year’s theme particularly resonates with the tech industry, where women, especially Black women, are significantly underrepresented, undermined, and excluded.  In this context, we have spotlighted some Black women in tech whose startups are breaking barriers, building bridges, and making the world a more equitable place. Laura Weidman Powers – Code2040

Nearly 9 in 10 (87%) firms in the UK now prioritize Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), a new report claims, with AI tools playing a significant role in this transformation.  The findings come from a recent Workday survey, Global Blueprint for Belonging and Diversity, with views from CEOs and leaders in HR, IT, and finance. Can AI Support DEI Programs? The report found that overall, having the right technology stack is essential and can be critical in enabling DEI. In particular, it was found that there is a significant correlation between AI adoption and effective

Tech companies are now offering AI-powered therapy services designed to meet the specific needs of Black individuals.  The Black Female Therapist The “Black Female Therapist” (BFT), a novel AI chatbot, is part of this approach from tech companies providing accessible and tailored mental health support. BFT, developed by Youper, leverages advanced algorithms and natural language processing to offer culturally sensitive advice and empathetic responses. According to Refinery29, the chatbot addresses the emotional challenges faced by Black individuals, including systemic barriers and the need for spaces where they feel seen and

Usher’s New Look (UNL) and IBM have embarked on a groundbreaking collaboration to foster career readiness in AI and professional workplace skills. UNL is a 501c3 organization founded by Usher Raymond IV in 1999 that supports a vision that all youth should be afforded the chance to unlock their full potential. Transforming under-resourced youth  IBM SkillsBuild is a free education program focused on underrepresented communities in tech. The partnership with UNL is set to transform the lives of thousands of high school and college students, especially those from underrepresented communities in technology. “Joining

Recent research has raised alarming concerns about covert racism in AI language models. Experts from the Allen Institute for AI, the University of Oxford, Stanford University, LMU Munich, and the University of Chicago conducted the study. It revealed that these models, including GPT4, manifest bias against African American Vernacular English (AAE) speakers.  This troubling revelation brings to light how AI can perpetuate racial stereotypes, leading to unfair and discriminatory outcomes. What Did The Study Find? The study, co-authored by Valentin Hofmann, Pratyusha Ria Kalluri, Dan Jurafsky, and Sharese King, found

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