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Data

The United States has updated its system for collecting information on people’s racial backgrounds. Changes include the introducing a category for Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) people and changing how Hispanic individuals are classified. This historic update, the first in over 25 years, aims to more accurately and nuancedly capture the nation’s evolving demographics. New Hispanic and MENA categories For the first time, individuals of MENA descent, about 1.5% of the U.S. population, will be able to identify themselves as part of a distinct category. Hispanic Americans, who make

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

Tech workers reliant on H-1B visas are facing concerns as fees for these visas and green cards are set to increase next month for the first time since 2016.  An Increase In Visas Fees The increase, set to go into effect April 1, was initiated by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to address a backlog of soaring application numbers, reaching 10.9 million in 2023. Additionally, the fees for H-1B visas, needed for thousands of highly skilled tech workers, will increase by 70% for large employers, moving from $460 to $780.  However,

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

UK-based Black woman-founded digital health startup SökerData, has been awarded a share of a £6.2 million ($7.8 million) grant from Innovate UK. SökerData Research has found that people of European genetic ancestry represent a disproportionate 80% of participants in genome-wide association studies (GWAS).  By contrast, only 2% of participants have African genetic ancestry. This imbalance has profound implications, especially in diseases like breast cancer, where outcomes vary significantly across ethnicities.  SökerData’s project focuses on building a diverse biomarker database, a critical resource in the realm of medical research. Biomarkers are

Prioritizing affordability, inclusivity, and leveraging technology, Black-owned insurance tech unicorn Marshmallow is challenging traditional insurance practices and extends coverage to underserved communities. Now, Marshmallow has landed a £15 million 3-year revolving credit facility from Triple Point Private Credit, one of the largest non-bank lenders in the UK, to expand its product offerings. “[We] are excited to be working with a management team that have successfully launched and scaled an insurance business so impressively,” said Triple Point’s Head of Structured Finance, Gavin Maitland Smith, per Tech Funding News. “More importantly, their

Data journalist Mona Chalabi has won a Pulitzer Prize for her “striking illustrations that combine statistical reporting with keen analysis to help readers understand the immense wealth and economic power of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.” The 36-year-old’s award-winning illustrations were published in a New York Times piece entitled “9 Ways To Imagine Jeff Bezos’ Wealth” last year. POCIT sat down with Chalabi back in 2015 for a candid discussion about her work as a data journalist. “A data journalist is one who uses data as much as they possibly can

Nigerian startup Stears has announced a $3.3 million seed round led by MaC Venture Capital which included Serena Ventures. What started as a written media publication by a group of Nigerian graduates is now a growing data insights company with its sights set on rivalling the likes of Bloomberg. Backed by Serena Ventures Serena Williams was playing in the US Open when the seed round for Stears came together. Nevertheless, according to Serena Ventures’ founding general partner, they were keen to invest and fought “tooth and nail” to get in.

National Security Agency (NSA) veteran Natalie Evans Harris has been announced as the Executive Director of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ new Black Wealth Data Center (BWDC).  The BWDC, funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Greenwood Initiative, works to increase generational wealth and address the systemic underinvestment within Black communities. As the Executive Director of the BWDC, Harris will lead a team tasked with harnessing data to support the creation of programs, policies, and strategies to measurably increase Black wealth. A wealth of experience Harris brings nearly 20 years of experience advancing the public sector’s strategic use of

Clark Atlanta University has received nearly $10 million from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to help more underrepresented people get data science credentials.  The extra funding, which aims to help diversify the data science sector, is the first time any HBCU has received nearly $10 million from an NSF initiative. NSF’s donation marks a new era for HBCUs and equally marks their commitment to providing more Black people with the chance to succeed.  A recent NSF report has revealed only 5.56% of computer/information scientists in 2019 were Black or African American. Additionally,

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