Some 165 million Europeans are likely to experience some form of brain related diseases during their life. As the population ages, with more people affected by Alzheimer's and other neurodegenerative or age-related mental disorders, treatment costs are likely to go up sharply. Finding better ways of preventing and treating brain diseases is therefore becoming urgent. Understanding how the brain works is also important to keep our economies at the forefront of new information technologies and services.
April 25th marks the International Girls in ICT Day. The European Commission supports this initiative and along with the European Parliament and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) are coming together to find new ways of encouraging girls and women to take up careers in ICT and to show them the opportunities on offer.
Let's face it. After nearly fifty years of development and roughly twenty years of mass adoption, the Internet hasn't created many truly useful tools for groups. We may live in the age of "ridiculously easy group formation," but if you've spent any time as part of a group, you know that all the most popular internet tools --email, list-servs, blogs, chats, and wikis --basically suck at group coordination. None of these tools are built to make it easy for large groups to make decisions together.
It's not a coincidence, I think, that most of us rarely, or never, experience working in a group where everyone actually gets a meaningful chance to participate in the decisions that group makes. Or, to look at it from the converse, most of us belong to groups where we actually don't have that much of a say in what the group does. Our most popular technological tools (see sidebar, below) generally have the effect of making this situation worse.
Transparency International has awarded grants to its chapters implementing new solutions in their anti-corruption activism – from playing a game to learn about corruption to sending a SMS to report an incident. The projects emphasize increasing public awareness and in most cases rely on individuals taking initiative.
In November 2012, Transparency International Zimbabwe launched a SMS mobile and web based platform that allows users to report corrupt activities such as bribery or cheating in real time. In a country where Internet penetration is less than 12 percent but mobile phones are widely used, the SMS platform supported by basic phones makes the tool accessible to most Zimbabweans. According to kubatana.net, messages are forwarded to the Advocacy and Legal Advice Centre, a public service initiative providing free legal aid services to victims and witnesses of corruption. The Centre will analyze the data and “take appropriate steps to assist clients.”
e-SENS is another LSP Project focused on strengthening digital single market and facilitating public services across borders. The role of the new e-SENS pilot is to consolidate and solidify the work done in previous LSP projects, to industrialise the solutions and to extend their potential to more and different domains. e-SENS pilot will consolidate the building blocks already developed, focusing strongly on the core ones such as eID, eDocuments, e-Delivery, semantics and e-Signatures. Project solutions will be tested in numerous domains such as e-health, e-justice, business setup, e-procurement, to prove their re-usability and scalability.
A team of researchers at Cambridge have developed the most expressive controllable avatar ever and Zoe is her name! The team says that Zoe can display emotions such as happiness, anger and fear, and changes her voice to suit the user's preference and could be used on tablets and mobile phones.
In a very interesting article written by Julia Wetherell on TechPresident's WeGov section 10 days ago, there are 200 million more men on the Internet than women, according to new figures from the International Telecommunication Union, and the gender gap is even wider in the developing world.
Worldwide Internet usage by men currently stands at 1.5 billion, with women users at 1.3 billion. In developing nations, 16 percent fewer women than men are online, as opposed to 2 percent in the developed world. The figures come from the ITU's World in 2013 report on information technology use, released on day three of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona yesterday.
They show that even as the gap in Internet use is narrowing, women in developing nations face a much steeper climb to equal access.
Some of the factors behind the gender gap can be seen in additional findings in the report. This year's banner statistic is that worldwide mobile phone penetration – the number of active phone numbers as a percentage of the population – has now reached more than 100 percent in four of six global regions. Worldwide mobile subscriptions will soon surpass 7 billion – roughly equaling the number of humans on the planet, though much of this total can be accounted for by users with multiple phones.