A lot of questions have been asked on Why Israeli Startups is Leading The Tech World?…
Lois Parshley, an author of Popular Science (PopSci) American monthly magazine explain some reasons why it is so.
People lined both sides of Boylston Street, rounds of cheers going up as runners approached the end of the 2013 Boston marathon. Then white smoke plumed. Windows splintered. Fifteen seconds later, another explosion, and glass shattered onto blackened cement. The detonations knocked athletes to the ground, in some cases blowing the shoes off their feet. Three people died, and another 264 were injured.
The FBI started investigating while first responders were still rushing to the scene. Within three days — just 101 hours — the bombers were apprehended.
FBI agents sifted through 13,000 videos and more than 120,000 photographs, drawn from surveillance cameras and onlookers’ cell phones. To sort through the piles of footage, law enforcement turned to new technology that can condense an hour of video into just a minute of playback time.
The method, called video synopsis, was invented by an Israeli company called BriefCam, which counts all the right three-letter agencies as clients. (The FBI declined to comment on the specifics of the Boston investigation.)
Video synopsis works in a variety of ways, but most programs layer actions that occur at the same place at different times, making it possible, for example, to see simultaneously every person who walks in a door on a given afternoon. Other notable inquiries have also used BriefCam, like Norway’s national security service after Anders Breivik bombed a children’s camp there in 2011.
Shmuel Peleg, a co-founder of BriefCam and a professor of computer science at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, says the original intention for the tool was a long way from law enforcement. “One of my students had three kids,” he said, and was hoping to come up with a better way of viewing their home videos. The eureka moment came when “one of our friends said most video on earth comes from stationary cameras,” Peleg said. “He was in the military at the time,” Peleg explained, and immediately thought of surveillance footage. Security cameras at Israel’s borders watch for tunnel activity, but it can be hard to identify suspicious behavior in real time. “BriefCam makes it possible to integrate information that happens in a large temporal space,” Peleg says, making it perfect for consistent monitoring.
- Israel’s environment provides a primal urgency that headquarters in Silicon Valley strewn with kegs and Ping-Pong tables can lack.
But that a civilian idea was immediately put to military use is not surprising. BriefCam’s origin story reveals a common trend in Israel. “The general awareness people here have for risk is always present,” Peleg says, and this mentality has made its mark on the country’s business climate, influencing technological developments. “Maybe Israelis learn less things [in school] but they know how to come up with ideas, how to manage to survive,” Peleg said. “Every one of us is concerned with security.” Military life has left an indelible mark on Israel’s booming start-up scene, leading the country to the frontlines of the tech ecosystem in odd ways.
This sway manifests most obviously in the security world. After spending six years in an elite tech unit in the Israel Defense Forces, Giora Engel, another Hebrew University alumnus, co-founded a start-up called LightCyber. LightCyber detects computer glitches in corporate environments, focusing on a new wave of electronic threats, which have moved past malware to specifically targeting companies (“like the Target data breach this last November,” Engel says.) While in the Defense Forces (IDF), Engel, who has bright red hair and freckles, managed high-risk projects, including coding mission-critical systems. He says Israel is leading the world in cyber-security because people leaving the Army bring “expertise that was previously only found in the defense industry.” He continued, “The nation-state cyber-breaks we were accustomed to in the military have now proliferated into the [tech] industry.”
Peleg echoed Engel, saying that because of Israel’s mandatory army participation, “my students are often called away from their research for reserve service.” He said, “You can’t think creatively while in service. You only care about survival.” But upon his students’ return, “new ideas come,” enriching research programs.
In addition to fresh thinking, working in an environment where there are often immediate applications of new developments has driven quick innovation. Mantis Vision, a company that uses 3D imaging for a variety of mapping applications, had the Israeli government as an early client for a confidential project. “What I can tell you is this wasn’t a product developed for a lab, but a real product that was used,” said co-founder Amihai Loven.
Israel is an environment where “there’s zero tolerance for work-arounds,” Loven said. Part of what’s pushing the country’s tech boom, he said, is that “there’s a lot of pressure to develop something something that actually works, and not just in lab environments.” This provides a primal urgency that headquarters in Silicon Valley strewn with kegs and Ping-Pong tables can lack.
“Look at the recent conflict,” Loven said, referring to July’s deadly flare-up between Hamas and Israel. “The Iron Dome performance is like nothing you can develop in an R&D environment without a threat.” The anti-missile system is designed to blow up incoming missiles before they land, and has been deployed frequently in the last month. Despite concerns the Iron Dome is actually less effective than the IDF claims, and setting aside much debate about the imbalance of force between the two sides of the conflict, the Iron Dome is far more sophisticated than alternative anti-rocket systems.
In the long run, the perceived pressure to make things that actually work can be a good thing for the market. “Products need to start high-end from the beginning in order to mature into consumer products,” Loven said, citing GPS’s beginnings as a defense tool. “If it’s just starting as a gadget, there’s a glass ceiling” on its utility, he explained.
So perhaps it makes sense there’s an unusual amount of governmental support for new ideas. Giora Engel of LightCyber says government organizations are often slow adopters, taking their time in using new technology. But Israel was one of the first countries to develop a cyber-security division, all the way back in 1997. Since then, the country’s quietly dominated all sorts of cyber projects — not least Stuxnet, the notorious computer worm designed in a joint project between U.S. and Israeli forces that took out a fifth of Iran’s nuclear centrifuges in 2010.
More recently, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu upped the ante, in 2011 creating the National Cyber Bureau (NCB), which reports directly to Netanyahu’s office and increased the country’s cyber-defense budgets by 30 percent. He made no bones about its purpose, saying, “We established the National Cyber Bureau for the purpose of transforming the state of Israel into a cyber superpower.” NCB trickle-down extends to the startup world: “There’s a lot of support for new technology from the government,” Engel said, “because they realize that startups can bring them the most cutting edge technology and are valuable to the economy.” Statistics suggest the strategy is working: 14.5 percent of all firms worldwide garnering cyber investment are owned by Israelis.
Of course, there are disadvantages of running a business in a region plagued by violence and dominated by the military. Engel said that in July, while business has continued, more or less as usual, in the startup scene, “Some people have been called to their reserve duty in their military units. And it’s hard to have conference calls when any moment you may have to run to a bomb shelter.”
“In this crazy country, you’re always under pressure,” Loven said. “If it’s not defense, it’s to win in the market.”
How Rwanda is spurring a generation of women in technology
Rwanda is renowned as a pioneer for gender equality,In 2020, it was the only African country ranked in the top 10 of the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report.
It ranked in the top four in the Report’s political empowerment category, in recognition of the high proportion of Rwandese women lawmakers and ministers.
The country, therefore, seemed a natural fit for a 2018 pilot program of the African Development Bank’s Coding for Employment initiative, with Nigeria, Kenya, Côte d’Ivoire, and Senegal.
The Coding for Employment flagship program is establishing 130 ICT centers for excellence in Africa, training 234,000 youths for employability and entrepreneurship to create over 9 million jobs.
Hendrina C. Doroba, Manager in the Education, Human Capital and Employment Division at the Bank, explains how Rwanda is empowering women in technology.
How has the government of Rwanda enabled women to pursue careers in technology, and STEM in general?
The government of Rwanda has been a foremost champion of women in ICT and in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (also known as STEM), by driving initiatives like the establishment of the Carnegie Mellon University-Africa campus, for which the Bank provided funding. Students from 17 different countries pursue highly specialized ICT skills at the Africa campus.
The country also hosts the African Institute of Mathematics (AIMS) which is now recruiting balanced cohorts of women and men. Lastly, the Bank-funded University of Rwanda College of Science and Technology has for many years produced women leaders in the ICT sector in Rwanda and globally.
Rwanda’s government also supports initiatives such as the Miss Geek Rwanda competition, an initiative of Girls in ICT Rwanda, which aims to encourage school-age girls, even those in remote areas, to develop innovative tech or business ideas and to generally immerse themselves in ICT. The Miss Geek initiative has now been rolled out in other countries in the region.
What role has the Bank played in supporting Rwanda’s digital strategy, especially in relation to women?
The strategy of the Bank’s Coding for Employment center of excellence in Rwanda has been to join forces with the Rwanda Coding Academy through a grant agreement to support the school’s activities, like ICT equipment, teacher training and career orientation. The Rwanda Coding Academy started in January 2019 and has so far enrolled one cohort, which is now going into their second year.
Besides the Rwanda Coding Academy, the Bank’s Coding for Employment program held a two-day masterclass for girls and young women entrepreneurs at the 2018 Youth Conneckt summit, where over 200 beneficiaries were trained in using digital tools to amplify their businesses. The session was attended by women entrepreneurs as well as students from girl schools in Kigali, including those from White Dove School, which is an all-girl school fully dedicated to training in ICT. The masterclass culminated into a pitching exercises from various groups who presented their ideas to a panel of judges.
What lessons can other African countries learn from Rwanda’s approach to the 4IR, in particular the role of women?
The government of Rwanda has been a trailblazer in using innovation to improve public services across the country using the e-governance platform Irembo, to bring government services closer to citizens. In addition, the government is driving national digital skilling campaigns by championing digital ambassador programs and platforms such as Smart Africa, which has organized the annual Transform Africa summit since 2013.
Still, gender equality remains a concern, and gender gaps are evident even in schools. Rwanda’s ambitions extend to piloting the Kigali Innovation City, also Bank-funded, to serve as the country’s knowledge and innovation hub by attracting new businesses and incubating ideas. At the same time, the country has created a business environment which is pro-entrepreneurship and welcomes global inventors to test their ideas and concepts. Zipline, a company which uses drones to deliver medical supplies in remote areas, is one example.
Lastly, Rwanda promotes women leaders in the ICT and innovation sector. The country’s Minister of ICT and Innovation is a woman, as is the CEO of the Irembo platform. Appointments such as these are helping to dispel the myth that women are not as capable as men in ICT.
Most Noticeable Science Fiction Examples
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Neuvel’s sci-fi series is very great due to the way it’s told, through a group of transcripts and interviews. In terms of new releases from 2016, there are tons of buzzy fantasy and sci-fi books that will result in a fantastic summer read. You can look for books by a predetermined sub-genre that makes it effortless to come across similar books to the ones you want or you’ll find new books in various sub-genres that you’ve not tried before.
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And that’s the great thing about the genre. But this isn’t the entirety of the genre. The aptly-named tale includes a sourdough starter as one of the principal characters.
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15 Best Tech Quotes that Dominated the year 2018
Cheerful new year to you all, Today being the first day in the year 2019, We bring to you, best tech quotes that shape the year 2018. Most tech lovers from around the world tag the just concluded year, 2018, as the year of surprises, From Mark Zuckerberg’s declaration in Congress, attempting to clarify the goals and what Facebook is all about to Brian Acton, asserting how he sold is users’ privacy to a bigger advantage.
According to the report collated by wired.com, Below are the tech quotes that shaped the year 2018.
1. “The red line is miles behind us now. It’s no longer in sight.”
—Helen O’Neill, Crispr expert, after the first Crispr’d babies were born. November 29
3. “Avoid at ALL COSTS any mention or implication of AI. Weaponized AI is probably one of the most sensitized topics of AI—if not THE most. This is red meat to the media to find all ways to damage Google.”
—Fei Fei Li, an AI pioneer at Google, in an email to colleagues about the company’s controversial work on a Defense Department initiative called Project Maven. Published May 30
4. “I live with a beginner’s mind. I didn’t realize two weeks ago I was going to buy Time.”
—Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce and now the owner ofTime. September 17
5. “I would rather spend time with the people that are 100 percent aligned with what I want to do and the person that’s most aligned with what I want to do is me.”
—Chamath Palihapitiya, CEO of Social Capital, explaining the turmoil at his firm. September 20
6. “Nothing is ever real until he sends the tweet.”
—A member of the Trump administration, natch. November 13
7. (tie) “Senator, we run ads.”
—Mark Zuckerberg, in congressional testimony, explaining what the company actually does. The phrase quickly became a punchline at Facebook. April 10
8. “Congressman, iPhone is made by a different company.”
—Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google, explaining why he can’t explain notifications on a device made by Apple. December 11
9. “While all pharmaceutical treatments have side effects, racism is not a known side effect of any Sanofi medication.”
10. “We are now facing not just a technological crisis but a philosophical crisis.”
—Yuval Noah Harari, surely the most-read author in Silicon Valley, in conversation with Tristan Harris, surely one of the most influential voices of the past year. October 4
11. “I sold my users’ privacy to a larger benefit. I made a choice and a compromise. And I live with that every day.”
—Brian Acton, founder of WhatsApp, on his regrets. September 26
12. “A sense of open-ended mystery in reality and in life is absolutely core to being a good scientist or a good technologist or, for that matter, a good writer, a good artist, or just a good human being.”
—Jaron Lanier, the creator of VR, and now one of the philosophers of the industry. October 14
13. “How long is the wait usually to, um, be seated?”
—Google’s AI-powered Duplex, in a jaw-dropping demonstration of just how far voice-recognition has come. May 8
14. “He was that kind of guy. You know, an asshole. But a really gifted one. Our asshole, I guess.”
—A coworker at Google about Anthony Levandowski, the controversial self-driving car engineer. Published October 22
As we anticipate so abounding predicted surprises that should dominate the tech industry this new year 2019, Let us know if you any suggestion or quotes that you think should have been added to the above list. Once again, Happy New year.