‘Scientific education rescued me from the ghetto,’ American rap star Will.i.am explains how he moved into tech

American rapper Will.i.am is encouraging children away from dreams of becoming a pop star (File Photo/AFP)
Updated 15 February 2018
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‘Scientific education rescued me from the ghetto,’ American rap star Will.i.am explains how he moved into tech

DUBAI: American rap music met UAE technology ambitions at the World Government Summit in Dubai when musician and entrepreneur Will.i.am talked of the need to “teach, inspire and mentor” young people to be ready for life in the digital age.

The singer, who is also founder and chief executive of Hollywood tech company i.am+, told a mainly youthful audience at the summit that education in the sciences had inspired him to get out of the ghetto where he was born in Los Angeles, California. His musical and business success enabled him to move his entire family and many friends away from their deprived origins.

“It cost a lot of money, but governments have more money, so they can do a lot more,” he said.

He said a scientific education was the key to self-improvement. “We cannot all be basketball players because there are lots of basketball players out there. But there is a shortage of engineers,” he said.

The 42-year-old star, who also financially backed the successful headphone business Beats, said that these days his “instrument is my computer. I’ve moved from rhythm to algorithm.”

He was in conversation with Omar Bin Sultan Al-Olama, UAE minister of artificial intelligence, who asked him what he had learned from the summit about access to technology and development, the theme of their session.

“We are at an intersection. We’ve never been here before. We mastered trains and planes and bikes. Now there are things out there that are stronger than us. But we’ve tamed lions and tigers in the past, so we can tame artificial intelligence,” he replied.

He added that the priority had to be augmented intelligence, not artificial intelligence. “Our smartphones are being used for dumbness and your date is not your own. Take control of your data. At this summit I did not see corporations, I saw people.”


King Abdul Aziz City for Science and Technology unveils self-guided Black Shark boat at 38th GITEX Technology Week

The development of the Black Shark smart boat is part of a KACST initiative to localize and transform transport technology and logistics, to help achieve the aims of Vision 2030. (SPA)
Updated 20 October 2018
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King Abdul Aziz City for Science and Technology unveils self-guided Black Shark boat at 38th GITEX Technology Week

  • These trucks are equipped with electronic pairing technologies, which effectively improve the shipping and distributing of goods, reduce human error

JEDDAH: King Abdul Aziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) has unveiled its Black Shark self-guided boat at the 38th GITEX Technology Week in Dubai. The vessel, which can carry out coastal surveillance and many other tasks, was developed in collaboration with Taqnia for Robotics and Smart Systems.
The development of the craft is part of a KACST initiative to localize and transform transport technology and logistics, to help achieve the aims of Vision of 2030.
The boat includes sensor systems that allow it to monitor and create a 3D map of a 200-meter area surrounding the boat, and automated control technology that gives it the ability to navigate independently and avoid collisions without human input. It can also be equipped with a flexible range of weapons, acting as a firearms platform that uses gyroscopic self-balancing technology. It has the ability to survey beaches at a range of 15 kilometers, in addition to accurately identifying its precise location with a margin of error of less than 20 centimeters using differential GPS, as well as specifying, monitoring and tracking targets.
The Black Shark also has long-range radar that covers up to 150 kilometers, and a telecommunication system to track its location, monitor its status and connect to multiple domains through command centers that allow wireless communication and remote control. It is fitted with a digital camera powered by electro-optic and infrared technology that can produce HD-quality video, and also has night vision capability.
As part of its initiative to develop transport technology and logistics, KACST has also worked on automated control technology, included self-driving heavy-duty trucks, with the University of California, Berkeley. These trucks are equipped with electronic pairing technologies, which effectively improve the shipping and distributing of goods, reduce human error, preserve resources, and reduce harmful emissions and fuel consumption.
The same technology can also, for example, transform a four-wheel-drive vehicle into a remote-controlled vehicle equipped with video cameras, infrared technology, a microphone and a control device wirelessly connected to a command center, where an operator can guide it using images from the video cameras.