‘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.”


SpaceX to announce private moon flight passenger

Big Falcon Rocket will transport the person to the moon. (SpaceX/Reuters)
Updated 17 September 2018
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SpaceX to announce private moon flight passenger

  • The person will fly to the moon aboard a new rocket called the BFR, which is still in development
  • SpaceX has said it will also reveal why the person is going

HAWTHORNE, California: SpaceX is on the verge of announcing the name of person who would be the first private passenger on a trip around the moon.
The identity of the traveler will be released at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California, during an event Monday evening.
Entrepreneur Elon Musk’s space launch company said last week that the person will fly to the moon aboard a new rocket called the BFR, which is still in development.
SpaceX has said it will also reveal why the person is going.
No guidance has been given on when the moon flight could happen.
The average distance from Earth to the moon is about 237,685 miles (382,500 kilometers).
No one has been there since an Apollo mission in 1972.