Wednesday, 30 January 2019

The Semantic Web

Back in 2015, I wrote my first blog post about the Semantic Web. It is a little bit long, but I recommend that you read it...but not necessarily before you read this one. 

Today, I am going to spend more effort to guide you towards sparking your interest in learning more about the Semantic Web.


WHAT IS THE SEMANTIC WEB?

The simplest answer I can give is, the Semantic Web is the mature form of today's World Wide Web
The Web is evolving slowly and steadily as certain owners of websites are using Semantic Web technologies to make their web pages "smarter". One big example is Google. Google uses a lot of linked data to build their famous Knowledge Graph
But regular people use these technologies as well. It is as simple as adding semantic mark-up to your website's content, that transforms a few of the information on your page from a string of letters that only human beings that read your language can understand, into links (URIs) that can be traced by a computer/device back to their meanings. More on this later.  

The Semantic Web is simply a world wide web that is rich in Linked Data. When you link data items (or things) together, you make it easy for computers and other devices to be able to find things through other things they had previously found. More interesting stuff happens when the links that connect those things themselves carry some meaningful data for the devices/computers to "learn". These new kinds of links are known as "properties", and they probably are the most ingenious aspect of the Semantic Web.



WHO INVENTED IT?

Tim Berners-Lee. The inventor of the World Wide Web (Not the internet). Like I said already, the Semantic Web will be the mature form of the World Wide Web that was invented by TBL. Here is a TED video where the man himself introduces the concept to an eager audience. That video is REALLY worth watching especially the first 4 minutes. 

And now, even though it was invented by TBL, I must mention that one very Key figure of great stature in the story of the Semantic Web, is our very own brother of Nigerian decent. Kingsley Uyi Idehen - the Founder and CEO of OpenLink Software, which has been instrumental in many of the most important Linked Data projects in the world. 

I was fortunate to connect with Kingsley on Google Plus, and he was generous enough to spend time teaching me a lot about the Semantic Web, and keeping on track as to what is important and what is not. 
Tim Berners-Lee is the inventor of the World Wide Web. And he is a strong driving force in the development and adoption of Semantic Web standards, convincing governments and the corporate sector to get onboard.


WHY A WEB OF MEANING MATTERS?


Before, devices (laptops, smartphones, watches, etc) merely display data (and information) for our consumption.
These days however, devices are increasingly becoming primary consumers of this data themselves. They are able to more-or-less understand the data that they are displaying to you. 
If they understand the data themselves, they can do many dynamic and meaningful things with that data, beyond just merely displaying it to you.

This is the interesting goal of the Semantic Web.
One of the greatest minds in this area, Kingsley Uyi Idehen of Open Link Software (google him), describes this goal as,  "....
ultimately about moving literacy to the digital realm, above all else

Please, try to wrap your head around that for a minute.
No. Please take at least 5 minutes to really think about it.

The point of linked data is to help computers and other devices to, not only READ, but also to, understand.
I mean something that can be comparable to human understanding. 

Devices cannot understand what we write today because the words you type on a page on your blog are merely a string of characters to them. "Chioma is the fastest female sprinter in Lagos" is no more meaningful than "5Fthyt Gh4&ff KOyyy %u 5fff5 uT$4f" to a web browser or any other electronic device without an expensive Natural Language Processing program operating within it. They cannot tell that there is a unique person "Chioma" and a major city "Lagos" in that sentence. After all there are many Chioma's on the internet. And there are even streets and boats in Portugal named Lagos. 

So a web of meaning matters greatly.

If I told you that I was a Chelsea fan, you immediately know that I mean this:
  
But what is stopping an HTTP: Web browser, if it could think,  from thinking you meant a product like this one made in the city of Chelsea, Massachusetts:

So what is desirable in a web of meaning is that digital devices begin to understand the things that we say and the things that we mean when we say them. Google has done a pretty decent job of this up until now thanks to their famous Google Knowledge Graph that I mentioned earlier. 


WHY SHOULD YOU CARE?


This is the most crucial part of what we are doing in Digital Africa.
We are trying to encourage you to want to know how things work so that we can find a way to use technology to solve our problems within the continent, and achieve our respective desired goals.
We ultimately want to place ourselves (hoping you join us) in a position where we can clearly see future big opportunities before others do, on our continent, and indeed the rest of the world. 

The only way to seize these opportunities would be for us to move really fast. 
Learn quickly. But be thorough with all you learn. 

Today, I work for a company that I really love. I was able to get a job with Tesla because I used my skills as a Google Power User to dig up very advanced information and knowledge about Tesla and about SolarCity all the way from when I was living in Nigeria. I was actively consuming information that the majority of so-called "analysts" in the US today, who give "expert" commentary on Tesla and on the solar industry, are embarrassingly clueless about! 

At the time I was doing all my research on Electric Cars & Solar, I did not know that I would be moving to the US one day. So I wasn't learning it with any plan to work for the company. I just wanted to learn about it because I saw it as a very remarkable company with an incredible Mission, and I believed that it was a vision that would have a massive impact on the world and on Nigeria someday. And things have now turned out better than I was originally hoping. 

It turns out today, that all that knowledge that I gathered over the years, helped me to crush my interview when I got to California and applied to work for Tesla. 
My knowledge of the industry still helps me to shine every time I talk to clients and people within the company today.

So knowing the way things work matters a great deal: Whether it is knowing a great deal about a company's mission, it's products, and it's methods before joining that company; Or whether it is having a lot of knowledge about a certain technology of the future, well before that technology becomes ubiquitous and impacting to millions of people. A technology like Linked Data.

This is why I am convinced that paying acute attention to the Semantic Web NOW and NOT LATER, will be thoroughly rewarding to you in the next few  years.
This keen attentiveness to the uncommon details of the subject is what will set you apart as the world grows further into a Knowledge Economy. 


HOW WILL THE SEMANTIC WEB WORK?

How does the World Wide Web already work?
Well, the simple answer is H T T P.

Yes! That "https://" or "http://" that you always see at the top of the address bar on your phone or laptop's browser.
You can say http is like a vehicle that travels to the websites you are trying to get information from. Http uses your web browser (chrome, internet explorer or opera mini) to collect this information from a server, and then comes back to serve you this information. Take note, the information can be anything from a blog article, to a Facebook photo, a music video on Youtube, or even a game. 

The problem is that your device doesn't understand what it is serving you. You can only use that device (laptop, smartphone with http-enabled browser) to access that vehicle (http) that speeds across the internet, being driven by your request, to help you obtain service from a server. 


But now, imagine if your device can be programmed to LEARN what is the information that the vehicle is carrying. And not just to know the information there in, but to also understand the meaning.  Imagine if the device can drive the vehicle (the HTTP vehicle mentioned earlier) for you if you needed it to?  

And this doesn't have to be a smartphone or laptop web browser. It can be any kind of device that can use that "HTTP vehicle" in itself. It can be Amazon Echo, Google Assistant or even an electric car. 
Any of this things can run a Reasoner (a software that is made to infer meanings from browsing through linked data). 


Think of a scenario where such reasoning software from all sorts of devices roam from page to page on the Semantic Web, learning about things, and can readily carry out more sophisticated tasks on those things for you at your command. 

It won't be easy to see a really clear picture of that right now, until the Semantic Web fully matures, and more sophisticated reasoning software are developed.
A web page from a news article from Punch may contain a link to another news article from This Day. But in the normal world wide web, that link is merely a oneway bridge that can take you or a computer from one article to another article. The link has no meaning except that it is a link.

However, in the Semantic Web, you can have data items (or resources) within a web page that link to other resources (either within the same web page or in another web page on the Web). But the most ingenious thing about the Semantic Web is that the link between these two resources that holds all of the magic. 

e.g. You may have a data item UdMax that links to another item called "RealEstateAgent", by a link that has the property "typeOf". 
Now if you were a student of the Semantic Web, by reading that code, you can immediately tell that it means that UdMax is a Type Of Real Estate Agent. But now, because of that typeOf link, even machines also understand this as well now.
They also understand that UdMax is in the same class as all other resources that link to that same RealEstateAgent resource using the "typeOf" link. 

But it gets even more delicious than that, but I won't go into all the interesting things that you can extend typeOf to. 

Another example is in fashion:
Say for example you were managing the website of The House of Deola Sagoe. 
You could actually have the web page that showcases her "Komole" fashion line not only describing that fashion line using semantic linked data, but you can also link that Komole to Deola Sagoe's wikidata item in Wikipedia (https://www.wikidata.org/wiki/Q5259977). Then you link it with the "offeredBy" property in Schema.org
What this does is taht it tells computers and other devices that Komole fashion collections are offered by Deola Sagoe (fashion designer) head of The House Of Deola Sagoe. 
The computers will link all of these together, and they understand that Komole is something in similar category to fashion collections offered by the likes Gianni Versace, Gucci and Luis Vuitton. 
So if someone like the Duchess of Sussex was visiting Nigeria in year 2025, her AI personal assistant may recommend that she check out Komole fashion articles.

Or something like that sha...... ;-)


LIMITATIONS

But like I always warn my fellow social scientists coming into the internet technology world, I must again warn that the best way to learn about a new technology is to always start with learning the present and past limitations of that technology. 

Don't be like lay people who love to tell each other that the Israeli secret service knows EVERYTHING about anyone entering Israel, and that they have a recorded video of everywhere they went to and everything they did, and recorded sound of every conversation with everyone they talked to, while they were in Israel.
I mean this is just plain ridiculous.

Technology is not magic. Eventhough sometimes it may look magical. 

The Semantic Web has a lot of limitations. A lot of hurdles need to be overcome for it to fully mature and for us to start seeing the magical things we expect from it.

It is when you learn of these limitations and the things that are needed to tackle these limitations that you will be well suited for the opportunities that come with whichever technology in the future.


OPPORTUNITIES


Finally

As African countries develop, and our rulers finally begin to "lead", we expect that technological advancement will be a major aspiration for most Africans. I expect that African countries, states and cities would follow the example of European and American govts who publish open linked data for the public, promoting accountability, transparency and increased access to information.

As Africans publish linked data, the kinds of things that software reasoners will be able to do with all the data available on the Web will become increasingly more interesting and exciting. Important new entrepreneurial ideas would spring up as a result. Many existing business models would receive a massive boost (e.g. self-driving cars and navigation).

But the most important thing I can think of for now is that, in the Semantic Web era, many different business applications will be connectable to other business applications to unlock fantastic growth opportunities. This is inevitable, as connecting "things" through logical relationships is the very essence of Linked Data. 



Monday, 26 November 2018

VSLWJ-1 Where Are You?

I am calling this series The Very Short Long Winding Journey.
I will use the acronym VSLWJ
This is part 1, titles Where Are You?

To all the new members of Digital Africa, I welcome you.
The best way to describe myself is that I am a social scientist that has become very much into technology, and especially computer/internet/Web technology. 
Digital Africa is a collective vision I have with some friends, to help Africans of all ages and genders to discover the many opportunities I have found as a result of purposeful use of the Web. 

We want to help you learn the best way to use the World Wide Web to your advantage. 
I am not saying that the way I am suggesting is the only way to do it.
But I am saying that this way has been very very effective for me. 
If you know other ways, I will still suggest you add this to your arsenal. 

I am not claiming that everything I write here is the gospel truth and that you must obey them as the law. You are free to doubt and challenge my claims.
In fact, I hope you all do, because that is how we sharpen our brains: by listening to various view points and challenging all of them frequently.

So let's go!

Google Is Not Your Friend. 

You Are Your Friend.


Google is doing it's own thing. It doesn't care about you or me. It is just doing what it was programmed to do, which is to serve information.
There are rewarding and empowering types of information. But there are also damaging and destructive kinds of information.
Google can lead you to find info that can land you the wonderful job of your dreams. Google can also lead you to some terrorist websites that have led to the deaths of teenage girls in Europe. 


So let me ask you, Where Are You?


Everything you know and can do today are things that you gradually trained yourself to know since your childhood.
You might be thinking that your teachers trained you. But the truth is that most of the effort came from within you yourself as you were paying attention to the subject those teachers were teaching.

But then, why don't I understand Geography the way I understood Economics?
Maybe it was because I immediately loved hearing about Demand & Supply, and I instantly got bored when they were talking about glaciers. 

Sometimes somethings are more difficult than others to pay attention to, but that doesn't mean that those things are inherently harder than the easier ones you paid attention to. 
What it really suggests is that the new things that you are learning have a relationship (either similarities or interesting contrasts) with some of the things you already know inside you.

So where YOU ARE NOW is what will determine how difficult or EASY it will be to go to where you wish to be. 

So the next question to you will be, what do you WANT TO BE?

You pick up your smartphone, you open your laptop, you go to Google, then you search. For what?
"Chelsea vs Tottenham football?"
"Kyle Jenner dating Wizkid?"
What are you looking for?


Whatever it is, you constantly go to the zero moment of truth to find MORE about that thing. And you do this for the other things that interest you. This is the current reality the technology has brought the world to today. And it is not only Google. Facebook, Whatsapp, Youtube. All these apps serve you information in different ways.  

If you go to Facebook, it is because something kind of curiosity was on your mind. Maybe you want to know what your friend is saying today. Or you want to see what is happening in your Whatsapp chat group. Which ever way you look at it, you are still looking for MORE information.
When you open your Whatsapp, it is not to look for Rotimi's update. Because you are NOT thinking about my updates. You go to Whatsapp to CONTINUE what you are already familiar with. You keep up with people that you have already know before. People who are interesting to YOU! 

The zero moment of truth (ZMOT) is that EASY PLACE where computers/phones have made information instantly available. If information is power, then we have become many times more powerful than people of many decades ago. But what kind of power are we going after? That's the problem.

Google is a ZMOT. Youtube is a ZMOT. 
However, Facebook CAN also BE used as a ZMOT. Whatsapp CAN BE used as a ZMOT.  But these two primarily bring information to you. 
In fact, in most cases, the info you get on Facebook and Whatsapp usually leads you to search Google or Youtube for clearer understanding. 

And yet, this doesn't mean that the info you get from Google or Youtube is always the correct answer. Not necessarily. Getting the right answer usually requires more than one attempt. 

But the crux of the matter is that these platforms give you MORE information about some things YOU are ALREADY LOOKING for.   
ZMOT is a place where you go looking for answers (for information). On Google and Youtube and Quora, you go looking for answers. On Facebook, Whatsapp, etc, you might ask your friends or connections to answer a question you have.



Finally, in the next part of this VSLWJ series, I will show that whether it is football or entertainment news or technology you are learning online, there are good ways to learn them, and there are bad ways to learn them. 
Your use of Zero Moment of Truth can help you or hinder you. This is coming in "VSLWJ-2 How You Got There"
Please stay tuned.
The little children now have the potential to LEARN many times faster and more thoroughly than older generations. They can become geniuses so quickly that we would be astonished. This is because of the power of the learning tools they will be exposed to as they grow up.  

Meanwhile, I have introduced a term here. 
Some of you are probably hearing of the Zero Moment Of Truth for the first time today.
I recommend that you read more about it and start building your curiosity about future technologies.
I also want to recommend for future purposes, anytime you come across a new term in anything you are reading online. Quickly right click on that term (the link) and open it in a new window, so that you can read up on that new term, understand it (you don't have to finish reading the whole thing), then go back to continue reading what you were reading with the term in it. Hence, during my learning journeys online, I may start reading one article, but end up reading 5 articles in the process.

So like I said, this is about helping you developing the purposeful reading tools and a personal learning system that you can use to EMPOWER YOURSELF!   

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below. 
I am very VERY open to contrary opinions, so please feel free.

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Thursday, 29 March 2018

London Skill Acquisition Opportunity!

The British Council is offering a huge opportunity for young Africans (ages 18 to 35) to obtain valuable training and skill acquisition in policy making in London, UK. Those who are selected to go for this trip will travel around October 2018, so please get in touch with me ASAP for assistance and advice on how to apply and prepare for this opportunity. 


See it at the British Council Website

Dear friends, I know it's been a while since I shared a post about anything other than solar energy.
I apologize for this.
As you probably know, it is because I've relocated to California, and I recently got a job with Tesla Energy, which has reduced the amount of time that I have to spend writing articles online.

Nevertheless, thanks to my lovely sister, who is a huge supporter of the Digital Africa cause, I was able to discover this great event.

You all know how much I have been repeatedly advising you to actively develop yourselves in terms of knowledge acquisition that has been made super easy and very accessible because of the world wide web, and especially because of each individual's own INTEREST and eagerness to use SEARCH. (You can read my article about getting more out of search here)

Now, a big opportunity presents itself, and I am confident that if you work hard with me to prepare yourself for your application, you will increase your chances of being selected. 

For starters, here are the requirements of the British Council for this programme, but it is very important that you don't read this list and begin to feel discouraged for whatever reason. 
Like I've said before, I am here to help.
  
  • You should be able to passionately explain how you want to make change in your country and how this links to your vision for global change.
  • You should have an understanding of policy and are interested in learning more about policy making. 
  • You should be willing to engage in this long-term opportunity with the British Council to become a member of Future Leaders Connect and be committed to the network. 
  • You are likely to be in your early to mid-career, aged between 18 and 35 (on Sunday 13 May 2018) and already have examples of when you have demonstrated leadership.
  • You will need to be based in one of our participating countries (Canada, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Mexico, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, Tunisia, UK and USA) and be eligible to access a visa to come to the UK. Please be aware some of these countries have varying eligibility criteria. Applications from Egypt and USA are by invitation only. 
  • We are looking for emerging leaders who are committed to support the development of their country through policy change, and so encourage those to apply who have good knowledge and strong networks in the country they are based in.
  • We are looking to find a diverse group of people with different experiences, ideas and backgrounds. The programme is fully accessible for those with disabilities. 
  • Be able to speak English at IELTS level 6 or equivalent (this means you would need to generally have an effective command of the language despite some inaccuracies, inappropriate usage and misunderstandings. You can use and understand fairly complex language, particularly in familiar situations). You do not need the official qualification.
  • You cannot be currently employed by, or an immediate family member of, the British Council, Gradcore or the Møller Centre. 
Finally, I am very delighted to share this great opportunity in Digital Africa for our members all over the glorious continent.
And I want to encourage everyone in this community to share discoveries like this in any of our groups:

Digital Africa on Google+

Digital Africa on Facebook






Saturday, 20 January 2018

A Tesla Short

On my way to work this morning.....there she was......little red riding hood.
This is the first time I would see one parked. Roughly, 100 meters from where I currently live in El-Cerrito.

That red beauty, surrounded by those lifeless, grey metallic dinosaurs.


The Tesla #Model3



Quick Disclaimer:

I currently work for Tesla. But I must point out that I started my self-sustained advocacy for this amazing brand over 6 years ago, from far away Nigeria, where I lived until just a little over a year ago. 
In fact, now that I work for Tesla, and have been warned to be super careful about how I promote the brand online (social media and whatnot), I have become very tame about my online posts and articles mentioning the brand. Which makes me quite sad actually.   

Anyway, this post you are about to read is completely my opinion. Every thought that goes behind the issues I raise in here, entirely originates from me and it has nothing to do with my employer. 


Backstory:

When Tesla launched the Roadster in 2006, most of the world laughed at the little company from Silicon Valley, saying what could they possibly know about building cars.
Then the Model S came in 2012, and a few of them sat up and said, "hey wait a minute!" 
But many still continued to scoff and show contempt for things they are unable to comprehend.

Now, Model 3 has finally arrived amidst great panic and hysteria among the old guard.
They now know beyond a reasonable doubt that their time is fast running out.
In their panic and confusion, after failing to get government to help them crush their "tiny" nemesis, they resort to senseless bickering and prophesies of impending doom for Tesla.



They go around making announcements of their electric cars that will come out to "crush Tesla".

Ask them when are these wonderful Electric cars coming, and most of them will say 2020 or 2021.
Will these wonderful "Tesla killers" be any different from the Chevrolet Bolt? Or the BMW i3? Because those two did not kill anything but themselves! 

Yet, they somehow want us to believe that they can use the power of TALK to wipe Tesla off the face of the planet.
They think they can wave a magic wand and brag about their "years of experience" in car manufacturing. Or talk about expertise in stock markets and accounting, and that that would somehow make Tesla's growing fans suddenly stop liking the company. 


So my thinking is this:
If indeed GM and BMW have somehow figured out how to make their electric cars look better and go further than their Bolts and i3s, even then, I can argue that is is still NOT Tesla that needs to be worried.
Why?

It is their gasoline-locked Chevrolet Malibus and BMW 3 series that should be scared of these wonderful electric cars coming out, right?
Afterall, Teslas, GM elctric cars and BMWs, Porsches and Audi electric cars are ALL still ..... CARS! And so are their gasoline cars. They all literally do the same things! But some of them (the electric cars) are constantly getting OPTIMIZED, while others simply CAN NOT!  

But the funniest part is that these "experienced experts" keep forgetting that Tesla is a puppet-master in this story
The undeniable truth is that Tesla always wanted competition from the big car companies
They always needed these dinosaurs to get off their lazy butts and build great electric cars.
The mission is to get the world away from fossil fuels. 
Elon Musk knew that as long as there was no catalyst, the old car manufacturers would NOT lead any serious charge into clean transportation. 
He figured that if he would have to FORCE the richest automobile manufacturers to start doing the right thing.
I have proof. Read this blog post by Elon Musk in 2014:  

You see?
They have been begging for "competition". 
So next time you hear someone saying that other car manufacturers are coming to crush Tesla, please tell them Tesla DARES them!!!

Now, also check out this one going all the way back to 2006. See for yourself, what I mean by puppet master :
"...This is because the overarching purpose of Tesla Motors is to help expedite the move from a mine-and-burn hydrocarbon economy towards a solar electric economy, which I believe to be the primary, but not exclusive, sustainable solution." - Elon Musk



Quote me on this one:
While the so-called experienced car-makers are building $40,000 electric cars that look like $18,000 cars, Tesla is busy growing its street-cred by building a $35,000 that looks as cool as some $50,000 cars.
 


Who Is The Wiser?

Now pay attention to this detail that the "experts" will NEVER tell you. This truth that the giant car manufacturers and car distribution networks who prophesy the death for Tesla forgot about. Whether ignorantly or conveniently, I really don't know. 

It is probably the part that the enemies of Tesla ridicule the most. They scoffed at it even more than they had scoffed at the idea of a tiny Californian company building cars...

They scoffed at Tesla acquiring SolarCity......

But now, I ask YOU to pay attention:

When these new "great and awesome" electric BMWs and Audis and Chevrolets that are going to be built by the old guard come out to crush Tesla's business, what effect would that have on the world at large?

Would these new electric cars be bought by human beings who have neighbors and friends? Would these new electric car owners not eventually learn about their new EV cars and the possibilities that they open them up to? 

Would they not eventually discover that it now makes more economic sense for them to generate more-or-less carbon free "fuel" for their electric cars from home? 
Would that not cause them to take a second look at solar energy and realize that they can now get MUCH CHEAPER  ELECTRICITY from Solar and a Home Battery at no upfront costs. 

As this gradually but surely sinks into the minds and hearts of the population, the electric car explosion quickly leads to the renewable energy explosion (especially solar energy) and vise-versa.

And, guess what solar company was already a clear leader in the renewable energy market, and has now become even more potent as its branding has changed???

Can you guess? 

I'll give you a hint...... it is neither GM nor BMW.....





Keep it locked here. The future is truly going to be interesting.






Sunday, 5 November 2017

COP23 Despite Rick Perry

As COP23 (The 23rd Conference Of the Parties) approaches, this absurd episode occurs!  

The United States' Secretary of Energy, Rick Perry, decided to drop a bombshell just a week before the event.(►click here◄) And to be honest, if he hadn't brought Africa into his absurd argument, I would have simply just laughed for a few seconds and let it go.  


The Perry Episode


The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will commence in Bonn, Germany on November 6th 2017 and will last until the 17th. 
This meeting of world leaders and leaders in business seeks to continue in its resolve to (at the very least) remind its members about their commitments to take action that will reduce, prevent, and manage the effects of excessive CO2 gases in the earth's atmosphere. 

However, Secretary Perry felt this was the best time to launch his misplaced campaign for fossil fuels, and decided to involve something that is very dear to me in the process.

Now, the funny thing about this is that I normally wouldn't have written anything about this man's absurd comments if he hadn't mentioned "Africa" in his twisted logic.


But in order to let you know why I didn't find it all that funny, here is what he said: And here is a video of him saying it:



"It is gonna take fossil fuels to push power out into those villages in Africa, where a young girl told me to my face...[blah blah blah]....when you have light, it shines the righteousness, if you will, on those acts [the acts of sexual assault.] "


Hold On! Rapists Can Be Repelled By Fossil Fuels???

Well, that is amazing!
So, I really want to talk about why COP23 matters to us in Digital Africa, but let me just quickly unpack this man's depressingly disappointing argument for one moment:

1) Let us even assume that light (produced through electricity) can actually save this "mystery" girl from sexual assault. You know, let's assume that sexual assault cannot happen at noon in any part of the world.....Did she specify that she needs fossil fuel powered light, specifically, to save her?

2) If SHE did not say it was going to take fossil fuels per-se to protect her, but Mr Perry thinks this is the right solution, then how did Mr Perry arrive at this messianic ability of fossil fuels? 
I'm curious. Is it possible that Mr Perry could simply be using this young lady's fear to conjure up an illogical argument for justifying fossil fuels a week before COP23?

3) Which is more likely to penetrate African villages today?  Is it fossil fuels OR solar energy? Ask Akon

4) Now.
Please, can somebody tell me this man was joking?

Because if he is serious, then these folks weren't drinking the same schnapps he was. 




You know? I actually find it a bit odd that he choses to repeatedly use the term "fossil fuels" to classify them.
Considering the circumstances, I would imagine it is probably wiser to say, "power from natural gas or coal". I dunno.  


Anyway, back to the more important matter that should be trending at this time:
Why Africa needs to pay attention to COP23.
But quickly, a background.


What is COP23?


The 23rd Conference Of the Parties - a meeting that involves all of the member nations (or parties) that form the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. 
Their purpose is to collectively and individually tackle human-influenced global warming. It is important to note that in the opinion of the parties, a historic milestone was achieved in the 2015 edition - COP 21; the much talked about Paris Agreement.


What Happened At The Paris Agreement?

Although it is widely regarded as a historic success, COP21  features commitments and promises to reduce carbon output and limit global warming to lower than 2%.
It should interest many of you reading this that a lot of the recent announcements by some countries to ban the sale of gasoline-engined cars, while at the same time investing heavily in a cleaner electric grid, can be traced back to their need to honour these commitments.  

What Is Happening Now?


A significant event that was initially expected to have a mostly adverse effect on the COP21 resolutions was US President Donald Trump's decision to pull out of the agreement.
However, something else seems to be happening as a result. This
In fact, some would argue that Trump's decision is only going to make governors, mayors and corporate leaders in the country more resolved and more fired up to do what they believe is the right thing.


The Renewables Revolution Is Still In Full Swing

Regardless of what Secretary Perry says, the world is embracing this change, and therefore, everyone of us members of Digital Africa must be alert to this. 

Rick Perry's voice is certainly not loud enough to affect this global tide. Therefore, it will not likely be fossil fuels, as he thinks, that will "rescue" African girls from "sexual offences". (tongue-in-cheek btw

On a more serious note, the evidence is strongly piled up on the side of solar energy and storage (google the hashtag #StoredSun) having greater penetration in rural areas in Africa. 

But I am, however, going to warn that solar may not easily or quickly overcome the role of fossil fuels in African cities and larger towns that are served by an electricity grid.

We should understand that the revolution in Africa will start outwards and slowly extend inwardly. 


Take Away For Digital Africa?

I keep saying, "Be informed. Stay in the know. pay attention."

Knowing what the leaders of the world are up to is never a waste of your time. Neither is knowing how your leaders in Africa are responding to these policies and changes.
Digital Africa is, among other things, a community of Africans who are future oriented. We do not want to be left behind. We want to know what direction the world is headed. 

So if you have been following the stories from the UNFCCC since COP21, you would know that the major climate policy topic that was found to be the most important to African leaders, was that of "Capacity Building".


Therefore, as many of you that have been listening to my advise; either here on this blog, or in real life, my tip for you (for now) is to tune in to the COP23 Youtube channel.
Also consider doing google searches like, "COP22 Capacity Building in Africa" or "COP22 Capacity Building in Nigeria".
Also consider taking a look at my previous article about Climate Change

Always learn to variate your keywords when using Google. Reading one document is never really enough to get the full gist of a topic/idea. Always try to converge information on that topic from several different sources. 

Tell me what you think in the comments section.  
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