A future both frightening and exciting

The technological advances made by the big tech companies today over the past ten years have been more than amazing, i’d say breath taking. A lot of new tools have been developed and a lot more are coming up each day. Almost every sector of human endeavor is changing. Health, finance, education, justice, sport, economy, religion, environment etc are all changing with recent advances in technology. We could soon be entering into a future exactly like what we are used to seeing in sci-fi movies or TV shows. Yes, it is coming and no one can stop it. Autonomous cars (like Michael knight in the movie knight2000), conversational agents and digital assistants (Like diana in Hitman silent assassin), smart cities, androids etc. All these developments however useful needs to be properly assessed for the task they are designed to accomplish. When we keep pushing the boundaries of what’s now possible, it’s not the human race advancing, but I think it’s a new form of civilisation (industrial) that is taking shape.

The true threat to society today lies in the advancement to artificial general intelligence. Once we can have an entity likened to our own by our very own, then there’s no telling which direction civilization will take. If we setup competition against such entities, we are bound to fail even before we can start preparing a proper response. Some outspoken figures on the subject have propose that there be a sort of singularity with these AI but again this would be very controversial as it conflicts in religion and individual convictions about why we people should merge with these artificial entities in order to keep a close eye on it. I believe it is important to democratize the development of AI and make sure we keep things on the right side. As nature will have it, there are always the ‘black hat’ guys roaming in the corridors and pushing the red buttons, but we must stay focused on developing safe AI. We must not be limited or dismiss the possibility of an eventual loss of control to the black hats, but we must be able to take back control when necessary. We build tools to make our lives simpler while we focus on other things that will make us fulfilled. My hopes are that we should be able to stay in control of our society irrespective of the magnitude of the wave of technological advancement. We were meant to have dominion over all things on earth and i hope it stays that way. There should be no other entity on this planet superior to our kind. It is our responsibility to make sure we always remain on the top of the food chain and every other chain that exists. True we are limited by slow biological evolution but there’s no telling how far we can go while we keep evolving, and that itself is dangerous for us. The future that lies ahead depends on the decisions we make today, it is scary and yet still exciting.

 

Advertisements

Put Stepping Stones, Not Stumbling blocks

Every other society is advancing at an exponential pace. It is already hard keeping up with the rate at which industrialization has and is growing in developed and emerging economies. We are still lagging behind though we are faced with similar problems faced by these economies before they became the way they are. It’s true there has been something worse that had happened to our race (blacks) called slavery. This has engraved a mark of inferiority into our DNA and we sometimes find it difficult to fight against it. Today, we are still subject to modern forms of this slavery in the name of foreign aid and our leaders, NO rulers as i’d better put it,  are most often the problem. Instead of leading, they are more interested in selling their kind to modern forms of slavery. They are help more foreign organisations exploit to their full capacity, our potential. We as individuals are subject to brainwash so much so that we blindly follow such rulers and would even deny their own of the opportunities presented to them. We are also part of the problem when we decide to grant more privileges to foreigners than to our own. We give up our integrity just to gain short lived privileges. We are too shortsighted that we miss the benefits of remaining just in the long term. A popular saying goes that:

“If you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go together “

These words mean a lot, we are to collaborate and not compete against our very own. We are to fortify relations and not deter them. That’s how we build and grow together and can stand up against foreign harmful forces.

“A house divided against itself cannot stand .” – Abraham Lincoln

Despite the restlessness of the masses, some people strive to improve their society by employing several means whether good or bad for the community. But even within the community, we still find people bent on taking out each other. We need to observe and individually try to follow those who have succeeded to liberate themselves from subjective systems or forms of leadership. It is important that we support each other and not be an obstacle to our own. We are building the building together, let’s not hinder our collaborator’s work but strive to make him more efficient in delivering the maximum value possible. If we want to make a difference we must first show that we can make it together. Only then can we believe in change for progress.

Different realities

We all love doing what we do best. We need to share our stories so that others may appreciate the effort we are making in order to bring about change. Positive change is what makes society move forward and as agents of change we seek to build the society we desire in every way we can. It is interesting to see how overwhelmingly different or similar other societies can be. It is always true that it is only an outsider that sees the most possibilities that can be played on board game. So is it true for how we appreciate the society out of our own.

I share my stories wherever I go and listen to others as well. It is good to see that we always strive to bring positive change and encourage each other to keep going even in the most adverse conditions. We all face different challenges and it is up to us to keep going challenging all the ods in a bid to make the change we so desire. There are always going to be hurdles, but we must not relent our efforts for other people look up to us to create the opportunities they can use to make the society a better place

If you don’t do it now, it will be too late to do it tomorrow. If you think you are too young to do it now, you will be too old to start it tomorrow. – Akah Larry

On my first visit to Europe in Germany, I was amazed by how advanced the country is. The organisation, infrastructure, communication, everything seems to be in order. As I get from the news, this country literally controls most of the European budget and actually has budget surpluses each year. This was something I had never believed could actually exist, seeing from Africa which is the total opposite of what I found there. I had actually only seen these things in movies or TV shows but to experience it first hand was a whole different experience. Then we can begin to wonder if at all there are still challenges faced in such a society. It could be more difficult to solve a problem that doesn’t actually exist or or exists but whose variables depended on things that were beyond current human capacity.

Being in such an environment, I feel there is hope for a society to actually attain such level of development and this encourages me to keep moving. If others have done it, then we can. All it takes is a will. To stay motivated, one needs a mentor who from time to time, puts up the big picture to remind us of what we seek to achieve and what our convictions are.

to effect change, you need a strong vision, conviction and courage. – Larry Akah

I will be sharing more from my trips as I tour the world to learn and experience different realities. Stay tuned on my blog to read about exciting experiences.

Entrepreneurs should tell the full stories or not tell it at all.

It’s common ground today for people to get up the stage and recount their journey to their current status (whether success or steadily growing towards success) during a speech or motivational talk. It has also become common place for most of them to share stories about their humble beginnings and it looks like all of them almost always have a humble beginning. It now looks like if you didn’t have a ‘humble beginning’ but was able to make it (succeed), then your own story wouldn’t be fun to hear or inspire on stage. Such motivational talks hide a part of the story i think is as important as the part mostly recounted. Let’s look at a few of them (most popular stories in motivational talks) and identify that part which if told could have as much impact as what was only told.

Dropping out of school?

This one is most common with tech entrepreneurs who after they succeed will tell you how they didn’t make it while at school or had to drop out to actually make it. You may know of a few with whom this is common, Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates. Now the other part is, when recounting these stories most of these guys will not tell you exactly or explicitly what initiated their dropout or why they were unable to finish while still going about their business and this part of the story that is untold, i feel is very important as well. This could be a guide to indicate at which points or stage in school one could consider such an option to have a chance of making it with one’s idea.

Rejected for a job n times?

Another story is about how they were rejected for jobs at given companies for a number of times (n). These people will tell you how they were rejected n times but never really seek to find out why, hence they can’t tell you if you were not fit at that time to join or what exactly went wrong. Sometimes i think the real stories behind that could be one of nonchalant behavior or general incompetence at the time. People are rejected jobs for a wide array of reasons depending on the company’s hiring needs and requirements so identifying some of these could be a good way of preparing people as they go through that path. Such speeches need to be accompanied with a few reasons as to why the rejection.  As an example we find Jan Koum and Brian Acton, former employees at Yahoo and founders of whatsapp applied to Facebook and failed for reasons you may not get to hear from them on stage, but then facebook bought over their company for $19 billion.

Fired from a company you started?

Another phenomenon is the one of being fired from a company you started. This was most common in the silicon valley with tech entrepreneurs of the 20th century for example Steve Jobs at Apple. True they may have been fired at one point, but again the reasons as to such a decision need to be made clear. if at the time such decisions were necessary, then it should not cloud the reason for the entrepreneur to make known during their speeches. It is important to learn from ones’ mistakes so that one may reconsider current or future actions in the enterprise. So just saying that ‘i was fired from my company’ isn’t enough talk and should be justified on the circumstances  in which such decisions were made. It even turned out that years after Job’s firing from Apple, that was the wrong choice for the company to make.  However, during speeches of this nature, it is important to make know the circumstances that led to such decisions.

There are a lot more of such speeches i could analyse but that would be a very long article than this blog could possibly contain. The general point is that successful entrepreneurs should recount the full stories (both sides of the story) when they are called up  on stage for motivational or experience talks. The audience should aslo inquire about the parts of the stories untold from the presenters. This would go a long way to contribute in the minds of the audience.

Women’s role in society as originally designed, deep down

A couple of weeks ago, i walked into a restaurant with my homies down town an economic milieu to grab lunch for the day. Cool was the weather and calm was the environment when we placed our orders to a waiter who strangely was a Senegalese man. While our various different orders were being processed, there placed was a 20th century analogue display displaying images of an information canal directly from a far countryside. This was the foreign news about the recent happenings on foreign land and the various negotiating treaties taking place in a bid to end the global violence among the nations involved. Then surfaced Angela Dorothea Merkel on the display, yeah she looked the same as ever, commanding authority when she mounted the stage to deliver words that would steer the union in a given direction momentarily. I could say it was a tradition passed on in the german society but this looked a little different. Something hasn’t been right about it all these years (11 years now). She was the first female chancellor and has been so for the past 11  years now. She plays a central role in the EU and has a huge influence over the other member states. She obviously took part in the Brexit of summer fall later this year as another of her kind (Theresa May) takes over the United kingdom. I forgot what her topic of discussion was back then but one of my homies from earlier raised a concern about the place of women in society. As controversial as the topic may be, it is worth considering and looking back at what is said from ‘first principles’. Being all Christians, we decided to look back into our ‘first principles’, the Bible. Then we stumbled upon this part of it, 1st Timothy 2:11 – 19 or so. This spurred concern amongst us and we started to reason around that considering other instances in the Bible where women played roles similar to merkel’s . We know of the queens both good and bad in the time when God was closest to man in spirit. Of the good ones was Esther who became queen to King Ahasuerus, who through her position and grace was able to liberate her people from the oppression and manipulation of the commander of the armed forces. She heeded to the wise words of her ‘father’, Mordecai and was able to plan the liberation of her people under oppression and subjection. The other queens used their position rather in very evil ways and were most often responsible for the man’s fall. The examples are many in the Holy book e.g Joseph and Potiphar, Samson and the women, David et al, etc. These women exerted some form of authority over the men under their rule which we found to be against the laws in place by the scriptures.

Given the scriptures we think it has been made clear, the role of the woman in the society of men and that is what we believe in. In our society today, we need to redefine the roles that women may play as it is according the law of the holy book. We find it clear that for a woman to preach the wisdom of God (the gospel), it is not right. However, as to whether women should lead entire institutions or nations in the midst of men as it is currently happening these days (in IMF, WORLD BANK, UK, Tokyo-Japan, GERMANY, LIBERIA, BRASIL well no longer, US maybe soon enough), is what the controversy on this issue is all about and i leave it to you to express yourself on that. We find growing concepts like feminism, equality and what have you that are steering more and more women into this deceitful pedagogy. All these we think are false preaching that are just looking like the norm today and which we need to meditate to be revealed the truth. Let no man be deceived for in the days to come, we shall hear and see things of all sorts. Only with steadfast prayer and meditation can we be revealed the truth.

Let me know what your thoughts on this issue is and we can share our different views and be able to grow together.

The cry of my youth to my eternal Father

As i continue my journey to the promised land, i am bombarded and drowned in the regulations and lifestyle of this world. I am not from it but yet i am in it. This world is getting more and more soaked with violence, promisquity, injustice, slandering. My youthfulness is more vulnerable to these now than ever before. In all these, Lord you remain faithful. Tilt my heart to keep looking up to you even when the world feeds on my youth.

As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.- Psalms 127:4

Give me strength that i may not rely on mine alone. Take me away from the sight of those who promote waywardness i pray thee. Though i face all the tribulations and trials today i pray that thee keeps me up. Lord remember not the transgressions of my youth and cast me not away from thy sight for i am weak but in you i am strong. Free my mind from the perverted desires of this world and let your law abide in me. My youth has been plagued with desires from the underworld but i cry unto thee to set me free from he who comes to kill, steal and destroy.

They die in youth, and their life is among the unclean. – Job 36:14

It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth. – Lamentations 3:27

Make my days an example that the youths of my days may follow and see your glory. Make my star shine and guide the other stars to shine to glory. Light my candle that i may use it to light those of the youths of my days. Spring my well that they may fetch from it as they see your glory through it.  If i be unworthy to come in your presence Lord, my fellow youths who look up to me will be also. But for thou art a merciful God and thy steadfast love endureth forever, thou shalt exhault his children above the temptations of this world into the eternal glories.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. – Psalm 23:4

Guide my feet into the way of peace i pray thee for i will seek first thy kingdom with the hope of every other be added unto me.

Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. ! timothy 4:12

Hear my cry i pray thee.

The Pros and Cons with tech entrepreneurship in Cameroon.

Cameroon has for the past 5 years now experienced a significant growth in the interest of technology in some parts of the country, Buea (silicon mountain) being at the center of it all. The country has seen a few young energetic talents spring up from their 4 walled bedroom and throw amazing things at the world. These few are inspiring and leading many upcoming young ones to get involved and find interest in using tech to bring out innovative solutions for their community while upholding a bigger picture. However, there are some issues when people just get excited and feel they can just dive in without ‘doing their homework’. It sure takes a lot (time, money and strength) for talent to be recognized in this country and out to valuable use. I believe that innovation is not limited by a zip code, but that it’s value actually is. In this short first version of the post, i talk about the cons to this new frontier in the country and actors involved that need to be examined, questioned and mentioned.

Many people who are getting into tech entrepreneurship nowadays think it’s a prestige to be a tech entrepreneur seeing what the big names (Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Larry and sergey etc) have become. They don’t understand the effort it requires to make it work. This maybe due to lack of orientation from elder peers who have gone ahead and got the experience or just lack of communication with among themselves. Today @the university of buea and the catholic university (CUIB) most noted to be bringing out most of the so called ‘entrepreneurs’, every young freshman or even sophomore who owns a laptop and can program a computer in a language used in the 70’s now thinks he or she can automatically be a tech entrepreneur like Gates or Zuckerberg and the rest. They don’t sit down and actually reflect on the requirements of their society in order to identify what technology can yet address and what it can’t address. This is a problem as such an approach generally leads to failure because it is like failing to plan, which is planning to fail. You have failed before you even start when you adopt such an approach, which unfortunately is what over 95% of the youths around here (Cameroon) do. They just set out to start building a solution without like i always say, ‘doing their homework’. Consequently they end up building useless solutions nobody ever wants or uses. This is because they practically used the wrong approach or did it at the wrong time. It is important to have a thorough knowledge on the operating sector before using tech to address a problem. Sometimes many people just think they can use a tech solution to solve a problem when the community actually isn’t welcoming the tech. This causes many people to waste time and energy for things that would otherwise have been addressed differently. Technology entrepreneurship in our community suffers a lot from isolationism. Many tech geeks around aspiring to be entrepreneurs don’t actually understand the importance of team work. Most of them are in the francophone zones and have this tendency of working alone like a lone wolf. It makes it very difficult or takes a long time for the solution to be realized, if at all it does. Some usually use this argument when asked why they preferred working alone, ‘my idea will be stolen from me’. Now i ask this question, ‘How many messaging applications can we find for example?’ This is an example to show that ideas are nobody’s property and whether you share it or not, just rest assured that another has it. There are over 7 billion people out there over 20% have the skill to think and realize what you are thinking. When you share it, you even have a better chance of making something new from it. Isolationism is not what we should practice in a successful tech entrepreneurship venture.

Tech entrepreneurs are a generation of connected entrepreneurs. This means that access to basic and reliable internet connectivity is key. Tech entrepreneurs need to stay up-to-date with the trends in their various domains and this requires stable and reliable internet connectivity. One should be able to afford internet the same way one buys soap from the local store. This is not the case in the country at the moment. Prices are still exorbitant for the most people and efficiency/reliability hangs around 30%. This is a key problem to tech entrepreneurship in this country. The  major providers MTN, Orange, NexTel seem to be out exclusively to make their profits not caring about the customer service they need to provide. They are still making the profits but aren’t serving the consumers with what they are asking at at optimal rate. These are the actors slowing down the tech ecosystem in the country. Soon they try to camouflage it with startup competitions for tech entrepreneurs when in fact they can’t give proper follow-ups and respect deadlines, let alone provide seamless access to local technology resources used by entrants.

Since it is mostly youths who are getting involved in tech entrepreneurship, they are yet to understand their ecosystem and accept the reality about it before getting into building their solutions.We have a political and economic situation based on the theory of ‘conservation of power’. One which requires you to have a handler in a given sector for your affairs to move ahead. The government’s role in every society is to ensure the atmosphere, whether political, economical or social is conducive for people to build businesses that attract investors and bring jobs. It is reported in the US that  Silicon Valley companies(tech companies) have contributed to more than  25% of the country’s employment rate and these companies are even employing people oversees. In Cameroon tech entrepreneurship is not something the government is paying attention to until recent when they hear of few youths proving their worth, then they may be willing to pay more attention to that sector. They are hindering the development of the tech ecosystem with the high levels of corruption and unnecessary legislation. The law for SMEs in the country is still not good enough to favor tech entrepreneurship in the country. One of such is the idea of ‘PATANTE’ as they call it. This due should not be imposed upon young starting tech entrepreneurs but the government can setup operational inspectory units to see that these people are really willing to build something useful.

In general, some tech solutions can’t be applied to the current context in the country. One needs to look outside the triangle to calculate it’s dimensions, then go in and label them. While all these things obscure the future of tech entrepreneurship in the country, there are a few pros as well, and we will be looking at those in my next post.

An african tech entrepreneur and engineer. An enthusiast's journey in a world fast advancing. Creating technology and inspiring the lives of countless people

%d bloggers like this: