By Steve Hamm, IBM Writer
With its warm, wet climate and vast expanse of 2.7 million square miles of land, the Amazon River basin has the potential to become one of the world’s most productive agricultural regions—essential for feeding a global population that’s fast-approaching eight billion.
Yet, at the same time, the Amazon rainforest is an invaluable—and imperiled–natural resource. According to The Nature Conservancy, no other place is more critical to human survival. The basin, which is about the size of the United States and touches eight countries, harbors one-third of the planet’s biodiversity, produces one-fourth of the fresh water and plays a key role in warding off the worst effects of climate change. Continue Reading »
By Eric Engquist
When I left the US Army in 2005, it was an incredibly stressful experience. In fact, I tell people today that I’m the quintessential example of what not to do when you’re transitioning to civilian life.
From childhood, I had planned on serving in the military. It was a family tradition. But after serving as an infantry officer for 8 years, including deployments to Kosovo and Iraq, I decided to leave the military, get married and start a family.
Problem was, I didn’t know what to expect after I exited the military. I didn’t have a career plan, or a financial plan or even a firm sense of where I would live. As a result, it took me nearly six months to land a job.
That’s why, as the assistant vice president in charge of military transitions at USAA, I am passionate about serving our military members and their families, and am determined to do everything I can to ease their journey. And, I’m happy to say that we’re getting help from IBM Watson—the cognitive computing system.
By Diego Sanchez Gallo
Walking down the street or on a sidewalk shouldn’t be hazardous to your health. But uneven pathways, cracks in the pavement, or some other unexpected obstacle trip up pedestrians all the time; and at worst, force those with disabilities to take inconvenient detours. IBM Research wants you to take a picture of your next stumbling block with the Rota Acessível (English version: Accessible Way) app – and help others avoid the same pitfall.
Inspired by another IBM crowdsource app, CreekWatch, my team in Sao Paulo developed a way for citizens to collaborate on “watching” their urban infrastructure – acting as human sensors of the city. Accessible Way geo-localizes the photos that users take, and puts them on a map visible to others using the app. Continue Reading »
By Alfred Vanderpuije
This week at the World Economic Forum on Africa in Cape Town, leaders will come together to discuss Africa’s future. One of the three focus themes is the importance of ‘Strategic Infrastructure’ as a foundation for the continent’s growth. As Mayor of Accra and Chief Executive of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly, I would say that there are few areas as crucial for infrastructure investment as cities.
Buoyed by an emerging oil and gas industry and a rapidly growing consumer class, Ghana’s economy is one of the fastest growing in the world. Investors are flocking to the country’s capital Accra to take advantage of new business opportunities and become part of this success story. Mastercard recently identified Accra as one of Africa’s top cities in terms of economic growth potential over the next few years. Local and foreign firms are also driving a number of urban development opportunities such as Ghana Cyber City, King City and Appolonia City which aim to set up modern, high-tech hubs within and around Accra. Continue Reading »
By Ahmed Simjee
When I was growing up in South Africa, my family was fortunate. We had access to fresh drinking water. At first we lived on a small farm near Johannesburg, where we used a well. Later, when I moved closer to the city, I had good tap water. But many of my fellow South Africans weren’t so lucky, and, even today, many people in the rural areas and in informal settlements near the cities don’t have ready access to fresh drinking water. That’s why I’m extremely pleased to be spearheading an initiative in South Africa, WaterWatchers, which is aimed at using mobile phones and crowdsourcing to cut down on leaks and wasted water.
We’re launching our free WaterWatchers app today in Gauteng Province, home of Johannesburg and the capital city, Tshwane. With 12.3 million residents, the province represents 23% of South Africa’s population. We timed the launch to coincide with the United Nations’ World Water Day. If you’re in South Africa, please download the app. Continue Reading »
By Jonathan Taplin
Before I became a university professor, I had a long career in the entertainment business–first as a concert producer for the likes of Bob Dylan and The Band, and later as producer of motion pictures, including Martin Scorsese’s Mean Streets and The Last Waltz.
Both the music and movie industries have been utterly transformed by the Internet, in positive and negative ways. But I sense that we’re still at the beginning stages of this big shift, and that some of the most interesting developments are yet to come. For example, social sentiment analysis is going to change the game for Hollywood marketing.
Evidence of the changes and challenges to come is abundant in the Film Forecaster analysis that USC Annenberg Innovation Lab and IBM conducted over the past few weeks at the front end of the holiday movie viewing season. It also surfaced in an LA event we hosted on Wednesday night, A Night Behind the Movies, where the panel included Robert Friedman, co-chairman of Lionsgate Motion Picture Group.