EAT, PRAY … TECH

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE IS PRACTICALLY SHAPING THE FUTURE
Every morning, I wake up with one question on my mind, “can you live without technology?” and each time, I reply myself saying an emphatic “NO”. It is a no brainer actually because everything around us is more or less powered by technology, from our phones, to our cars, to our homes, our toilets, the internet and so on, but if you think you can live without technology for at least one week please comment “YES I CAN” in the comment section below.

Some twenty-something years ago, It must have been so difficult to get a message across to someone who lived in a different city. I’m sure this is where the discouragement for long distance relationships began as it must have been emotionally daunting to think that you’d neither see nor speak to a loved one due to distance. Well, thankfully this is all rapidly changing with the fast paced advancement of technology in our society.

Now businesses have seized the use of technology to open up a new portal which is seamlessly trending in the heavily competitive Nigerian economic landscape. Every business is seemingly jumping on the bandwagon of Artificial Technology (AI) and it is insane to know the mind joggling things brewing in this playing field.

The Nigerian banking industry is in no doubt a fore runner in this space as it is powered by the zeal to continually develop and optimize designs to be user friendly and deliver an amazing banking experience, regardless of where a customer resides within the shores of the country. In order to adequately achieve this, banks have explored a large number of technological options and are taking it up a notch using artificial technology (AI). Nearly every bank now has a virtual banker for its millions of customers across the country. For example UBA’s Leo, Diamond’s Ada are currently leading this space.

This adaptation is fast and efficient as it treats every customer optimally; addressing needs such as instant replies, airtime purchase, bill payments, stock trading, money transfers and so on. It is not encumbered by number of customers it has to attend to at a time, nor is it affected by emotional agitations from customers, fatigue, forgetfulness and other cases that may arise from dealing with humans. Although older generations are having difficulty adapting to modern technology, younger generations are increasingly jumping on the bandwagon. 
 

Also, in the mobile phone industry there is Apple’s Siri, Samsung’s Bixby, Google assistant and in the advertising industry; there’s Publicis groupe’s Marcel. This definitely brings to life all those futuristic movies we watched back in the day, especially Will Smith’s iRobot.
 

 Source: Inverse

Source: Inverse

The use of Artificial Intelligence is proving to be the future of business and is gradually taking the country by storm. With the increased growth of ecommerce, more intelligent smart phones, easy access to cheap and affordable data, we are sure to see a vehement total takeover of the economy by technology. I hope that someday I’d be able to say “hey Siri, make my lunch” while I sit and get served with a delicious hot plate of whatever I desire. That’ll certainly be nice.

But, is it just me or is technology and developers having some kind of Pinky and the Brain type of conversation? I can just imagine this convo;
Technology: Hey Developer, what are we going to do tonight?
Developer: same thing we do every night Technology, try to take over the world.
Because it’s astounding how technology has crept into every facet of the world, enhancing user experience and improving accessibility; although AI has its lapses but like everything else, it is work in progress.

VAR COMPLETELY DISRUPTS THE WORLD

VAR IS DELIVERING A LETHAL ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT IN THE WORLD OF SPORT- THE NEW AGE JOHN CENA

All right guys, before you start reading this article I need you to take a moment, pause, inhale and say “congratulations” to the ECOWAS side (France) for winning the world cup in Russia 2018. You possibly can’t imagine the joy I felt after they lifted the trophy, although I wanted Croatia to win at some point as the country has never won it- who wouldn’t? What actually baffles me is how quickly the frenzy died out. I thought that we would keep hearing about the world cup victory until the end of the year, oh well, it’s not Big Brother after all.

During the tournament we spotted a major trend which gained global acceptance as it was endorsed by the IFAB, but before I continue, I’d like to ask, have you ever seen a soccer game at a viewing center? The passion is raw, the feeling is tangible, the love for the game is real, and it’s almost unimaginable how you and everyone else in the place become friends in the course of 90 minutes of pure sport. This therefore makes it imperative for innovative companies to come up with ideas and solutions that will further deliver this type of feeling and reduce bad decisions from the officiating personnel.
 

 Source: Football

Source: Football

Over the course of the game we saw various reactions from players, officials, and spectators towards the use of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR). One image that will never leave my mind is that of a young man who literally tore his shirt because the referee denied Nigeria a penalty against Argentina after watching the footage from the VAR.
It was so clear and commentators went ahead to call it “an Argentine moment- moment of hope”. So also, we witnessed a ton of controversies which spurred from the VAR in many other fixtures.

The technology has since come under fire and severe scrutiny as critics have accused it of creating as much confusion as clarity. However, this technology has shown no signs of slowing down as it is currently being used in top flight leagues of the world such as the German Bundesliga and is being considered for the English Premier League and Spanish La Liga for the 2018/19 season.

 Source: Cbs sports

Source: Cbs sports

Furthermore, the VAR has proven to be this sporting generation’s John Cena as it is delivering the very lethal Attitude Adjustment (AA) move on strikers and defenders alike. The VAR curbs the growing trend of defenders body checking the opposing team in the penalty area during a set piece- this made the Russia 2018 world cup the tournament with the highest number of penalties ever with 29 spot kicks awarded.

Well, one thing that’s likely to happen is the VAR’s success may cascade through to other sports in order to sustain disciplined and honest sportsmanship globally. We have over the years seen foul plays that were over looked in the passed- such as the famous “Hand of God” by football legend Diego Maradona. So also in cricket, baseball, basketball, swim meets etc to name a few. If this technology eventually makes it to the EPL, I hope it develops some technical fault each time its decision doesn’t favour Arsenal.

Shining light on Surulere, the Silent Entertainment Hub in Nigeria

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Surulere, one of the major areas in Lagos, Nigeria sits 18.1Km away from the State’s Capital Ikeja. Surulere translates to “Patience is Virtue” in Yoruba language, one of major languages spoken in the country. Beyond the existence of a lifestyle reflecting patience, hard work as a lifestyle is evident in this region. Surulere as a residential and commercial Local Government Area stands as one of the most vibrant areas in the Lagos mainland, mostly known for being a boiling point for the city’s Sports and athletic affairs. The region houses two international sport venues and this spirit is evident in its resident’s energetic display. Sports accounts for one of the Nigerian major source of entertainment and this has Surulere boiling over constantly with activities surrounding Sports. It’s easy to see culture reflected in the lives of the region’s residents, as most inhabitants of the area and its surroundings are wake early to jog, cycle or run along the road close to and around the National Stadium. Rich and overflowing with businesses, Surulere has a large number of the most prominent Clothing stores, Interior Design boutiques, car dealer shops and sports shops popular on the mainland area. Asides staying bubbly all day, there is no sleep in Surulere too; numerous bars, lounges, clubs and pubs, gives enormous life to the area’s effervescent night life.

Considering these realities, it’s no surprise that region today is giving birth to an increasing number of bright stars, covering sports, music and movies. One of these stars is the very iconic Afropop star, Wizkid aka Starboy. Wizkid the young artiste who is redefining Afropop across the world has paid homage to his humble roots, Ojuelegba in Surulere in a track titled “Ojuelegba”. On the single, he sang and recounted the huge influence his birth place played in shaping and forming him into the star he is today “Ni ojuelegba - in Ojuelegba / they know my story / From Mo'Dogg studio/ I be hustle to work…” Wizkid today might be named as the most successful and most iconic Afropop artiste in Contemporary Nigerian Music scene. The 27 year old is going places many before and after him can only dream of. With numerous enviable awards, international features, international tours and a number of world billboard charts tops tied to his name, this young star is putting not just Nigeria but Africa on the global map with his artistry like no other African Artiste of his time. Among his numerous endorsements is one with the international beverage giant, Pepsi reportedly worth 350,000 U.S dollars! Time and time again Wizkid has named his Surulere root as one of his biggest influence.

An interesting element of influence to Wizkid’s success story is the late, legendry Music producer and artiste OJB Jezreel. OJB, another Surulere born and bred icon played a key role in laying Wizkid’s career foundation. OJB was a strong pillar in building the bubbling Music industry both as a Producer and as an artiste. He released unforgettable singles like ‘Searching’ and ‘Pretete’ amongst others.  At the peak of his career, he worked with 2face Idibia, single handedly producing 'Face 2 Face' album; the album which had the singles “African Queen” and “Ole”. African Queen brought home to Nigeria for the first time the MTV Best African Act award (2005) and was used as an original soundtrack for the film Phat Girlz, an applaud worthy feat at the time. Beyond 2face, OJB worked with Bennie Man, Faze, Iyanya, D'banj, Durella, Wizkid, Yemi Alade, Jazzman Olofin, Weird MC, Paul Ik Dairo, Daddy Showkey, Sir Shina Peters, Olu Maintain to mention a few.

 

I can’t say for sure if it’s something in air or in the water at Surulere but another fast rising star has sprouted out from this same area and has mentioned her participation in Her local church Choir perhaps back in her Surulere place of birth as a strong foundation to the start of her career. Simi, the new Nigerian music sweetheart is stealing the heart of the country and the continent at a rate no one expected. In the highly competitive Nigerian Music industry, one notably ruthless to women, Simi stands out and has kept her success pace rising through the years. She’s set to release her second studio album titled after her, “Simisola”. Simi was born back in 1988 in Ojuelegba, Surulere just like Wizkid. Today she has a number of hit singles, features, quite a load of nominations and awards to her name in a rather short period of time.

 

The Surulere light shines beyond the music industry, into the local Movie industry so much so that it has been named by some the entertainment capital of Nigeria mostly for the role it played and still plays in producing fresh crop of Actors and Movie producers. Surulere has been recognised by many as the official birthplace of Nollywood. Though in recent times due to the high cost of production in Lagos, Film production has since moved to other cities down the South East, especially Asaba, an otherwise sleepy and calm town, Surulere still plays a role in housing many production houses and studios. Nollywood resonates across Africa into distant continents telling authentic Nigerian and African stories in the most Original ways. During the early stages of the industry back in Surulere, movies were popularized at first through video cassettes which traded locally and across Africa, today the industry has a number of channels on satellite and cable television channels, as well as on streaming services like iRokoTV. Though most Nollywood movies are delivered in English and local Nigerian languages, Francophone African countries now tune into the buzzing industry through, a satellite channel called Nollywood which offers viewers round-the-clock movies dubbed into French.

A number of active Nollywood actors like Ramsey Noah, Desmond Elliot, Damiola Adegbite, Linda Ejiofor amongst others have mentioned Surulere as their birthplace, root and center of influence into stardom.

EbiraLand: Nowhere else is Arsenal so celebrated

"AS AN ARSENAL FAN YOU LEARN HOW TO TOLERATE."- ARSENAL FAN CLUB EBIRALAND

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It has been discovered that for a decade and one,  five local government areas in Kogi state, Nigeria gather to celebrate amidst fanfare arsenal Day, a two-day celebration of Arsenal football club EbiraLand.

According to Ilyas Abdulsalam, the helms man of Arsenal fans club Ebiraland, "Our reason to mark Arsenal Day is to celebrate the English club and its players."

Despite the trophy Premier League Trophy drought that the Gunners have been experiencing since 2004, these group of fans has not ceased to hold this celebratory event on a yearly basis since then. Organisers of the event revealed that Arsenal Day was inspired by the Gunners record breaking unbeaten run in the 2004 season. 

The EbiraLand fan club, which was founded 12 years ago, has 16,000 registered members made up of 22 subgroups, of which three are specifically for women. Each event witnesses thousands of fans in their red and white jerseys singing songs, dancing and eating together, capped with slices of Arsenal themed cake.

Abdulsalam confesses his difficulty in calculating the exact number of last year's Arsenal Day attendance with 9,000 seats filled and so many standing. He went on to say that despite the fact the London-based club has not won a Premier League trophy since 2004, it has taught all of them an important lesson which is the value of tolerance. 

"We've been expecting a trophy from the team and we've not been getting it but we're very patient and our patience had cropped up a proverb in our area which goes thus; "If you're an Arsenal fan you can never divorce your wife and if you can stick with Arsenal with no trophy you can learn how to tolerate."

 

Pads from sugarcane

A UGANDAN START-UP IS PRODUCING AFFORDABLE SANITARY PADS FROM SUGARCANE

First, I don't exactly sugarcane, but after reading this story up and now writing it, i'm sure I've had my last taste of it.

Many girls cannot afford the sanitary pads on the market. When you go to schools you will be surprised to know that some will miss school because they are going through their menstrual periods, the four days of their menstrual periods, they do not have the right materials to use, they are so embarrassed in public because they will stain their dressed and everyone will laugh at them so they choose to stay at home.
— CO-FOUNDER, ECO SMART PADS

Following the recent price hike, one thing that no female took kindly to, was the increased purchase value attached to sanitary pads. Like it is not hard enough that I have to bleed for about week because once again I chose to not get pregnant, but now i'd pay a lot more money to go through unwanted pain. Fix it mother-nature. Fortunately for me I can still grudgingly pay for it, but what of the million other teenage girls with barely enough money to get by, having this one extra worry added  to their cart? It is on this premise that a Ugandan start-up company opted for a cheaper method of production for sanitary pads. 

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 Eco Smart pads is a startup working to create a more affordable alternative brand of pads from sugarcane to help girls stay in school. Sugarcane fibers, are a low-cost, absorbent alternative. They boil the sugarcane residue to remove the sugar content and to soften it, the dried fiber is then used to fashion out sanitary pads. Eco Smart pads are reusable for up to 12 months, and they last up to 9 hours before they need changing. These pads are biodegradable, and hence safe for the environment. 

Team ECO Smart Pad are trying to keep girls in school by producing cheap Pads made from recycling sugarcane residues. #UpAccelerate

The UN estimates that one in ten girls in sub-Saharan Africa do not attend school during menstruation. This causes them to lag behind in their education, and even drop out of school entirely, creating negative long-term consequences. In the advent of this innovation, the Eco Smart company recently won a grant of 10,000 US dollars in a competition that supports entrepreneurs seeking to address sexual reproductive health challenges.