Opened by the charismatic Dexter Simms, Big Scoop, and the Mayor of Croydon, Black Tech Day is underway. It’s a beautiful warm Saturday morning in South London and the room is full of tech enthusiasts. Most importantly, something special is taking place in front of the delegates. Black Tech Day is the first ever event in history where speakers actually truly represent diversity. And the tech contribution is just as sharp as at any conference we have covered here at #DisruptionBanking. Have the organizers behind Black Tech Day made history?
The first panel included Katrina Young, Javed Laher, Ali Mohamoud, and Joel Exley. The panel addressed the AI Revolution. Katrina opened the panel by sharing how artificial intelligence has made a huge impact in her life. Katrina uses machine learning and trains others how to code. And she highlighted how she spends more time with her AI than she does with humans.
Javed, a veteran of Amazon and Microsoft, shared insights into how ChatGPT can help everybody. All the speakers highlighted to delegates how important working with AI was. Ali specifically explained why you should ask ChatGPT what questions it needs answered prior to demanding an answer yourself. The more questions you can answer for your AI, the better it will answer your question. Joel, who works with startups, explained how self-education was as important as AI education.
In his summary, Ali shared some of his jobs of the future with the audience. These included prompt engineers, AI advisors and lots of specialisms with regards to ethics.
AI is the Buzzword, but what about Blockchain?
Many of our readers will know the dynamic Lavinia Osbourne who is the founder of Women in Blockchain Talks. On the second panel of Black Tech Day, Lavinia was joined on stage by Ninja from Blockchain Sensei and Terry Igharoro of Inventory Club, and the talk was all about blockchain. With a little bit of AI.
Terry delivered a very powerful message to the audience. Terry works with many emerging nations including from Africa and he sees the opportunities there. Back in 2017 Terry gave a talk at an all Parliamentary committee meeting on blockchain. He explained to the attendees at the time how it was a really nice thing to have, this blockchain DLT thing. For western economies. However, he highlighted how in emerging markets this type of solution was essential.
The audience reacted with great enthusiasm to Terry’s opening comments. But there was more.
“I believe that blockchain and emerging economies will do the same thing as we have seen with mobile phone technology. Rather than going through Web 2 systems and using centralized databases, the new systems of the emerging economies will be built on blockchain,” Terry shared.
Blockchain and Africa
Some of the topics that have come up at today’s Black Tech Day have been refreshing, and challenging. With a truly diverse audience speakers have felt more able to open up to issues and challenges facing their communities. With this in mind, Terry continued explaining some of the challenges faced by the populations of counties in Africa today.
He explained how Africa has 65% of the world’s arable land today. But, he explained, Africa imports about $80 billion of food a year. This is because Africa is in the first agricultural revolution compared to the rest of the world. He added how by 2050 we are due to have a food crisis. And we could already be looking at investing in solutions in Africa in preparation for this. There are more than 100 million smallholder farmers in Africa today.
Terry went on to explain how at Inventory club they are working with landowners and farmers to help digitize Africa’s agricultural value chain. Things like data collection or data management are missing. Supply chain is another problem. Not to mention bad actors.
One of the solutions for the $65 billion trade finance deficit that Africa’s agricultural opportunity represents are community saving pots. Or ‘stokvels’. This system has existed since the beginning of time. Twelve years ago Reuters wrote about how black South Africans save via informal clubs like stokvels.
Beyond Bitcoin Panel
Without a bitcoin dedicated panel, Black Tech Day wouldn’t be what it is. And Dexter himself moderated a panel with Susie Ward, Abhishek Singh and Susie Ward.
“Bitcoin has affected change. None of the others have affected any change,” Nathaniel highlighted as the panel kicked off.
That brought the discussion nicely on to the topic of CBDCs. Susie suggested that the Bank of England investigated CBDCs last year. She used the consultation paper as an example of how hard it was for the public to engage. Its level of complication was particularly hard she felt.
Nathaniel pointed to India or Pakistan where notes have been deleted from one day to the next. The control of our money by governments is something to be wary of. The speakers all agreed on this.
The following fireside chat with Solomon Smith, founder of Brixton Soup Kitchen revealed a further moving story. Solomon shared how much his organization does for the homeless not only in Brixton, but across the UK. Nearly all of the support he receives is through social media. Much like Dexter has a vision to do with Black Tech Day, Solomon has taken Brixton Soup Kitchen across the world to places like Miami and Jamaica.
Our community needs events like Black Tech Day. However, once a year and in one location will not be enough to deliver the message that Dexter has delivered on Day One of Black Tech Day. We might need a Black Tech Day at least once a month in multiple national and international locations. Heard of things like that before? Reach out to Dexter if you want to help create change, like we do.
Author: Andy Samu