Black Eyed Peas frontman Will.i.am believes tech and music are one and the same. Rick Kern/Getty Images Will.i.am is perhaps best known as a musician and lead member of the Black Eyed Peas, but he’s also working to make a name for himself in tech. The singer, songwriter and producer has dabbled in wearables with products like the Puls smartband and the i.am+ Dial smartwatch, and in 2015 teamed up with Gucci to create a luxury phone-free smart band, which never materialized. He’s also launched products like a triangular backpack with speakers and a Foto.sosho iPhone case, and is the founder of i.am+, an AI-centered tech company. Now, Will.i.am is looking toward the future — one he believes will be shaped by tech like augmented and virtual reality. Devices like glasses will augment our world and free up our hands, he says, and technology will be more seamless. He imagines that musicians 100 years from now will have to do more than just write and perform songs. They’ll make VR experiences that audiences can virtually transport to. The future of entertainment is VR and AR. Will.i.am Will.i.am was pensive and enthusiastic about the future of tech when I spoke to him recently at Accenture’s innovation hub at Salesforce Tower in San Francisco. “The future of entertainment is VR and AR,” he said. “You’re creating worlds in VR and enriching environments with AR. I can’t wait for that to be the norm in our entertainment industry.”Ten years from now, he predicts, we won’t be staring at screens. Instead, sleek devices will show content right in front of our faces, eliminating the need for bulky gear resembling a helmet. That’s not to say Will.i.am is looking to create those products himself. His current passion is in artificial intelligence and natural language. His company i.am+ is focused on getting its AI system to be more efficient so that when people talk to a voice assistant, their search takes on a more conversational tone. Will.i.am doesn’t see his passion for music and tech as disparate. In fact, if more people knew how creative tech really is, more kids would want to be scientists and engineers, he says. “It’s the most creative industry in society today,” he told me. “Tech is everything. Music is tech. Our industry was founded on technology. If we saw music and tech as the same and not separate, we wouldn’t have this gap of [tech] jobs that are unfilled.” Now playing: Watch this: 0 4:54 Share your voice Post a comment Microsoft HoloLens 2: A first dive into the future of… Tags Music Tech Industry
Rohingya Muslim refugees disembark from a boat on the Bangladeshi side of Naf river in Teknaf. AFP file photoUNICEF trucks filled with emergency water, sanitation and hygiene supplies for thousands of Rohingya children are headed to Cox’s Bazar, with a steady stream of supplies in the pipeline for the coming days and weeks.The UN body gave the update issuing a press release from Cox’s Bazar on Thursday.UNICEF said up to 400,000 Rohingya have fled Myanmar for Bangladesh since 25 August, with thousands more arriving every day.Around 60 per cent are children, according to preliminary estimates.The sheer number of refugees has overwhelmed pre-existing refugee camps, with new arrivals seeking shelter anywhere they can find space, according to the UNICEF news release.“There are acute shortages of everything, most critically shelter, food and clean water,” said Edouard Beigbeder, UNICEF’s representative in Bangladesh.“Conditions on the ground place children at risk of high risk of water-borne disease. We have a monumental task ahead of us to protect these extremely vulnerable children.”UNICEF supplies include detergent powder, soap, and pitchers and jugs for containing water, along with nappies, sanitary napkins, towels and sandals.It is also supporting the Department of Public Health Engineering with water treatment plants and carriers, and is working with partners on the ground to install and rehabilitate tube wells.These items are part of a first wave of supplies that will massively scale-up UNICEF’s emergency response to the growing number of Rohingya children in Bangladesh, Beigbeder said.UNICEF has appealed for $7.3 million to provide emergency support to Rohingya children over the next four months.
Do More 24 campaign volunteers (Photo by Hyon Smith Photography)While Washington, D.C. and its surrounding counties have been identified as some of the most affluent areas in the nation, disproportionate access to resources still hinders many residents.“There is a delicate balance with the pride of who we are as a region,” Rosie Allen-Herring, president and CEO of United Way of the National Capital Area told the AFRO on June 5. “It comes with the responsibility of taking care of those who are a little less fortunate.”In the spirit of creating a continuum of giving back, in 2013, the United Way NCA created a 24-hour crowdfunding campaign to support the work of local non-profits. Utilizing an online platform, individuals could choose to donate to their favorite participating nonprofits or search for a nonprofit by cause or location.“Girls on the Run DC raised $4,297 from DO More 24,” said Kristen Komlosy, executive director of that organization, which promotes joyful, healthy, and confident fun to a diverse group of girls, more than half of whom are African American.Do More 24 campaign volunteers (Photo by Hyon Smith Photography)“Doing so, allowed us to provide program scholarships to 23 girls who would not have been otherwise able to participate in Girls on the Run,” Komlosy said of her participation in the 2014 giving marathon.On June 4, 612 nonprofits joined in the annual campaign, up from 564 in 2014. Throughout the day, social media pages blasted causes and reasons to contribute.“Give the gift of a soccer uniform & make a kid feel… like a CHAMP!!” tweeted DC Scores, an organization combining poetry, soccer, and service-learning to 1,500 low-income DC youth. Later, the organization’s Twitter page revealed a total $8,568 in donations, translating to 357 uniforms.“Give literature and a lifeline to young men in prison,” tweeted Free Minds Book Club and Writing Workshop, a non-profit that works with District youth who are incarcerated as adults. Free Minds closed the daylong event with $9,222.The top earners included Year Up – National Capital Region, Little Lights Urban Ministries, So Others Might Eat and REBOOT Combat Recovery, all of whom received at least $30,000. In total, over $1.4 million in online donations, cash prizes, bonus funds, and sponsor support was collected among participating organizations.“This is our third year and I think this was probably our most transformative year in terms of the focus being not just on donations, but getting people connected with nonprofits to be able to potentially volunteer,” said Allen-Herring, who spent a portion of the day at Tyson’s Corner Mall filling shoeboxes with toiletries that were then delivered to nonprofits who serve the basic needs of individuals.“One of the things that really got me excited was to see a group of volunteers who had disabilities – or different abilities – come in and volunteer for someone else,” she said. “It really just brought home the message that we could all do something. Everybody doesn’t have to be an expert in something, everyone doesn’t have to be rich, everyone doesn’t have to have a specific set of skills but everyone has something that they can do.”To learn more about the campaign and get involved in next year’s festivities, visit www.domore24.org.