It’s been quite a week for women in tech here in Brussels. The Digital4Her conference looked at ways to get more women into tech, foster women entrepreneurs and fight gender stereotypes in the media. To that end, event host Mariya Gabriel, the EU Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society, launched the European Network for Women in Digital. Equally, POLITICO Europe’s first Women Rule Summit tackled similar themes, culminating in a resounding message from MEP Eva Kayali: ‘Stand up for yourselves.’ (continues below)
Meanwhile, far from Brussels, New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern became only the second serving prime minister to give birth. This prompted compatriot Helen Clark, herself prime minister for nine years and then number three at the United Nations, to reflect on the country’s enlightened approach to women’s rights.
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To continue the discussion of women’s rights, here’s a novel perspective on the argument that women can have it all. Research shows the proportion of homes in which two parents work full-time is rising, from 26.4% in 2001 to 30.8% in 2013 across 17 European countries. Some mothers cite apps as a key reason they’re able to balance professional and personal life. Uber cuts travel times, Ocado takes the pain out of shopping for groceries, WhatsApp makes communication easy, Amazon delivers anything, and you have a mobile office on your phone. Apps – a modern mother’s liberator?
The speed of fake news on WhatsApp [The Guardian]
Has WhatsApp become a new tool for propaganda? Recently two Indian men were lynched to death after being falsely accused of kidnapping children. This was after messages about kidnappers in the region were circulated on the messaging platform. More and more people use messaging apps as their main source of information without realising that the information shared isn’t verified. The danger isn’t being able to control the flow of truth of the information, especially in “private” messaging networks. It’s still hard to define how – and whether – we should control new technologies. But disinformation can spread like wildfire and the speed at which it travels through private digital networks will only increase.
Surprisingly, the number of women involved in programming has decreased in the past ten years in the US and UK. Even more surprising is the new and very attractive female helper/chatbot Ava, who was actually designed by a majority female team. Ava’s creator, Racheal Rekart, is asked if she’s continuing the stereotype of submissive, servile female bots. Her response: “This is the next new revolution in technology, they can think faster than us and learn faster than us. Why should they be male?” A fair point, but haven’t we seen enough women (be they humans/bots/faceless voices) serving men?
A new way to pay the bill [TechCrunch]
Could one reason Parisian waiters are cranky be the fact they have to use old-school cash registers? Well, that could soon change. French startup Tiller, a modern cash register solution, has raised an additional $14 million in funding. Besides the usual features, such as customising a restaurant layout and allowing for multiple payment methods, Tiller enables restaurateurs to integrate with many third-party services: delivery with UberEats and the likes, booking with TheFork, payment with Sumup or Ingenico, inventory, staff management, you name it. Something to please the grumpiest of garçons?
After bicycles, motorbikes and cars, it’s time for electric scooter sharing to take over the streets of major European cities – starting in Paris, where Silicon Valley-based Lime is launching its service today. The plan is to quickly expand into more than 20 other locations by the end of the year. Bird, its biggest competitor in the US is also gearing up to join the race for street domination offering short rentals for just a few euros. In major US cities where these powered scooters run rampant, they generate equal amounts of love and hate. Will it be the same In Brussels, where starting today Troty is offering limited access around Ixelles and the EU quarter? Keep an eye out for MEPs scooting through Place Lux on their way to the Parliament.
In case you haven’t had enough
Why do we care so much about privacy [The New Yorker]
Online memes ‘at risk’ from EU copyright law [The Times]
New IBM robot holds convincing debate with a human [Daily Beast]
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