Digital Inclusion + Purpose with EX-Microsoftie and now IBMr Melissa Sassi – Episode 50

In this episode we discuss digital inclusion and who better than Melissa Sassi who is a pioneer in this space, she runs her own non-profit on top of her day job at IBM.

WARNING — AI Transcriptions May Cause Grammatically Correct People Serious Stress

Nathaniel Schooler 0:18
In this expert talk I’m interviewing Melissa Sassi from across the pond she’s actually an ex Microsoftie turned IBMer who brings passion and purpose to the tech industry with her belief that digital literacy is a human right.

Mel It’s good to see you again! So you’ve been all over the shop you are in Barcelona now. You’re all over the place up I’m feel tired just watching what you’ve been doing. And I’m in my studio here.

Melissa Sassi 0:58
It’s it’s both my blessing. And my curse. I’m talking to you from Soho House in Barcelona and I will say that I do have a glass of wine in front of me, so if you see me partaking every once in a while, don’t be surprised.

Nathaniel Schooler 1:14
Well I wouldn’t worry I just went down to the pound shop to buy some lightning cables for my phone because the last one stopped working, and I woke up on Monday morning my iPhone was down to 25% battery. I have got no cable, I’m so busy I don’t want to go out and I was like:- “Is my phone broken or is it not? Is it the cable?” So I was just like freaking out and and I literally just went down up and my friend Eric he’s got like 20 cables just buy a few.

Melissa Sassi 1:45
It’s the story of my life. Just like the reason why I got this great idea to replace my headphones and I lost on a plane a while back and unfortunately the microphone it doesn’t work if it’s hanging normally. So I’ve I’ve come up with this like space craft thing that allows me to still keep these headphones and not take them back and still use them. So that’s why I kind of look like a spaceship pilot right now.

Nathaniel Schooler 2:09
Well, I wouldn’t worry I’m in my casuals today. You know, it’s, it’s an office day. So we’re here to talk about. “Digital inclusion.” I know. That’s like a massive topic. And you know, more than anyone else that I know about this topic. So tell me about it.

Melissa Sassi 2:32
Yeah, so I spent the last few days on what I would say, participating in some really interesting talks. So I’m here in Barcelona, and I lead a talk yesterday, on Monday on:- “What is digital inclusion?”

So I spent the last two years working on a literature review. So I know that’s quite an academic term, but I’ve essentially combed to the internet and combed journals, academic journals on the definition of digital skills, the definition of digital intelligence of life skills and trying to figure out, you know, what is the definition of digital literacy. And if there is a common definition, if you think about it, and you go out to any dictionary, you go to UNESCO you’re going to find a common definition of literacy. And we know what that is; we measure it, we track it, but if you think about it, there isn’t one for digital literacy. There are many!

UNESCO

And if you think about it, how do you measure progress against something if you if you can’t define it? And you don’t have a commonly agreed framework? In terms of frameworks, even UNESCO has a couple there are many, many organizations out there that follow a multitude of different frameworks for digital skills.

And what I mean by that is; think about it as a competency wheel or a series of competencies from basic digital literacy. Such as managing your online footprint, media literacy, think about it as Internet safety or privacy, all the way through to more advanced applications of digital skills, such as computational thinking, or problem solving, or productivity tools, whether that’s, you know, using, Microsoft Office or Google products or any other products that help you be more productive either in the classroom or as a teacher or as a professional all the way through to building mobile applications or IoT.

And the reason I say this is if you think about the Sustainable Development Goals, so the UN put forward 17 global goals and the idea is to solve all of that and we are essentially alleviating the worst problems in the world, such as extreme poverty or hunger or gender, inclusion, quality, education, infrastructure, all of that kind of stuff.

Why does this matter? 50% of the world is not online and it proportionally or it exponentially impacts women and girls, indigenous communities, you know, people’s accessibility needs, and how can we measure progress?

Nathaniel Schooler 5:27
50% is big? It’s a big number, isn’t it?

So, I know you’re involved with a charity that’s doing a lot within schools. So that’s within Africa, right?

Melissa Sassi 5:44
So I have my own nonprofit that I fund with my salary. It’s called mentor nations. We teach young people and it’s all youth led and student led. So it’s not just about you know, me or someone like me, teaching digital skills is taking young engineers or young computer scientists who are still in university, sharing their skills forward.

We have teams of people in North Africa, so in Tunisia, in Bangladesh and also in Pakistan. So it goes beyond Africa that other people in other parts of the world, but the idea is how do you empower young people through technology to become entrepreneurs and to start their own companies by having skills, mobile application development, or just basic digital literacy.

I’m also involved in a Pakistani nonprofit that uses these Raspberry Pi like devices, we catch content and we teach out of school kids. So imagine you’ve got 1 million kids outside of the school system. And imagine empowering those kids by by working within the confines of culture and, enabling them to learn to read, write and use computers in really interesting and innovative ways! It’s life changing, completely life changing.

Nathaniel Schooler 7:10
Yeah, it must be so rewarding to actually see that. Because I know when you were at Microsoft, you delivered loads of computers to these classrooms, right? And that the sort of feel good factor that goes with that must be just absolutely brilliant for sure.

Melissa Sassi 7:26
Honestly, I think partly it keeps me out of trouble as as a human and also just gives me something bigger to believe in. Something bigger to do than just not my job or my career or going and having a drink with my friends. It is something that is, hopefully changing the world and, you know, people’s lives along with it.

Nathaniel Schooler 7:51
Purpose. Yeah, it gives you purpose, right.

Melissa Sassi 7:55
Absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. And I’m very thankful.

That I work in a company and with a team that understands that you have your career and you have your purpose, and you shouldn’t have to choose between your career, your family and your purpose. You can have all of those things, you know, together at once and, you know, still excel in your career and still continue to advance without having to trade things off.

Nathaniel Schooler 8:27
Yeah, they’re a good company. I mean, I was talking about them the other day I think they are probably the oldest tech company that’s alive. I think all the others are like, less than 20 years old.

Melissa Sassi 8:39
Yeah, so we’re talking about IBM for the people following along. I just joined IBM on the second of January. So I think you know, any job that takes some time to figure out well, gosh, what the heck is my job?

And what am I supposed to be doing? And how do I not just follow what is on my job description, but what more can I do?

To not just make my mark, but also go beyond what my, leadership team might think success looks like but create our own paths?

I’m pretty excited about in my new role.

Nathaniel Schooler 9:16
Yeah. So what have you been talking about then?

You’ve been to that if you’ve been to the UN last week or something?

Melissa Sassi 9:23
Yeah. So last week was a pretty whirlwind week for me. I was fortunate enough to attend a Blockchain summit that the IBM Blockchain team and our IBM Ventures team put on. And what I really loved about that program is they selected a couple handfuls I think it was like 10 or 12 startups that are in the Blockchain world.

So imagine choosing,  startups, but startups that have paying customers they have, you know, active Blockchain solutions in the market whether that’s you know, fashion or sports or advertising, really doing interesting things that actually have Blockchain applications. But what I love most about the program was seeing them taking the startups and thinking about what are those startups actually need in terms of acceleration, but not just selling IBM products or thinking about how do we get them onto our platform.

I mean, naturally, that’s something as a an employee of whatever company you work for, whether that’s AWS or Microsoft Azure, or Google or IBM, you know, getting them into your ecosystem. But it wasn’t so much a sales play, it was more about:-

“How do we come together?”

“How do we do to thought leadership?” versus “How do we sell to you?”

And I think the impact of that was seeing these startups really, you know, recognizing IBM is a thoughtleader and wanting to partner versus it being shoved down your throat.

Nathaniel Schooler 10:58
Yeah, well, that’s the problem, isn’t it with a lot of companies, they just push you to do all sorts of things. It’s a lot of people as well like that. But, but no I think Blockchain certainly has the power to transform a lot of the world. I mean, if you if you if you introduce that into like the payment gateways and the payment solutions, and then, you know, it’s all linked to innovation, isn’t it? I mean, if you can help people to become included, have digital inclusion, understand how things work, then they can partner themselves with coders.

They can create companies and then they can actually use Blockchain to get paid and then they in and it’s going to improve the whole world so that in essence everyone will will have a stake and they will get paid. I mean that’s my ideal vision yeah but the reality of that is at the moment for a different purely because you know, the ethics of business in general are let’s make money. That’s that’s what business is for right?

Melissa Sassi 12:02
Well I would disagree a little bit to be really yeah I would and I take you know Larry Finks most recent letter to CEOs and shareholders of saying that you know businesses are not just there to make money they require you know a social impact and the social cause and it is good business it’s not just about how do you turn a profit? How do you retain your people?

I think nowadays so many employees are not just ready to support a you know profit generating engine they want to also make the world a better place and feel that there’s purpose involved along with making money I mean we all you know come to work to make sure our bills and do all of that but we also want to feel good about it and feel like we’re making a difference with something whether it’s our own cars that we believe in or something bigger than that, right.

Nathaniel Schooler 12:52
So is that sort of recent change in corporate social responsibility purely purely due to the fact that actually people are becoming wise. To the fact that that’s what business should really be. So they’ve had to change and actually include that in their policies. Really, let’s be real about it.

Melissa Sassi 13:09
Yeah, there’s a lot of academic research that came, well before many companies, you know saw this, or, you know, if you think about Larry Fink from BlackRock. Just, making this announcement, the first letter to shareholders or CEOs can’t remember what the letter was called, was last year, and then he did the second one this year.

So I think it’s a relatively new thing, seeing, a large, an asset management company like Black Rock, which has trillions of dollars, under management coming and taking the stance, but for those of us who, got MBAs years ago. I remember, reading about conscious capitalism and it wasn’t something that I really saw part of my every day until the last, few years. It started when I joined Microsoft, frankly, and I’m glad that it’s still carried with me now that I’m with IBM right now.

Nathaniel Schooler 14:00
It’s certainly an interesting place. I mean, I think looking looking at the sort of the picture of what’s actually going on with, poverty and people are hungry and this kind of stuff. I think the problem that we face is actually making sure people don’t just use AI just to replace workers just to fuel shareholder value. And then we lose the economy altogether. I mean, that’s the danger of computers? And using technology to this to the extremes of what machine learning can do, isn’t it?

Melissa Sassi 14:46
Well, and I think that’s why you see large companies like IBM, Microsoft and others, coming up with, you know, ai training or coming up with white papers or perspectives on you know, bias and AR. And, how do we make sure that we understand our unconscious bias?

And how does that come into play as we’re thinking about the role that either machine learning or artificial intelligence or whatever, comes into play. I think one of the things that you mentioned in the very beginning and I kind of went off on to and you know, the Blockchain Summit tangent was what I was doing at the at the UN this week. And it was a really great roundtable it was standing room only so we filled up all the seats which I was really excited about. The ambassador so Her Excellency from Montenegro spoke and she kicked off our event.

It was really exciting to hear someone who’s got their PhD in telecommunications. Someone who was a telecommunications regulator and is now the ambassador to the UN for Montenegro kickoff and really talk about first off what does “Digital Inclusion” mean to her? And why is it important in her country?

We had a couple of individuals from Microsoft. So Lydia Curru, who’s part of Microsoft error bands initiative, which was a team that goes out and gets people connected to affordable energy, energy and internet access. And then we had Dona Sokar who heads up the Windows Insider team. She’s just an amazing entrepreneur.

Nathaniel Schooler 16:21
Oh, yeah. you’ve introduced me to her. I was speaking to her and, and her associate, I think.

Melissa Sassi 16:27
Jeremiah

Nathaniel Schooler 16:28
Yeah, I think it’s, I think it’s this week, actually. Yeah I’m speaking to them in a couple of days.

Melissa Sassi 16:36
Yeah, they were part of it. We had a woman from UNESCO, a gentleman from from UNICEF. We had a woman named Perry who’s responsible for a really amazing nonprofit called called “Stop cyber bullying” she brought two of her teenagers so we had two teenagers 14 and 17 talking about, internet inclusion and what it means for them and why it’s important.

I kicked off by talking about a personal story of why “Digital Inclusion” is important to me. So for me and my children are victims of parental kidnapping.

My children are safe, they’re healthy, they’re adjusted little, little humans. They’re 17, 14 and 12, they live in North Africa.

And for me, being a mother, it means internet access. And it means being able to talk and chat and have access to my kids from from afar. And I know that seems a little bit foreign for people who have traditional lives with their children or with their parents. But for me, “Digital Inclusion” means my kids being able to access the internet and then being able to use the internet in a meaningful way and me being able to reach them and they’ve got me to a point of thinking about well:- “This is what it means to me.”

“What does it mean to other people from around the world and how can I help make sure that my kids are not the only ones who are empowered by technology?”

But how can I take the dreams of other kids for other people from around the world and empower them with the access skills and utilization of technology that helps them thrive in their own communities?

We talked a lot about digital skills, we talked a lot about just really, the kind of raw emotion you know, when it comes to cyber bullying, but for me, I don’t know it gave me an opportunity to share my personal story but also some recommendations that I have for the UN.

Nathaniel Schooler 18:40
That’s fantastic. So what what sort of skills are we actually talking about from the ground up like from the basic people like me? I’m quite basic right? You know…

Melissa Sassi 18:54
I wouldn’t say so.

Nathaniel Schooler 18:58
I don’t code you know, I can use programs, right? And I’m kind of, you know, in harmony, right? Let’s say I’m in harmony with with what’s going on. Thankfully, I’ve got a buddy who’s a really good. He’s, like been hosting loads of websites for like 20 plus years. It’s got one of the oldest hosting businesses in Europe. Yeah. So, he manages all my data, he built me my machine. And he’s like right, you need this program, you need that program, you need this processor. And so he built it all and I’ve got like, backups for this and that, you know, it’s on another level to me. I can’t even I don’t even know how to run a backup.

Yeah, seriously, if my backup does not run. I’m not joking. Yeah, I look at the backup program. I look at it every day. And I’m still for five days. I’ve still been trying to work out how to run a backup.

Melissa Sassi 19:55
Well, I think it’s a fallacy that things like everybody is going to be an engineer or everybody’s going to learn to code because not everybody even cares about learning to code. And not everybody is a quick to this with the skills, you know, to be able to learn to code but I see it as a wheel of competencies. There were three models that I personally like there’s digcomp https://ec.europa.eu/jrc/en/digcompedu

That’s from from Europe. That one I think is really interesting. And they’ve got like 7-10 different, you know, competencies. And then there is a really interesting model outside of from Denmark. I can’t remember the name of the model, but it’s essentially a framework as well. And then there’s one from the dq Institute. Those are my three favorites. There are tons of other ones out there. Those are my three favorites and I would see it as there are basic skills such as, turning on your device, turning off your device, being able to collaborate with others online. Being able to see through media literacy or see through fake news, know what to share, what not to share.

Security, privacy and also see it as like almost like a lever that you move from, more advanced skills to more basic skills. And, you know, again, not everybody’s going to be an engineer. And so you’ve got like security, for example, how do I keep myself safe, setting up strong passwords? And how do I make sure I’m not giving out my passwords to others all the way through to someone who might be a true infosec or info security or GDPR, expert.

So, again, I’d see it as a wheel from like, basic stuff such as, do I know how to turn on my computer?

Do I know how to set up a safe password and not share it with the world?

All the way through to, computational thinking and problem solving, such as actually creating websites are actually creating mobile applications. And again, not everybody is going to create mobile applications, but I think that people should be exposed to computer science and I think they should see it as a language just like French as a language or Spanish as a language.

We should see, computer science as a language and not something different than that.

Nathaniel Schooler 22:10
Okay. Yeah. So I mean, my dad, he’s 85. Yeah, he figured out.

Oh, no, my dad doesn’t want to code.

But like, I mean, my Mum called me last night. She, she’s 76. She said:- “Oh, no, Nathaniel I can’t manage to send you an email.”

I’m like:- “But Mum what are you talking about?”

She thought :-“Well, I don’t know how?”

She forgot because she was tired. But she’s been sending me emails every day. And it’s because Apple updated their email software, I think and she’s updated the app right and iPad and it’s confused her but so she can find my name in there and send me an email.

So, I’m like:- “Oh no, she like losing her mind or something.”

But she’s not. But it’s like my Dad, he really wants to learn. Yeah. So do you think he should go to Apple? And they can teach him What’s the best thing because he’s an apple guy. Yeah, he’s got a he’s got a Mac he needs to get a get a phone, maybe a new a new I Phone.

Melissa Sassi 23:27
I think there are a few different avenues that you know that you know, mostly senior. So, let’s talk about the elderly for now. And I know this is something that the IT so the it branch of the UN is really interested in and I was at the UN last week and they were mentioning how they are kicking off a project to really look at the digital inclusion of seniors and how do we make sure that the older generation is equipt with the competencies and skills and places you know, like where do you go on you know, whether you’re a you know, Microsoft user. Google user or you know, Apple user, whatever you are.

I think there are some really interesting avenues in person for someone who really needs someone in person to tell them versus finding a tutorial online. Some of us it might make sense for us to choose you know, Google or Bing or you know whatever you know we’re looking for and find a video and some people

Nathaniel Schooler 24:22
Bing

Melissa Sassi 24:24
I came from Microsoft

Nathaniel Schooler 24:27
Are you kidding are using Microsoft machine yeah but I even I even forgot about Bing, I just did my SEO on my website and add of it’s a bit like two months ago and I was like oh I’m getting some traffic from Bing!

Melissa Sassi 24:42
Yeah, I think that’s one way for some people who feel more comfortable online for others you know, it might be going to if you’re in the US going to best buys you know, Best Buy or going to, you know, Apple.

I know for me sometimes when I can’t figure something out because I’ve got an iPhone I’ll go to the Apple Store and say hey here’s what I’m trying to do or making an appointment for someone with someone and going there I think that’s another opportunity that there’s also the opportunity you know fewer Microsoft user going to the Microsoft Store and just telling them what you’ve got going on.

You know I also think that there’s a lot of power in you know, working with people who are in university and finding and I know sometimes that might be a little bit hard to find you know somebody who’s studying computer science or somebody who’s you know more technical and then you.

But a lot of times when I need something done I can’t figure it out on my own I’ll ask a friend you know all sometimes go into Facebook and say hey I’m trying to do this or you know I know a lot of the elderly or on Facebook now you know and you know using it in a way to keep up with with their kids or their Grandkids or whatever.

Nathaniel Schooler 25:52
See thing is my Dad he’s fully aware of what these platforms do to people. Yeah he’s been watching the behaviours okay.

So he’s got a lady friend is is is you know goes to stay with every year or something every six months and he basically is watched whilst her and her kids have been totally consumed with their screens at the dinner we all are yeah but not at the dinner table we’re not know I consider that quite rude actually.

If I’m with my Dad I will make a point of putting my phone away. Yeah, there’s no way I’m going to sit there on my telephone and talk to my dad whilst I’m on my telephone. I consider that really bad manners.

Melissa Sassi 26:40
Yeah, for me it depends on what’s going on.

Of course there may be some times where like I’ve got a really important work deliverable. You know I have to stay close to my phone because like people need me and are counting on me and and for me to say “I’m chillin at dinner. I’m having a glass of wine or out!” You know it might not fly.

I mean, now if you’re you know, and I’m someone who remains very, very connected all the time and I’m personally trying to get better about my screen time. Yeah, you know it’s a struggle because a lot of you know I you know work in tech.

I’m not always home you know I like now for example I’m in Barcelona Yeah, my boss is in California. And for me if she needs something for me, I want her to be able to reach me whether I’m sitting here having a glass of wine, Soho House or anywhere else, she needs to be able to reach me if she needs something.

Nathaniel Schooler 27:36
I’ve interviewed someone who might Tobin OBE, like three times on my show, he’s a lovely chap. I went to meet him in London and stuff and he’s like:- “Look, I have to put my phone on the table here”

Because he’s the executive chair for 15 businesses. So he says:- “If something goes wrong with my businesses, I need to fix it. Otherwise I’m going to switch my phone off. I’m going to put it in my bag. And then I’m going to be thinking about what could be happening.”

Yeah, that’s exactly right.

But whilst it’s on the table, not worried yet, but raising a good point here, we’re actually talking about an elderly lady. Yeah. who’s having conversations with people that are not there yet. We’re talking about her grandchildren having a conversation with people who are not in the room. Okay. Yeah, and I consider that particularly rude.

So what my Dad has done is that he’s actually observed this behaviour and he said, right I want to just use my new phone cuz he’s going to get an iPhone for WhatsApp because he’s got three daughters in the states email perhaps looking at the browser so looking at websites for information. Yeah. texts phone calls, right? And that’s what that’s what he wants to be getting an iPhone.

Melissa Sassi 29:05
Why does he just get like a feature phone? What’s the point of him getting an iPhone? If that’s all he wants to use it for? Well, because he feels secure with Apple, because it goes with this, because he knows.

Nathaniel Schooler 29:17
So. And it’s easier for seniors to use apple, apparently. Yeah. But the point I’m trying to make is that we have to be very careful that we’re not just digital included to the point of digital inclusion.

Melissa Sassi 29:35
Right. And this is why I talk again about that wheel of competence. So if you think about the DQ Institute’s model, one of the competencies included in that model is screen time, what is an appropriate amount of screen time that’s one thing second thing is being able to really manage yourself online.

And I think that this is where many models and this is partly one of the reasons why I started looking at Digital Inclusion because I saw so many different, you know, definitions of it. And I see there’s a lot of programs out there that, you know, go out and, you know, teach kids to code or teach people to code and they they miss all of the other building blocks of what it means to be online.

Whether that’s screen time, whether that’s emotional intelligence behaviour, being able to decipher whether news is real or not, whether you should share that or not. Yes, it’s a lot more than just having you know, skills if you will, to be able to make stuff you know it’s the emotional stuff that goes along with that and how that affects your health and your well being.

Nathaniel Schooler 30:43
Yeah because it does have the endorphins that we feel from when we receive messages are, you know, a small percentage of have a hug.

Melissa Sassi 30:55
Depends on who’s I guess it depends on what they’re saying, Yeah, but you send me a message. It’s a big hug.

Nathaniel Schooler 31:07
Likewise.

So digital inclusion, right? So first of all, it’s like, okay, let’s sum it up in really simple. layman’s terms. Yeah.

Melissa Sassi 31:22
Access skills and utilization to drive outcomes. So moving from unconnected to connected to thriving,

Nathaniel Schooler 31:31
Okay, so I was looking at it slightly differently. I’m, I’m sort of thinking of, first of all, integrating it within your life for what you want for what you want it to do.

Melissa Sassi 31:44
So outcomes. Or thriving, right?

Nathaniel Schooler 31:50
It’s all about purpose, isn’t it? It’s like what what do you want to achieve?

Melissa Sassi 31:54
Sometimes you don’t know what you want to achieve unless you have the skills and the you know, like, we don’t know. We don’t know, sometimes you don’t, you know, especially for someone who’s been unconnected, never seen a computer never worked on a computer before. Like, you don’t know what the hell you can do with it. Well, somebody empowers you are teaches you in, you know, in an ethical and, you know, in an ethical fashion. That makes sense.

Yeah, I mean, it is, it’s very risky. Because you can waste time you can, you can, you can be stressed, you can get bullied, you can, there are all sorts of or, or even exploited. I mean, if you’re, yeah, what’s happening with, you know, street kids in many parts of the world, there’s a significant amount of exploitation and trafficking and all kinds of things that are going on, you know, thanks for or unpaid to the you know, to the internet technology.

Nathaniel Schooler 32:47
I agree. I mean, I was talking about earlier with a GDPR expert like security expert, we will talk about the safety of children online actually. And that is a huge thing is absolutely massive. And I think that I think that blockchain actually has the capabilities. We have the capabilities to create solutions for this. I mean, I think, I think gone are the days of:- “Oh, we’re not responsible. What goes on on our platform.”

I’m sorry. Yeah.

Melissa Sassi 33:15
No time for that. Well, and I think, you know, where we’ve got some companies such as Facebook that’s looking at, you know, how do they monetize upon, you know, tracking where you are, when you’re not even using the platform. And, you know, the latest, privacy Manifesto. The latest privacy manifesto doesn’t even mention anything about, you know, tracking you when you’re outside of their platform, if I’m not mistaken, which I think is a really interesting concern.

It’s great to encrypt your data, but what are you tracking? And how are you tracking it? And what are you gaining access to about me? I mean, I want to I want to talk because I’m definitely an over sharer, you know, and I check in my show where I’m traveling, you know, and I talked about what I’m doing post photos or talk about my life.

So sometimes I feel like, you know, I know what’s happening with my data. But yeah, I know what you mean. But it’s but it’s currently as people who don’t know what’s happening with their data, and who wouldn’t agree with what’s happening with their data. And, you know, they have no idea.

Nathaniel Schooler 34:15
Yeah, no, no. Did you nailed it!

Melissa Sassi 34:17
If they knew maybe they wouldn’t be agreeing to the provisions. Because at the end of the day, nothing’s free. Know that, that Facebook is free? It’s not free.

Nathaniel Schooler 34:27
Yeah. But there’s a new network coming out called How do and it’s a it’s a, it’s a blockchain powered network. And you actually are in control of all the data and you get you get paid 50% of the ad revenue that goes through your account, which is quite interesting. I find that quite interesting.

Melissa Sassi 34:47
That’s really interesting. I met with someone who started up another platform recently, and I had the name of the platform is escaping me and I don’t think it was the same platform but I think that there are really great, you know, devs and entrepreneurs out there thinking about:- “You know, how can we create something similar, yet different, that allows people to, you know, gain revenue to be in charge of their own data?”

Nathaniel Schooler 35:13
Yeah, I mean, I think the way I look at it is, when you create a problem, you create a solution. Yeah, that’s how I look at it, right? It’s a law, right? When there’s a problem created, there is a solution created at the same time, you might not know what it is yet. But actually, so I believe that there are many, many solutions for all of these problems.

I think dipping into digital inclusion will will create a whole whole new load of innovations and not just from Silicon Valley know, from not just from Seattle, not just very true London or the, you know, hubs that many people think about as technology hubs. But yeah, I think there’s so much innovation happening on the African continent was Nigeria or Kenya or North Africa or South Africa.

But I’ve got some deaths in my community. And I’ve got one individual who’s in a refugee camp living in Malawi, I thought, you know, a school in Cameroon. And they’re just doing amazing things, you know, and also teaching others, I think, you know, at work, you know, take that to Columbia, take that, to, you know, Latin America, there’s so many different hubs of innovation happening.

Melissa Sassi 36:22
I think they’re interesting things that we’re going to see coming from Pakistan, for example, from Vietnam, from countries that have not necessarily been on the radar for for individuals who might be so focused on innovation happening in Silicon Valley or Seattle, not just about what’s happening in on the west coast of America. I know that right now, if you think about what you know, content looks like you know, and it’s way more toward English. I’d love to see you know, scenarios where we have, you know, locally generated content and local languages, locally generated apps and services that are applicable in local communities. So not just about some entrepreneur in Silicone Valley you know bringing something to the world, but what our local entrepreneurs doing once they get connected and having the, you know, skills that they require to truly be, you know, technology entrepreneurs that transform, not just their communities, but the world.

Nathaniel Schooler 37:13
That’s very interesting, I think with the capabilities of translate now, like 200 plus languages, Microsoft, what’s it called? I forget the platform, then there’s Google isn’t there? There are a number of platforms that can just translate chatbots into 200 plus.

Yeah, It’s not that amazing.

Melissa Sassi 37:32
But I don’t think it’s just about translating into local languages. I’m talking about locally generated content from a local person in their own language. Because I think when it’s, you know, I love machine learning. I love artificial intelligence. And I think that there are great apps that are that are out there that will give you the basic understanding of what someone is saying and what something is saying. But it’s not perfect and it does require a human touch and those machine learning applications or helps you with translation are never going to be perfect to catch those little nuances that are applicable from a cultural perspective.

So it’ll get you a percentage of the way there.

Nathaniel Schooler 38:11
But then that, that that opens up opportunities itself for translators who are translating that into different different news stories globally. I mean, I think there’s opportunity everywhere. Really, it’s quite exciting. Actually, if you think about, right, everything happens always opportunities, especially in Barcelona. I love Barcelona.

Melissa Sassi 38:31
Yeah, right. Yeah, it’s really cool. It’s really cool. Well, it’s been a joy and very interesting conversation. Really appreciate it. And I am sure that we will speak soon. Awesome. Well, thanks for taking the time to chat with me. I hope it was both insightful and empowering and I’m going to get back to my wine. Yeah, I’m going to get back to my editing. I’ve still got a load of words to

Unknown 39:01
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