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Tech With Purpose NewsToday’s TechWithPurpose news summary picks up on a couple of articles relating to AI in education, in particular one that cites the US post-high-school literacy rate of just 34% (at best). Also, there’s indicators of ClimateTech FOMO which could be a good thing for Impact Tech companies (or as I call them TechWithPurpose), but could it also be the beginning of a bubble? Plus something on weather exhaust data and biodiversity, AI for good institutions and other funding news. As usual, I hope you find this useful, please share with others and let me know your thoughts in the comments.
Investment piles in to AI EdTech
Investors bet that AI powered education will continue to drive. Startups Riiid, Holberton raised just over $60m between them and investment into China’s EdTech startups rose to $2.2 billion in 2020 Read more here.
US Literacy Crisis Spurs more AI EdTech
Looking at SDG number 4, Readlee is a literacy startup using AI to help more young people become better readers. According to the interview “the United States is facing a literacy crisis? Only 34% of American high school students graduate with proficiency in reading. Along racial lines, that number drops to 18% of students-of-color. “ Read more here.
Ultra-white paint turns buildings into refridgerators
How paint could help fight climate change. This ultra white paint uses nano technology to reflect 98.1% of light, leaving building surfaces exposed to first sunlight 4.5C cooler than the ambient air, thus turning the building into a refrigerator or at least reducing the need for air conditioning. Read more here.
AI For Good Institutes (14)
14 Research Institutes paving the way for a Responsible use of AI for Good. The article mentions 5 from the USA including The Future Society, 4 from the UK including the Open Data Institute, 2 in Canada and one in each Germany, India and The Netherlands. Read more here.
Swedish VC Pale Blue Dot closes €87m climate tech fund, focusing on ‘highly scalable tech companies with a positive climate impact’. They said the first half of the fund was hard to close because investors were finding it hard to understand the returns from investing in climate tech, but then FOMO kicked in, making it much easier to close the rest. Read more here.
Weather Radar ‘Exhaust Data’ Could Protect Biodiversity
An interesting ‘letter to the editor’ of the magazine Science about how weather radars pick up the movements of birds, insects and bats, and how, if this data were to be made available, it could be used to help map, and therefore, protect biodiversity. However, budget cuts are making this difficult. Read more here.
Universal ClimateTech for AgriTech
AgriTech startup Selu.earth claims to have created a universal climate solution for agriculture. Their technology can reclaim atmospheric humidity, produce renewable energy, and use CO2 to fertilize agriculture environments to regulate temperature and humidity. Read more here.
Encamp to protect more environment with $12M
Environmental software company that helps businesses manage their environmental, health and safety compliance data, with automated reporting raises $12M Read more here.
Robots Will/Will Not/Might* Take Jobs
* delete as appropriate
The Economist discusses why automation is less of a job threat that the fearmongers suggest. In the article, they discuss an example of robot coffe shop baristas, and how these lack the social, soft-skill interaction to make a robot-served coffee shop the ‘place to go’. Whilst there will be some coffee shops where speed and efficiency is the selling point, ‘that personal touch’ will still be an important huamn need – even more due to the recent pandemic isolation experience. This analogy goes beyond coffee-shops. Read more here.
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