YouTube recently introduced a multitude of new AI-powered tools for content creators at its Made on YouTube event.
Among the anticipated features is the "Dream Screen," which allows creators to use AI-generated videos and photos as backgrounds for their YouTube shorts.
Initially, creators will be able to produce these backgrounds by simply entering prompts.
Over time, YouTube envisions giving creators the ability to remix and adjust their existing content using AI enhancements.
Another notable addition is an AI-driven content suggestion feature in YouTube Studio. This tool will offer creators personalised video topic ideas and outlines, aligning with what's trending among audiences.
Complementing this, a music recommendation system will recommend appropriate audio tracks for videos based on a provided written description.
YouTube is also diving into the realm of multilingual content.
By collaborating with the Aloud team from the Area 120 incubator, they're working on an AI dubbing tool that will assist creators in translating their videos into various languages.
The integration of these AI-enhanced tools into YouTube's platform is reflective of the broader digital content industry's trajectory.
With the rise of affordable generative AI technologies in the last year, platforms like YouTube are adapting quickly.
Google, YouTube's parent company, has been heavily investing in generative AI, integrating features like video summaries on YouTube and even experimenting with AI-generated results in Google Search via its Search Generative Experience.
As AI-generated content grows in popularity and becomes a staple on platforms like YouTube, other platforms, such as TikTok, are taking measures to clearly label AI-produced materials.
Lagos-based Startup, Akowe, Tackles Certificate Verification Using Blockchain Technology
Lagos is quickly becoming a hub of innovative tech solutions, and the recent endeavours of Akowe, a startup from the city, confirms this.
Selected as part of TechCrunch Disrupt’s 2023 Startup Battlefield 200, Akowe is reshaping the academic landscape of sub-Saharan Africa.
Akowe's pioneering platform leverages blockchain technology to issue verifiable academic records. The challenge of misplaced academic certificates is a widespread problem in the region, especially given universities' reluctance to reissue them.
Mr. Ayodeji Agboola, the brains behind Akowe, explained that most universities pride themselves on the exclusivity of their certificates.
He lamented, “If a certificate gets lost, what the universities mostly offer is an affidavit.”
This challenge became especially apparent for Agboola in 2019, when he aimed to provide evidence of course completion for the 30 000 individuals he trained on Facebook marketing.
With no suitable tool available, Agboola took matters into his hands. "We built it out in three weeks… it worked fine," he recalled. This marked the beginning of Akowe.
For Agboola, the potential of blockchain in Africa lies in its practicality. With Akowe, organisations can upload their certificate templates and recipients' names.
The system then automatically creates digital academic records for each person. To validate a certificate, details such as the university name, student name, courses, and grades can be verified on the blockchain.
Previously relying on Hyperledger, a permissioned blockchain, Akowe is currently experimenting with Amazon's QLDB — a ledger database that aids in centrally managing records.
Agboola emphasised the safety of this ledger: “The immutable ledger ensures it's tamper-proof."
While the platform remains a predominantly solo venture for Agboola, he collaborates with contract developers. The service is free for universities, but a percentage is taken from fees charged to users.
Currently, Akowe is nearing the launch of pilot projects with two academic institutions and is negotiating with an additional 15.
However, Agboola noted that the technical aspect isn't the main hurdle for Akowe - it's user adoption. While private universities have been receptive, public institutions, which host a majority of Nigerian students, present bureaucratic challenges.
Unfortunately, it seems that similar hurdles would block any attempts to innovate document verification in South Africa. Despite the perennial delays and hassles dealt out by our own SAQA, there seems to be little will to actually improve the system, much less make a revolutionary leap to blockchain.
James Browning is a freelance tech writer and local music journalist.