Educator’s lecture targets the future shock of AI


The term “forward thinking” provides only an inkling of what runs through the mind of Trinidad and Tobago-born educator Renée Cummings, who’ll be sharing her knowledge and insight on the potential, powerful social impact of artificial intelligence in a lecture Sunday, presented by the Trinidad and Tobago’s Emancipation Support Committee.

In the “Decolonizing and Democratizing Artificial Intelligence” address, part of the committee’s Kwame Ture Memorial Lecture Series, Cummings will examine the coming applications and possible effects of AI.

The virtual lecture can be seen on the Emancipation Support Committee YouTube page and Emancipation Support Committee website.

“The work I’m doing now, internationally, in data, artificial intelligence, justice, and civil rights, is so reflective of the work of the most honorable Kwame Ture, formerly Stokely Carmichael, and one of the most celebrated Trinidadians, the world over,” Cummings said, referring to late great Trinidad-born U.S. civil rights leader.

Currently an instructor at the University of Virginia’s School of Data Science master’s program, Cummings has carved a niche in the fast-growing, futuristic artificial intelligence field as a respected AI ethicist and criminologist.

In her studies and research, Cummings probes the current and coming ages of artificial intelligence, its connections with the criminal justice system, “and how your data could be weaponized against you,” she said.

Cummings designed her own bachelor’s degree program at Hunter College to include political science, philosophy, media studies, and creative writing, to meet her wide-ranging and unique educational interests, according to the University of Virginia’s School of Data Science website.

In one example of her AI concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic, Cummings — while an A’Lelia Bundles Community Scholar at Columbia University in June 2020 — held a university talk about “how artificial intelligence is shaping the public health response to the novel coronavirus while also recoding the distribution of power and the administration of justice.”

The music, family fun, arts and crafts, and food are returning when the Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival New York comes back to Roy Wilkins Park, at Merrick and Baisley Blvds. in Queens, on July 31, from noon to 8 p.m.

There will be live entertainment, arts and crafts vendors, and jerk- style cuisine and other Caribbean foods from area establishments. There will also be celebrity chefs, and a “Jerk This Challenge” competition for amateur cooks.

Under the “A Taste of Jerk” theme, the revival of the festival — postponed in 2020 and 2021 out of COVID-19 precautions — marks its 10th anniversary, event sponsor Grace Foods’ 100th year in business, and Jamaica’s 60th anniversary of independence.

For visit for information, to purchase e-tickets, and a list of tickets outlets in Queens, Brooklyn, Long Island, and New Jersey.

The wide-ranging and influential contributions made by individuals of Caribbean descent were recognized through the Caribbean Life newspaper’s annual “Impact Awards,” held on July 13 are Russo’s on the Bay in Queens.

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Among the more than 30 honorees were two-time Emmy Award-winning Jamaica-born Spectrum News anchor Ruschell Boone, the “Lifetime Achievement” awardee, and Guyana-born PCSB Bank Senior Vice President Michelle Nicholas, the “Creating Change Award” recipient.

Public and private institutions, nonprofit organizations, businesses, executives, and media members were honored at the event.

For a list of the award honorees, visit the Schneps Media website.

(Schneps Meida)

Undeniably an American hero, Jamaica-born Sandra Lindsay — who lead the nation by volunteering to be the first person in United States to receive the COVID-19 vaccine — was one of 17 recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the country’s highest civilian honor.

Biden presented the awards on July 7.

Lindsay — an ICU nurse at Northwell Health system’s Long Island Jewish Medical Center in Queens — became an advocate for COVID-19 vaccinations “after receiving the first dose in the U.S. outside of clinical trials.”

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