Michael Landau Demonstrates Mobile Banking in Uganda
Mr. Landau is a former board member of Regalian PLC, a British real estate development company.
Mr. Landau has been an invited speaker at several conferences and forums, among them a presentation on “Africa’s Industrial Drive: The Private Sector and Corporate Citizenship” at the African Union/U.N. Global Compact Private Sector Forum in Addis Ababa. At this event MAP International was featured as “best practice.” Mr. Landau was also an invited speaker at the CHOGM, the Commonwealth Business Forum in November 2007 in Uganda, and was recently an invited speaker at the AOSIS/United Nations Foundation and Friends on Climate Change Roundtable, hosted by the Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations.
Active in community-based initiatives, Mr. Landau has hosted and chaired several political forums and meetings with the New York City Police Department. He is the chairman of the Council of Orthodox Jewish Organizations of Manhattan (New York City), an umbrella group representing the Jewish community to government and political leaders. He also has extensive experience interfacing with UN leaders as a community representative—a relationship that began when he initiated the creation of a UN special stamp edition in remembrance of the International Day of Commemoration for Victims of the Holocaust.
Mr. Landau was recently invited to serve on the board of the World Sports Alliance, an intergovernmental organization whose mission is to use sport as a catalyst to design and implement programs to realize the UN’s Millennium Development Goals. He received his bachelor's degree from the London School of Economics and a master's degree in real estate development and finance from New York University. He received his law degree from Yeshiva University's Cardoza School of Law and is admitted to practice law in New York, New Jersey, and the District of Columbia. He and his wife reside in New York City with their four children.
Question: Can you demonstrate how modern banking technology might help Africans?
Michael Landau: Imagine you’re in a village on a Friday night and you get to your village. It’s now 9:00 and your friend’s grandmother is very sick and you need to call the doctor. Problem is is that you go to your phone, you got no money left on your phone. And you look for the guy with a green jacket, yellow jacket to buy the scratch off cards. You can’t find him anywhere ‘cause he’s already, he’s already gone. He comes twice a week. He’s not going to be there ‘til Monday again. So, currently, you know, you hope your grandmother stays well until Monday morning. But now, you say, we’re part of the MAP system. We’re a post bank customer. We’ve actually got a whole mobile banking application. So what we’ll do is, the first thing we’ll do is to check the balance on the account. Now, this system is a live system that operates throughout Uganda but it’s a demonstration so the money is not real money that’s being, it’s not real cash but it’s a real system that’s actually working through Uganda. So if the cellular service is no good in this room over here, this demonstration won’t work. But the first thing we do is we got to balance on the account. So every transaction that we do, you have to check your, we have to get the, we have to put your pin code in. So we put in our pin code and we’re going to check now, see if we have service, you know, over here. If we do, we’re going to have a, our balance is going to be able to come through. And everybody’s going to see how much money I have in my bank account. You can see, 70,198,000 and change in my bank account. It’s roughly 2,000 shillings. It’s roughly $35,000. So now, we have money in the bank account. So now, we’re going to top-up the phones. We go to the buy prepaid and we’re going to put in our pin code. And then, we’re going to select, you know, kind of the primary bank account ‘cause we can choose different bank accounts that we want to work with. So we’re going to choose the primary account ‘cause that’s what’s program for now. And then, we’re going to pick, you see here, the primary savings credit. But we’re going to pick the primary. Now, we’re going to select the amount of money, just 2,000 shillings to the dollar. How many dollars, how many shillings of air time would you like to buy? 5,000 shillings. Okay, so we’re going to do 5,000 shillings. And we sell all the, we sell air time for all the companies in Uganda. So you can choose MTN, UTL, Warid, or Zain.
We’re going to go with Zain, formerly CelTel, and now, we’re going to go and buy the 5,000 shillings of air time and, see, Zain air time. And we got the success. And now, your balance went down to 193,000. Now, you got your 5,000 shillings of air time. So now, we’re going to call the doctor ‘cause, now, the doctor is on his way. So as we’re waiting for the doctor, why don’t we pay some bills. Right, the doctor is on his way. So what we have over here is we have beneficiaries. The way we have our system set up is that in order for people to pay their school fees, the schools got to be registered on our system. In order for people to pay their electricity bill, the electricity company has to be on our system. So I’m going to show you here some of the companies that are going to be registered on our system, that me, as a costumer, I’m going to be able to pay those bills directly from my phone in, when I’m sitting kind of comfortably under my tree in my village, now waiting for the doctor to come. So I don’t know, again, how much you can see or not. But the Kampala Junior High School, I’ve got one of my kids in the school, so now I can pay my school fees from my village without needing to go. And the school fees, and it’s registered for you, personally, to that one, the electrical company, the SACO, the insurance company. You want to buy a national lottery ticket, which is not set up yet but its all part of the potential for the future. Or if you’re a member of the Catholic Church and you want to pay your tithes, right, you can set up the Catholic Church. So now, people can pay their bills directly, which is tied in for them personally. It’s part of the system that we’re creating. So now, the doctor comes. We want to pay the doctor. So we’re going to pay to you, which is to pay the doctor. Again, we’re going to put up our code and then we’re going to pay the doctor.
Okay, we’ll give him 10,000 shillings. So we’ll do a 10,000. And now, we’re going to put in the number. The doctor we’ll assume doesn’t have a formal account on our system, meaning he’s not a beneficiary. He doesn’t have his own code number. But we’re going to just send to his phone number. So I’m going to plug in the phone number of an actual account and we’re going to reference, we’re going to put Dr. Big Think. All right? He’s a big thinking doctor. So here, this is the screen that we’re going to be sending. And now, we’re going to pay. So now, the doctor will be over there. And he’s about to give service to your grandmother, and says, I want my money, I want to see that you paid me. So we’re, he’s, now, going to have a, we’re going to get an approval, in a second, to you, payment successful, Big Think, 10,000 shillings to that amount. And you saw your balance goes down. So now, the doctor, I don’t have the other phone with me here but the other phone, for the demonstration, will now get an SMS that he received his 10,000 shillings. And say, okay, now, I’m going to treat your grandmother. Okay. So now, OK, we’re finish. The doctor leaves. And I can demonstrate what happens if you put the wrong pin code in, if you put the wrong, if you put the wrong bank account number but it’ll show up invalid pin or it’ll show up invalid bank account. So, just like if you’re on your, you know, you want to transfer money in America, you send it to the wrong account, you know, you kind of try and get it back. But if you put in wrong pin code or a non-existing banking number, you got nothing to worry about. So now, we do a little, do a little statement. So we’re going to, again, put in our pin codes ‘cause you can’t do any transactions without putting in a pin code. So now, we’re going to get the statement. And the statement is going to show that, when it pops up, it’ll show 10,000 for Dr. Big Think, 5,000 for Zain. And then, we get many statements. You get the last five. So it got the 10,000, the 5,000. And then, you know, yesterday, I demonstrate to somebody with the 1,250 and 35,000. So the person now can get an update of what it is that he did, you know, kind of on his, on his phone just by sitting in his little village. So imagine now, all of these transactions would have taken, first of all, you know, kind of took one hour between the doctor coming and doing and paying all your bills and everything. Current real world in Africa probably have a dead grandmother and a weeks worth of coming and going and moving.
Question: Could digital technology help solve the African health crisis?
Michael Landau: So it has the potential to completely transform the lives from many different perspectives. Just to show you a little bit of an advancement, not on the mobile banking but on the mobile health. Mobile health is a big thing. Everybody is talking about how do you do mobile health. So we’ve developed a little program, which is, which will enable, once we have the biometric identification on an individual, we can create a protocol, a registry for that individual so we can keep some basic information about them. So, as we, so we can do a health summary. So whatever the protocol, this is just the, this is a template that we created with the gender, the weight, the height, the BMI, and when I’ve got my next appointment, it can also include the blood type reading, including inoculations. It could include whatever the protocol is that particular country would like to have. Now, when we do the medical management, so remember, whatever is on the phone can be on appoint to cell device, it can be on a mini computer which communicates. So this can be kind of in all the, this can be wherever there’s a clinic or wherever there’s a school, you know, this information. This is just showing the holistic potential of, once we have develop this communication network, that it can be use for money, it can be use for health, it can be use for distributing anything. So here, what we do is we have this personal information. You can change your personal information. Add an appointment. So you can now kind of record when your appointment is so that the doctor can download or you can put in the doctor’s appointment and it can remind you when you have a doctor’s appointment. So that way, you don’t miss your doctor’s appointment. Add a prescription. So now, you got to your, you need to take some, a new prescription so you can tell, you can add the prescription that you need to take. In terms of which medication, well, you can add a medication, say, how often you need to take it. And it can be programmed to remind you to be able to take your medication. ‘Cause one of the big problems with AIDS drugs and all these different drugs, if you don’t take the medication on time, that you get sicker and the cost involved is just huge. And the cost involved in creating this sort of system and even giving phones, excuse me, for free to the people who are the recipients of the medication is cheaper, to be able to monitor all of these electronically, using the phones than it is to have the people not take their medication once. Because suddenly the level of medication and the sickness, etcetera, this is from a donor perspective, it’s much cheaper for them to have a phone with a system like this they can record. So now, we have, you know, so you have the frequency and the type, etcetera, but then, we can now record the medicine use. The person, when he takes his medication, it pops up and just record the use. And there are even medications today that have got, there’s a special electronic coating on the medication that when you take the medication, it can communicate with your phone that you took your medication. Again, it’s just the world, thank God, today is evolving to be an amazingly brilliant world where technology can really have a massive difference in people’s lives. And it’s no longer science fiction. It’s real. It can really be done. Just one phone I said bring. Say, you bring both phones. And then, also, we have, we’ve developed a little program called the e-doctor. So you can have a quick diagnosis. So let’s say somebody is taking, is on an AIDS program, you know, so you can, you know, kind of add a symptom, you can remove a symptom of what the person is sick. And you can, then, query the symptoms either to a live person at the other end or, this isn’t an operating program. This is our demo program to show people what we have the potential to be able to create and what the potential is on the system. And then, we have a healthcare service directory, which means that the phone can be triangulated. And if you’re looking for the nearest clinic, they don’t have yellow pages. They don’t have, but now, you know, kind of, you can do it in such a way where the people can, you know, can the phone that can say they need a doctor and it can triangulated, you know, where’s the nearest doctor. That’s for healthcare. But the same system can work for, okay, where’s the nearest, you know, where’s the nearest police station, where’s the nearest drugstore, where’s the nearest point-of-sale machine, where somebody can go and get some cash. So, the potential is huge, of where this can all go. And because we’re a private sector, we’re driven to make money, we’re driven to make sure this is successful. We’ll make our money on where, on the financial products. And we need the assistance of the donors to enable us to provide to the other services in order for us, collectively, to partner with the developing world governments to help them transform the lives of their citizens.
Recorded on: June 15, 2009
The chairman demonstrates how digital technology can improve the lives of Africans.
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How would the ability to genetically customize children change society? Sci-fi author Eugene Clark explores the future on our horizon in Volume I of the "Genetic Pressure" series.
- A new sci-fi book series called "Genetic Pressure" explores the scientific and moral implications of a world with a burgeoning designer baby industry.
- It's currently illegal to implant genetically edited human embryos in most nations, but designer babies may someday become widespread.
- While gene-editing technology could help humans eliminate genetic diseases, some in the scientific community fear it may also usher in a new era of eugenics.
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Regulating designer babies<p>On a policy level, there are many open questions about how governments might legislate a world with designer babies. But it's not totally new territory, considering the West's dark history of eugenics experiments.</p><p>In the 20th century, the U.S. conducted multiple eugenics programs, including immigration restrictions based on genetic inferiority and forced sterilizations. In 1927, for example, the Supreme Court ruled that forcibly sterilizing the mentally handicapped didn't violate the Constitution. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendall Holmes wrote, "… three generations of imbeciles are enough." </p><p>After the Holocaust, eugenics programs became increasingly taboo and regulated in the U.S. (though some states continued forced sterilizations <a href="https://www.uvm.edu/~lkaelber/eugenics/" target="_blank">into the 1970s</a>). In recent years, some policymakers and scientists have expressed concerns about how gene-editing technologies could reanimate the eugenics nightmares of the 20th century. </p><p>Currently, the U.S. doesn't explicitly ban human germline genetic editing on the federal level, but a combination of laws effectively render it <a href="https://academic.oup.com/jlb/advance-article/doi/10.1093/jlb/lsaa006/5841599#204481018" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">illegal to implant a genetically modified embryo</a>. Part of the reason is that scientists still aren't sure of the unintended consequences of new gene-editing technologies. </p><p>But there are also concerns that these technologies could usher in a new era of eugenics. After all, the function of a designer baby industry, like the one in the "Genetic Pressure" series, wouldn't necessarily be limited to eliminating genetic diseases; it could also work to increase the occurrence of "desirable" traits. </p><p>If the industry did that, it'd effectively signal that the <em>opposites of those traits are undesirable. </em>As the International Bioethics Committee <a href="https://academic.oup.com/jlb/advance-article/doi/10.1093/jlb/lsaa006/5841599#204481018" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">wrote</a>, this would "jeopardize the inherent and therefore equal dignity of all human beings and renew eugenics, disguised as the fulfillment of the wish for a better, improved life."</p><p><em>"Genetic Pressure Volume I: Baby Steps"</em><em> by Eugene Clark is <a href="http://bigth.ink/38VhJn3" target="_blank">available now.</a></em></p>
Answering the question of who you are is not an easy task. Let's unpack what culture, philosophy, and neuroscience have to say.
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The newly discovered galaxies are 62x bigger than the Milky Way.
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Maladaptive daydreaming<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTUwMjgyMy9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0OTUxNzc3Nn0.yVIUGnZl6VnJhfevESkBpb1TEvwKrHcLtobwNJV55HI/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C63%2C0%2C63&height=700" id="713cf" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="e2d24a66284b3aa58ad16b66c135dc9d" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="1245" data-height="700" />
One maladaptive dreamer spent hours a day dreaming he was a powerful man who could solve the world's problems.
(Photo: Pixabay)<p>Daydreaming is an indulgence of the mind and imagination, one provided courtesy of the <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/neuroscience/default-mode-network#:~:text=The%20default%20mode%20network%20(DMN,and%20Exercise%20Psychology%20Research%2C%202016" target="_blank">default mode network</a>, a network of interacting brain regions that is active even when the conscious mind is not. But like so many of life's indulgences—wine, steak dinners, video games, and even <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health-news/why-too-much-exercise-can-be-bad-042514" target="_blank">exercise</a>—too much daydreaming can be harmful to our well-being. When daydreaming crosses that threshold, it can be considered maladaptive.</p><p>This disorder was first identified by <a href="https://haifa.academia.edu/EliSomer" target="_blank">Eli Somer</a>, a professor of clinical psychology at the University of Haifa, School of Social Work, in <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1023/A:1020597026919" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">a 2002 paper</a>. That paper looked to six patients in a trauma center whose daydreaming habits replaced human interactions or interfered with their standard life functions, such as going to school or holding down a job. </p><p>Since then, other case studies have looked at <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/maladaptive-daydreaming#:~:text=Maladaptive%20daydreaming%20is%20a%20psychiatric,life%20events%20trigger%20day%20dreams." target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">maladaptive daydreamers</a> and compiled a list of potential symptoms. These include vivid, richly-detailed daydreams; abnormally long daydreaming sessions; daydreams triggered by real-life events; daydreaming sessions that interrupt sleep; and repetitive motions or whisperings while daydreaming. On average, one study reported, maladaptive daydreamers spend <a href="https://bigthink.com/bps-research-digest/people-with-maladaptive-daydreaming-spend-an-average-of-four-hours-a-day-lost-in-their-imagination" target="_self">four hours a day</a> housed in their imaginations.</p><p>"This is not like rehearsing a conversation that you might have with a boss," <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2016/12/30/health/maladaptive-daydreaming-feature/index.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Somer told CNN</a>. "This is fanciful, weaving of stories. It produces an intense sense of presence."</p><p>While such symptoms are common, though not comprehensive or guaranteed, how maladaptive daydreams manifest are naturally individual to the dreamers. <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6426361/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">In one case study</a>, researchers analyzed the diary of a man codenamed "Peter." Peter described investing as many as 14 hours a day online. The news and images he happened upon would trigger related fantasies. For example, he may envision himself as a multimillionaire genius who could prevent bad news from occurring or self-insert himself into the power fantasies of superhero movies or police procedurals for hours at a time.</p><p>"When I felt this pain as a child, I started imagining how things could be different. I created stories which never happened. To suppress that pain I would hug my pillow or quilt, thinking I was being comforted by someone else," Peter wrote.</p><p>In an interview with CNN, Cordellia Rose described her maladaptive daydreaming like a drug and noted that her daydreams developed into intricate storylines that could last for years. These stories proved so distracted that she was unable to complete everyday tasks such as driving lessons.</p><p>"You get hooked on it, because it can be like an action movie in your head that's so gripping that you cannot turn off," Rose told CNN. "This [condition] needs to be public, because these are people suffering, and badly."</p><p>To be clear, maladaptive dreaming is not a <a href="https://www.webmd.com/schizophrenia/guide/what-is-psychosis#1" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">psychotic disorder</a> like schizophrenia. Daydreamers such as Peter and Rose are aware that their fantasies are as unreal as they may be unrealistic. Because of this, many maladaptive dreamers understand the difficulties they face and the real-life losses they have endured for the sake of their fantasies. </p>