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Good morning, this Kasmira, editor-in-chief of Geneva Solutions, and today we're talking to Switzerland's foreign minister Ignazio Cassis about science, diplomacy, and global governance issues shaping international Geneva.

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Kasmira Jefford, Geneva

19.12.2020


Ignazio Cassis: science and diplomacy key to inclusive development


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Switzerland's foreign minister Ignazio Cassis at an event to mark the 75th anniversary of the UN Charter, at the United Nations in Geneva, 26 June, 2020. (Keystone/Salvatore Di Nolfi)

Last year, the Swiss government launched an initiative aimed at bolstering Switzerland as a future hub for global governance and multilateralism. Breakthroughs in science and technology were identified as fields likely to play a major role in the future of diplomacy between countries - as seen this year with the race to mobilise the world’s best scientific institutions to create a vaccine for Covid-19.

The result was the creation of a new foundation, the Geneva Science and Diplomacy Anticipator (GESDA), that would identify the latest scientific advances likely to shape society over the next 25 years and then explore ways to apply those findings to modern-day challenges.

Switzerland’s foreign minister Ignazio Cassis has been one of the lead instigators of the initiative. He answered Geneva Solutions’ questions about science, diplomacy, and global governance issues shaping international Geneva.

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Anticipatory reads by GESDA


A quantum leap for mankind, and business. And for Switzerland? “Quantum computing has been the future for several years. But now the technology appears to be reaching an inflection point, shifting from solely a scientific problem to a joint science and engineering one - quantum engineering”, explains John Chiaverini, a researcher at the MIT Lincoln Laboratory’s Quantum Information and Integrated Nanosystems Group (Boston), in a very explanatory MIT News article. And on the first row to benefit from this new technology: the banking and finance industry.

Not such a surprise, as “it was an early adopter of everything from mainframe computers to artificial intelligence. For most of the past decade more trades have been done at high frequency by complex algorithms than by humans”, underlines The Economist (see below). But the quantum promise “is now starting to be realised. Computing giants like Google and IBM (in Zurich among other sites), as well as a flock of smaller competitors, are building and refining quantum hardware”. Even better: a team at Caltech/Fermilab/NASA just the first demonstration of sustained, high-fidelity quantum teleportation over long distances. In other words: a possible totally secured communication channel between two banks using quantum computers.

Switzerland is in the lead in those two fields: banking & finance and quantum technologies, with many worldwide top-level research institutes (grouped in the SwissQuantum network), one of the earliest being at the University of Geneva. A fantastic opportunity that needs to be caught! As former Federal Councillor Johann Schneider-Ammann put it: “We are at the crossroads for quantum technology. Now it is time to invest!"

-Olivier Dessibourg

(EN)
Photo article

Detail of a quantum computer (©DR)

Wall Street’s latest shiny new thing: quantum computing. It will shake up finance—the question is when.

The Economist (EN)

Swiss space centres’s IGLUNA shooting for the Moon. The goal? To send their experiments by 2028 to the Moon for a 14-day mission.

SpaceWatch.global (EN)

Geoengineers inch closer to Sun-dimming balloon test. First try in June 2021.

Science (EN)

How science beat the virus. And what it lost in the process.

The Atlantic (EN)

China is developing ‘biologically enhanced’ soldiers. Using genome-editing technic CRISPR.

Future Human (EN)

Biotech pigs approved for food and potential medical uses. US FDA gives green light to pigs genetically engineered.

Chemical&Engineering News (EN)

We Call DNA a Language. Is It? As our understanding of the genome evolves, the metaphors we use to describe it should, too.

NEO.LIFE (EN)

An AI used Facebook data to predict mental illness. A psychiatric diagnosis based on messages and posts.

WIRED (EN)

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This selection is proposed by the Geneva Science and Diplomacy Anticipator GESDA, working on anticipating cutting-edge science and technological advances to develop innovative and inclusive solutions for the benefit of the planet and its inhabitants.


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