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Good morning, this is Zelda, inviting you to reflect on the future of technology. We'll consider our readiness to engage and benefit from frontier technologies as UNCTAD publishes its 2021 Technology and Innovation report. And what better opportunity to test their application than EPFL's Applied Machine Learning Days. Innovation could also very well reside in schools, if we think of robots as the future of education.

Finally, if you are feeling nostalgic, a new AI can help you bring your loved ones back to life.

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Zelda Chauvet, Geneva

03.03.2021


Science & Technology News


Photo article

A team of experts from the Philippines department of agriculture use drones to gather visual data on damaged rice crops in the Pampanga province. / © FAO/Veejay Villafranca. Source: UNCTAD.

Frontier technologies are redefining the world. Frontier technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, blockchain or nanotechnology, play an essential role in achieving the sustainable development goals (SDGs). Yet, they also represent a risk in increasing inequalities, especially in developing countries.

Geneva Solutions (EN)

A taste of Food 4.0 at EPFL’s Applied Machine Learning Days. Over twenty scientists and scholars gathered online for the EPFL’s latest Applied Machine Learning Days to explore how artificial intelligence (AI) can improve food security, nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture.

Geneva Solutions (EN)

Robots in schools: new teaching methods on the horizon? The pandemic is forcing us to rethink everything, even how we teach. What if robots are the future of education?

Swissinfo.ch (EN)

Here's what else is happening


Image of the day


Photo article

New AI ‘Deep Nostalgia’ brings old photos, including very old ones, to life. Deep Nostalgia can take photos from any camera and bring them to “life.” The program uses pre-recorded driver videos of facial movements and applies the one that works best for the still photo in question.

The Verge (EN)

Anticipatory reads by GESDA


According to a in-depth review of science articles published over the last five years on the affective responses people experience toward climate change, done by psychologist of the University of Geneva (see below), “communication based on fear or hope must be carefully measured in order to avoid any stagnation of citizen action – people might feel a sense of helplessness that makes them think it's already too late anyway, so what's the point of changing your habits? –, and that actions in favor of sustainable development can trigger a virtuous circle of behavior in making their authors feel a sense of pride which pushes them to continue on this path”, says the press release.

This is obviously not only valid for climate change, but for health issues as well. Marcel Tanner, president of the Swiss Academies of Sciences, stated clearly a few days ago his critics that the Swiss National COVID-19 Task Force was putting a lot of emphasis on worst-case-scenarios, and should communicate more about good news - which the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health did last Friday.

Now that, in Switzerland, some experts wish to see the creation of a Climate Task Force similar to the Covid-19 one, these aspects around communication and emotions should taken into more consideration, if not fostered, as the University of Geneva scientists underline: “Research on emotional climate change communications and interventions has made substantial progress in this direction over the last five years, but would benefit from a stronger integration of theoretical concepts and empirical findings from affective psychology. Explicitly considering the mechanisms by which emotions are elicited and the pathways by which they influence decisions and actions may help design more efficient affective interventions. The field would moreover benefit from a stronger integration of neurophysiological approaches to assess the impact of emotional climate messages on neural regions involved in appraisal, emotion, and decision-making [...] Finding ways to harness positive emotions and warm glow as motivators of pro-environmental behavior is a promising avenue for future research.”

- Olivier Dessibourg

Affect and emotions as drivers of climate change perception and action: a review by University of Geneva scientists.

ScienceDirect (EN)

A first-of-its-kind geoengineering experiment is about to take its first step. Harvard scientists plan to launch a special balloon this summer.

MIT Technology Review (EN)

The brain’s ‘background noise’ may be meaningful after all. By digging out signals hidden within the brain’s electrical chatter, scientists are getting new insights into sleep, aging, and more.

WIRED (EN)

Graphene ‘nano-origami’ could take us past the end of Moore’s Law. Harnessing the promising properties of the material has proven tricky.

SingularityHub (EN)

The rules of the tech game are changing. A new phase in the global tech contest is under way.

The Economist (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.


Next on the agenda


📍8 March | Are algorithms sexist? AI algorithms reflect the image of society. This FIFDH debate will focus on biases related to the subject.

FIFDH (EN)

📍9 March | Playing with Lives: Cyberattacks on Healthcare are Attacks on People Launch of the report, calling governments to remove rewards for criminals and hostile states attacking healthcare.

CyberPeace Institute (EN)

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