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Good morning, this is Achintya, and we start with a recap of yesterday’s panel discussion organised on making AI inclusive for all, as part of the “AI for Good” series.

We then turn our attention to a new emerging global threat in the form of drug-resistant fungi, which are advancing into new parts of the world for the first time.

Finally, we head over to the Democratic Republic of Congo to focus on the ongoing eruption of one of Africa’s deadliest volcanoes.

photo journaliste

Achintya Rao


Science & Technology News

Photo article

© ITU/M.Tewelde

🦾 What it takes to make equitable AI. The ITU brought together a panel of women and girls from several regions in the world to discuss the subject of inclusion in the field of Artificial Intelligence, by identifying how our biases can affect the design and deployment of AI.

Geneva Solutions (EN)

🍄 Deadly fungi: an emerging global threat. Once believed to prefer temperatures cooler than the core temperature of human bodies, fungi are adapting as a result of a warming climate, and are developing resistance to common fungicides due to their widespread use. Scientists are racing to find a way to boost our immunity against the rapidly advancing invading microbes.

Scientific American (EN)

🌋 Mount Nyiragongo in the Democratic Republic of Congo has erupted. The city of Goma lies not far from what is one of Africa’s deadliest volcanoes. Its ongoing eruption, which began late on 22 May, caused thousands to flee, as lava rushed down towards the city, causing damage to several nearby villages.

National Geographic (EN)

Image of the day

Photo article

The AMS detector on the International Space Station (Credit: NASA)

A decade of cosmic discoveries for AMS. The Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) was installed on the International Space Station on 19 May 2011. In the ten years since, it has observed more than 175 billion cosmic rays, in a quest to search for dark matter and to understand the origin of cosmic rays, which journey through space at almost the speed of light.


Anticipatory reads by GESDA

Photo article

(Ⓒ Olivier Dessibourg)

The Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting, which took place last week in Reykjavik, saw the signing of what the Chinese press agency Xinhua called a “major outcome”: the adoption of a first ten-year strategic plan for the region, reflecting “the shared values and joint aspirations of the Arctic States and the Permanent Participants, to advance sustainable development, environmental protection, and good governance in the Arctic, and restoring the position of climate change concerns in the agenda of the Council”. China, the biggest emitter country of CO₂ worldwide, is an observing member “only”, although the nation is also developing “prominent activities” in the high north and “playing a much more assertive role unilaterally”, as CNBC puts it, quoting a Russian official.

This environmental issue adds to others, also expressed at the meeting, “about some of the recent military activities in the Arctic”, said US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. The meeting came as Russia’s extensive development of an airbase at Nagurskoye is causing concern in the West, recalls Euronews (read below).

These news pieces reminded me of my trip to Greenland in 2008, during which I had the exceptional chance to visit DYE-2 station, one of the many long-range radars installed by the US in the Arctic during the Cold War. In 1988, this dome-station was abandoned in a snapping-finger instant – literally! –, its occupants leaving milk packs and beers in the kitchen fridges and balls on the snooker table.

Hopefully, the Arctic, a region that is definitely attracting a lot of attention, will not be the theater to another military escalation, so that western soldiers return to this station lost on the gigantic ice-cap as quickly as they left 33 years ago.

– Olivier Dessibourg

What is the Arctic Council and what does it want? The region is strategic

Euronews (EN)

Half of the world’s emissions cuts will require tech that isn’t commercially available. We need to accelerate investments

MIT Technology Review (EN)

An old antidepressant helps the immune system fight tumors in mice. First study of the kind

Science (EN)

Can machines control our brains? Advances in brain-computer interface technology are impressive

Quanta Magazine (EN)

Corals swap in heat-resistant algae to better cope with global warming. Conservation efforts in sight

NewScientist (EN)

Diplomacy has changed more than most professions during the pandemic. Covid-19 has hastened the arrival of hybrid diplomacy, a blend of the physical and digital

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

📍26 May | AI and health: seeing the future. Regina Barzilay, MIT professor for AI and health, will present her latest research and discuss the role of AI-based risk-assessment models.

AI for Good (EN)

📍27 May | Strange natures: conservation in the era of synthetic biology. Bill Adams, professor at the Graduate Institute of Geneva, will speak on the use of gene editing in public health, pest control and food production.

The Graduate Institute (EN)

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Have a good day!

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