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Hello, this is Catherine-Lune Grayson at the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and today I want to talk about the vulnerabilities of people living in wars in the face of growing climate variability and extremes.

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Catherine-Lune Grayson, Geneva

19.09.2020


Anticipatory reads by GESDA


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An artificial intelligence robot checks passengers' body temperature for signs of the coronavirus in South Korea. Photo: EPA/Yonhap South Korea

Just like physics particles, reports sometimes oddly collide. This week, the European Consumer Organisation (BEUC) revealed that, according to a large survey, “less than 20 per cent of Europeans believe that current laws ‘efficiently regulate’ artificial intelligence (AI), and 56 per cent have low trust in authorities to exert effective control over the technology” (see below). “When a consumer believes they have been harmed because of AI-based products or services, they are not only unable to identify who’s responsible but also feel that they can’t rely on authorities to protect them,” explains BEUC’s deputy director general Ursula Pachl.

But as management consulting firm Boston Consulting Group recently said, the time has come for ‘AI-powered governments’! Especially amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, which is the time when “government professionals should “engage with the populations they serve, to support the use of AI and other technology to power change”.

This task, if validated, is as crucial as it is immense. But only it will allow an update of the existing legislation to make the most of the assumptive power of an AI help. Even more as AI ethics groups seem to repeat one of society’s classic mistakes: they fail to account for the cultural and regional contexts in which AI operates, as underlines the MIT TechReview.

- Olivier Dessibourg, GESDA

(EN)

Major survey highlights Europeans’ fears over AI. The report by the European Consumer Organisation revealed that most people don’t trust the technology and feel that current regulations do not protect them from the harms it can cause.

Global Government Forum (EN)

Synthetic biologists have created a slow-growing version of the coronavirus to give as a vaccine. A few drops of live vaccines on a sugar cube defeated smallpox and polio in the 1950s. One company claims a weakened coronavirus could do the same for Covid-19, this time in the form of inexpensive nose drops.

MIT Technology Review (EN)

Trials begin in France for a new weapon against Parkinson’s light. Patients report benefits of the use of this technology, but how near-infrared protects brain cells is unclear, and some scientists are skeptical, although the study is an intriguing area of pursuit.

Science (EN)

Quantum for all. As IBM promises a 1000-qubit quantum computer – a milestone – by 2023, propelling the development of quantum technologies will require widespread literacy about quantum concepts.

Physics (EN)

Doctors are preparing to implant the world’s first human bionic eye. The device is essentially the guts of a smartphone combined with brain-implanted microelectrodes.

Futurism (EN)

Microsoft had the crazy idea to put servers under water - and it totally worked. The company has reported that its latest experiment was a success, resulting in potentially more reliable and energy-efficient computer centers.

Singularity Hub (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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