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Good morning, this is Zelda, and in tech news today the internet is addressing the notion of responsibility and free speech after social media platforms clamped down on US President Trump.

We'll discuss also the humanitarian digital dilemmas brought to light by the Covid crisis. And I am very happy to welcome GESDA to this newsletter. Enjoy their selection of science and diplomacy reads!

photo journaliste

Zelda Chauvet


Today’s reason for hope

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MS TECH | GETTY. Source: MIT Technology Review.

Big Tech’s attention economy can be reformed. The business model is doing irreparable harm to society. But there is an alternative, and we don’t need to destroy the tech giants to get there.

MIT Technology review (EN)

Technology News

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Massimo Marelli, Head of the Data protection Office at the ICRC.

💻 Massimo Marelli: 'only trusted technology can be successful technology.' Surveillance measures introduced during the pandemic have created new dilemmas for humanitarian organisations, including the task of ensuring that vulnerable people's data doesn't fall into the wrong hands. Massimo Marelli, head of ICRC's data protection office, explains.

Geneva Solutions (EN)

🌋 Trump, social media and the way to responsibility. Following the raid on the US Capitol, internet actors and social media companies have chosen to act by clamping down on accounts of President Donald Trump as well as others linked with pro-Trump violence. But should tech companies be allowed to set the rules governing free speech?

Geneva Solutions (EN)

🌍 Can Europe produce technological giants? Public initiatives are multiplying to encourage the emergence of large groups on the Old Continent. For innovation experts, a change of mindset is required.

Le Temps (FR)

Here's what else is happening

Image of the day

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Two SL1 generators from Seatrec flank a profiling float during a test in Hawaii last year. Source: SEATREC/WIRED.

The plan to build a global network of floating power stations. A lot of thermal energy is trapped in the ocean. An ex-NASA researcher has figured out how it might generate unlimited clean power for aquatic robots.


Science & Diplomacy reads, by GESDA

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Raman Oza from Pixabay

Is consciousness the fruit of quantum effects? What a bizarre question, many of you might say. Both the neuroscientific definition of consciousness and quantum technologies are two research fields that are in constant evolution and complex to navigate, if not to simply understand. So merging them into what some call “quantum biophysics” demands an additional layer of acceptance of abstraction and ingenuity - but isn’t this the reaction which accompanied the work of the most brilliant minds in the past, like firstly Einstein at the dawn of the 20th century with its theories of relativity?

In the new edition of Physics World, Francesco Petruccione, at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, offers us one of these refreshing and original ideas based on cutting-edge scientific research, which allows us to think outside of the box. Ideal to start a new year of fascinating science advances! Happy 2021!

- Olivier Dessibourg

The light of mind. How quantum effects might play a role in consciousness.

Physics World (EN)

Prestigious AI meeting takes steps to improve ethics of research. Organisers of NeurIPS required speakers to consider the societal impact of their work.

Nature (EN)

‘Incredible’ gene-editing result in mice inspires plans to treat premature-aging syndrome in children. A possible cure to progeria?

Science (EN)

Four ways microbial fuel cells might revolutionise electricity production in the future. The field is gaining traction.

The Conversation (EN)

New technologies demand new rituals. Are 21st century rites of passage en essential human need?


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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

19 January | Balancing the benefits and risks of digitalisation in public health emergencies. The first ICRC digital dilemmas debate will focus on the COVID pandemic as a global case study, with a particular emphasis on digital health passports.


25 January | Applied Machine Learning Days at EPFL: AI & Democracy. The event will explore the challenges and opportunities that lie at the intersection of politics, law, and machine learning – beyond Fake News and Cambridge Analytica.


27 January | The role of parliamentarians to advance disarmament in cyber space. The webinar focuses on the role of parliamentarians in advancing disarmament in cyber space with a focus on cyber-warfare and peace.


GS news is a new media project covering the world of international cooperation and development. Don’t hesitate to forward our newsletter!

Have a good day!

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