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Good morning, this is Zelda, and today I'll be bringing you a new episode in my podcast resilience series in which I talk about knowledge and the multilateralism of the future with UN Library director, Francesco Pisano.

In other news, leading Turkish sociologist Zeynep Tufekci came to town (virtually of course) to discuss social media revolutions to pandemics at EPFL's Applied Machine Learning Days.

We're also travelling back to space to examine the different missions in search of debris in the Earth's orbit. And, finally while orbiting, we won't forget to take a closer look at the asteroid that just passed the Earth.

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Zelda Chauvet


Science & Technology News

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UN Library Director, Francesco Pisano.

📖 'This body of knowledge is the Silicon Valley of multilateralism'. UN Library director Francesco Pisano reflects on the importance of substance versus data in a world where change is necessary to rethink the global framework and face the future, in this new conversation on resilience.

Geneva Solutions (EN)

📱 Zeynep Tufekci: From the sociology of social media revolutions to pandemics. What happens when a digital epidemiologist and a sociologist of new technologies meet to talk about the pandemic? Take a read of this interesting debate between Prof Marcel Salathé and Prof Zeynep Tufekci during the latest EPFL's Applied Machine Learning Days 2021.

Geneva Solutions (EN)

🛰️ It’s finally time to take out the space trash. Junk satellites can pose risks in Earth’s orbit. Startups are testing out ways to tidy up, from magnets to robotic tentacles. Among the projects, a Swiss mission.


Here's what else is happening

Image of the day

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These images of asteroid Apophis were recorded by radio antennas at the Deep Space Network’s Goldstone complex in California and the Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia. The asteroid was 10.6 million miles (17 million kilometers) away, and each pixel has a resolution of 127 feet (38.75 meters). Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech and NSF/AUI/GBO.

An asteroid grazed the Earth on Sunday, but what was at risk? The chances of all terrestrial life being destroyed as it was 66 million years ago remain low.


Anticipatory reads by GESDA

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Blocking the sunrays by injecting aerosols into the stratosphere: this idea, called solar geoengineering, is gaining traction. A report released by the National Academies of Sciences (NAS) details recommendations for conducting and governing research on solar geoengineering. These two points are crucial.
First: "People worry building the technology is a slippery slope to it being deployed," says Alan Robock, a climate scientist at Rutgers University, quoted in Axios (see below). "It is more of a sticky slope. The more we look into it, the more risks we may also discover and reasons not to do it!" In fact, the report emphasises that solar geoengineering is not a substitute for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and that “the research should work to better understand technical feasibility, possible impacts on society and the environment, public perceptions, and potential social responses – but it should not be designed to advance future deployment of these interventions.”

Second: “Playing with the environment and the atmosphere, however, is playing with fire. Without adequate rules, geoengineering will create massive, unintended consequences, deepen geopolitical rivalries and hasten the world’s division into climate winners and losers. To avoid these fates, the world must create a robust multilateral regime to govern the research, development and deployment of these new technologies”, rightly pleads Stewart Patrick of the Council on Foreign Relations in a blog post.

- Olivier Dessibourg

Warming up to solar geoengineering. As countries struggle to reduce CO2 emissions, financial backers and government officials grapple with how to study ideas for engineering the Earth’s climate.

Axios (EN)

Ultrasound reads monkey brains, opening new way to control machines with thought. Researchers have paved the way for a less invasive option.

Science (EN)

AI armed with multiple senses could gain more flexible intelligence. Human intelligence emerges from our combination of senses and language abilities.

MIT Technology Review (EN)

Form a climate club: United States, EU and China. If the three biggest economies agree a carbon tax on imports, it will catalyse climate action globally.

Nature (EN)

Ethics of Genome Editing. The advent of new genome editing technologies (such as CRISPR) has opened new dimensions of what and how genetic interventions into our world are possible.

European Commission (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

📍6-7 April | Global Technology Governance Summit. The GTGS aims to be the foremost global multistakeholder gathering dedicated to ensuring the responsible design and deployment of emerging technologies through public-private collaboration.


📍15 April | Sports, Technology and Innovation. The fourth studio will discuss the usefulness and appropriateness of technologies in daily practice to foster skill acquisition or to facilitate assessment as well the limits of these 'digital pedagogies'.

Microsoft - Graduate Institute - UNESCO (EN)

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