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Good morning, this is Kasmira, the editor-in-chief of Geneva Solutions. Today we are talking about a subject close to our hearts, freedom of the press, following an event at the Palais des Nations this week, where we heard moving testimonies from journalists who have risked their lives in the pursuit of truth.

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Kasmira Jefford, Geneva

05.09.2020


Anticipatory best reads by GESDA


Geoengineering – the idea of modifying the earth’s ecosystem or the atmosphere to minimize climate change – has been around for decades. While it should in theory not be excluded as a way to find possible solutions, preliminary test studies have shown that the collateral impacts of those technologies have to be well evaluated. But now this research field is being shaken up/disrupted by some Silicon Valley tycoons, sometimes known to act first and deal with regulatory issues later. This could prove to be a slippery way to address the climate crisis as the public will very probably overreact.

Olivier Dessibourg, GESDA

(EN)

Silicon Valley billionaires want to geoengineer the world's oceans. Scientists, policy-makers, and funders met in California to discuss an idea to use an emerging suite of technologies known as ocean alkalinity enhancement. The aim? To reduce both ocean acidification, which threatens delicate ecosystems like coral reefs, and atmospheric CO2 levels.

New Scientist (EN)

Bodybuilding supplement promotes healthy aging and extends life span, at least in mice. Mice given a substance – alpha-ketoglutarate (AKG) – were healthier as they aged, and females lived longer than mice not on the supplement. Since AKG is naturally and safely produced, by mice and human organisms, the development potential for humankind could be massive.

Science (EN)

Researchers develop molecule to store solar energy. The days (or rather nights) when solar electricity could not be used during nighttime because of storage challenges might soon be gone. Researchers in Sweden have developed a new molecule from the “photoswitch” group that could tackle this issue.

Phys.org (EN)

“Like taking away a part of myself” – life after a neural implant trial. Volunteering for a neural implant trial can be a source of immense joy and meaning to a life oppressed by neurological diseases. But it can equally be a source of distress when the life-changing implant is removed, which are often without any psychological or medical follow-up nor any offered alternative either.

Nature Medicine (EN)

A large and secure quantum communication network. The ultimate goal of quantum communication research is to enable widespread connectivity, much like the current internet, but with security based on the laws of physics rather than on computational complexity – a feat that is difficult to scale up. Researchers have now made a great leap to overcome this hurdle.

New Scientist (EN)

Moral learning and metaethics in AI systems. As AI systems become increasingly autonomous and active in social situations involving human and non-human agents, AI moral competency via the capacity for moral learning will become more and more critical. Peter Albert Railton, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Michigan, discusses the potential role of moral learning and moral epistemology in AI systems.

Future of Life Institute (EN)

Computational social science: obstacles and opportunities. The field of computational social science (CSS) has exploded in prominence over the past decade, with thousands of papers published using observational data, experimental designs, and large-scale simulations. But there remain issues, such as research ethics, pedagogy, and data infrastructure, that need to be resolved in order to align universities and the intellectual requirements of the field.

Science (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.


A few words on GESDA, and their reason for anticipation


Humanity, now more than ever, is facing global challenges (especially with regards to the Covid-19 crisis), putting people and the planet under stress and in great uncertainty. Simultaneously, the world is experiencing breakthroughs in science and technology at an unprecedented pace, which are sometimes hard to grasp. Anticipation, therefore, is key to build the future with the aim of fully exploiting this scientific potential for the well-being and inclusive development of all. The Geneva Science and Diplomacy Anticipator was founded in Geneva in 2019 to tackle this issue.

GESDA's ambition is to first anticipate and identify these cutting-edge advances in science and technology throughout various domains (quantum revolution & advanced AI, human augmentation, ecoregeneration and geoengineering, science and diplomacy). Based on this panoramic scientific outlook, it will translate potential leaps in science and tech into tools that can bring effective and socially-inclusive solutions to emerging challenges. Most importantly, this process will be achieved not only by scientists or technologists, but will include actors of various professional origins and mindsets, from diplomacy, philanthropy, industry, citizens to youth.


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