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Archive for the ‘policy’ category

Sep 9, 2019

Russian x-risks newsletter, summer 2019

Posted by in categories: existential risks, military, policy

This is the first Russian x-risks newsletter, which will present news about Russia and global catastrophic risks from the last 3 months.

Given the combination of high technological capabilities, poor management, high risk tolerance and attempts to catch up with West and China in the military sphere, Russia is prone to technological catastrophes. It has a 10 times higher level of aviation catastrophes and car accidents than developed countries.

Thus it seems possible that a future global catastrophe may be somehow connected with Russia. However, most of the work in global catastrophic and existential risk (x-risks) prevention and policy efforts are happening in the West, especially in US, UK and Sweden. Even the best policies adopted by the governments of these countries may not help if a catastrophe occurs in another country or countries.

Sep 3, 2019

Algorithmic Foreign Policy

Posted by in categories: information science, policy, robotics/AI

Artificial intelligence capable of predicting world events could radically change geopolitics.

Aug 29, 2019

Microsoft will likely create Skynet says study

Posted by in categories: augmented reality, government, military, policy, robotics/AI

On Wednesday, at the United Nations Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons in Geneva, a panel of government experts debated policy options regarding lethal autonomous weapons.

Dutch NGO Pax created a report that surveyed major players from the sector on their view of lethal autonomous weapons. They categorised companies based on 3 criteria: whether they were developing technology that’s potentially relevant to deadly AI, working on related military products, and if they had committed to abstaining from contributing in the future.

By these criteria, Microsoft scores rather highly in the birthplace of Skynet rankings. Microsoft has invested extensively in developing artificial intelligence products, has very close relationships with the US military, and Satya Nadella has committed to providing the military with their very best technology. While Microsoft has fallen short of explicitly developing AI for military purposes, we do know that they have developed a version of the HoloLens for the military that is specifically designed to increase the lethality of soldiers in the field.

Aug 28, 2019

Electromagnetic Pulse Threats to America’s Electric Grid: Counterpoints to Electric Power Research Institute Positions

Posted by in categories: energy, government, military, policy

Editor’s note: This article is part of a supporting engagement with the Electromagnetic Defense Task Force’s efforts in order to inform readers on the vulnerabilities within the electromagnetic spectrum. For the printer friendly version click here.

Abstract

In spring 2019, a group of nearly 200 military, government, academic, and private industry experts in various areas of electromagnetic defense gathered for the second Electromagnetic Defense Task Force (EDTF) summit. During this time a full analytical and technical review was initiated on the recently released report titled “High-Altitude Electromagnetic Pulse and the Bulk Power System: Potential Impacts and Mitigation Strategies” authored by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI). This essay outlines the strengths and weaknesses of the report and aims to generate further discussion among industry, policy makers, military, and academia to ensure the nation is adequately prepared for any potential electromagnetic event.

Aug 27, 2019

Key Uncertainties About the Future of Women

Posted by in categories: economics, policy, sex

In the past several months, the issue of ensuring a truly equal future for women in society has risen up the agenda of global challenges – whilst at the same time indicators suggest the actual gap is growing globally. From harassment and #metoo to #timesup and the rights to equal pay and equal access in education, the workplace, and the boardroom, women have been succeeding in spotlighting the issues and arguing for their rights. So, as we look to the future, some fundamental questions arise: What is the future of women? Are women’s futures different from men’s futures? How do we proceed in the coming years to embed a gender equality mindset while accounting for the unique challenges women face?

This article draws on insights from our recent book – The Future Reinvented – Reimagining, Life, Society and Business to explore how business and society can adjust to ensure a more positive future for women, focusing on what we consider to be critical agenda issues. We conclude with our advice and dreams for the future of women.

Areas which could benefit significantly from the increased participation of women

As we look to the forces shaping our world, it is clear that society as a whole could benefit significantly from the increased participation of women in the future of technology development, elected governmental roles, and higher education. For example, we need to better understand that an algorithm can be racist or sexist before integrating artificial intelligence (AI) into our social systems and institutions. The new book by Dr. Safiya Umoja Noble, Algorithms of Oppression, is a great example of the kind of critical thinking about its broader social implications that the technology sector needs.

Continue reading “Key Uncertainties About the Future of Women” »

Aug 27, 2019

History Made: How Costa Rica has Doubled It’s Tropical Rainforest Cover

Posted by in categories: employment, habitats, policy

The year 2017 saw the second highest global tree cover loss recorded in the history of this planet, according to the World Economic Forum. Researchers at the University of Maryland (USA) found an area of tree loss equal to the size of Bangladesh. That equates to losing 40 soccer fields covered in trees every minute for a year. But guess what, Costa Rica took the fight in the other direction, declaring they had officially doubled their tropical rainforests since 2001. Doubled!

How can the world learn from Costa Rica’s experience and use it as a model for other nations? It helps to take a closer look at exactly what Costa Rica has done right in managing this issue, while other countries have failed miserably. In the mid-20th century, three quarters of Costa Rica was covered in lush, verdant tree canopy. Then came loggers, who savagely cleared acres and acres of pristine rainforest, lining their pockets by selling off Costa Rica’s natural resources. At the same time, of course, they were destroying the natural habitats of Costa Rica’s indigenous creatures, for instance Golden toads and Poison dart frogs.

But then, something changed radically in the thought processes of Costa Rican policy makers, and the rate of deforestation slowed, until it eventually dropped to zero. What happened? Costa Rica awakened to the potential of its rich ecosystems and began vigorously safeguarding them. Healthy ecosystems meant tourist dollars and employment opportunities for Ticos throughout the country.

Aug 27, 2019

Using a smartphone to detect norovirus

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, health, policy

A little bit of norovirus—the highly infectious microbe that causes about 20 million cases of food poisoning in the United States each year—goes a long way. Just 10 particles of the virus can cause illness in humans. A team of University of Arizona researchers has created a simple, portable and inexpensive method for detecting extremely low levels of norovirus.

Jeong-Yeol Yoon, a researcher in the Department of Biomedical Engineering; Soo Chung, a biosystems engineering doctoral student who works in Yoon’s Biosensors Lab; and Kelly A. Reynolds, Chair of the Department of Community, Environment and Policy in the Mel & Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, led the project. The team published their results in ACS Omega, the official journal of the American Chemical Society, and Yoon is presenting the research at the ACS Fall 2019 National Meeting & Exposition in San Diego this week.

Continue reading “Using a smartphone to detect norovirus” »

Aug 27, 2019

New China Policy Aims to Replace Hong Kong with City Bigger than Silicon Valley

Posted by in categories: economics, policy

The “Two-Systems, One China” adopted format for the recovery of Hong Kong from the British in 1997 is under threat in recent months due to the ongoing CIA NED-funded protests and occupation of Hong Kong’s vital economic installations. But China is not running out of countermeasures just yet.

Aug 26, 2019

Uh-oh: Silicon Valley is building a Chinese-style social credit system

Posted by in categories: government, law, policy

In China, scoring citizens’ behavior is official government policy. U.S. companies are increasingly doing something similar, outside the law.

[Images: Rawf8/iStock; zhudifeng/iStock].

Aug 23, 2019

Bernie Sanders Wants to Ban Facial Recognition for Policing, I Disagree

Posted by in categories: information science, law enforcement, policy, robotics/AI

Under his plan, “Justice and Safety for All,” Bernie Sanders wants to ban facial recognition software for policing. As a supporter of Sanders, I’m going to have to respectfully disagree. Here’s why…


Last Sunday, presidential-hopeful Bernie Sanders released on his website what is arguably one of the most extensive plans for law enforcement oversight and criminal justice overhaul that the United States has ever seen. As a progressive, myself, and supporter of Sanders during his primary run, I fully endorse everything that’s been laid out in this plan— that is, except for one minor policy.

The plan, titled “Justice and Safety for All,” calls to “Ban the use of facial recognition software for policing.” It also calls for a “moratorium on the use of the algorithmic risk assessment tools in the criminal justice system until an audit is completed,” whereby the audit would “ensure these tools do not have any implicit biases that lead to unjust or excessive sentences.”

Continue reading “Bernie Sanders Wants to Ban Facial Recognition for Policing, I Disagree” »

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