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GESDA's best pick from the press, web and science journals, in relation to GESDA's thematic platforms

15-22 March 2022

A GESDA product curated by Olivier Dessibourg


> The Future Today Institute's 15th Anniversary Tech Trends Report // March 2022, Future Today Institute
Learn the key trends impacting finance, insurance, transportation, healthcare, sports, logistics, telecom, work, government and policy, security, privacy, education, agriculture, entertainment, music, CPG, hospitality and dining, ESGs, climate, space and more. Discover critical insights. See what strategic action you can take on the futures, today.

Related article: SXSW 2022 – Amy Webb prédit la fin du marketing dans le métavers // 14.03.2022, Méta-Media


> 12 graphs that explain the state of AI in 2022 // 17.03.2022, IEEE Spectrum
Every year, the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence (HAI) puts out its AI Index, a massive compendium of data and graphs that tries to sum up the current state of artificial intelligence. The 2022 AI Index is covering R&D, technical performance, ethics, policy, education, and the economy. 12 charts that capture the state of play.

Related report: The 2022 AI Index: industrialization of AI and mounting ethical concerns // 16.03.2022, HAI Stanford


> AI and human enhancement: Americans’ openness is tempered by a range of concerns // 17.03.2022, Pew Research Center
Developments in AI and human enhancement technologies have the potential to remake American society in the coming decades. A new Pew Research Center survey finds that Americans see promise in the ways these technologies (facial recognition, algorithms, driverless cars, brain chips, gene editing, robotic exoskeletons) could improve daily life and human abilities. Yet public views are also defined by the context of how these technologies would be used, what constraints would be in place and who would stand to benefit – or lose – if these advances become widespread.

Related article: Americans are concerned about rise of AI and human enhancements, survey finds // 17.03.2022, CNN

(© Pew Research Center)


> AI suggested 40000 new possible chemical weapons in just six hours // 17.03.2022, The Verge
All the researchers had to do was tweak their methodology to seek out, rather than weed out toxicity. The AI came up with tens of thousands of new substances, some of which are similar to VX, the most potent nerve agent ever developed. Shaken, they published their findings this month in the journal Nature Machine Intelligence.

(© Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)


> The UK may build a £16 billion solar power station in space. Here’s how it would work // 18.03.2022, Singularity Hub
The UK government is reportedly considering a £16 billion proposal to build a solar power station in space. Yes, you read that right. Space-based solar power is one of the technologies to feature in the government’s Net Zero Innovation Portfolio. It has been identified as a potential solution, alongside others, to help the UK achieve net zero by 2050. But how would a solar power station in space work? What are the advantages and drawbacks to this technology?

(© NASA, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)


> Can brain scans reveal behaviour? Bombshell study says not yet // 17.03.2022, Nature
Most studies linking features in brain imaging to traits such as cognitive abilities are too small to be reliable, argues a controversial analysis.

(© Zephyr/Science Photo Library)


> African effort to sequence continent’s biodiversity seeks $1 billion over 10 years // 15.03.2022, Science
Founder of African BioGenome Project says initiative will help conservation and agriculture while boosting local science capacity.


(© Vincent Grafhorst/Minden Pictures)

SPECIAL FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine conflict impacts on science and diplomacy

Research community

> “We don’t live in a research bubble” // 17.03.2022, The Verge
The hopes and fears driving an online movement to help Ukrainian researchers.

Researchers around the world band together to help fleeing Ukrainian scientists // 16.03.2022, Chemistry World

ERC for Ukraine: jobs for researchers fleeing the war // 18.03.2022, ERC press release

International and institutional agreements

> Russian labs run out of equipment as sanctions begin to bite // 17.03.2022, Science|Business

Canada hits science ties with Russia, creates fund for Ukrainian students // 12.03.2022, Science|Business

Space sciences and policy

> International talks on space norms to continue but U.S. will not engage directly with Russia // 17.03.2022, SpaceNews

ESA suspends work with Russia on ExoMars mission // 17.03.2022, SpaceNews

Digital science and technologies

> Ukraine’s Digital Ministry is a formidable war machine // 17.03.2022, WIRED

Russia is risking the creation of a “splinternet” – and it could be irreversible // 17.03.2022, MIT Technology Review

Where is Russia’s cyberwar? Researchers decipher its strategy // 17.03.2022, Nature

Russia's killer drone in Ukraine raises fears about AI in warfare // 17.03.2022, WIRED


> Nations should conserve fuel as global energy crisis looms, IEA warns // 18.03.2022, The New York Times

The nuclear reactors of the future have a Russia problem // 17.03.2022, WIRED


> Les ambitions européennes rattrapées par la guerre // 21.03.2022, Le Temps

Russia and the Arctic: the irony of an aggressor in charge of a ‘zone of peace’ // 16.03.2022, Geneva Solutions

Big Pharma faces an ethical dilemma: should they keep selling to Russia? // 10.03.2022, WIRED

(© Brown University)


Platform 1: Quantum Revolution & Advanced AI


> Microsoft announces progress on a completely new type of qubit // 15.03.2022, Ars Technica

> Nouveau record mondial pour le stockage d’un qubit // 22.03.3022, Université de Genève

AI and tech  

> Google may have found the tech to take AR smart glasses mainstream // 17.03.2022, SlashGear

Les créateurs à la conquête du Web3 // 18.03.2022, Méta-Media

It’s like GPT-3 but for code – fun, fast, and full of flaws // 15.03.2022, WIRED
OpenAI’s new tool can autocomplete lines of programming or conjure software from a simple prompt. It could also riddle the internet with even more bugs.

Reality+: virtual worlds and the problems of philosophy (podcast) // March 2022, eSkeptic
How do we know that there’s an external world? What is the nature of reality? What’s the relation between mind and body? Virtual reality is genuine reality; that’s the central thesis of David Chalmers’ book: Reality+ – a highly original work of “technophilosophy” in which Chalmers gives a compelling analysis of our technological future. He argues that virtual worlds are not second-class worlds, and that we can live a meaningful life in virtual reality. He uses virtual reality technology to offer a new perspective on long-established philosophical questions. We may even be in a virtual world already. Dr. David Chalmers is University Professor of Philosophy and Neural Science and codirector of the Center for Mind, Brain and Consciousness at New York University.

Platform 2: Human Augmentation


> NIH’s huge All of Us genes and health study releases first 100,000 genomes // 17.03.2022, Science
First genetic data from planned 1-million-person U.S. biobank will help fill gaps in studies of non-Europeans.

A more-inclusive genome project aims to capture all of human diversity // 16.03.2022, Nature

New details emerge about a U.S. scientist’s obscured role in the ‘CRISPR babies’ scandal // 18.03.2022, STAT

Gene therapy for hemophilia A // 17.03.2022, New England Journal of Medicine

Longevity and health

Bionic eye that mimics how pupils respond to light may improve vision // 17.03.2022, New Scientist

Artificial touch: The new tech making virtual reality more immersive // 16.03.2022, New Scientist

Covid-19: un compromis sur les brevets des vaccins // 16.03.2022, Le Temps


> Reconstruction of neocortex: Organelles, compartments, cells, circuits, and activity // 17.03.2022, Cell

Decoding cognition from spontaneous neural activity // 08.03.2022, Nature Reviews Neuroscience

Deep brain stimulation of the thalamus restores signatures of consciousness in a nonhuman primate model // 18.03.2022, Science Advances

Blood stem cells treat brain disease after transplant // 17.03.2022, BioWorld

What do psychedelic drugs do to our brains? AI could help us find out // 16.03.2022, MIT Technology Review

(© MS Tech/Unsplash)

Platform 3: Eco-regeneration & Geoengineering


> Technological pathways toward sustainable batteries // 18.03.2022, One Earth


Can we resurrect extinct species? Scientists put Jurassic Park to the test // 16.03.2022, Singularity Hub

Genomics can help restore coral reefs in the Indian Ocean // 18.03.2022, EPFL

Climate and environment

UN Environment Programme joins alliance to implement One Health approach // 18.03.2022, UNEP

The land-to-ocean loops of the global carbon cycle // 16.03.2022, Nature

Great Barrier Reef hit by sixth mass bleaching event, leading coral scientist says // 16.03.2022, The Guardian

Climate Grand Challenges finalists on accelerating reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions // 17.03.2022, MIT News Office

Higher-altitude solar geoengineering brings no cost benefit, study predicts // 16.03.2022, Physics World


The sobering truth about corn ethanol // 15.03.2022, PNAS

Battery technology and recycling alone will not save the electric mobility transition from future cobalt shortages // 15.03.2022, Nature Communications

Valuing Water // 2021, UNESCO
The 2021 World Water Development Report on “Valuing Water” assesses the current status of, and challenges to, the valuation of water across different sectors and perspectives, and identifies ways in which valuation can be promoted as a tool to help achieve sustainability.

Platform 4: Science & Diplomacy

Development expert emerges as one of frontrunners in race for ILO top job // 14.03.2022, Geneva Solutions

Scrutinizing environmental governance in a digital age: New ways of seeing, participating, and intervening // March 2022, One Earth

Switzerland at the World Water Forum in Dakar // 18.03.2022, FDFA

Why politics limits climate ambitions (opinion) // 19.03.2022, Financial Times
All countries have a shared interest in tackling global warming, yet conflicting priorities hold them back.

GESDA Platform: Knowledge Foundations

Microbes and minerals may have set off Earth’s oxygenation // 14.03.2022, MIT News

Are there limits to economic growth? It’s time to call time on a 50-year argument // 16.03.2022, Nature


> Academic freedom on the decline // 03.03.2022, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

> Can an online course help Big Tech find its soul? // 11.03.2022, WIRED
The Foundations of Humane Technology is an eight-hour class for Silicon Valley’s disillusioned workers.

(© Henrik Sorensen/Getty Images)


> We are turning a corner.’ Acting White House science director moves to calm troubled office // 16.03.2022, Science
Alondra Nelson promotes president’s agenda—and a civil workplace—at OSTP. (© 2019 Dan Komoda)

> An open-access history: the world according to Robert-Jan Smits // 14.03.2022, Nature
The Plan S architect, scourge of paywalls, reveals how the policy sausage got made. 
(© Luigi Mistrulli/Sipa/Shutterstock)

Patricia Danzi, the former Olympic athlete who heads the Swiss development agency // 11.03.2022, Swissinfo
Patricia Danzi started work as the first female head of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic in May 2020. (© Keystone)

> “Following Ukraine, we need a new recovery plan” // 07.03.2022, Groupe d’études géopolitiques
A conversation with Pascal Lamy(© Flickr/Sebastiaan ter Burg)


NSF stands up directorate for technology, innovation, and partnerships // 17.03.2022, American Institute of Physics
Related press release: New National Science Foundation directorate to accelerate breakthrough technologies, societal and economic advances // 16.03.2022, NSF

Mathematics for action: supporting science-based decision-making // 14.03.2022, UNESCO
Everything we do is based on some mathematical structure, and although mathematics is often considered abstract, it is fundamental to how we understand nature, the larger universe, with its time and space dimensions and a myriad of uncertainties. The Covid-19 pandemic brought mathematical modeling to the forefront of public attention and debate. Vocabulary such as ‘flattening the curve’ has become part of the collective lexicon. Governments all over the world rely on mathematics not only to forecast the epidemic but also to understand social issues like vaccine hesitancy. Mathematics has allowed for pivotal improvements in weather prediction and has applications in agriculture and fisheries. With new mathematical approaches, a tropical cyclone’s track can now be predicted up to 1 week in advance giving communities time to evacuate, and potentially saving lives and reducing economic losses. The Mathematics for Action toolkit focuses on engaging stories of mathematics in action. Written by mathematicians and thought leaders from across the globe, it presents fascinating research of how mathematics is addressing the world’s most pressing challenges. The toolkit provides insightful information for decision-makers and for all those who seek proofs to challenging questions and it presents new avenues for scientific research.

L’innovation, «ADN du Pavillon Suisse» à l’exposition universelle 2025 // 18.03.2022, Le Matin
Ce vendredi, le Conseil fédéral a approuvé le message relatif à la demande de crédit pour la participation de la Suisse à l’exposition universelle 2025 à Osaka au Japon. Le plafond des dépenses s’élève à 17,6 millions de francs.

Communiqué de presse en lien.

(© Japan Association for the 2025 World Exposition)

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 early and 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, Eco-regeneration & Geoengineering, Science & Diplomacy). Based on this scientific outlook, it will, with its Diplomacy community, 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 diplomats, but will include actors of various professional origins and mindsets (from philanthropy, industry, citizens, to youth).

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Have a very nice and fruitful week! :-)
Copyright ©  2020, All rights reserved for the selection. All rights reserved by the respective media for articles reproduction.
Selection of an article in this press review doesn't mean endorsement by GESDA.

Mailing address:
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