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GESDA's best pick from the press, web and science journals,
27 June - 3 July 2020


A GESDA product curated by Olivier Dessibourg

FOCUS 1

> New report predicts tech could fuel an age of freedom – or make civilisation collapse // 29.06.2020, SingularityHub
Based on the report “Rethinking humanity: five foundational sector disruptions, the lifecycle of civilisations, and the coming age of freedom”, by RethinkX, an independent think tank that analyzes and forecasts the speed and scale of technology-driven disruption and its implications across society. We produce impartial, data-driven analyses that identify pivotal choices to be made by investors, business, policy and civic leaders.
 
Image by SingularityHub

GOOD READS ABOUT GESDA'S PLATFORMS THEMES


GESDA Platform 1: Quantum revolution and advanced AI

> Ici commence la revolution quantique // 25.06.2020, El Pais (repris dans Le Figaro)

> Universities and tech giants back National Cloud Computing project // 30.06.2020, New York Times

> A plan to redesign the internet could make apps that no one controls // 01.07.2020, MIT Technology Review

> Steven Pinker and Stuart Russell on the foundations, benefits and possible existential threat of AI (audio discussion) // June 2020, Future of Life Institute
Also read: Open Letter: Foresight in AI Regulation

> Menten.AI’s combination of buzzword bingo brings AI and quantum computing to drug discovery // 30.06.2020, TechCrunch
 
Recyclers turn to AI robots after waste import bans // 01.07.2020, Financial Times

> MIT apologizes, permanently pulls offline huge dataset that taught AI systems to use racist, misogynistic slurs // 01.07.2020, The Register
 
> The State of AI Ethics (report) // June 2020, by The Montreal AI Ethics Institute
 
> Disney Research neural face-swapping technique can provide photorealistic, high-resolution video // 29.06.2020, TechCrunch
 
> Tiny satellites could distribute quantum keys // 26.06.2020, IEEE Spectrum

> NASA's new Moon-bound space suits will get a boost from AI // 29.06.2020, WIRED


 

GESDA Platform 2: Human augmentation

A gene-editing ‘Cure for Heart Disease’? A Single Shot Succeeds in Monkeys // 27.06.2020, New York Times

Research ethics codes and guidelines for human enhancement (report) // 02.07.2020, SIENNA (Technology, ethics and human rights) project

An experiment in end-of-life care: Tapping AI’s cold calculus to nudge the most human of conversations // 01.07.2020, STATNews

Concern following gene therapy adverse events // 02.07.2020, MedicalXpress

A Worm’s Hidden Map for Growing New Eyes // 29.06.2020, New York Times

How does our brain fold? Study reveals new genetic insights // 02.07.2020, RMIT Australia

Shutting down RNA-targeting CRISPR // 03.07.2020, Science

Wie Präzisionsmedizin bei einer seltenen Hormonerkrankung hilft // 30.06.2020, UniBern
 

GESDA Platform 3: Eco-regeneration and geoengineering

Earth's final frontier: the global race to map the entire ocean floor // 30.06.2020, The Guardian

The future of batteries (new report) // 01.07.2020, C&EN by ACS
In relation: Used EV Batteries Could Power Tomorrow's Solar Farms // 10.06.2020, IEEE Spectrum

House Democrats call for ‘Negative Emissions’ in climate plan // 30.06.2020, Bloomberg Green

> If biology can build it, they will come: Gingko Bioworks is laying the foundation for the $4 trillion bioeconomy // 25.06.2020, Forbes


USA seeking support for recovery and use of space resources // 02.07.2020, SpaceWatch.global

> Seasteading – a vanity project for the rich or the future of humanity? // 24.06.2020, The Guardian
In relation: This tiny house is 3D printed, floats, and will last over 100 years // 01.07.2020, SingularityHub

> Geoengineering reports chart research and governance approaches // 29.06.2020, Science Policy News
The National Academies released two reports this month on research directions and governance approaches for solar geoengineering methods that involve reflecting sunlight to cool the Earth, such as stratospheric aerosol injection.

> Berlin mise sur l’hydrogène // 29.06.2020, Le Temps

ESA selects prime contractors for six new Copernicus missions // 01.07.2020, SpaceNews

Top 200 - Operational Floating Solar Projects (Data analysis free, report to purchase if needed) // 30.06.2020, SolarPlaza 
Following the trends of recent years, floating solar has continued to gain popularity in 2019. As the technology matures and becomes cheaper, more and more countries start to develop their own floating PV (FPV) systems in different freshwater and marine environments. Today, there are operational projects on hydropower dams, water reservoirs, flooded mining subsidences, rivers, fishery lakes as well as on seawater near-shore and even off-shore.

The biodiversity leader who is fighting for nature amid a pandemic // 30.06.2020, Nature
Earlier this month, Elizabeth Maruma Mrema was appointed executive secretary of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity. She is the first woman from Africa to lead the intergovernmental body, and will oversee the creation of a global biodiversity agreement for the next decade

Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, new executive secretary of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (Credit: SCBD)

GESDA Platform 4: Science and Diplomacy

How the pandemic will shape the near future (video interview with Bill Gates) // 29.06.2020, TED

> Smart urban planning starts with interdisciplinary thinking and action // 01.07.2020, European Science Media Hub

Good for planet and people? Renewable energy firms urged to clean up act on human rights // 01.07.2020, Thomson Reuters News

Can the World Bank prevent a pandemic of poverty // 02.07.2020, The Economist

Impact of an asteroid on Earth: the need for legal clarifications // 02.07.2020, SpaceWatch.global

> The troubling return of scientific racism // 20.06.2020, Varsity

> UN approves plan to delay carbon offsetting of flights // 01.07.2020, NewScientist

> Where should COVID-19 vaccines be tested? It’s a moving target // 01.07.2020, WIRED

Politics of the Coronavirus Pandemic // 02.07.2020, Graduate Institute Geneva’s Global Challenges
Special issue, with (amongst others) these articles about Reconfigurations of Governance regimes:
••• Institutions under Stress: Covid-19, Anti-Internationalism and the Futures of Global Governance (Nico Krisch, Global Governance Centre)  
••• Covid-19 and Even More Unconventional Economic Policies (Nathan Sussman, Centre for Finance and Development)
••• Covid-19 and States of Emergency (Neus Torbisco Casals, Albert Hirschman Centre on Democracy)
••• The Vaccine Race: Will Public Health Prevail over Geopolitics?  (Suerie Moon, Global Health Centre)

OF INTEREST

COVID-19 stories

> The state of the COVID-19 vaccination race (explainer) // 30.06.2020, Chemistry World
In relation: How Oxford University came to lead the race for a coronavirus vaccine // 02.07.2020, The Economist

> Production de respirateurs peu coûteux pour les pays en développement: le DFAE soutient un projet de l’EPFZ // 30.06.2020, Admin.ch

How the world missed COVID-19’s silent spread // 27.06.2020, New York Times

How to forecast outbreaks and pandemics // 29.06.2020, Foreign Affairs
> How to predict – and prevent – the next pandemic (podcast) // 01.07.2020, The Economist
> Pandemic-proofing the planet // 25.06.2020, The Economist

New diseases are inevitable. Ensuing global calamities are not

> Emerging from the pandemic through tech innovation // 03.07.2020, ChinaDaily

It’s better to admit ‘I don’t know’ than to speculate during a pandemic // 30.06.2020, Science|Business
Viewpoint by Rolf Heuer, former DG CERN

> Étude «Sécurité»: avant la crise du coronavirus, l’avenir était envisagé avec optimisme // 29.06.2020, Admin.ch

Marcel Salathé: «SwissCovid devrait être l'application la plus ennuyeuse qui soit» //02.07.2020, Heidi.news
 

General interest

La Suisse et Horizon Europe en 6 questions // June 2020, Réseau Future
La Suisse participe à la coopération de recherche européenne depuis les années 1950 et la fondation du CERN. Le renouvellement de cette coopération doit être décidé durant la deuxième partie de l’année 2020: les Chambres fédérales se prononcent sur le Message relatif au financement de la participation de la Suisse au programme-cadre de recherche et d’innovation de l’UE durant les années 2021-2027 (Horizon Europe). Réseau Future a préparé un dossier. La publication révèle notamment que les chercheuses et les chercheurs établis en Suisse ont participé aux programmes européens avec un succès supérieur à la moyenne. Elle expose également quelles sont les conditions-cadres pour une participation à partir de 2021.

UBS verlängert ihr Engagement an der Universität Zürich // 02.07.2020, UniZH

Exotic never before seen particle discovered at CERN // 01.07.2020, Phys.Org

Le Forum mondial des Nations Unies sur les données à Berne n’aura pas lieu en 2020 // 01.07.2020, Admin.ch

Are we making spacecraft too autonomous? // 03.07.2020, MIT Technology Review

Cockpit de la navette spatiale américaine Columbia (en haut) et de la capsule Dragon de SpaceX sur le vol de démonstration fin mai 2020 (en bas) (@Nasa/SpaceX)

Tools, ressources and partners

How to improve science communication? Here are 12 guiding principles // 22.06.2020, Wan-Ifra

La confiance des Français dans la science // 03.07.2020, Harris Interactive

Philip Morris International Science a missionné Harris Interactive pour réaliser une nouvelle enquête, un an après la précédente, afin d’explorer les relations des Français à la science, à ceux qui la font et à ceux qui en exploitent les conclusions. Entre confiance vis-à-vis de la communauté scientifique et (parfois) défiance à l’égard des utilisations qui peuvent être faites de ses recherches, quels rapports les Français entretiennent-ils aux domaines et enjeux scientifiques dans un contexte de pandémie mondiale ?

Aus MELANI wird das «Nationale Zentrum für Cybersicherheit»! // 30.06.2020, Melani.admin.ch
Um die Aktivitäten des Bundes im Bereich Cyberrisiken zu stärken hat der Bundesrat beschlossen, auf Basis bestehender Kompetenzen und Fachstellen wie der Melde- und Analysestelle Informationssicherung (MELANI) das Nationale Zentrum für Cybersicherheit (NCSC) aufzubauen. MELANI wird per 1. Juli 2020 damit Teil des NCSC.

The danger of scientific meetings going online only // 02.07.2020, Physics World

> Convention climat : le quitte ou double d'Emmanuel Macron // 30.06.2020, Le Point
Le président endosse 146 propositions de la Convention citoyenne. Mais combien seront mises en œuvre ? Le débat pour un « tournant écologique » est ouvert.

EVENTS

> The Future of Sex : What role will science and technology play in sex, fertility and reproduction in the future?  Find out in a thought-provoking virtual event // 16.07.2020 (8:30-9:30pm), organised by the Science Museum London in partnership with Pride in London

Have a very nice and fruitful week! :-)
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