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

05-12 April 2022

A GESDA product curated by Olivier Dessibourg
Next edition of the BestReads: 3 May 2022


> The Proceedings of the first GESDA Summit are now available – dive into them! // 11.04.2022, GESDA

The inaugural Geneva Science and Diplomacy Anticipation Summit (or GESDA Summit) took place 7–9 October 2021 in Geneva, at Campus Biotech, where GESDA is headquartered. Widely considered as a success from the charts and numbers, this hybrid event attracted overall more than 900 participants (38% of whom being politicians and diplomats), both onsite and online, including 108 speakers from 33 nations. Scientists and academics, diplomats, executives, investors, philanthropists and citizens gathered to participate in lively sessions and engaged discussions based on GESDA’s vision: “Use the future to build the present”. All 16 plenary and parallel sessions held during the Summit have been thoroughly reported and compiled in the rich yet accessible Proceedings of the 2021 Geneva Science and Diplomacy Anticipation Summit. In this account, fully available in a PDF format as well as online, a selection of emerging topics and possible breakthroughs identified in the GESDA Science Breakthrough Radar® and its four pillars – Quantum Revolution & Advanced AI, Human Augmentation, Eco-regeneration & Geoengineering, Science & Diplomacy –, are summarized with abstracts, highlights, takeaway messages, video recordings of the session, tweets, and related video interviews of some distinguished speakers.


> Swiss expertise supports Bulgarian artificial intelligence centre // 11.04.2022,
The Institute for Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence, and Technology (INSAIT) has been launched today in Sofia. INSAIT is a new Bulgarian Institute established in partnership with ETH Zurich and EPF Lausanne.

Related press releases:
> New partnership with Bulgaria for artificial intelligence // 11.04.2022, EPFL News

> Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin met Bulgarian president and EU research commissioner in Sofia // 07.04.2022,
Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin, Head of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research (EAER), inaugurated the Institute for Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence and Technology (INSAIT) in Sofia on 11 April. During this visit, he will also hold talks on research, innovation and education in the context of Swiss-Bulgarian and Swiss-European cooperation.

(© EPFL 2022)


> Équilibrer les extrêmes: Stratégie polaire de la France à horizon 2030 // 05.04.2022,
Le Premier ministre français a reçu le 31 mars la première stratégie polaire française, qui lui a été présentée par Olivier Poivre d'Arvor, ambassadeur chargé des pôles et des affaires maritimes. 

Related article: Polar science threatens to crack under strain of Russia's war in Ukraine // 07.04.2022, Axios
Crucial scientific projects in the Arctic are in limbo — and their progress is under threat – as Russia becomes more isolated from the world for its invasion of Ukraine. Why does it matter? These research collaborations provide key insights about the effects of climate change, the health of the oceans and geology – and they underpin cooperation among the U.S. Russia and others in the geopolitical hotspots of the Arctic and Antarctica.


> Europe is building a huge international facial recognition system // 06.04.2022, WIRED
Lawmakers advance proposals to let police forces across the EU link their photo databases – which include millions of pictures of people’s faces.

(© Malerapaso/Getty Images)


> In pursuit of data immortality // 04.04.2022, Nature
Data sharing can save important scientific work from extinction, but only if researchers take care to ensure that resources are easy to find and reuse.

Related article:  An extreme form of encryption could solve big data's privacy problem // 06.04.2022, New Scientist
Fully homomorphic encryption allows us to run analysis on data without ever seeing the contents. It could help us reap the full benefits of big data, from fighting financial fraud to catching diseases early.

(© Chris Malbon)


> Science goes to war: western allies step up collaboration in military research // 07.04.2022, Science|Business
The war in Ukraine prompts a series of new R&D collaborations on quantum, hypersonic and other military technologies – but also stirs some academic controversy in Europe.

(© / Bigstockphoto)


> Beyond the North-South Fork on the Road to AI Governance: An Action Plan for Democratic & Distributive Integrity // March 2022, Paris Peace Forum
Artificial intelligence (AI) is transforming the world faster than the world can mitigate intensifying geopolitical divisions and socio-economic disparities. As technological change outpaces regulatory policy, no common platform has yet emerged to coordinate a variety of governance approaches across multiple national contexts. The concerns and interests of the citizens and civil society of the Global South – broadly, the post-colonial nations of Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East, South and Central Asia, and the Asia-Pacific – must be prioritised by policy makers to reverse increasing fragmentation in the governance of algorithmic platforms and AI-powered systems worldwide. Particular attention must be given to the varied ways in which national governments and transnational corporations deploy such systems to monitor, manage, and manipulate civic-public spaces across the Global South.

(© Paris Peace Forum)


> 5 takeaways from the U.N. report on limiting global warming // 04.04.2022, The New York Times

Related articles:

> UN climate report: Carbon removal is now “essential” // 04.04.2022, MIT Technology Review
Removing the greenhouse gas from the air will likely be necessary, along with radical emissions cuts, to keep temperatures from rising 2˚C.

> Carbon removal ‘unavoidable’ as climate change alarm bells ring // 06.04.2022, Financial Times

> Carbon removal’s hard problems require hard tech fixes // 08.04.2022, Bloomberg
Just because the technology is essential to meeting long-term climate goal doesn’t mean it will automatically find a market.

> So lässt sich der grösste Teil der Emissionen verhindern // 04.04.2022, TagesAnzeiger

> Special report: Europe’s Climate Leaders // 10.04.2022, Financial Times
This annual FT-Statista survey identifies the European companies that have reduced their greenhouse gas emissions intensity the most. You can explore this year’s findings in a fully interactive table.


Platform 1: Quantum Revolution & Advanced AI

Quantum and physics 

> Seeking space applications for quantum computers // 05.04.2022, SpaceNews

Quantum computing meets machine learning, how motorsport could save the planet // 07.04.2022, Physics World

This ‘quantum memristor’ could enable brain-like quantum computers // 04.04.2022, Singularity Hub

Announcing IBM z16: real-time AI for transaction processing at scale & industry’s first quantum-safe system // 06.04.2022, The Quantum Insider

Artificial intelligence and tech 

> EU still behind on AI, but not as much as feared // 05.04.2022, Science|Business

> NIST AI Risk Management Framework – Vers un standard de confiance de l’intelligence artificielle // 07.04.2022, Ambassade de France

> Is global AI harmonisation actually achievable? // 04.04.2022, Science|Business

> Breaking into the black box of artificial intelligence // 29.03.2022, Nature

> Some AI systems may be impossible to compute // 30.03.2022, IEEE Spectrum
New research suggests there are limitations to what deep neural networks can do.

(© Getty Images / IEEE Spectrum)

Platform 2: Human Augmentation


> For patients, seeing the benefits of the new, fully sequenced genome could take years // 08.04.2022, STAT+

Population genetics meets single-cell sequencing // 07.04.2022, Science


Your brain expands and shrinks over time — these charts show how // 06.04.2022, Nature

Tiny nerve simulator could block pain or treat neurological diseases // 04.04.2022, Futurity

Longevity and health

Im Silicon Valley arbeiten Forschende daran, das Altern rückgängig zu machen. Bei Mäusen funktioniert das schon. Nun werden Studien mit Menschen durchgeführt // 02.04.2022, NZZ
Weil die Forschung bei altersbedingten Krankheiten wie Alzheimer, Parkinson oder Herz-Kreislauf-Leiden kaum vorwärtskommt, wollen Wissenschafter das Älterwerden an sich bekämpfen. Wer arbeitet an welchem Durchbruch?

Anti-ageing technique makes skin cells act 30 years younger // 08.04.2022, New Scientist

Scientists used cellular rejuvenation therapy to rewind aging in mice // 06.04.2022, Singularity Hub

Rat pups born from sperm artificially produced from stem cells // 07.04.2022, New Scientist

“Secret doors” on human proteins could open up new drug opportunities // 07.04.2022, Technology Networks

Could computer models be the key to better COVID vaccines? // 05.04.2022, Nature

New crop of mRNA vaccines aim for accessibility // 08.04.2022, Science

New generation of cancer-preventing vaccines could wipe out tumors before they form // 07.04.2022, Science
Shots enter early clinical trials for healthy people at high risk for disease.

Miniature medical robots step out from sci-fi // 29.03.2022, Nature

(© Jan Kallwejt)

Platform 3: Eco-regeneration & Geoengineering


Biomaterials for boosting food security // 07.04.2022, Science

The quest for optimal plant architecture // 07.04.2022, Science


Nuclear fusion hit a milestone thanks to better reactor walls // 10.04.2022, Singularity Hub

This startup designed an electric cargo ship to cross the ocean // 06.04.2022, Fast Company


> ‘It’s a thorny issue.’ Why a fight over DNA data imperils a global conservation pact // 05.04.2022, Science

An extinct rat shows CRISPR’s limits for resurrecting species // 09.03.2022, Science News

Tiny labmade motors could one day suck pollutants from the air and harvest precious metals // 06.04.2022, Science
In three advances, scientists replicate – and in some cases improve on – the body’s own minimachines.


US Space Force releases decades of bolide data to NASA for planetary defense studies // 07.04.2022, Jet Propulsion Laboratory

The US Space Force is working with allies to establish international norms of behavior for space activity.  // 06.04.2022, SpaceNews

« Les stations spatiales privées seront encore plus internationales que l’ISS » // 08.04.2022, Le Monde
L’Américain né en Espagne Michael Lopez-Alegria, ancien commandant de la Station spatiale internationale (ISS), 63 ans, mène pour la société Axiom la première mission habitée entièrement privée vers l’avant-poste spatial, qui a décollé vendredi 8 avril.

The space economy is ready for lift-off: First into orbit, and then to the Moon // 06.04.2022, ZDNet

Climate and environment

For smart cities, start with the right definitions // 05.04.2022, Axios

The Helsinki neighbourhood leading the way to zero-carbon cities // 08.04.2022, New Scientist

Should scientists study how to dim the sun? // 07.04.2022, Science|Business
Some academics worry research into solar geoengineering will normalise a risky and little understood technology. But advocates say any tool that can mitigate climate change deserves more investigation.

La pression s’accentue pour que les États-Unis accélèrent sur l’exploration et l’exploitation des fonds marins // 07.04.2022, Ambassade de France

A million little pieces: the race to rebuild the world’s coral reefs // 05.04.2022, WIRED
Nearly half of these ocean ecosystems have been wiped out since 1950. One man is on a mission to reverse that—by speed-growing coral in hyperefficient nurseries.

(©  Alfonso Duran)

Platform 4: Science & Diplomacy

China risks damaging science ties by forging own path on research ethics (viewpoint) // 05.04.2022, Science|Business

Global health leaders call on African policymakers to do more to stop climate change // 08.04.2022, Health Policy Watch 

Die Klimawende kann nicht nur geopolitische Probleme lösen, sondern kann auch neue schaffen // 05.04.2022, NZZ

As Russia prepared to invade, U.S. opened commercial imagery pipeline to Ukraine // 06.04.2022, SpaceNews

The countries maintaining research ties with Russia despite Ukraine // 06.04.2022, Nature

What the war in Ukraine means for energy, climate and food // 05.04.2022, Nature

What Russia’s invasion of Ukraine means for the world // 05.04.2022, MIT News
A MIT expert panel explores the war’s impact, from a refugee crisis to China’s role and nuclear tensions.

What does Russia’s suspension mean for the Human Rights Council? // 10.04.2022, Geneva Solutions

Confronting human rights abuses in the scientific literature // 05.04.2022, Chemical & Engineering News

GESDA Platform: Knowledge Foundations

Particle’s surprise mass threatens to upend the standard model // 07.04.2022, Nature

> We could kick-start life on another planet. Should we? // 2021, TED
"Life makes our planet an incredibly exotic place compared to the rest of the known universe," says astrobiologist Betül Kaçar, whose research uses statistics and mathematical models to simulate ancient environments and gather insights into the origins of existence. In this fascinating talk, she explores how a deeper understanding of chemistry could lead to the "secret sauce" for sparking life on other planets -- and asks us to ponder an important question: If we could kick-start life in the universe, should we?


> The web of life // 05.04.2022, Aeon
Classic evolutionary theory holds that species separate over time. But it’s fuzzier than that – now we know they also merge.


(© David Doubilet)


> The Franciscan monk helping the Vatican take on — and tame — AI // 08.04.2022, Financial Times
Father Paolo Benanti has become one of the Pope’s chief advisers on the potential harms of new tech. 
(© Emanuele Camerini)

Comment atteindre l’équité dans l’enseignement supérieur pour la transformation socio-économique de l’Afrique ? // 31.03.2022,
Les femmes sont particulièrement sous-représentées dans les domaines STEM en Afrique, en raison de plusieurs barrières que la région doit nécessairement lever pour atteindre son plein potentiel de développement socio-économique, soutient la PDG de l’Institut africain des sciences mathématiques (AIMS) Lydie Hakizimana. (Photo: DR)

The synthetic biology community builder // 07.04.2022, NEO.LIFE
An interview with MIT biologist David Sun Kong – on science, activism, and how biotechnology can empower ordinary people. (© Lorenzo Gritti)


> OECD Main Science and Technology Indicators Highlights // March 2022, OECD
R&D investment in the OECD area demonstrated unprecedented resilience in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, becoming a central part of the policy response. 

> The replication crisis has spread through science – can it be fixed? // 06.04.2022, New Scientist
It started in psychology, but now findings in many scientific fields are proving impossible to replicate. Here's what researchers are doing to restore science's reputation.

From the magic of nature to the marvels of the Milky Way… // 05.04.2022, NSF
This Citizen Science Month, explore how you can volunteer to advance science

Young people are the biggest "techno-optimists" // 05.04.2022, Axios

(© Brendan Lynch / Axios)

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).

Forward Forward
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:
Geneva Science and Diplomacy Anticipator
c/o Fondation Campus Biotech
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+41 58 201 02 61

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