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

29 March - 05 April 2022

A GESDA product curated by Olivier Dessibourg


> Working together to seek solutions to the challenges of climate change // 31.03.2022, FDFA
Swiss President Ignazio Cassis, head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), opened last Thursday the International Cooperation Forum 2022 in Geneva. Over two days, around 1,600 people from many sectors worked together to find new solutions to the problems caused by climate change and challenges facing international cooperation. The hybrid event will take place annually.

Related article: International Cooperation Forum 2022: "Together Different" // 31.03.2022, FDFA. Opening address by Ignazio Cassis.

(© Keystone / Pierre Albouy)


> «Les diplomates doivent s'adapter aux nouvelles technologies» // 01.04.2022,
A quel point la technologie influence-t-elle l’exercice de la diplomatie? L’ambassadeur Benedikt Wechsler, responsable de la division numérique du Département fédéral des affaires étrangères, voit dans ces nouveaux outils des perspectives intéressantes en matière de politique étrangère. Mais il relève également le besoin d’instaurer une gouvernance internationale dans ce nouvel espace. La diplomatie doit davantage se rapprocher de la science pour anticiper les innovations de rupture, estime-t-il.



> Eiszeit für die Wissenschaft // 01.04.2022, FAZ
Die über Jahrzehnte aufgebauten Beziehungen zu russischen Forschungsinstitutionen liegen in Trümmern. Was sind die Konsequenzen für die Wissenschaftsdiplomatie? Ein Gastbeitrag von Georg Schütte, seit 2020 Generalsekretär der Volkswagen Stiftung, davor neun Jahre lang Staatssekretär im Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung.

Related article:  „Science Diplomacy – zwischen Anspruch und Wirklichkeit“ // January 2020, DAAD

Das war einmal: Das deutsche Forschungsschiff Polarstern und das russische Schiff Akademik Fedorov in der Antarktis. (© ddp)


> Our Digital Future: The Security Implications of Metaverses // 25.03.2022, GCSP
Although the concept of a metaverse or metaverses is not new, current developments in the creation of possible metaverses offer credible prospects of generating increasingly immersive digital experiences that will also provide people with more information, connections and knowledge than ever before. However, metaverses are also likely to exacerbate existing risks surrounding the increased digitalisation of our lives and the role of social media companies in our societies, such as the spread of disinformation or increased societal polarisation. Similarly, technology companies’ capacity to collect private data and profile users will also increase. Growing levels of immersivity will reinforce risks such as increased digital crime or extremist radicalisation, but will also create new ones that pertain to cognitive manipulations. This could lead to the transformation of social organisations and a questioning of the legitimacy of traditional institutions. Metaverses also offer new dimensions for power politics and geopolitical confrontations, and a platform for conducting cognitive warfare. Responsible innovations and security-by-design must be the guiding principles of efforts to develop metaverses.



> The space arms race keeps accelerating, new reports warn // 04.04.2022, SpaceNews
As space becomes increasingly important to terrestrial activities, the tools and weapons available to disrupt and damage satellites are proliferating around the world. “The existence of counterspace capabilities is not new, but the circumstances surrounding them are,” says the 2022 edition of the Secure World Foundation’s “Global Counterspace Capabilities: An Open Source Assessment.” 

Related article: Peut-on gagner une guerre en contrôlant les satellites de géopositionnement? // 03.04.2022,

Viasat's KA-SAT provides satellite communications services in Europe. (© Eutelsat)


> WHO launches global initiative to tackle deadly insect-borne ‘arboviruses’ // 31.03.2022, Health Policy Watch
WHO launched a new global initiative that aims to tackle a group of fast-growing and poorly understood viral diseases that are carried by insects – and which have future pandemic potential.  The Global Arbovirus Initiative aims to tackle diseases such as Dengue, Yellow fever, Chikungunya and Zika – which have few effective treatments, with the exception of yellow fever vaccines. “These diseases are the diseases of our time,” said Jeremy Farrar, head of the Wellcome Trust (who is also Board Member at GESDA), who appeared with a long line-up of WHO officials and virology experts from virtually all corners of the world.

(© Sanofi Pasteur/Flickr)


> Decadal survey aims to elevate the ‘physics of living systems’ // March 2022, National Academies of Sciences
Biological physics, or the physics of living systems, has emerged fully as a field of physics, alongside more traditional fields of astrophysics and cosmology, atomic, molecular and optical physics, condensed matter physics, nuclear physics, particle physics, and plasma physics. This new field brings the physicist's style of inquiry to bear on the beautiful phenomena of life. The enormous range of phenomena encountered in living systems – phenomena that often have no analog or precedent in the inanimate world – means that the intellectual agenda of biological physics is exceptionally broad, even by the ambitious standards of physics. Physics of Life is the first decadal survey of this field, as part of a broader decadal survey of physics. This report communicates the importance of biological physics research; addresses what must be done to realize the promise of this new field; and provides guidance for informed decisions about funding, workforce, and research directions.


> The race to upcycle CO2 into fuels, concrete and more // 29.03.2022, Nature
Companies are scrambling to turn the greenhouse gas into useful products — but will that slow climate change?

Related article: U.K. startup launches drywall made from absorbed carbon dioxide // 31.03.2022, Bloomberg

(© Nature)


> Fix the Planet newsletter: Can a virtual Earth help the climate fight? // 01.04.2022, New Scientist
Interactive simulacra of the planet are being created to help people and organisations explore the impacts of climate change and how we adapt to them.

Related press release: Journey to Destination Earth begins // 30.03.2022, ESA


Platform 1: Quantum Revolution & Advanced AI

Quantum and physics 

> University of Geneva researchers set a record for qubit storage // 29.03.2022, The Quantum Insider

Why quantum sensors are the ‘stepchild’ of quantum technologies // 29.03.2022, Physics World

Thirty-six entangled officers of Euler: quantum solution to a classically impossible problem // February 2022, Physical Review Letters

Artificial intelligence & tech 

> AI can create a computer inside itself to run another AI or play Pong // 30.03.2022, New Scientist

This Korean smart city is a testing ground for robots, AR, and AI // 29.03.2022, GovInsider

Smart contact lenses put tiny screens on your eyes // 30.03.2022, Axios

DARPA to build life-saving AI models that think like medics // 30.03.2022, The Register
Project is a M*A*S*H-up of machine learning and battlefield decision-making.

The future of digital cash is not on the blockchain // 28.03.2022, WIRED

The movement to decolonize AI: centering dignity over dependency // 21.03.2022, HAI Stanford Center for Human-Centered AI

This prepper is building a post-apocalyptic internet // 31.03.2022, Motherboard
One engineer has built a new communications protocol that he says is resistant to disaster and central points of failure.

(© Getty Images)

Platform 2: Human Augmentation

Longevity and health  

> Moving xenotransplantation research into human trials will require adjusting our expectations, researchers say // 01.04.2022, STAT

You’ll be injecting robots into your bloodstream to fight disease soon // 28.03.2022, The Next Web

Reversing hearing loss with regenerative therapy // 29.03.2022, MIT News


New AI-driven algorithm can detect autism in brain “fingerprints” // 28.03.2022, HAI Stanford Center for Human-Centered AI

Study finds neurons that encode the outcomes of actions // 24.03.2022, MIT News

New AI headset analyzes astronauts’ brains to prep them for long-term space travel // 28.03.2022, The Next Web

> These tiny "brains" could help demystify the human mind // 03.04.2022, Discover Magazine


China makes genetic data a national resource // 29.03.2022, Axios

First ever gene therapy gel corrects rare genetic skin condition // 28.03.2022, New Scientist

Most complete human genome yet reveals previously indecipherable DNA // 31.03.2022, Science

Platform 3: Eco-regeneration & Geoengineering


> These ‘chicken-free’ egg whites use a protein recipe from real chickens // 31.03.2022, Singularity Hub

Europe’s biggest lithium mine is caught in a political maelstrom // 02.04.2022, WIRED

On the road to cultured meat for astronauts (and Earthlings) // 31.03.2022, ESA


This startup wants to kick-start a molecular electronics revival // 31.03.2022, MIT Technology Review

A computer made from DNA-coated beads could detect viruses in saliva // 28.03.2022, New Scientist

Materials come alive // 31.03.2022, Nature Materials
The dissemination of synthetic biology into materials science is creating an evolving class of functional, engineered living materials that can grow, sense and adapt similar to biological organisms.
Related article: The living interface between synthetic biology and biomaterial design // 31.03.2022, Nature Materials


Biden’s 2023 defense budget adds billions for U.S. Space Force // 28.03.2022, SpaceNews

No more excuses: NASA in line to get funding needed for Artemis plan // 29.03.2022, Ars Technica

> NASA plans talks with partners on ISS and Artemis // 04.04.2022, SpaceNews

Europe fights to keep Mars rover alive after split with Russia // 29.03.2022, Science

Is Russia quitting the International Space Station? Not quite. // 02.04.2022, The New York Times
Related article: Rogozin delays decision on space station future // 03.04.2022, SpaceNews

Climate and environment

The world is running out of options to hit climate goals, U.N. report shows // 04.04.2022, The Washington Post

Under the sea, a hidden climate variable: thawing permafrost // 29.03.2022, Undark

A wave of startups is tackling cow burps and other climate issues // 31.03.2022, WIRED

Climate groups push together for greener bitcoin // 30.03.2022, Axios

Capter et stocker du CO2 : Un espoir pour le climat ? // March 2022, TA-SWISS

Lessons from nine urban areas using data to drive local sustainable development // 08.03.2022, Nature Urban Sustainability

Funding battles stymie ambitious plan to protect global biodiversity // 31.03.2022, Nature
Scientists are frustrated with countries’ progress towards inking a new deal to protect the natural world. Government officials from around the globe met in Geneva, Switzerland, on 14–29 March to find common ground on a draft of the deal, known as the post-2020 global biodiversity framework, but discussions stalled, mostly over financing. Negotiators say they will now have to meet again before a highly anticipated United Nations biodiversity summit later this year, where the deal was to be signed.


> Hydrogen to get a boost as EU looks to secure energy independence // 31.03.2022, Science|Business

Sensors that scavenge their power are all the rage // 02.04.2022, The Economist

Climate graphic of the week: Clean energy pushes ahead of coal // 30.03.2022, Financial Times

3D-printed hierarchical pillar array electrodes for high-performance semi-artificial photosynthesis // 07.03.2022, Nature Materials
Using a 3D printer, researchers have built minuscule tower blocks for bacteria, creating a system that can generate electricity from sunlight and water. The tiny pillars — coloured green in this electron-microscopy image — are just 600 micrometres high and have a branching, densely packed structure that provides surfaces for the bacteria to grow on.

(© Gabriella Bocchetti)

Platform 4: Science & Diplomacy

> The subtle art of scientific diplomacy // 04.04.2022, Science|Business
Switzerland and the UK play an important role in scientific projects that bring countries together
Related article: Research infrastructures face disruption due to association deadlock // 04.04.2022, Science|Business

> How UK and Swiss researchers are coping without association to Horizon Europe // 31.03.2022, Science|Business

A Google billionaire's fingerprints are all over Biden's science office // 28.03.2022, POLITICO
Eric Schmidt has long sought influence over U.S. science policy. Under Biden’s former science chief, Eric Lander, Schmidt’s foundation helped cover officials’ salaries, even as the office’s general counsel raised ethical flags.

WTO IP waiver ‘compromise’ on COVID-19 vaccines ‘deeply concerning’: civil society to European leaders // 30.03.2022, Health Policy Watch

Ukraine : « La première cyberguerre de l’histoire de l’humanité a commencé » // 29.03.2022, Futura Sciences

Russia’s war is the end of magical thinking // 31.03.2022, Foreign Policy
The Davos view of globalization is dead—and that’s a good thing.

To solve climate, first achieve peace (editorial) // 31.03.2022, Science

CERN Council takes further measures in response to the invasion of Ukraine // 29.03.2022, Science|Business

Scientists fear excluding Russia from Arctic research will derail climate change effort // 29.03.2022, Science|Business

Ny Alesund in Svalbard, Norway, the most northerly civilian settlement in the world with 16 permanent arctic research stations. (© Wikicommons)

GESDA Platform: Knowledge Foundations

La Nasa a une idée pour de détecter de la vie extraterrestre avec le télescope spatial Webb // 02.04.2022, Futura Sciences

Hubble telescope detects most distant star ever seen, near cosmic dawn // 30.03.2022, The Washington Post

The planet inside // 31.03.2022, Science
Scientists are probing the secrets of the inner core—and learning how it might have saved life on Earth.

The road to a larger brain // 31.03.2022, Science

A new place for consciousness in our understanding of the universe // 30.03.2022, New Scientist
To make sense of mysteries like quantum mechanics and the passage of time, theorists are trying to reformulate physics to include subjective experience as a physical constituent of the world.

(© Pablo Hurtado de Mendoza)


> Social-media reform is flying blind // 28.03.2022, Nature
Redesigning social media to improve society requires a new platform for research.

The ghost of the Soviet Union still haunts the internet // 28.03.2022, WIRED
The empire collapsed 30 years ago, but its .su domain lives on—and is now attracting people who oppose an independent Ukraine.

(© Sam Whitney; Getty Images)


A l'heure du bilan de la task force, Tanja Stadler répond aux critiques sans faillir // 30.03.2022,
Quel bilan tirer après ces deux années mouvementées? La task force a préparé un rapport de clôture de son activité, publié le 29 mars au soir sur son site internet: 110 pages qui donnent «une vue d'ensemble du travail de la task force et fournissent des impulsions pour l'organisation future du dialogue entre la science, la politique et l'administration». (© Keystone)

> Max Tegmark Addresses EU Parliament on AI Act // 22.03.2022, Science|Business
Future of Life Institute President Max Tegmark emphasised the need to make the Act more 'future proof', given how fast the power of this technology is growing. (© Peter Cederling)

> "Nos valeurs: la coopération et une science ouverte" // Jan-Mar 2022, La Recherche
En 2021, elle a vu son mandat à la tête du Cern renouvelé pour cinq ans, une première dans l'histoire de l'institution. La physicienne italienne Fabiola Gianotti dirige, à la frontière franco-suisse. Sa conception d'un grand pôle scientifique ? Un lieu qui promeut une « culture universelle », ouvert à tous les publics et aux arts. (© CERN)



> EU Defence agency reports increased funding for research and technology // 29.03.2022, Science|Business
Figures from the European Defence Agency show EU member states are investing more in joint R&D with military applications, as the Commission makes moves to open up research funds for ‘dual-use’ technologies.

Biden bids again to boost science spending – but faces long odds // 28.03.2022, Nature
The US president wants huge increases for clean energy and public health, but a divided Congress might not go along with the plan.

> 2021 ETH Board Annual Report // April 2022, ETH Board
Within the scope of its obligation to report annually to the Confederation, the ETH Board illuminates various aspects of the development of the ETH Domain. The annual report is a critical self-assessment of the ETH Domain conducted by the ETH Board, combined with a report on how the annual federal financial contribution is used. This report is based on the Federal Council’s strategic objectives and is submitted to the Federal Council. However, it is also directed to the Federal Parliament and the interested public.


> War in an automated, data-driven world // 31.03.2022, Science
The topics addressed by Roberto González in his new book, War Virtually, are ones that ought to concern us all. These include the intersections of Big Data and Big Tech and the battlefield, lethal autonomous weapons systems, cyber conflict, and the enhancement of such technologies using increasingly sophisticated artificial intelligence. González is an anthropologist specializing in the Zapotec culture in the northern regions of Oaxaca. He has also been a vocal critic, along with many other social scientists, of attempts by the US Army and NATO allies to exploit the expertise of social scientists with knowledge of local cultures during the counterinsurgency and anti terrorist campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan by means of a program known as the Human Terrain System (HTS).


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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