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

5 - 11 September 2020

A GESDA product curated by Olivier Dessibourg

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, Ecoregeneration and Geoengineering, Science and 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).


  "État des lieux de la Genève internationale : La gouvernance d'Internet dans la Genève internationale" // Fondation pour Genève 
Soutenue par la Fondation pour Genève, voici la nouvelle étude rédigée par le Dr Michael Kende, Senior Fellow au Centre pour le commerce et l'intégration économique de l'IHEID, qui traite de la place et du rôle de Genève dans la gouvernance d'Internet. (Also in English)

Evénement lié: Table-ronde «The Future of Internet Governance in Geneva» // 16.09.2020, de 18h30 à 20h à la Maison de la Paix (Détails ci-dessous)

Articles en lien:
>  Das Internet, wie wir es kennen, ist in Gefahr – und Europa darf nicht tatenlos zuschauen (KOMMENTAR) // 09.09.2020, Neue Zürcher Zeitung
A promise to build the digital regulatory system back better // 10.09.2020, Geneva.Solutions


Welcoming new guidelines for AI clinical research (COMMENT by Eric Topol) // September 2020, Nature Medicine
With only a limited number of clinical trials of artificial intelligence in medicine thus far, the first guidelines for protocols and reporting arrive at an opportune time. Better protocol design, along with consistent and complete data presentation, will greatly facilitate interpretation and validation of these trials, and will help the field to move forward.

Based on these two articles:
Guidelines for clinical trial protocols for interventions involving artificial intelligence: the SPIRIT-AI extension // 09.09.2020, The Lancet
>Reporting guidelines for clinical trial reports for interventions involving artificial intelligence: the CONSORT-AI extension // 09.09.2020, Nature Medicine

Related article: Can AI improve cancer diagnosis in real patients? The U.S. military has enlisted Google to find out // 09.09.2020, STATnews


>  The coming tech cold war with China // 09.09.2020, Foreign Affairs
Three and a half years into its first term, the U.S. administration has finally assembled a comprehensive strategy for technological competition with China. From cutting chains that supply Chinese tech giants to barring transactions with them to regulating the undersea cables on which telecommunications depend, the Trump administration’s measures have often been incomplete, improvisational, and even detrimental to some of the great strengths of the American innovation system. They have, however, set the outlines of U.S. technology policy toward China for the near future. That policy rests on restricting the flow of technology to China, restructuring global supply chains, and investing in emerging technologies at home. Even a new U.S. administration is unlikely to stray from these fundamentals. Beijing’s counterstrategy, too, has crystallized. China is racing to develop semiconductors and other core technologies so as to reduce its vulnerability to supply chains that pass through the U.S. In pursuit of that goal, its leaders are mobilizing tech companies, tightening links to the countries participating in China’s Belt and Road Initiative, and sustaining a campaign of cyber-industrial espionage.

Also read these articles:
Arrests of Chinese scientists mark new front in us crackdown // Nature, 10.09.2020
China launches own global data security initiative, targets U.S.’ ‘Clean Network’ // 08.09.2020, Forbes

Shanghai (©Wikkicommons)


Platform 1: Quantum revolution and advanced AI

> Ingredients for a Quantum Future // 08.09.2020, Physics
In a series of essays, three quantum-technology leaders in the US spell out the requirements for a strong quantum future.
First one is here: A Quantum Culture Shift

Google’s quantum computer achieves chemistry milestone // 04.09.2020, Scientific American

Machine learning for long-distance quantum communication // 03.09.2020, PRX Quantum // 03.09.2020, PRX Quantum
Read this article about this new journal:  Our vision for PRX Quantum – a new home for a vibrant community (EDITORIAL)

A new technique prevents errors in quantum computers // 09.09.2020, Nature - Universita di Bologna press release

Artificial intelligence

> A robot wrote this entire article. Are you scared yet, human? // 08.09.2020, TheGuardian
We asked GPT-3, OpenAI’s powerful new language generator, to write an essay for us from scratch. The assignment? To convince us robots come in peace
> This know-it-all AI learns by reading the entire web nonstop // 04.09.2020, MIT Technology Review
Diffbot is building the biggest-ever knowledge graph by applying image recognition and natural-language processing to billions of web pages.

> AI standards launched to help tackle problem of overhyped studies // 09.09.2020, The Guardian
New guidelines aimed at ensuring AI research is of same quality as that in other fields

> Wary of China, the West closes ranks to set rules for artificial intelligence // 06.09.2020, Politico

> How AI will automate cybersecurity in the post-COVID world // 06.09.2020, VentureBeat

Platform 2: Human augmentation


Brain stimulation reduces dyslexia deficits // 09.09.2020, PLoS Biology - Université de Genève press release

Restless nature of human spinal cord revealed by non-invasive functional imaging // 09.09.2020, Neuron - EPFL press release


Teens with asthma get tailored treatment thanks to cheap genetic test // 07.09.2020, New Scientist
Press release from the European Lung Foundation

Genome sequencing accelerates cancer detection // 07.09.2020, Nature Medicine - EMBL press release

Previously unknown ‘genetic vulnerability’ in breast cancer cells target of research // 10.09.2020, Nature - Oxford press release

Going “Natural” with Viral Vectors May Lead to Better Gene Therapies for the Liver // 09.092020, Science Translational Medicine

> GTEx studies reveal variation in gene expression among individuals and, to small degree, by sex // 10.09.2020.Science

CRISPR, Twitter et l’impact de l’effronterie scientifique sur le public (OP-ED, by Olivier Dessibourg) // 10.10.2020, 

Longevity & Health

Let’s get real. No vaccine will work as if by magic, returning us to ‘normal’ (Op-Ed)// 06.09.2020, The Guardian
According to the Director of the Wellcome Trust Jeremy Farrar (GESDA Board member) To dream of imminent solutions is only human. But progress will come from controlled expectations

COVID-19 Futures: A framework for exploring medium and long-term impacts // 03.09.2020, Lancet

Nutrition et technologie: «La Suisse est le laboratoire idéal de l’alimentation du futur» // 06.08.2020, Le Matin Dimanche/24Heures
Martin Vetterli (EPFL) préside la Swiss Food & Nutrition Valley , qui se positionne comme l’un des centres mondiaux de compétences en la matière.

Why there is no such thing as a healthy diet that works for everyone // 09.09.2020, New Scientist
What is good for us to eat varies so much from person to person that a universally wholesome diet is a fiction. Instead, the science of nutrition is hot on the heels of a new recipe for healthy eating

Experimental drug boosts muscle and bone mass of mice in space // 07.09.2020, New Scientist

Linking volume and intensity of physical activity to mortality // September 2020, Nature Medicine

Muscle aging: stronger for longer // 09.09.2020, Nature Communications - University of Basel

Muscle size decreases at high age and is preserved by rapamycin treatment (from left to right: mouse muscle cross sections from adult, old and rapamycin treated old mice) (@University of Basel)

Platform 3: Eco-regeneration and geoengineering


> Ocean warming has seafloor species headed in the wrong direction // 07.09.2020, Science

> Natural gas is the rich world’s new coal // 09.09.2020, Bloomberg 



> Une équipe de l’EPFL fait une avancée majeure dans le refroidissement de puces électroniques // 09.09.2020, LeTemps
Based in this Nature article: Co-designing electronics with microfluidics for more sustainable cooling
With this Nature comment: A cool design for hot microchips 

> Robust paths to net greenhouse gas mitigation and negative emissions via advanced biofuels // 08.09.2020, PNAS

> First U.S. small nuclear reactor design is approved // 09.09.2020, ScientificAmerican


Climate & Environment
> World could cross critical 1.5 deg C threshold by 2024, says UN // 09.09.2020, The Straits Time (Singapore)
Publication of the “United in Science 2020” report

> A wall of trees is being built across Africa to hold back the desert // 07.09.2020, NewScientist
Also: African ministers call for investment in Great Green Wall to aid Covid-19 recovery // 07.09.2020, ClimateChangeNews

> Protecting half of the planet is the best way to fight climate change and biodiversity loss – we’ve mapped the key places to do it // 08.09.2020, The Conversation
Based on this 2019 call published in Nature.
Read also this recent article in Science Advances

> The carbon vault // 04.09.2020, Science
Industrial waste can combat climate change by turning carbon dioxide into stone

> Rising CO2 levels mean trees increasingly live fast and die young // 08.09.2020, NewScientist

> The global value of water in agriculture // 08.09.2020, PNAS

Bio- nanotechnologies
> Guiding the design space for nanotechnology to advance sustainable crop production // 09.09.2020, Nature Nanotechnology


> The Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) think tank reports on key governance issues in space // 07.09.2020, SpaceWatch.Global, 

> China seems to have launched a secret reusable space plane // 04.09.2020, New Scientist

> Jean-Jacques Dordain, ESA’s former DG, on European Space Innovation // 01.09.2020, SpaceWatch.Global

Platform 4: Science and Diplomacy

A happier marriage between science and policy - some advice from Swiss Public health experts // 10.09.2020, Geneva.Solutions

La dominance énergétique, plus importante que la puissance armée? (OPINION)// 09.09.2020, Le Temps

Foreign funding ‘controlling’ African research // 02.09.2020, SciDev.Net

The controversial company using DNA to sketch the faces of criminals // 09.09.2020, Nature

EU will be more selective in choosing ‘like-minded’ global research partners, but officials say it’s not ‘Europe First’ // 08.09.2020, Science|Business

Can democracy work for the poor? // 04.09.2020, Science

Impacts of international trade on global sustainable development // July 2020, Nature Sustainability

Das Internet, wie wir es kennen, ist in Gefahr – und Europa darf nicht tatenlos zuschauen (KOMMENTAR) // 09.09.2020, Neue Zürcher Zeitung

Science and Technology for Humanitarian Action Challenges (HAC) // 10.09.2020, EPFL
The challenges faced by humanitarian organizations in general and by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in particular are immense. In 2017, over 200 million people worldwide needed humanitarian assistance. Over the last decade, humanitarian crises have become both more frequent and more protracted. Therefore, EPFL and ETH Zurich are joining forces with the ICRC to explore innovative solutions. The goal of the Science and Technology for Humanitarian Action Challenges is to support project-based research between EPFL researchers, ETH Zurich researchers, and the ICRC to develop effective solutions for a greater impact of humanitarian action



Yes to Tech Optimism. And Pessimism (Op-Ed) // 01.09.2020, New York Times

Gen Z not ready to eat lab-grown meat // 07.09.2020, Frontiers in Nutrition - University of Sydney press release

Michel Bourban: «L'urgence climatique peut plonger le citoyen dans une situation de dissonance morale» // 07.09.2020,

Lombard Odier crée une chaire de finance durable à l’Université d’Oxford // 09.09.2020, Le Temps

La Suisse élue au Comité du patrimoine culturel immatériel de l’UNESCO // 10.09.2020,
La Suisse a été élue au Comité intergouvernemental de sauvegarde du patrimoine culturel immatériel de l’UNESCO. Elle siégera au sein de ce Comité composé de 24 Etats durant une période de 4 ans.

The privileged have entered their escape pods // 01.09.2020, OneZero Medium
Technology gave us the dream of a cocooned future. Now we’re living it. This piece is a spiritual successor to “Survival of the Richest,” a report about how the wealthy plot to leave us behind after an apocalyptic event.


> Le job des patrons des EPF est «un honneur» // 05.09.2020, L’Illustré 
Au sommet du Jungfraujoch, les présidents des deux EPF, Joël Mesot (Zurich) et Martin Vetterli (Lausanne), font le point sur la crise sanitaire, sur le climat et les risques liés à la prochaine votation sur la libre circulation. (©Nicolas Righetti, Lundi13)

> The next generation of tech leaders offer to bring the future to the table // 08.09.2020, Geneva.Solutions. Meet Yacine Ndiaye, 27 years old. She is part of the group Young Experts: Tech 4 Health (YE:T4H) formed to provide independent insight and counsel to Digital Transformation for Universal Health Coverage 2030, a global coalition on leveraging digital innovation to achieve quality healthcare for all. (©DR)

> Antonio Guterres asks for quantum leap for access to Covid tools // 10.09.2020, Twitter
“We need a quantum leap in funding to increase the chances of a global solution to get the world moving working and prospering again”, he said at WHO's "Inaugural meeting of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator Facilitation Council” (@Wikkicommons).
> Also read the article from India Today and from (in french)

Corals, Cooperation and Cooking: meet Anders Meibom // 08.09.2020, EPFL
Initially, the dynamic, Danish-born Anders Meibom, a professor at EPFL’s Laboratory for Biological Geochemistry since 2012, was not the slightest bit interested in corals. Now he studies them, a loaf of homemade bread always close at hand. (@EPFL)

Meet This Year’s WIRED25: People who are making things better // 09.09.2020, WIRED
The scientists, technologists, artists, and chefs who are standing between us and species collapse.


MIT Media Lab charts a course for the future // 09.09.2020, MIT Press release
The high-profile research lab is retaining its unique form of creativity while building trust and inclusion.


> Table-ronde «The Future of Internet Governance in Geneva» // 16.09.2020, de 18h30 à 20h à la Maison de la Paix
Avec la participation de : Doris Leuthard (vidéo), Ambassadeur Jürg Lauber (vidéo), Marie-Laure Salles, Michael Kende, Doreen Bogdan-Martin, Nicholas Niggli, Jovan Kurbalija, Jean-Yves Art et Ivan Pictet.

> SDG Action Zone // 22-24.09.2020
Join to hear from and connect with leading thinkers, actors, creators, and activists through frank debates, challenging discussions, inspiring talks and creative experiences to drive the exponential change needed for people and our planet to supercharge and accelerate solutions for the Sustainable Development Goals.

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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