View this email in your browser
GESDA's best pick from the press, web and science journals, in relation to GESDA's thematic platforms

4-10 December 2020

A GESDA product curated by Olivier Dessibourg


> The ocean in humanity’s future // 01.12.2020, Nature
Fourteen world leaders ask an international group of researchers where next for the ocean economy. This collection delivers some of the answers.

Amongst others including these articles:

(© Pixy)


> Preventing future atrocities begins with the present // November 2020, Politorbis
In the magazine POLITORBIS, Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis highlights the importance of anticipating future developments for the prevention of atrocities. This online text, mentioning GESDA as an entity “tasked with identifying ways for conflict-ridden societies to harness technological and scientific advances for sustainable development”, is the original version of the abridged editorial published in the magazine.

Par ailleurs, en visite ces derniers jour en Israël et au Moyen-Orient, le Conseiller fédéral a, selon Le Temps, «présenté un programme qui met au second plan la résolution politique des conflits agitant la région», et mise plutôt «sur la cooperation dans la science, le high-tech et l’innovation». «La Suisse a appris du passé que certaines initiatives ne passent pas: il faut trouver autre chose», estime-il.

Article du Temps : Ignazio Cassis, une promotion de la paix qui dépolitise le conflit israélo-palestinien // 30.11.2020

Interview sur la RTS Radio (son interview commence à 09'05)

(© DFAE)


> Global Technology Governance Report 2021 // 02.12.2020, WEF
An essential consideration for government, business and civil society is how technologies are harnessed and regulated to accelerate growth, encourage innovation and build resiliency in the wake of COVID-19. How governments and other stakeholders approach the governance of technologies will play an important role in how we reset society, the economy and the business environment. This report examines some of the most important applications of Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies if we are to thrive in a post-pandemic world and the governance challenges that should be addressed for these technologies to reach their potential. The technology areas it focuses on are artificial intelligence, blockchain, internet of things, mobility and drones and unmanned air systems.


> ‘It will change everything’: DeepMind’s AI makes gigantic leap in solving protein structures // 30.11.2020, Nature
Google’s deep-learning program for determining the 3D shapes of proteins stands to transform biology, say scientists.

Related articles in:

But, as Inside AI puts it, “some academics have expressed skepticism over DeepMind's AlphaFold program, which purports to have solved what's known as “the protein folding problem." While many people have lauded the AI system as a way to better understand diseases and develop new drugs, some experts are saying it's overhyped and is more of a step forward rather than a complete solution, Business Insider reports”.

A protein’s function is determined by its 3D shape. (© DeepMind)


> Health impacts of climate change unprecedented, but still time for a reset // 03.12.2020, Geneva Solutions
As the world’s eyes are fixed on the pending roll-out of new Covid-19 vaccines, a team of 120 leading health and climate experts have called on global leaders to use the momentum of the pandemic response to accelerate climate action, just ahead of the five-year anniversary of the landmark Paris Agreement to limit global warming to “well below 2°C.”
Based on the report 2020 Lancet Countdown on health and climate change

Related articles:
> Climate change: Temperature analysis shows UN goals 'within reach' // 01.12.2020, BBC
The Climate Action Tracker group looked at new climate promises from China and other nations, along with the carbon plans of US President-elect Joe Biden.

> IEA Chief sees ‘disturbing’ signal for climate target // 03.12.2020, Bloomberg
Slow progress on energy efficiency is a problem for the climate: Global efforts to reduce wasted energy have faced a major setback in 2020.
Based on a new IEA report.



Platform 1: Quantum Revolution and Advanced AI

Quantum and physics 

> China stakes its claim to quantum supremacy // 03.12.2020, WIRED

> Quantum memory milestone boosts quantum internet future // 23.11.2020, IEEE Spectrum

> Quantum nanodiamonds may help to detect diseases earlier // 30.11.2020, Technology Networks

> Get involved in ESA's quest for quantum // 27.11.2020, ESA press release

> Quantum advantage demonstrated using Gaussian boson sampling // 03.12.2020, Physics World

Artificial intelligence

> The science of deep learning // 01.12.2020, PNAS
Related article (first published in January 2020): The unreasonable effectiveness of deep learning in artificial intelligence

> Inference in artificial intelligence with deep optics and photonics // 02.12.2020, Nature

> Google reveals major hidden weakness in machine learning // 30.11.2020, Discover Magazine

> Shrinking massive neural networks used to model language // 01.12.2020, MIT News

> Autonomous balloons take flight with artificial intelligence // 02.12.2020, Nature

> This company uses AI to outwit malicious AI // 02.12.2020, WIRED

> AI now sees and hears COVID in your lungs // 03.12.2020, EPFL press release

(Illustration: EPFL)

Platform 2: Human Augmentation


> Why autism and invention are intimately related (ANALYSIS by Simon Baron-Cohen) // 02.12.2020, New Scientist

> Molekularer Mechanismus des Langzeitgedächtnisses entdeckt // 30.11.2020, University of Basel press release

> Chronic embedded cortico-thalamic closed-loop deep brain stimulation for the treatment of essential tremor // 02.12.2020, Science Translational Medicine

> The brain produces mind by modeling // 24.11.2020, PNAS

> Sequencing perturbed cortex development // 27.11.2020, Science


> Covid-19 : la saga du vaccin à ARN messager désormais dans le sprint final // 30.11.2020, Le Monde

> How much do our genes restrict free will? // 29.11.2020, Singularity Hub

Longevity and health

> Nanotechnology in Medicine // December 2020, STAT Reports
The science of manipulating molecules and materials under 100 nm in size is spurring advances in drug development, diagnosis, and treatment. Since 1970, more than 600 applications have been filed with the FDA to test drug products containing nanomaterials. Of those products, 19 have been approved. This report takes a look at the key companies involved in bringing nano-products to market; the challenges they’re facing in demonstrating safety and efficacy; and the ways they’re trying to overcome them.

> The dawn of digital medicine // 02.12.2020, The Economist
Related article in The Economist: Health care is already benefiting from VR

> Toward superhuman SARS-CoV-2 immunity? (OPINION) // 30.11.2020, Nature Medicine

> Elevated stress hormone levels could reawaken dormant cancer cells, study finds // 02.12.2020, STAT News

> Researchers restore lost sight in mice, offering clues to reversing aging // 02.12.2020, Science

Researchers inserted genes into mouse eye cells to protect and restore the optic nerve (red fibers in microscope image of healthy mouse retina, above). (© NIGMS/Bryan William Jones/Robert E. Marc/University of Utah/Science Source)

Platform 3: Eco-regeneration and geoengineering


> U.K. seeks site for world’s first fusion power station // 02.12.2020, Science

> The race to crack battery recycling—before it’s too late // 30.11.2020, WIRED

> Green hydrogen: could it be key to a carbon-free economy? // 05.11.2020, e360.Yale

> Research in hydrogen energy needs ‘huge’ funding and private investment, MEPs say // 03.12.2020, Science|Business


Cultured meat has been approved for consumers for the first time // 01.12.2020, MIT Technology Review

Climate and environment

Planet's life-support systems need care to avert 'the next Wuhan' // 30.11.2020, Thomson Reuters Foundation news

> Is the Earth an organism? // 03.12.2020, AEON
The Gaia hypothesis states that our biosphere is evolving. Once skeptical, some prominent biologists are beginning to agree.

> A new expedition devoted to Ocean microbes, crucial to global balances // 02.12.2020, TARA Océan press release
Recording (YouTube) of the press conference.

> Utilisations de l’ADN environnemental pour la surveillance et l’évaluation biologiques des écosystèmes aquatiques (REPORT) // 01.12.2020, OFEV


> Turning moon dust into oxygen // 29.11.2020, SpaceRef

Future moon base (Artists view © ESA)

Platform 4: Science and Diplomacy

The COVID-19 crisis is a signal – Need to ‘reset’ global health financing (INSIDE VIEW by Ilona Kickbush) // 27.11.2020, Health Policy Watch

> Assassination of top Iran weapons scientist dims hopes for nuclear diplomacy // 27.11.2020, Science

> A Covid-inspired rethink of the humanitarian system // 01.12.2020, Geneva Solutions

> INTERPOL: COVID vaccine will be “liquid gold” to organized crime // 02.12.2020, Futurism

> L’inversion des saturations ou la possibilité d’une autre ville // 29.11.2020, Libération

> Making the most of the EU’s innovative potential: an intellectual property action plan to support the EU’s recovery and resilience (REPORT) // 25.11.2020, The European Commission 

> Warning lights are flashing for Big Tech as they did for banks (OPINION) // 29.11.2020, Financial Times

> EU finalising plans for pan European cybersecurity centre // 01.12.2020, Science|Business


> Bienvenue en 2030 : un monde où rien ne nous appartient // 28.11.2020, FORBES

> Avoir 20 ans en 2020: la rupture totale avec le monde d'avant // 01.12.2020, Le Temps
Nés avec internet, les vingtenaires n’écoutent que leurs pairs, convaincus que les plus âgés ont précipité le monde dans la crise climatique et, aujourd’hui, sanitaire. 

> Les sciences sociales dans le viseur du politique // 02.12.2020, Le Monde
Des travaux de recherche sur le décolonialisme, la race ou le genre sont accusés de porter atteinte aux « valeurs de la République ». Deux députés LR ont réclamé, fin novembre, l’ouverture d’une mission d’information sur « les dérives idéologiques dans les milieux universitaires ».

> Anthony Fauci on public trust in science // December 2020, Hastings Center

> Les prévisions relativement optimistes de l’OCDE pour l’économie mondiale : « Il y a l’espoir d’un futur meilleur » // 01.12.2020, Le Monde

> NATO foreign ministers meet as alliance seeks new path // 01.12.2020, Foreign Policy

> 160 million people targeted in new UN humanitarian response plan // 01.12.2020, Health Policy Watch

> Changer le monde, se taire sur l’Europe (OPINION) // 02.12.2020, Le Temps


Tatiana Valovaya : un nouveau rôle pour Genève au 21e siècle // 29.11.2020, RTS info 
La Directrice générale de l’Office des Nations Unies à Genève évoque l’urgence d’inventer le multilatéralisme du XXIe siècle, les contraintes dictées par la pandémie du coronavirus, l’importance d’associer tous les pays à la lutte en faveur du climat et ses souvenirs de journaliste à l’époque de la perestroïka. (Photo: DR)

> This World Aids Day the global response to HIV stands on a precipice // 01.12.2020, The Guardian
Covid-19 has shown the power of innovation and community services in a pandemic. These lessons should be applied to HIV, say Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of UNAids and UN undersecretary general, and Matthew Kavanagh, Director of the Global Health Policy & Politics Initiative at Georgetown University’s O’Neill Institute. (© Handout)

Governance is essential to build trust in technology and AI // 02.12.2020, Geneva Solutions
Ahead of the 2030 Digital Fasttrack Studios (DFS), convened by UNESCO’s Geneva liaison office, Geneva Solutions spoke to Jean-Yves Art, senior director of strategic partnerships at Microsoft and moderator of the session, on the role of tech governance, trust, and Geneva-based organisations in shaping the debate. (Photo: DR)


> Youth-led mock COP26 presents an ambitious treaty for climate action // 03.12.2020, Geneva Solutions

> Zoom and gloom // December 2020, AEON
Sitting in a videoconference is a uniformly crap experience. Instead of corroding our humanity, let’s design tools to enhance it.

> La Jeune Académie Suisse relève les défis sociétaux actuels // 30.11.2020, Académies suisses des sciences
Les quatre premiers projets de la Jeune Académie Suisse seront consacrés aux thématiques suivantes : les leçons à tirer des fake news circulant sur le Covid-19, le rôle des sciences dans le processus législatif, les situations professionnelles précaires au sein des institutions académiques et les droits de l’homme pour le futur. 

> WEF prüft Alternativen zur Schweiz: in Singapur? // 30.11.2020, NZZ


> Genève, ville internationale : de la Société des Nations à l'ONU, 100 ans de multilatéralisme (1920-2020) // 07.12.2020, table ronde organisée par l’Université de Genève
Avec Sandrine Kott (Unige), Irène Herrmann (Unige), Micheal Møller (DG UNOG 2013-2019 et Président du Diplomacy Forum de GESDA, Michel Jarraud (Secrétaire général de l’OMM de 2004 à 2015). 

> Pathogen and Benefit-Sharing: Where Next in the Global Governance of Outbreaks // 08.12.2020, 4:30pm, organized by the Graduate Institute

> Next Einstein Forum Global Gathering // 8-10.12.2020, organized online by AIMS
The biennial NEF Global Gatherings (NEF-GG) provide a high-level forum where the world of science and technology meet on African soil to unveil breakthroughs in science, respond to existing challenges and look to the future. 

> Which ethical guidelines for human enhancement technologies? // 14.12.2020, 2pm CET, webinar organized by SIENNA
Because human enhancement technologies are not developing in one space, new regulations, policies, protocols and procedures for development, funding and application are needed, and they should align with societal needs and values. By engaging key experts and stakeholders in ethics committees, policymaking, academia and industry, the EU project SIENNA has developed guidelines for research in, and development and application of, human enhancement technologies and procedures.


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).

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
Chemin des Mines 9
1202 Geneva
+41 58 201 02 61

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can unsubscribe from this list.