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

18-25 January 2021

A GESDA product curated by Olivier Dessibourg


> Ageing — the mysteries of human longevity // 19.01.2022, Nature
This Outlook unravels some mysteries of human longevity. It explores advances in how biological ageing is measured, how the COVID-19 pandemic might affect human ageing, lessons from ageing societies such as Japan, and what “super centenarians” can teach us about growing old. It includes these articles:

Related articles:

(© Nature)


> Gaming giant Unity wants to digitally clone the world // 18.01.2022, WIRED
The company is leveraging its technology to help clients make “digital twins” – virtual copies of real-life objects, environments, and even people.

Related article: Simulation tech can help predict the biggest threats // 20.01.2022, WIRED
In the face of myriad global problems, Single Synthetic Environments will make life-and-death decisions easier to navigate.

(© Elena Lacey; Getty Images)


> What to expect in neuroscience, genetics, longevity, biotech, and psychedelics in 2022 // 20.01.2022, NEO.LIFE



> Government AI Readiness Index 2021 // Oxford Insights
The U.S. is the most prepared country worldwide to use AI technologies for its public services, according to Oxford Insights. The London-based consultancy released its 2021 AI Readiness Index, which rated the AI preparedness of 160 countries' governments based on 42 indicators. Switzerland at rank 11 in Western Europe, and 22 in the Global ranking.


> Et si la Suisse aidait le CICR et les ONG contre les cyberattaques? // 23.01.2022, Le Temps
Le vol de données de plus de 500 000 personnes dans les serveurs du CICR relance l’idée d’une implication technologique de la Suisse pour aider les ONG dont elle abrite le siège. Par exemple avec un cloud lancé en Suisse.

Related article: La Genève internationale très exposée aux cyberattaques // 21.01.2022, Le Temps

(© Denis Balibouse/REUTERS)


> Technology and the global struggle for democracy (opinion) // 10.01.2022, Project Syndicate
With many democracies reeling from the disruptive effects of new technologies, it is easy to be pessimistic about the future of political systems built on individual freedom and political agency. Yet it is still fully within democratic countries’ power to decide which technologies they do and do not want.

(© Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images)


> Policy and Technology for the Greater Good: Imagining Futures // December 2021, GCSP
It is now commonplace to refer to new technologies as both transformative and disruptive forces. Society must be made aware of both the positive impact of emerging technologies and their dual-use nature. An inclusive and transparent dialogue should take place to holistically consider the influence of these technologies on human and international security, taking into account multiple foreseeable scenarios. A paradigm shift will require inclusive partnerships, collaborative governance and policy solutions that are fit for purpose. A new humanist agenda, shaped by frontier technologies, should be designed to ensure the protection of our fundamental rights and dignity and provide the basis for all the world’s people to thrive.

(© GCSP)
  • The new vision for geroscience goes far beyond treating old people.
  • Recent research suggests that many of what are traditionally considered ageing pathways are also involved in a variety of conditions, including not just chronic diseases of ageing, ut the acute response to infection and a variety of other conditions not obviously linked to ageing.


Platform 1: Quantum Revolution & Advanced AI

Quantum and physics

> First fully programmable quantum computer based on neutral atoms // 18.01.2022, New Scientist
Most quantum computers are based on superconductors or trapped ions, but an alternative approach using ordinary atoms may have advantages.

Quantum computers could finally be made at large scale after huge scientific breakthrough // 20.01.2022, The Independent

Modular supercomputing makes new quantum computer available to neuroscientists // 19.01.2022, Human Brain Project press release

New silicon carbide qubits bring us one step closer to quantum networks // 24.01.2022, SciTechDaily

Artificial intelligence and robots  

> There are two kinds of Metaverse. Only one will inherit the Earth // 11.01.2022, Big Think
The Virtual Metaverse will be for gaming and other short duration uses, while the Augmented Metaverse will revolutionize society.
Related article: This group of tech firms just signed up to a safer metaverse // 20.01.2022, MIT Technology Review

We’re failing at the ethics of AI. Here’s how we make real impact // 14.01.2022, WEF
Related article: When should someone trust an AI assistant’s predictions? // 19.01.2022, MIT News

The Turing trap: The promise & peril of human-like artificial intelligence (opinion) // 12.01.2022, Stanford Digital Economy Lab
Not all types of AI are human-like—in fact, many of the most powerful systems are very different from humans —and an excessive focus on developing and deploying HLAI can lead us into a trap, says Erik Brynjolfsson, Director Stanford Digital Economy Lab.

Platform 2: Human Augmentation


> A huge project is underway to sequence the genome of every complex species on Earth // 18.01.2022, The Conversation
The Earth BioGenome Project, a global consortium that aims to sequence the genomes of all complex life on earth (some 1.8 million described species) in ten years, is ramping up.

Related articles:


> Window of opportunity // 19.01.2022, Science
When surgery to treat neurological conditions lets researchers peer into the brain, ethical questions abound.

Human brain signals recorded in record-breaking resolution by new sensor grids // 24.01.2022, SciTechDaily
Related article: Human brain mapping with multithousand-channel PtNRGrids resolves spatiotemporal dynamics //19.01.2022, Science

Kernel Flow headset: A wearable device for noninvasive optical brain imaging // 24.01.2022, SciTechDaily

Neurotechnologies : l’Office parlementaire français d’évluation des choix scientifiques et technologiques appelle à soutenir la recherche et à renforcer l’éthique // 21.01.2022, OPECST press release

Longevity and health

Genetically modified pig kidneys transplanted into a brain-dead person // 20.01.2022, New Scientist

U.S. would seek global approach to updating Covid-19 vaccines, official says // 18.01.2022, STAT

Once billed as a revolution in medicine, IBM’s Watson Health is sold off in parts // 21.01.2022, STAT
IBM said it will sell the core data assets of its Watson Health division to a San Francisco-based private equity firm, marking the staggering collapse of its ambitious artificial intelligence effort that failed to live up to its promises to transform everything from drug discovery to cancer care.

© Hyacinth Empinado/STAT; Eros Dervishi for STAT

Platform 3: Eco-regeneration & Geoengineering


Biomass – Critical limits to a vital resource // 21.01.2022, One Earth

Biodiversity faces its make-or-break year, and research will be key // 19.01.2022, Nature

Une start-up de l’EPFL veut diviser par trois le prix de l’hydrogène vert // 24.01.2022,


Quantum dots boost perovskite solar cell efficiency and scalability // 21.01.2022, EPFL press release

Artificial photosynthesis: New device advances commercial viability of solar fuels // 23.01.2022, SciTechDaily

Wait, so where will urbanites charge their EVs? // 24.01.2022, WIRED


> Gene-edited food is 5 years away in England, says government scientist // 20.01.2022, New Scientist

Climate and environment

Scientists recommend system of checkpoints to help guide climate engineering research // 20.01.2022,
Related article: To assess marine cloud brightening's technical feasibility, we need to know what to study — and when to stop // 19.01.2022, PNAS
Related report: Using stratospheric aerosol injection to alleviate global warming: when? // 16.12.2021, IRGC/EPFL

These machines scrub greenhouse gases from the air – an inventor of direct air capture technology shows how it works // 18.01.2022, The Conversation

Plastic crisis needs binding treaty, report says // 18.01.2022, BBC

The Great Acceleration: what we need to do to tackle climate change (opinion by Jim Hageman Snabe) // 17.01.2022, WEF


Machine to melt Moon rocks and derive metals may launch in 2024 // 21.01.2022, Ars Technica

How biomining could sustain space colonies // 15.01.2022, Big Think

NASA offers $1 million for innovative systems to feed tomorrow’s astronauts // 20.01.2022, NASA press release

Summit to ignite Europe’s bold space ambitions // 24.01.2022, ESA
Related article: ESA looks to space summit to endorse human spaceflight efforts // 20.01.2022, SpaceNews

(© ESA)

Platform 4: Science & Diplomacy

Has Biden followed the science? What researchers say // 20.01.2022, Nature

Efforts to rein in Big Tech may be running out of time // 20.01.2022, The New York Times

Comment web3 et la blockchain influencent déjà la géopolitique // 19.01.2022,

Switzerland joins Square Kilometre Array Observatory // 20.01.2022, Science|Business

NATO reveals how it will operate in outer space // 18.01.2022, Axios

US sees science role as collaborative hub as China rivalry grows // 18.01.2022, Times Higher Education
In biennial assessment, NSF analysts admit US still losing ground on many metrics but remaining most likely common partner for breakthroughs.

Privacy is power: How tech policy can bolster democracy // 19.01.2022, Foreign Affairs

(© Reuters)

GESDA Platform: Knowledge Foundations

This map of distant galaxies could help untangle the mystery of dark energy // 13.01.2022, Science

Fundamental behaviors emerge from simulations of a living minimal cell // 20.01.2022, Cell

Machine learning to guide mathematicians // 21.01.2022, Nature Computational Science

This powerful new accelerator looks for keys to the center of atoms // 23.01.2022, Axios

Eniola Odetunde/Axios)


> Distrust in political, media and business leaders sweeps the globe // 18.01.2022, Axios
Related article: Edelman Trust Barometer: Cycle of distrust threatens action on global challenges // 18.01.2022, WEF

Researchers report a new digital gap in internet usage between rich and poor people // 20.01.2022,

What's wrong with USDA's 'bioengineered' label? NBC botches the story // 14.01.2022, American Council on Science and Health
The USDA's "bioengineered" (GMO) food label is expensive and pointless, facts widely disseminated by the science community. The media has been critical of the new labeling regulations as well, though for the wrong reasons. Here's a textbook example from NBC News.

(© USDA)


Micheline Calmy-Rey: la Suisse doit entrer au Conseil de sécurité de l’ONU // 14.01.2022, RTS / Genève Vision
À l’origine de ce projet, l’ancienne ministre des Affaires étrangères, member du Conseil d'administration de GESDA, Micheline Calmy-Rey dit pourquoi. 
(© Keystone/Salvatore Di Nolfi)

> Michael Hengartner and André Kudelski are newly elected members of the SDI Foundation Board // 18.02.2022, SDI
Michael Hengartner, President of the ETH Board (also Member of the Advisory Committee to the GESDA Science Breakthrough Radar®), and André Kudelski, Chairman of the Board and CEO of Kudelski Group join the SDI (Swiss Digital Initiative) Foundation Board. (Photo: DR)

Trust Valley's Lennig Pedron on turning competition into collaboration // 21.01.2022, Geneva Solutions
Trust Valley is a regional initiative and a public-private partnership that brings together industrial, academic, and political actors in the field of digital trust and cybersecurity. (Photo: Trust Valley)

«Face aux crises, nous devons impérativement mieux anticiper» // 19.01.2022, Le Temps
En deux ans de pandémie, la Suisse a fait du bon et du moins bon. Les deux épidémiologistes Marcel Salathé et Christian Althaus tirent un premier bilan, et appellent notamment à créer une cellule de crise nationale coordonnant les différents acteurs. 
(© Keystone / Montage LT)


> After almost 50 years, EU unitary patent edges closer to becoming reality // 20.01.2022, Science|Business

Corporate responsibility in the digital world: Swiss Digital Initiative launches the world's first label for digital responsibility // 18.01.2022, Swiss Digital Initiative  press release
With the launch of the Digital Trust Label, users can better identify trustworthy digital services. Providers of digital services can now declare their digital responsibility in a systematic and credible manner.

Rapport Bronner : la bonne foi doit-elle encore excuser la diffusion de fausses informations ? // 18.01.2022, The Conversation

INGSA Horizons (podcast) // By INGSA/ISC
The INGSA Horizons Podcast - The world is in flux and the interfaces between science, society, and policy have never been so contested or as complex. The new INGSA Horizons Podcast brings you great minds and great conversations from the experts at the forefront of the debates in science advice and science diplomacy.


> Genesis Machine: Synthetic biology will allow us to program living organisms like computers // 20.01.2022, Big Think
The book "The Genesis Machine" outlines the promise and peril of synthetic biology, a powerful tool that will allow us to program life like a computer.


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

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