Opinion

In Defense Of Autonomous Weapons

The development of artificial intelligence and ethics for their use must go hand-in-hand. Otherwise, such weapons will be built without regard for morals or the laws of war. Ryan Khurana The National Interest In July 2018, the Future of Life Institute (FLI), an organization dedicated to mitigating existential risks from artificial intelligence (AI), published a pledge to ban the development of lethal autonomous weapons… FLI is one of the most respected institutions in the AI risk domain, having on its board such ... Read More »

My Fiancé Jamal Khashoggi Was a Lonely Patriot

His ideas will reverberate from Turkey to Saudi Arabia and beyond. Oppression never lasts forever. Tyrants eventually pay for their sins. Hatice Cengiz The New York Times Jamal Khashoggi and I met at a conference in Istanbul in May. I was familiar with his work because I am interested in the Middle East and the Gulf region. We spoke for about half an hour about politics. Jamal talked about the extraordinary transformation taking place in Saudi Arabia, his native country, ... Read More »

For Popular Sovereignty, Beyond Absurdity

It is disgusting almost beyond words that the onetime sexual predator and obvious dissembler Brett Kavanaugh will render judgement on matters of solemn legal, political, and societal relevance in… Paul Street CounterPunch Troubling as the noxious Kavanaugh’s personal history and untruthfulness are, however, it was even more depressing to see the highly personalized soap opera over his past behavior trump momentous questions of… Equally distressing was our continuing abject failure to address the authoritarian absurdity of core political and judicial ... Read More »

Religious freedom not under threat, but we should debate limits

The immediate eruption of controversy over the selective leaking of recommendations from the Ruddock report on religious freedom shows both why the government has sought to avoid releasing the report, and… Simon Cowan Brisbane Times It is a major issue, notwithstanding that marriage equality has been one of the few direct challenges to freedom of religion in Australia in recent years. And, while there have been major court cases in the US and the UK testing the limits of free ... Read More »

As doctors working on Nauru, we thought we were helping. Now I know we were not

The ongoing human rights travesty that is indefinite mandatory offshore detention is antithetical to medical ethics Nick Martin The Guardian When I worked on Nauru as a medical officer for refugees and asylum seekers, I never saw myself as part of the problem. But since I returned to Australia I have increasingly come to question my role in a system that is antithetical to medical ethics. The ongoing human rights travesty that is indefinite mandatory detention and the treatment of asylum seekers there never ... Read More »

Award of Honorary Doctoral Degree to Prof. Van Coufoudakis – Acceptance Speech

Ceremony for the Award of Honorary Doctoral Degree to Prof. Van Coufoudakis University of Nicosia Honorary Degree Acceptance Speech October 11 2018 Honored Guests, President Kartakoulis, Rector Pouyioutas, Dean Emilianides, my old friend Andreas Theophanous, members of the faculty, dear friends.  I am told that “modesty is a Greek virtue”. It is in this spirit that I accept the honor bestowed on me tonight. This award has special meaning given my thirty year association with Intercollege. The  founders of Intercollege were ... Read More »

Over 50 million child marriages could be prevented if girls finished school

More than 50 million child marriages could be prevented by 2030 if all girls finished secondary school, the charity Save the Children said on Oct. 11 to highlight problems on the International Day of the Girl Child. London / Istanbul Hurriyet Campaigners say children married young tend to leave school, have limited economic opportunities, are vulnerable to abuse and mental health problems and are more likely to live in poverty than… According to UNESCO estimates, 130 million girls between the age of 6 and 17 are out of school and 15 million girls of primary-school age —half of them in sub-Saharan Africa— will never enter ... Read More »

Dutton’s airport ID checks are ripe for abuse and take us closer to a police state

Police intelligence is far from 100% reliable and ethnic profiling is an obvious risk Rex Patrick The Guardian ”Your papers please!” It’s a phrase associated with the workings of a police state. It’s a trope favoured by Hollywood movies, but it’s an expression that can trigger dread for those who have had the misfortune to encounter the arbitrary power of an authoritarian government. And it’s a phrase you may soon hear when you arrive at one of Australia’s major airports. ... Read More »

Last gleaming of the liberal democratic age?

Australia’s media and politicians have eschewed the serious debates of the past to engage in an endless and senseless culture war, writes Malcolm King. InDaily The great liberal democratic experiment born from the American and French Revolutions is dying. Reason is in retreat as political chaos marches on Britain, Western Europe, America and Australia. Trust in politicians, financial institutions, the media and the church, has crumbled. We lost our vision for Australia and forgot our history – or were never ... Read More »

Putin’s Arctic land grab

How to weaken Russian expansionism and aggression in the Arctic Jed Babbin The Washington Times On Sept. 30, Britain’s Secretary of State for Defense, Gavin Williamson, announced that 800 British commandos would be sent to the Arctic for a joint military exercise with Norway next year to help stop Russia’s Arctic land grab. According to a report in The Sun newspaper, Mr. Williamson said, “Beyond the High North and Arctic we must be ready, and must show that we are ... Read More »

Why so many businesses are behaving badly

While we digest the royal commission’s evidence of shocking misconduct by the banks and insurance companies, there’s another unpalatable truth to swallow: they have no monopoly on bad behaviour. Ross Gittins Brisbane Times It seems almost everywhere you look you see examples of companies behaving badly. In a major speech he gave a few months ago, the chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, Rod Sims, offered a remarkable list of business household names the commission was taking proceedings ... Read More »

How we can reverse rise in suicide

Twice as many people die by suicide than on our roads. Yet, like the road toll, deaths by suicide are preventable. Editorial The Age Despite greater community awareness, the suicide rate increased by almost 10 per cent in the past year, according to official figures. It is a deeply complex issue, and, as The Sunday Age recently editorialised on the basis on numerous reviews and studies in the past decade, requires, above all, a significant boost to mental health funding, which ... Read More »

Taiwan is revolutionizing democracy

TAIPEI — Compared to the established democracies of the West, Taiwan’s is still in its infancy. Yen-Tu Su The Washington Post It did not become a full democracy until 1992, and it only held its first direct presidential election in 1996. And yet, Taiwan’s young democracy has made rapid progress, through social movements, representative politics, the judicial process and now, through direct democracy. In the beginning of this year, it rolled out one of the most citizen-friendly systems for ballot initiatives and ... Read More »

Yazidi Survivor Nadia Murad, Subject Of ‘On Her Shoulders’ Documentary, Awarded Nobel Peace Prize

Today it was announced that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2018 has been awarded to two individuals for their respective efforts “to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict.” WYSK They include Dr. Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad, a Yazidi survivor and activist, whose powerful story is the subject of Alexandria Bombach’s award-winning 2018 documentary ‘On Her Shoulders’ (view… In announcing the equal share winners of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, the Nobel Committee wrote ... Read More »

Science behind standing desks was crooked all along? Sit on that

Well, this sucks. I just bought an ergonomic keyboard and before it even arrives the whole field of ergonomics is revealed to be a skeevy wangboozle as crooked as mouthful of Dickensian urchin teeth. John Birmingham The Canberra Times I don’t much care that companies and governments might be wasting hundreds of millions of dollars a year on dodgy “ergonomic chairs, keyboards and consultants”, as reported by Fairfax Media yesterday. But I care heaps that I might have just wasted ... Read More »

Can Europe save itself?

LONDON — One of the key arguments of the populists who have continued to attack the European Union’s legitimacy is that they represent the will of the people and embody freedom and democracy in a… Michael Cottakis The Washington Post While this is disingenuous, it contains a grain of truth. The E.U., after all, is not a democratic system. And while it has sought to reform for some time, those efforts tend to miss the point. One of the best ... Read More »