Analysis

Using AI and Video to Learn How the World Works

Simple actions like waving hello to a friend, objects falling to the ground and other visual movements are easily understood by humans but would confound machines. Knowledge@Wharton Twenty Billion Neurons (TwentyBN), a startup based in Toronto and Berlin, is developing the artificial intelligence capability of imbuing an understanding of the visual world in robots by using videos and deep learning, according to Roland Memisevic, its CEO and chief scientist, who spoke at the recent AI Frontiers conference in… Recently, TwentyBN launched Millie, an AI-powered context-aware ... Read More »

China will ’never seek hegemony,’ Xi says in reform speech

China will never pursue hegemony, President Xi Jinping said Tuesday as global concerns persist over the country’s growing economic influence. BEIJING – Associated Press Hurriyet During a speech to mark 40 years of market reforms, Xi repeated China’s commitment to a multilateral trading system and further opening of its economy. However, he did not announce any new initiatives to counter a slowing economy and trade frictions with the United States. The Chinese leader said China would not develop “at the expense of other countries’ ... Read More »

Who is responsible for migrants?

President Donald Trump tends to portray migrants as a foreign problem that has suddenly – and unfairly – been “dumped” at America’s doorstep. Felipe A. Filomeno The Conversation Migration “is a way they get certain people out of their country and dump in U.S.,” he wrote on Nov. 25 about a caravan of mostly Honduran women, children and young men seeking asylum in the United States. He is not alone. The flow of refugees and asylum-seekers from poor countries to ... Read More »

The Risks of Diplomatic Rupture with Maduro’s Venezuela

Key Latin American countries have said they will cut ties with Venezuela over its authoritarian drift and socio-economic meltdown. ICG This move would be counterproductive. Instead, external powers should step up efforts to find a negotiated pathway out of Venezuela’s crisis. On 10 January 2019, Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro will be sworn in for a second term, despite domestic and international rejection of the presidential election held on 20 May this year. That he is due to stay in power ... Read More »

Climate action must now focus on the global rich and their corporations

The latest UN climate talks, known as COP24, have just concluded. Nicholas Beuret The Conversation The supposed story this time was one of a grinding victory by the EU and developing nations over recalcitrant petro-states – Russia, the US, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. These four, condemned as “climate villains” over the past week, worked to block the adoption of a critical IPCC report that detailed how woefully inadequate current international action was for limiting future climate change to 1.5C. Building ... Read More »

How a World Order Ends

And What Comes in Its Wake Richard Haass Foreign Affairs A stable world order is a rare thing. When one does arise, it tends to come after a great convulsion that creates both the conditions and the desire for something new. It requires a stable distribution of power and broad acceptance of the rules that govern the conduct of international relations. It also needs skillful statecraft, since an order is made, not born. And no matter how ripe the starting conditions ... Read More »

Climate change: The massive CO2 emitter you may not know about

Concrete is the most widely used man-made material in existence. It is second only to water as the most-consumed resource on the planet. Lucy Rodgers BBC But, while cement – the key ingredient in concrete – has shaped much of our built environment, it also has a massive carbon footprint. Cement is the source of about 8% of the world’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions,according to think tank Chatham House. If the cement industry were a country, it would be the third ... Read More »

Time for a Modest Deal: How to Get U.S.-North Korean Talks Moving Forward

Last June’s U.S.-North Korean summit cleared the atmosphere, but follow-up talks have accomplished little, meaning that dark clouds could easily gather again. ICG To jump-start progress, negotiators should start small, moving incrementally toward realising the long-term goals of Washington, Pyongyang and Seoul. What’s new? 2017’s war of words between the U.S. and North Korea is a fading memory. In its place has come a period of calm, particularly after the leader-level summit in June. But substantive negotiations have foundered, and ... Read More »

Lawless on the High Seas: Why the U.S. Can and Must Ratify UNCLOS

Out in the middle of the South China Sea, several islands now exist where none did before. Indigo Funk Brown Political Review What were once simple reefs and shoals are now full-fledged islands that host massive Chinese military bases, thanks to a government initiative that used thousands of tons of sand to achieve the goal. The Chinese government’s justification is that they own most of the South China Sea due to “historical claims” that only date back to 1942. It’s ... Read More »

What can Philosophy teach Machine Learning?

A Journey from Socrates to AI via Cognitive Science From Socrates to Cognitive Science Federico Castellano Towards Data Science Since Socrates asked Thrasymachus for a definition of the concept of justice, philosophy posed for the very first time one of the most challenging philosophical questions: what is a concept? For many hundred years, inquiries concerning the nature and structure of concepts caught the attention of the world’s finest minds; yet it wasn’t until the sixteenth and… Empiricists argued that concepts are ... Read More »

UN climate talks: final agreement on reducing carbon emissions remains elusive

Stand-off on international co-operation on carbon trading persists as closing plenary session pushed back Kevin O’Sullivan Katowice, Poland The Irish Times The UN climate talks have a finishing line in sight as “70 per cent of the text” has been published but final agreement on how to raise ambition in reducing carbon emissions remained elusive at noon on Saturday. While significant progress has been made in agreeing to pursue a new climate finance goal for supporting developing countries and states that ... Read More »

In the words of Taffan Ako: “I believe you have to be in the system in order to change the system”

By UN Women – A refugee from Iraqi Kurdistan, Taffan Ako fled to Sweden in 1997 with her family. Women You Should Know Today she is the Coordinator of One Young World Ambassadors for Scandinavia and Eastern Europe and founder of EmpowHERment, an organization that assists women and young girls who have been former ISIS sex slaves or victims of human trafficking. Her foundation finances integration projects for children and women in Europe and in Iraqi Kurdistan. Ako was one of ... Read More »

Reviving UN Mediation on Iraq’s Disputed Internal Boundaries

The fallout is settling after the Iraqi army’s seizure of territories disputed between Baghdad and the autonomous Kurdish region. ICG More conflict over these areas, particularly oil-rich Kirkuk, is predictable. The UN should take advantage of today’s quiet to explore negotiations on the contested lands’ status. What’s new?  Following parliamentary and regional elections this year, Baghdad and Erbil are forming new governments. This presents a fresh opportunity to settle longstanding disputes between them. One of their principal disputes concerns the ... Read More »

What the US could learn from Thailand about health care coverage

The open enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) draws to a close on Dec. 15. Joseph Harris The Conversation Yet, recent assaults on the ACA by the Trump administration stand in marked contrast to efforts to expand access to health care and medicine in the rest of the world. In fact, on Dec. 12, the world observed Universal Coverage Day, a day celebrated by the United Nations to commemorate passage of a… While the U.N. measure was nonbinding ... Read More »

Suppression orders in Australia: why you can’t read what you may want to

After Victoria’s premier Daniel Andrews said he would overhaul the state’s use of orders, here is a guide to the legal bans Naaman Zhou The Guardian What is a suppression order? A suppression order is made when a court prohibits the disclosure of information about a legal case. These are ordered in Australia for a variety of reasons – in the interest of national security, to protect the safety of witnesses, or to guarantee a fair trial. They can be ... Read More »

Role reversal: China cites human rights in spat with Canada

When China’s government recently protested the arrest in Vancouver of Huawei Technologies executive Meng Wanzhou, it used something rarely heard from Beijing — the language of… David Webster The Conversation “The detention without giving any reason violates a person’s human rights,” a spokesperson for the Chinese foreign ministry said. In using this sort of “rights talk,” China is not simply jumping on the fact that Meng was in detention on the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. ... Read More »