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Showing posts from May 12, 2019

GCSC Cyberstability Update, 17 May 2019

Your news update on the GCSC, its members, and relevant developments in the field of international cyber affairs. Join the conversation and receive weekly updates by signing up to the newsletter below. For more information about the GCSC, please visit . HIGHLIGHTS: Bad Actors Want To Target the Internet’s Infrastructure.  If  That Happens, We’re in Trouble This article by  Wolfgang Kleinwächter  was published in  BRINK News , 16 May 2019.   Most Internet problems are problems that deal with the surface level, the “digital skin.” Cyber war and cybercrime, disputes over digital data trading, censorship and surveillance—all of these are not Internet problems so much as they are political problems, emerging now in a digital context. Against this background of growing political turmoil on the surface of the Internet, it is remarkable that the spaces under the skin—the organs of the Internet, if you will—have so far been largely untouched. The global network o

 Six weeks without cash or cards

AXIOS FUTURE Photo: Yegor Aleyev/TASS/Getty   On April 7th, while vacationing in Florida, I lost my wallet,  Erica writes. At first, it really stung:  I thought I would be totally incapacitated until I could get to the bank for a new debit card. But it really hasn't been so bad.  In fact, it has been so easy to live without cash or cards that I haven't made it to the bank in  six weeks . Why it matters:  We've reported on how the U.S. has fallen behind on revolutionizing payments, keeping up its reliance on credit cards while China has leapfrogged from cash to mobile payments.  Only 1% of Americans  pay with their phones — that's fewer than the 2% who still use  checks  to pay. But I found that  a ton of the infrastructure to go cashless and cardless already exists. (Though it's worth noting that you do still  need the card. You can just use it remotely.) Here is what my six weeks turned up: My favorite breakfast spot  takes Apple Pay. I can get any restau

AI: Forgetting to learn

AXIOS FUTURE Steve Levine Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios   In the quest to build AI that goes beyond today's single-purpose machines, scientists are developing new tools to help it remember the right things — and forget the rest,  Kaveh reports. Getting that balance right  is the difference between a machine that can trade stocks like a pro but can't make heads or tails of a crossword puzzle, and one that learns all that plus a variety of other skills, and continually improves them — an important step toward human-like intelligence. "AI is entirely about memory and forgetting,"  says Dileep George, founder of the AI company Vicarious. A computer that remembers too little won't be able to do anything that requires connecting past experiences to new ones — like understanding a pronoun in a sentence, even if the person it refers to was named just one sentence before. These memory lapses are known as "catastrophic forgetting."But one that remembers  to

The Great Betrayal: How America Abandoned the Kurds and Lost the Middle East

vent The Great Betrayal: How America Abandoned the Kurds and Lost the Middle East Date: Tuesday 21 May 2019 Time: 1215 Venue: Royal United Services Institute, Whitehall, London Register At this event Professor David Phillips will examine US Middle East policy, how it relates to Kurdish political aspirations and the role of Kurdish fighters combating ISIS in Iraq and Syria Professor David Phillips will discuss one of the longest running conundrums in US Middle East policy, that of Washington’s position on the Kurds. His latest book  The Great Betrayal: How American Abandoned the Kurds and Lost the Middle East (Bloomsbury, 2018-2019) is a political history of the Kurds in Iraq, Syria, and Turkey, spanning the 20th and 21st centuries. Professor Phillips will discuss Washington’s position with regard to Kurdish political aspirations and the role of Kurdish fighters combating ISIS in Iraq and Syria.  A failed Independence referendum in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq in 2017 deferred

Nathuram Godse was an assassin – he was not a Hindu terrorist

Nathuram Godse was an assassin – he was not a Hindu terrorist An open letter Dear Shri Kamal Haasan, Namaskar. Growing up, I was a fan of your acting and your films, “Ek Duje Ke Liye”, “Saagar”, and “Sadma” etc. Those were good years and you were still focussed on your main talent – acting. This focus was to our (your audiences) benefit. We enjoyed your superb performances. Thank you so much Sir. In recent times you joined electoral politics and I got a glimpse of the real person you are. In your films, you were always the actor who impressed me with his value systems. But alas, these value systems were the demand of a scripted story. Real life is unfolding without a script… Your utterances today, during your campaign speech at Aravakurichi in Karur district of Tamil Nadu, where you claimed to be (in spirit) the great grandson of Gandhiji were not surprising. Here you went on to say that Nathuram Godse was the first Hindu terrorist. Before I share with you my own view, I do wish

East African rail links may miss their connections

Oxford ANALYTICA Tuesday, May 7, 2019 An ambitious plan for a trans-regional railway is unravelling, as funding shortfalls collide with mounting debt Source: Kenya Railways Corporation; Tanzania Railways Corporation; Uganda Railways Corporation; East African Community; media reports Outlook A decade ago, East African leaders resolved to build an ambitious trans-regional railway network to reduce transit times and costs for regional trade. Today, only one stretch of track is complete and funding difficulties leave the wider project in question. Economic viability is a key concern: the Mombasa-Nairobi line made a 100-million-dollar loss in its first year of operation. Viability is also highly dependent on completing connections, but volatile regional politics have seen priorities shift, timelines slip and debt mount. Such factors likely contributed to Kenya’s recent failure to secure funding for its Naivasha-Kisumu line. Beijing reportedly signalled that viability depended on Uga

Gender friendly business and law policies need impetus

Oxford ANALYTICA Thursday, April 25, 2019 Gender equality is a Sustainable Development Goal, but most countries lag regardless of income and political stability Source: World Bank’s Women, Business and the Law database Outlook McKinsey estimates that progress in gender equality could raise global GDP by 12 trillion dollars by 2025 if countries implement ‘achievable’ reforms and 28 trillion dollars if countries pass all possible reforms. However, World Bank analysis in February 2019 suggests that the average business and law environment for females in high-income OECD countries has improved by just 4% since 2009. Progress on pay, pensions and childcare continues to stutter. Supporting ‘catch-up’ growth, the environment in South Asia, East Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa has improved by 10% or more, with workplace harassment and gender violence laws improving the potential for women to start a job and have rights when married. Impacts The Peterson Institute analysed firms in 91 co

Baloch versus Beijing: how Chinese investment in Pakistan has energised a violent separatist movement

South Asia Baloch versus Beijing: how Chinese investment in Pakistan has energised a violent separatist movement CPEC is part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative and would link the western province of Xinjiang with the Pakistani port of GwadarThe problem is that Balochistan, the province through which much of CPEC runs, is riven by Islamist, sectarian, and separatist insurgencies Topic |  Pakistan Agence France-Presse    Published: 11:41am, 15 May, 2019 A vast Chinese-funded infrastructure project in  Pakistan  has become a major trigger for separatist insurgents, galvanising their movement as they employ new tactics – including suicide attacks – in an escalation that could rattle Beijing, observers say. A  deadly weekend attack  by gunmen who stormed the luxury Pearl Continental hotel in Gwadar, a port on Pakistan’s southern coast, was the latest high-profile assault linked to the multibillion-dollar  China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) . CPEC – part of China’s ma

The great dilemmas that universities face in the 21st century

BY   FELIPE PORTOCARRERO     Editor’s note: As part of the inaugural Annual Conference of the  Royal Society of Arts  in Peru, Felipe Portocarrero, former chancellor of Universidad del Pacífico, in Peru, gave a speech on the future of universities in Peru and across the world. His speech is very relevant to think tanks and policy research institutes and reflects many of the concerns that we have addressed over the years. He presented and discussed 11 dilemas that universities face. You can read it in its entirety below. The terms of the current debate Rethinking their institutional identity in historical perspective Disciplinary specialisation and comprehensive training Between the professor who researches or the researcher who teaches Universities in knowledge societies The information technology and communication (ICTs ) in the digital age The job market for students Massification, democratisation and quality of higher education The dangers of bureaucratisation Publish or die?