Category Archives: government

NATIONAL ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE INITIATIVE

Welcome to AI.gov, home of the National AI Initiative and connection point to ongoing activities to advance U.S. leadership in AI. The National AI Initiative Act of 2020 became law on January 1, 2021, providing for a coordinated program across the entire Federal government to accelerate AI research and application for the Nation’s economic prosperity and national security. The mission of the National AI Initiative is to ensure continued U.S. leadership in AI research and development, lead the world in the development and use of trustworthy AI in the public and private sectors, and prepare the present and future U.S. workforce for the integration of AI systems across all sectors of the economy and society. https://www.ai.gov/

Climate crisis: our children face wars over food and water, EU deputy warns

Older people will have to make sacrifices in the fight against climate change or today’s children will face a future of fighting wars for water and food, the EU’s deputy chief has warned.

Frans Timmermans, vice-president of the EU commission, said that if social policy and climate policy are not combined, to share fairly the costs and benefits of creating a low-carbon economy, the world will face a backlash from people who fear losing jobs or income, stoked by populist politicians and fossil fuel interests. Read more (Guardian)

Death to America’s Manicured Lawns

Nevada’s legislature is considering banning decorative grass. But really we should be banning most lawns in the country. The movement to ban unnatural turf lawns, particularly in America’s arid regions, has been around for a while, and for good reason. The Nevada policy would not actually affect most private yards, but many environmentalists would argue that it should.  Read more (TSB)

The Pandemic Remade Every Corner of Society. Now It’s the Climate’s Turn

For decades, the idea that climate change touches everything has grown behind the scenes. Leaders from small island countries have pleaded with the rest of the world to notice how climate change has begun to uproot their lives, in areas from health care to schooling. Social scientists have crunched the data, illuminating how climate change will ripple across society, contributing to a surge in migration, reduced productivity and a spike in crime. And advocates and thinkers have proposed everything from a conscious move to economic degrowth to eco-capitalism to make climate the government’s driving force. Read more (Time)

There is a saying in Japan: “When rules exist, they have to be obeyed.” (Cultural Knowns and Unknowns)

“In Japan, people have an impression that when someone stands out, they will be targeted or bullied,” she said. “So people learn not to stand out, and young people see this as a survival method. Teachers talk about individuality, and yet people’s uniqueness is crushed.” In corporate Japan, that in turn creates an atmosphere in which people are often scared to speak out, particularly in meetings, and especially if they are women, Oshima and Nozu said. Read more (Washington Post)

Mapping Knowns and Unknowns

China’s TikTok Is Banning Users Who Brag About Their Wealth

The purported aim of the ban is to promote “rational spending” and “a civilized lifestyle,” as well as build a healthier community on Douyin, according to the notice. A spokesperson for the platform told media that flaunting wealth “pollutes the social atmosphere (on Douyin) and is particularly harmful for the mental and physical well-being of minors.”

The recently announced cleanup has actually been underway for weeks. Since the start of this year, close to 4,000 accounts that shared content related to the six now-forbidden categories have been given the boot, the statement said. Read more (Sixth Tone)

The Age of Surveillance Capitalism

We rushed to the internet expecting empowerment, the democratization of knowledge, and help with real problems, but surveillance capitalism really was just too lucrative to resist. This economic logic has now spread beyond the tech companies to new surveillance–based ecosystems in virtually every economic sector, from insurance to automobiles to health, education, finance, to every product described as “smart” and every service described as “personalized.” Read more (Harvard Gazette)

The Rise of the Private City-State: In Nevada desert, a technology firm aims to be a government

He wants Nevada to change its laws to allow “innovation zones,” where companies would have powers like those of a county government, including creating court systems, imposing taxes and building infrastructure while making land and water management decisions. The prospect has been met with intrigue and skepticism from Nevada lawmakers, though the legislation has yet to be formally filed or discussed in public hearings. Most in the Democratic-controlled Legislature are eager to diversify Nevada’s tourism-dependent economy, but many fear backlash against business incentives as they struggle to fund health care and education. Read more (Las Vegas Sun)