Category Archives: government

Tencent wants you to pay with your palm. What could go wrong?

That’s where Tencent is stepping in. The new tech is undoubtedly appealing as the company competes with Alipay for dominance. And as China continues to grapple with ongoing zero-covid policies that mean people still wear masks and avoid physical contact, allowing people to pay by waving their hands up to a few inches from the camera seems preferable to facial or fingerprint recognition. So by offering users small cash incentives in exchange for their participation and data, Tencent is one step closer to spreading the use of palm-print recognition through everyday life—and on a truly massive scale. 

https://www.technologyreview.com/2022/11/15/1063218/whats-next-biometrics-palm-print-recognition-tencent-we-chat-pay/

America May Not Be Ready for the Looming Tsunami of Deepfakes

Americans may not be ready for this tsunami wave of deepfakes. In our recent research, subjects struggled to distinguish between deepfakes and authentic videos. When we randomly assigned a set of deepfake and authentic videos to more than 2,000 individuals and asked them to pick the deepfake, our test subjects were wrong over one-third of the time. Perhaps unsurprisingly given the social media savviness of American youth, middle school students outperformed adults, including the educators who might be responsible for helping them learn key skills to avoid online misinformation. Even computer science students at a top U.S. engineering university were susceptible: They were unable to sort out deepfakes from authentic videos more than 20 percent of the time.

https://www.rand.org/blog/2022/11/america-may-not-be-ready-for-the-looming-tsunami.html?utm_campaign=&utm_content=1669147501&utm_medium=rand_social&utm_source=linkedin

The Future of the Amazon, and Maybe the Planet, Depends on Brazil’s President-Elect Lula

I asked Lula about the path to zero deforestation, and suggested that his “moral responsibility” was huge. “People around the world are expecting you not only to save the Amazon but to save the world,” I said. He nodded, then raised his voice and said, “Yes, I know, and that scares me, because people are very optimistic about our government. I spoke to President Biden, and I just spoke to Josep Borrell,” the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. “People are expecting that something will change, and it will change. As for the question of the Amazon, I intend, in Egypt, to make a speech to show what the Amazon will be from now on. We don’t want to transform the Amazon into a sanctuary for humanity. What we want is to study, to research the Amazon. Nor should it be a place where you cut down a tree for no reason. If you want to make a lumber factory, you should have a policy of afforestation, to plant new trees, so that later you can cut them down. There has to be a replacement plan.”

https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/the-future-of-the-amazon-and-maybe-the-planet-depends-on-brazils-president-elect-lula

A Hotline Garment Workers Can Call When They Face Harassment on the Job

In an industry that has long been largely allowed to police itself, these hotlines are part of a greater movement toward accountability for brands and factories. But even their supporters are quick to point out that they are not a cure-all. Many of the conditions that make gender-based violence hard to stamp out in the world at large — like stigma and victim-blaming — exist in factories too. And in an industry beholden to the frenzied pace and dizzyingly low prices of fast fashion, working conditions remain difficult to regulate. 

https://inthesetimes.com/article/lesotho-women-workers-labor-unions-hotline

https://www.workersrights.org/

Fast fashion: European Union reveals fast fashion crackdown

For every person in the EU, textile consumption requires nine cubic metres of water, 400 square metres of land, 391kg of raw materials, and causes a carbon footprint of about 270kg.

In the UK, politicians have called on the government to change the law to require fashion retailers to comply with environmental standards.

The government rejected most of the Environmental Audit Committee’s recommendations in 2019, including making clothes producers pay for better clothing collection and recycling, but has made textile waste a priority.

https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-60913226

A robust and standardized framework for reuse measurement is needed. Here’s why

Only 14% of plastic packaging is collected for recycling, with an effective recycling rate of approximately 2% globally. Reusable packaging, designed to be used several times, is necessary to reduce total virgin material consumption, emissions and waste generation by keeping resources in circulation.

Measurement and reporting is a significant barrier to scaling reuse models of consumption. There are currently no standardized and tested metrics to track progress on reuse, which is critical for companies to fully understand the economic, consumer and environmental benefits of reusable business models. Organizations still tend to operate in siloes, using different reuse metrics and calculation methodologies. Standardization of reuse metrics across industry, government and standard-setting institutions will accelerate the systemic shift toward reuse models.

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2022/09/plastic-waste-reuse-measurement?utm_source=linkedin&utm_medium=social_scheduler&utm_term=SDIM2022&utm_content=26/09/2022+00:00

The Dream of an ‘Internet Country’ That Would Let You Work From Anywhere

Plumia, which has thus far received 5,000 applications to join, isn’t the first to propose an Internet country. Wirtland launched in 2008 with “witizens” and its own currency and Bitnation arrived in 2014 as a “voluntary crypto nation,” but Plumia is the first to be backed with investor money—health insurance provider SafetyWing has financed the project since its December 2020 launch. Acceptance would be somewhat selective. Citizens of Plumia would be required to pass background checks, a familiar requirement for those familiar with Global Entry, but would also have to share their employment information and annual income.

https://time.com/6211405/internet-country-plumia-remote-work/

K-everything: the rise and rise of Korean culture

The global success of Psy’s rap could be traced back to the dramatic rises and falls in fortune that have characterised Korean history (the peninsula has been invaded and colonised many times, without ever encroaching on its neighbours). After the Korean war, South Korea was ranked among the poorest nations in the world. With a mixture of authoritarian repression and collective will, the “hermit kingdom” had by the late 1990s turned that around to look like a tech and manufacturing success story. That rise came to an abrupt end with an economic crash in 1997, when the Korean government was forced to ask the IMF for an emergency loan of $57bn. The day of that request is still known as the Day of National Humility. In order to pay off the debt there were many collective sacrifices (including a drive for gold that saw tens of thousands of ordinary Koreans donate wedding rings to the national cause).

https://amp.theguardian.com/world/2022/sep/04/korea-culture-k-pop-music-film-tv-hallyu-v-and-a

Elon Musk thinks the population will collapse. Demographers say it’s not happening

Billionaire Elon Musk tweeted, not for the first time, that “population collapse due to low birth rates is a much bigger risk to civilization than global warming.” Climate change is a serious problem facing the planet and experts say it’s difficult to compare problems. What is clear, demographers say, is that the global population is growing, despite declines in some parts of the world, and it shouldn’t be collapsing any time soon — even with birth rates at lower levels than in the past.

https://www.cnn.com/2022/08/30/health/elon-musk-population-collapse-wellness/index.html?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=linkedin

California’s new emissions rule speeds up the future of cars

What makes this such a big deal — aside from the fact that if California were a country, it would be the 10th-largest automobile market in the world — is that 15 other states follow the zero-emissions standards set in Sacramento. If they sign on to this mandate, too, the rule would cover more than one-third of all new vehicles sold in the country, essentially giving California the power to set emissions policy for the whole nation.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/08/29/2035-california-electric-vehicles-future/