As dire economic predictions for 2023
did not materialise, pundits began 2024 far more optimistically
. But policy ghosts from the last half-century will likely undermine such wishful thinking.
Imperialism continues to dominate the world. Globalisation is losing to some of its anti-theses, but imperialism still rules, increasingly by law, albeit in changing even contradictory ways.
A gathering ‘perfect storm’ – due to various developments, several quite deliberate – now threatens much devastation in the global South, likely to most hurt the poorest and most vulnerable.
The World Social Forum (WSF) is today "more necessary than ever," according to Oded Grajew, promoter and co-founder of the global civil society meeting - a festival of diversity that has not yet succeeded in fomenting or designing the "other possible world" that it predicted when it was created and adopted that motto.
At the bar that Sandra manages in Panama City's central financial district, the variety offered on the menu has shrunk due to delays in ship traffic through the Panama Canal, one of the world's major shipping routes.
Contractionary economic trends since 2008 and ‘geopolitical’ conflicts subverting international cooperation have worsened world conditions, especially in the poorest countries, mainly in Africa, leaving their poor worse off.
In recent decades, failure to sustain economic progress has been blamed on a supposed middle-income country (MIC) trap. Such blaming obscures as much as it supposedly explains.
At the entrance to the municipality of Paraíso, in the southeastern Mexican state of Tabasco, there is a traffic circle that displays three things that are emblematic of the area: crabs, pelicans and mangroves.
Not all wars are fought on the battleground. The Cold War has taught us that certain wars could go on for decades, without overt violence. Perhaps, we are in the middle of another one with China as the new rival to the United States of America
. This time, the ‘battlefield’ is Africa.
Regulation of a technology typically emerges sometime after it has been used in a product or service, or, worse, the risks become apparent. This responsive approach is regrettable when real harm is already being done, as now with AI. With existential risk, the approach would risk the end of human existence.
As artificial intelligence (AI) turns into a global phenomenon, it has triggered widespread speculation on both its positive and negative consequences.
Is AI technology threatening to go wild? the sceptics question. Will AI be a curse or a divine gift to humanity? ask others.
The UN is hustling to play a role – perhaps even a leading role – in the revolution of Artificial Intelligence. To some degree this is perfectly natural.
Recently when I was asked to offer my thoughts on the phenomenal advances of artificial intelligence (AI) and
whether the United Nations play a role in its global governance, I was reminded of the Three Laws of Robotics
which are a set of rules devised by science fiction
author Isaac Asimov
and introduced in his1942 short story.
The frighteningly rapid advances in artificial intelligence (AI) have triggered the question: is there a UN role for monitoring and regulating it?
Citing a report from the Center for AI Safety, the New York Times reported last week that a group of over 350 AI industry leaders warned that artificial intelligence poses a growing new danger to humanity –and should be considered a “societal risk on a par with pandemics and nuclear wars”.
Global fisheries are worth more than US$140 billion each year, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. But this hefty sum does not capture the true value of fish to ocean health, and to the food security and cultures of communities around the world.
When the UN displayed a female robot back in February 2019, it was a peek into the future: a fast-paced, cutting-edge digital technology where humans may one day be replaced with machines and robots.
However, a joke circulating in the UN delegate’s lounge at that time was the possibility, perhaps in a distant future, of a robot-- a female robot-- as the UN Secretary-General in a world body which has been dominated by nine secretaries-general, all male, over the last 78 years.
Last month, we joined more than 1000 representatives from all sectors of civil society who came together in Santiago de Chile to debate the future of – and threats to - public services the world over.
The multilateral system, even in the face of heightened geopolitical tension and big power rivalry, remains the uniquely inclusive vehicle for managing mutual interdependencies in ways that enhance national and global welfare. The complex challenges of a global pandemic, climate emergency, inequality and the risk of nuclear conflict cannot be dealt with by one country or one region alone. Coordinated collective action is required.
In these times when all sorts of human rights violations have been ‘normalised,’ a crime which continues to be perpetrated everywhere but punished nowhere: corruption is also seen as a business as usual. A business, by the way, that relies on the wide complicity of official authorities.
Natural flows do not respect national boundaries. The atmosphere and oceans cross international borders with little difficulty, as greenhouse gases (GHGs) and other fluids, including pollutants, easily traverse frontiers.
The recent incidents of sabotage of the Nord Stream gas pipeline in the depths of the Baltic Sea, the authorship of which still raises doubts today, have reminded us that some of the key infrastructures that condition geopolitics, and our daily lives, are largely located deep under the sea.