Australia & Pacific
During a Global Stage livestream conversation hosted by GZERO in partnership with Microsoft on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, the former New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern revealed that when she reached for her phone to share the heartbreaking news of the Christchurch massacre, she found a horrifying surprise: A livestream of the massacre served to her on a social media platform.
For a period of 24 hours, copies of the footage were uploaded to YouTube as often as once per second, spreading the 17-minute massacre faster than tech companies could shut it down.
The experience drives her work at the Christchurch Call, combating online extremism and working with government and civil society to build guardrails against the exploitation of technology by extremists, , she explained during a Global Stage livestream conversation hosted by GZERO in partnership with Microsoft on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.
Watch the full Global Stage Livestream conversation here: Hearing the Christchurch Call
After a terrorist attack on a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, was live-streamed on the internet in 2019, the Christchurch Call was launched to counter the increasing weaponization of the internet and to ensure that emerging tech is harnessed for good.
Since its inception, the Christchurch Call has evolved to include more than 120 government and private sector stakeholders. The organization, pioneered by the French and New Zealand governments, will hold its next major summit at the Paris Peace Forum in November.
Dame Jacinda Ardern, former Prime Minister of New Zealand who led the response to the Christchurch attack; Ian Bremmer, president and founder of Eurasia Group and GZERO Media; and Brad Smith, vice chair and president of Microsoft sat down with CNN’s Rahel Solomon for a Global Stage livestream on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York. The event was hosted by GZERO Media in partnership with Microsoft.
Reflecting on the catastrophic attack that prompted the formation of the Call and its mission, Dame Ardern recalled how, on that day, ”I reached for my phone to be able to share that message on a social media platform, I saw the live stream.” She notes how that became a galvanizing moment: In the “aftermath of that period, we were absolutely determined … we had the attention of social media platforms in particular to do something that would try and prevent any other nation from having that experience again.”
That led to the formation of the organization in a mere eight-week period, Ardern said. But identifying hate speech and extremism online that can fuel violence is no small feat, Ardern acknowledges, adding that while the goal can indeed appear “lofty,” the group’s focus is on “setting expectations” around what should and shouldn’t be tolerated online.
But what did tech companies learn from the Christchurch experience about their own roles in moderating content, overseeing algorithms, and mitigating potential radicalization and violence?
One major development that came out of the Christchurch Call, Smith notes, is what’s known as a content incident protocol. “Basically, you have the tech companies and governments and others literally on call like doctors being summoned to the emergency room at tech companies and in governments so that the moment there is such a shooting, everybody immediately is alerted.”
Emerging technologies – most notably artificial intelligence – mean that the Christchurch Call must remain nimble in the face of new threats. Still, Ardern says that’s not necessarily a bad thing because AI presents both challenges and opportunities for the organization. “On the one hand we may see an additional contribution from AI to our ability to better manage content moderation that may be an upside,” she says. But “a downside,” she notes, “is that we may see it continue to contribute to or expand on some of the disinformation which contributes to radicalization.”
Bremmer shared this view of AI, calling it both “a tool of extraordinary productivity and growth, indeed globalization 2.0,” while also acknowledging the threat of disinformation proliferation: “Fundamental to a democratic society, an open society, a civil society, fundamental to human rights and the United Nations Charter is the idea that people are able to exchange information that they know is true, that they know is real,” he says.
Four years after the Christchurch attack, there is indeed a sense of urgency surrounding the need for governments to better understand emerging technologies and their powers over politics and society. “Governments understand that this is systemic, it is transformative, and they're not ready,” Bremmer says, adding that “they don't have the expertise, they don't have the resources, and we don't yet have the architecture … we're late!”
WATCH LIVE: A deadly terrorist attack in New Zealand was livestreamed in 2019, horrifying the world. The result was an international movement to end extremism and hate online. Join us live today at 11 am ET to learn about the Christchurch Call to Action, how it can create a safer and more secure world, and what global collaboration will look like in the AI era.
CNN's Rahel Solomon will moderate our livestream conversation during the 78th UN General Assembly, with Dame Jacinda Ardern, former prime minister of New Zealand and Special Envoy for the Christchurch Call; Ian Bremmer, president of Eurasia Group and GZERO Media; and Brad Smith, Vice Chair and President, Microsoft.
Hearing the Christchurch Call: Collaboration in the Age of AI
Wednesday, September 20th | 11:00 am -12:00 pm ET
- Dame Jacinda Ardern, Former Prime Minister of New Zealand and Special Envoy for the Christchurch Call
- Brad Smith, Vice Chair and President, Microsoft
- Ian Bremmer, President & Founder, Eurasia Group & GZERO Media
- Rahel Solomon, CNN (moderator)
Canadian politicians and observers are wondering what he meant by “other partners.” A May report suggested Canada was keen to cooperate with the trilateral group in its second phase. This suggestion came after the Liberal government had previously said it had no interest in taking part and neither wanted nor needed nuclear submarines. The White House has said there are no plans to invite Canada to join the pact. But that may not preclude cooperation in the second phase, like New Zealand.
Last week, US Senator Dan Sullivan criticized Canada for its low military spending. While questioning Lt.-Gen. Gregory Guillot during his confirmation process to head the North American Aerospace Defence Command, Sullivan quizzed Guillot one whether the US could count on him to have “tough conversations” with Canada on the matter.
Canada has long been pressured by allies to spend more on defense. In April, a report suggested that PM Justin Trudeau told allies he has no intention of hitting the 2% of GDP military spending target. In response to Sullivan’s criticism, Trudeau defended Canada’s military spending, including a pledge of roughly CA$40 billion to modernize NATO and the recent purchase of a fleet of F-35 fighter jets. But whether that’s enough depends on whether allies believe it’s enough – and Canada’s participation in AUKUS, or its absence, may indicate how the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom really feel about that.
Ian Bremmer's Quick Take: Hi everybody. Ian Bremmer here, and a special update, Quick take, I know you need to hear about this. The geopolitics of "Barbie".
"Barbie" is coming out. No, not in that way. Next week in the United States and the United Kingdom, massive launch. You've seen the dreamhouse, you've seen the buses, you've seen the excitement, and now you've seen the geopolitical backlash. It was not what you were expecting. I certainly don't remember there ever being a political science Barbie. Uh, there is a campaign manager Barbie that they made. That's, that's pretty much the opposite when you think about it. And there's also a Chief Sustainability Officer Barbie, that was of course, made of plastic naturally. But never a geopolitical analyst Barbie. Well, maybe that was a mistake, turns out there's a problem.
In the movie, there's a world map behind Barbie. Unclear why Barbie requires a scene with the world map. I'm sure we're all gonna learn this in a couple of weeks or maybe not. But there it is. World map in crayon. And you can see Greenland that's in yellow of course, and sort of a nine-dash line. Might there be a nine-dash line around Southeast Asia? Well, that's the big question. Vietnam banned the movie from its market saying that that indeed was what was being depicted. The upside is that China has not, it's the largest global movie market at the box office. And Hollywood Studios, of course, very frequently tailor movies to ensure that they get approval from the sensors. Now, the Philippines was also going to ban "Barbie." They've now decided against it as long as the map is blurred. So here's the map. Take a look again. Is Barbie supporting Chinese Neocolonialism? And would Ken approve?
Of course critical question here. Warner Brothers says that "this is a child-like crayon drawing" and it was not intended to make any type of statement that alleged nine-dash line is neither clearly located in the South China Sea region, nor does it have nine dashes. We look carefully. It's only eight. Only eight dashes. That's one fewer dash. Heck it's not even the only dashed line on the map. If you look closely, you'll also see that there's a Cambodia-sized turtle that's located nearby, right on the Asian landmass. And I'm pretty sure that that's already been eaten. But I do think the Warner Brothers folks did know what they were doing. I mean, you know, you're trying hard to get access to the Chinese market, but you don't wanna alienate anyone. So by putting these eight dashes off of Asia, it's an effort to get favor from the Chinese sensors, but also not antagonize the Southeast Asians.
Barbie, you think you're so clever. But this has happened before in 2022. Vietnam and the Philippines both banned Sony Pictures action movie "Uncharted" over their nine-dashed depiction. And that was pretty clear. It was very brief, it was very clear depiction. Also, they stopped screenings both countries of Dreamworks animated film "Abominable" in 2019 due to a scene that showed the nine-dash line. Malaysia made the studio cut the scene from "Abominable," and that's no joke. What the hell are all these people doing with nine-dash lines? Well, you know, all we can say, Fox News had a host that asked, is Barbie a communist? You be the judge. Pics on the spectrum, but it should help "Oppenheimer" at the box office.
That's it for me. Talk to you real soon.
The US and China are competing for influence around the globe, but tensions are particularly high in East Asia, where China is the dominant power and the US is working to stop the region’s drift toward Beijing. The Eurasia Group Foundation surveyed 1,500 people across Singapore, South Korea, and the Philippines – three countries caught in the middle of the US-China rivalry with significant historical, economic, and diplomatic ties to both superpowers – for their views.
“We found that the US is still held in high regard in the countries we surveyed, much more so than China, but that most think increasing tensions between the two countries will negatively impact their country's national security and domestic political environment” says Caroline Gray, a senior EGF researcher.
We took a look at the data to see how the US and China are faring in their competition for influence in East Asia.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that where there are humans there are, generally, rats. As humans have moved about the world, the rats have followed to feast on their crops, their garbage – and in the case of New Zealand – their native birds.
There are, to be fair, a few exceptions. Two, to be precise. One is Alberta, Canada, which launched a massive anti-rat mobilization in the 1950s and has been rat-free since. The other is South Georgia Island in the southern Atlantic Ocean, which was declared rat-free in 2018, after the government deployed helicopters to rain poison pellets from the sky.
Now New Zealand aims to become the third. The island nation is launching Predator Free 2050 Ltd, a public body that hopes to protect native birds by eradicating all rats. Their chances of success? Historians of the rat vs. human power struggle would say: “slim.”
Alberta’s war on rats was defensive – a whole-of-society mobilization unleashed before the rodents had shown up in large numbers. The borderlands with already-infested Saskatchewan were seeded with rat poison, hundreds of exterminators would fan out after a single sighting, and propaganda posters mobilized the population to vigilance.
But New Zealand is already infested: Rats run rampant there, devouring 26 million birds a year, and the country has just 36 rat catchers armed with peanut butter and poison.
As the next battle in the unending war between rats and mankind unfolds, the score stands at …
- Humans: 2 territories
- Rats: rest of the world
Your move, Kiwis.