Science & Tech
The war in Ukraine has so fundamentally redirected the course of world affairs that UN Secretary-General António Guterres says little else can be resolved globally before the fighting stops.
That doesn’t stop self-described “eternal optimist” Justin Vaisse from giving it his best shot. The historian took on a mandate from French President Emmanuel Macron in 2017 to organize the Paris Peace Forum, a venue to mend the strained and broken aspects of the multilateral system.
GZERO’s Tony Maciulis caught up with him on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, where they discussed his plans for the upcoming forum in November, plus his views on Ukraine and bridging ties with the Global South.
Watch more interviews from the UN General Assembly from Global Stage.
Every year, over ten million people globally die from high blood pressure, more than all infectious diseases combined. Dr. Tom Frieden, former director of the Centers for Disease Control, is tackling this massive problem in public health, among many others, as CEO of Resolve to Save Lives.
He told GZERO’s Tony Maciulis that ensuring easy access to three drugs — amlodipine for blood pressure, metformin for blood sugar, and atorvastatin for cholesterol — could save tens of millions of lives over the next quarter century for just a penny per pill.
It’s part of a set of goals Frieden calls the three Rs: Renaissance in public health, robust primary healthcare and resilient populations. But as the developing world takes on more and more public debt, where will the money come from?
See more from Global Stage.
Listen: War in Ukraine. Global poverty on the rise. Hunger, too. Not to mention a persistent pandemic. It doesn't feel like a particularly good time to be alive. And yet, Harvard psychologist Stephen Pinker argues that things are getting better today than ever across the world, based on the metrics that matter. Like laundry.
In 1920, the average American spent 11.5 hours a week doing laundry (and that average American was almost always a woman, dudes just wore dirty clothes). By 2014, the number had dropped to 1.5 hours a week, thanks to what renowned public health scholar Hans Rosling called "greatest invention of the Industrial Revolution”: the washing machine. By freeing people of washing laundry by hand, this new technology allowed parents to devote more time to educating their children, and it allowed women to cultivate a life beyond the washboard.
The automation of laundry is just one of many metrics that Pinker, uses to measure human progress. But how does his optimistic view of the state of the world stack up against the brutality of the modern world? Ian Bremmers asks this "relentlessly optimistic macro thinker" to share his view of the world on the GZERO World podcast.Subscribe to the GZERO World Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or your preferred podcast platform, to receive new episodes as soon as they're published.
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
Human progress doesn’t have a finish line.
Our body clocks stop ticking at some point, but that’s not the same as reaching a destination, or achieving a goal. So how do we—as a community, as a country...as a world—define progress? What does “better” even look like?
In a word: laundry.
In 1920, the average American spent 11.5 hours a week doing laundry (and that average American was almost always a woman). By 2014, the number had dropped to 1.5 hours a week, thanks to what renowned public health scholar Hans Rosling has called QUOTE "greatest invention of the Industrial Revolution,”: the washing machine. By freeing people of washing laundry by hand, this new technology allowed parents to devote more time to educating their children, and it allowed women to cultivate a life beyond the washboard.
So, as I always say to myself whenever I’m stuck in traffic or on hold with customer service, there has never been a better time to be alive. And yet...And yet...And yet... War in Europe. Famine in Africa. Global pandemics. Fake news. Conspiracy theories. Democracy dying in the bright light of day. And that’s just your average Tuesday. So how much is technology making our lives better, and how much is a part of the problem?
Find out in this week's episode of GZERO World with Ian Bremmer on US public television (check local listings) and at gzeromedia.com/gzeroworld.
The global climate crisis is acute. In the last few months alone, Hawaii, Morocco and Libya have experienced climate-linked catastrophes that have wiped out communities and killed tens of thousands of people.
At the same time, emerging tech – notably artificial intelligence and data ecosystems – are becoming increasingly sophisticated and influential. There’s been much focus on the perils and threats posed by these scientific developments, but how can they be proactively harnessed to mitigate climate challenges and create a more resilient world?
On the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York, GZERO Media held a Global Stage livestream event unpacking these complex challenges and opportunities, in collaboration with the United Nations, the Complex Risk Analytics Fund, and the Early Warnings for All initiative.
This urgent conversation was be moderated by Nick Thompson, CEO, The Atlantic; and featured Melinda Bohannon, Director General of Humanitarian and Development at the UK’s Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office; Ian Bremmer, President and Founder of Eurasia Group and GZERO Media; Vilas Dhar, President and Trustee, Patrick J. McGovern Foundation; Dr. Comfort Ero, President and CEO of International Crisis Group; Mami Mizutori, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction; Amina Mohammed, UN Deputy Secretary-General; Amandeep Singh Gill, UN Envoy on Technology; Brad Smith, Vice Chair and President, Microsoft; Axel van Trostenburg, World Bank Managing Director; and Anne Witkowsky, Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations at the US Department of State.
Emerging tech is presenting huge opportunities to identify climate hotspots and scale damage and destruction. Indeed, Smith says that satellites are able to not only capture visual images, but also gather “data streams” on fossil fuel emissions. In addition, AI is also being harnessed to identify communities affected by climate calamities and see which “people have been rendered homeless.” Still, tech companies can’t do it alone. In order to identify what their exact needs are, Smith adds, partnerships with NGOs and other stakeholders are key.
Amandeep Singh Gill had much to say about how these processes are applied in real time, particularly when addressing world hunger. “Across 90 countries, 700-800 million people are at risk of food insecurity,” he notes, adding that using data across institutions has allowed the multilateral organization “to get assessments about where food insecurity is going to spike next, and that allows us to respond in a better way.”
Still, having access to copious amounts of data is one thing, but figuring out how to use it to effectuate change is quite another. “There's a real gap between the information that's out there and the ability to act upon the information that's out there,” Dr Ero says, adding that “lack of policy and action” and failure to act quickly when crises are identified are hindering these global efforts. Dr Ero points to the situation in Somalia, which is still grappling with an insurgency by the Al-Shabaab terror group while also facing floods and trying to rebuild its society. “All the data points are showing the stresses that Somalia has to deal with, but why aren't we able to respond to that?” she asks, highlighting poor governance and lack of political will as impediments to progress.
When asked about how these issues might be affected by the fact that heads of state from four out of five permanent members of the UN Security Council did not show up at the UN General Assembly this week, Amina Mohammed said there is “huge momentum” from governments and stakeholders. “The 2030 agenda is urgent, and we really do just feel that there is a movement to make that happen. There's a sense of determination … too many people are at stake.”
And there’s one elephant in the room when discussing climate change and tech advancements: China. One big issue, Bremmer notes, “is that China is really distracted by very significant domestic economic challenges and that has put real constraints, material constraints, on their foreign policy strategy over the long term,” he says.
The state of public health in the developing world bears some deep scars from the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the past three years, immunization rates have dropped to levels not seen in three decades. 2 billion people are facing "catastrophic or impoverishing" health spending worldwide according to the World Health Organization. And governments in the Global South are taking on more and more debt at the expense of investment in health and social services.
Kate Dodson, the Vice President of Global Health Strategy at the UN Foundation, is on the frontlines of the fight to give the most vulnerable people in the world access to proper healthcare. She works to connect experts and innovators with the UN, and find resources to support their work.
She’s calling on governments to invest in basic elements of public health, including primary care access, and properly remunerating healthcare workers — the majority of whom are women, worldwide. And more fundamentally, she wants leaders to treat health as a human right that all deserve to enjoy.
More from Global Stage: https://www.gzeromedia.com/global-stage/
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