D IPLOM ATICOURIER.com
A Global Affairs Media Network VO L UME 13 I ISSUE 1 I J AN UARY 2019
BLOCKCHAIN THE CRISIS OF SYMBOLS AND
THE AGE OF VALUE TRANSFER
UNDERSTANDING HUMAN BEHAVIOR THROUGH CITIZEN SCIENCE
A CONTEMPORARY DIPLOMATIC HISTORY OF THE URBAN 20
DIGITAL BATTLEFIELD AND THE FUTURE OF WAR
SIX REPORTS ON THE FUTURE OF WORK
7 #MEGATRENDS FUTURE OF SOCIETY There is no question we will soon live longer, work less, and know more than ever before. But what will we do in this post-employment world? How will it function? How will society relate to knowledge, information and new social classes (those who have or create the knowledge and those who consume it)? Advancements are allowing us to re-imagine and re-engineer our world. But what will it mean for the Future Society?
FUTURE OF HUMANITY We know Artificial Intelligence (AI) will reign supreme in our imaginations but the World in 2050 will not be a battleground between AIs and humans. Augmented humans will test the limits of humanity and they are already walking among us now. Biotechnology and gene editing are allowing us to engineer a new kind of human.
FUTURE OF ENERGY Humans’ impact on the planet is so irreversibly profound that exploring alternative forms of energy will be paramount to humanity’s survival in the long term. Innovations and cutting-edge research is already in the works but the goal of our generation will be to become less and less dependent (and eventually completely independent) from fossil fuels.
OFF WORLD CIVILIZATIONS Space is the next great frontier for our civilization and becoming a multiplanetary species is one of the most important future forward achievements we can strive for. Advancements in space flight and moonshots by both private sector (SpaceX and Virgin Galactic) and government (UAE’s Mars 2117 initiative) will make ours the first Mars Generation.
FUTURE OF TRAVEL Flying cars, the Hyperloop, intergalactic travel? These are not Sci-Fi visions of the future but the world now. At the famous World’s Fair in New York in 1939, GM envisioned a futuristic society where highways connected the rural to the urban. With 70% of the world’s population moving to cities in the coming decades, innovating in the transportation realm will be paramount.
FUTURE OF HEALTH Humanity is struggling against bacteria and disease as well as noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). Today our focus is on primary or secondary prevention. In the near future, we will be solving for “primordial prevention”, looking at prevention of the risk factors in the first place, and we will treat age as a disease that not only can be “cured” but can be prevented.
ARTISTIC VISIONS OF THE FUTURE What about art, poetry, or inventions for things and issues that have not even been imagined yet? What is the role of pop culture or film in solving for the future? This category is for the dreamers who will marry the practical to the whimsical.
LETâ€™S CO-CREATE THE FUTURE TOGETHER.
Apply today for the annual list: www.2050challenge.com Each of these 7 megatrends represent fields of worldwide pivot points for change. How can your contribution direct us toward a better world in 2050?
D I P L O M AT I C O U R I E R .c o m
Contents VO L UME 13 I ISSUE 1 I J AN UARY 2019
06 I Editor’s Note A New Beginning for Diplomatic Courier
By: Ana C. Rold
08 I Cover Story Blockchain: The Crisis of Symbols and the Age of Value Transfer
By: Jacksón Smith
16 I Feature Giving Big Data Back to the People
By: Ana C. Rold
18 I Feature Understanding Human Behavior Through Citizen Science
22 I Feature MIT Solve: Coordinating the Future of Learning
By: Jacksón Smith
24 I Feature Alarm Bells Ring As EU Governments Take Aim at Funding to ‘Political NGOs’
By: Cathal Gilbert & Giada Negri
30 I Feature The Digital Battlefield and the Future of War
34 I Gallery Extraordinary Women Becoming Self-Sufficient Against All Odds By: Michelle Guillermin with Elizabeth Winters
38 I Diplomatic Life NASA Astronauts Descend on Monte Carlo
By: Ian Klaus
By: André Calantzopoulos
26 I Feature The U20: A Contemporary Diplomatic History
32 I Opinion Editorial Open Letter From Philip Morris International CEO
By: Molley McCluskey
42 I Report Reviews The Future of Work
By: Meg Evett
By: Ana C. Rold
By: Janet Rafner & Jacob Sherson
Masthead Publishing house Medauras Global
COVER Story Jacksón Smith
publisher & ceo Ana C. Rold
photographers Michelle Guillermin Sebastian Rich
Editor-at-large Molly McCluskey Creative Director Christian Gilliham director of social media Samantha Thorne Contributing EDITORS Michael Kofman Paul Nash Chris Purifoy Winona Roylance Jacksón Smith
CONTRIBUTORS Charles Crawford Meg Evett Cathal Gilbert Marc Ginsberg Justin Goldman Caroline Holmund Joshua Huminski Coby Jones Sarah Jones Ian Klaus Daniel Metz Arun S. Nair Giada Negri Uju Okoye Janet Rafner Jacob Sherson Elizabeth Winters
Editorial Advisors Fumbi Chima Sir Ian Forbes Lisa Gable Anders Hedberg Mary D. Kane Greg Lebedev Anita McBride DC CORRESPONDENT Hannah Bergstrom un correspondent Akshan de Alwis
PUBLISHING. Diplomatic Courier magazine is produced by Medauras Global LLC, an independent private publishing firm. The magazine is printed six times a year and publishes a blog and online commentary weekly at www.diplomaticourier.com. PRINT. Print issues of Diplomatic Courier average 40-60 pages in length. Individual and back issues cost $10.00 per issue (plus S&H). Student rates are available to both part-time and full-time students with proof of school enrollment. New print issues of Diplomatic Courier are published and mailed in January, March, May, July, September, and November. Subscriptions commence with the next issue. EDITORIAL. The articles in Diplomatic Courier both in print and online represent the views of their authors and do not reflect those of the editors and the publishers. While the editors assume responsibility for the selection, the authors are responsible for the facts and interpretations of their articles. PERMISSIONS. Authors retain all copyrights to their articles. None of the articles can be reproduced without their permission and that of the publishers. For permissions please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your written request. ISSN. The Library of Congress has assigned: ISSN 2161-7260 (Print); ISSN 2161-7287 (Online). ISBN: 978-1-942772-01-9 (Print); 978-1-942772-02 (Online).
letters to the editor/ editorial submissions Editors@diplomaticourier.org advertising/sponsorship/sales Info@medauras.com website/apps support ITsupport@medauras.com mailing address 1660 L Street, NW, Suite 501 Washington, DC 20036 United States download All digital editions
LEGAL. Copyright ©2006-2019 Diplomatic Courier and Medauras Global. All rights reserved. No part of this publication can be reproduced without written consent of the publishers. All trademarks that appear in this publication are the property of the respective owners. Any and all companies featured in this publication are contacted by Medauras Global and the Diplomatic Courier to provide advertising and/or services. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of information in this publication, however, Medauras Global and the Diplomatic Courier magazine make no warranties, express or implied in regards to the information, and disclaim all liability for any loss, damages, errors, or omissions. ART/PHOTOGRAPHY/ILLUSTRATIONS. In order of appearance: Cover Photo (also on pages 8-9) by Tony Webster; page 4, logomark by Issuu; page 6, photo by Joyce Boghosian; page 18, by Mimi Garcia; page 20, image courtesy of Science at Home; Page 22-23, by Giu Vicente; page 32-33, photo courtesy of the World Economic Forum via Public Domain; page 33, photo courtesy of the office of the CEO at Philip Morris International; page 35-37, all photos by Michelle Guillermin for Women for Women International; pages 38-39, all photos by Molly McCluskey; page 40 by Adam Miller; pages 44-49, all report covers courtesy of the producing organizations. All other images and photos by Bigstockphotos.com. All advertising images supplied by the respective individuals, organizations, or companies advertising.
J A N U A RY 2 0 1 9 04
THE STORCHEN ISN‘T JUST IN ZURICH, IT IS ZURICH The Storchen experience extends far beyond the hotel‘s wall and fully embraces the spirit of Zurich, one of the cities consistently ranked as offering the best quality of life in the world. You are invited to enjoy the Storchen and appreciate an authentic taste of the much-celebrated Zurich lifestyle. For early birds or night owls, a quick drink or a long, leisurely lunch: no matter what you‘re looking for, we offer the full gamut of gourmet experiences – all presented with a hearty portion of passion, creativity and ﬂair. www.storchen.ch
D I P L O M AT I C O U R I E R .c o m
Welcome VO L UME 13 I ISSUE 1 I J AN UARY 2019
Ana C. Rold Publisher & CEO
A New Beginning for Diplomatic Courier In September 2006, in his Foreword for our inaugural edition, Sir Ian Forbes—a retired Royal Navy Admiral who was previously the NATO Deputy Supreme Allied Commander for Transformation—said this about our publication’s mandate: “Technology changes with the moment but the psychology necessary to exploit it always takes time. In such an environment, it is absolutely crucial to ensure a full and constructive engagement of opinions and views, for it is only by capturing all aspects of the problem in an open and transparent manner that it can be comprehensively addressed. And in this, the luxury of time is no longer with us.” And so, the Courier went on to make an indelible mark in the global affairs realm; a realm that was already crowded and going out of business. As more established publications struggled to find relevance at a time when Facebook and Twitter captured all the attention spans, the Courier sought to focus hard on the realities associated with global affairs from the perspective of “foot soldiers” on the ground. And we did so not from the same old view of one group of people watching from Ivory Towers, but from an array of views from other players in government, business, media, law, technology, and youth. Most importantly, we were proud to be called niche, boutique, and even small. It allowed us to be fiercely independent. Since 2006, we have reached numerous important milestones as a private, majority woman-owned media company in Washington, DC. However, no milestone has been as important as the one today. Today we are thrilled to announce our strategic merger with the Learning Economy, an Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain endeavor working to solve the global skills gap. How does the Courier fit with the Learning Economy? It’s a great question. For years, we have sought to learn how the most cutting-edge technological advancements will benefit society and humanity. It’s been our modus operandi to connect the establishment (governments and policy makers) to the new establishment (technologists, digital economy leaders, and young professionals) in order to create uncommon collaborations. The issues, which define the 21st century are unfolding daily. As populations grow and urban centers expand, humanity’s mutual needs increasingly collide. Clean water, fresh air, renewable energy and climate change are challenges confronting all nations collectively. Coming up with the solutions will take an inter-disciplinary approach. Most importantly, solutions will not come from government heads—or, at least not from them alone. For as long as we have been around, our team at the Courier has embraced the skills, practices, and behaviors of futurists. Through the merger with the Learning Economy we hope to add Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, and Cryptography to our toolset to better investigate and tell the most important stories for our global society and humanity. And we are thrilled to continue being fiercely independent. Our strategic merger with LE has expanded our toolset and ability to pursue the most important stories of our time and it has done so with zero compromise on our independence as a global media company. The next decade will bring about massive change to our global community. Understanding where our society is going will require uncommon collaboration between the old establishment and the new establishment. As always, we will continue playing our role of content ambassadors between these important changemakers. ● J A N U A RY 2 0 1 9 06
IMF Publicationsâ€Ś Keeping readers in touch with global economic issues
Visit Bookstore.imf.org I
D I P L O M AT I C O U R I E R .c o m
COVER STORY BLOCKCHAIN
Blockchain: The Crisis of Symbols and the age of Value Transfer By Jacksรณn Smith
J A N U A RY 2 0 1 9 08
CROEV FE RU G S TEOERSY BLOCKCHAIN
“imagine anyone in the world suddenly has the ability to create their own currency symbol, map it through logic onto their own inherent values, and then organize anyone, anywhere in the world around that value. That’s the power of blockchain.”
D I P L O M AT I C O U R I E R .c o m
COVER STORY BLOCKCHAIN
efore we talk about blockchain, we need to talk about value. Particularly, how symbols are capable of expressing value. The U.S. Dollar is a common symbol: a ‘universal’ store of value used to express economic voice tied to the logic of capital. It’s the reserve currency of the world, the store of value used to measure modern success, and the language used to express material desires. But there are other value symbols, ones we don’t think about in this way. The vote is a value symbol vested with a particular logic: one-vote-oneperson. You can’t give your vote to someone else, and you can’t sell your vote for money. Whether it be a ballot or a raised hand or a click of the ‘enter’ button, this embedded logic gives meaning to and maps the symbol of a vote to the inherent value of political voice. Next, we have the clock and its forward moving logic symbolized by a ticking minute hand and glowing LEDs mapped to the inherent, cosmic value of time. Despite the popular mantra time is money, money is not time. All of these are decentralized coordination devices. They are symbols mapped through logic to particular inherent values: economic voice, political voice, and time itself. These symbols create languages tied to particular grammars which allow us to coordinate around their underlying values—and then enable us to create exchanges between them: time and money (think wages and contracts), votes and time (think election cycles and term limits), votes and money (think clientelism and campaign financing)—laying the foundation for complicated macro-phenomena to emerge, grow, and thrive. From the dollar, we get markets and capitalism; from the vote, we get societies and democracies; from time, we get machines and the industrial revolution. These symbols form the elementary basis of modern life without us even noticing—they connect our everyday routine to the greater routine of our communities, our countries, our world.
We are living at a time when it is more important than ever to put on our critical thinking hats. Are these symbols—the ones we’ve entrusted to coordinate our values—serving us, the people?
But now, think about this—imagine anyone in the world suddenly has the ability to create their own currency symbol, map it through logic onto their own inherent values, and then organize anyone, anywhere in the world around that value. That’s the power of blockchain. This changes everything. Even though we take dollars, votes, and seconds for granted, none of these symbols are static. The symbols themselves, like institutions, evolve and adapt to society, not the other way around. Consider a time when time wasn’t so synchronized. For most of humanity, we did not measure and express time as the steady tick and march forward of discrete, equal moments we now scientifically call ‘seconds.’ Churches did erect clock towers in city centers, ringing the nearby townsfolk to prayer or work—but they jangled their bells to coordinate their communities around their own logic of shared activities and events, not some fundamental unit of the cosmos. This system worked fairly well for agriculture-based societies— until one day it all began to change. Enter the Industrial Era—when the scientific clock began its imperial march into our collective psyches. Scientific time is a simple idea: time moves ever, evenly forward like the steady climbing of stairs up a tower toward infinity. This simple idea profoundly reshaped how we viewed ourselves against the background of our universe. Suddenly, we began overlaying seconds, minutes, and hours over our everyday activities, creating at first simple, then more complex calculations. How many hours does it J A N U A RY 2 0 1 9 10
take to weave a basket, harvest the wheat, or travel from Omaha to San Francisco? Prior to the scientific clock these questions were incoherent; after, they were everything. The scientific clock fertilized the soil for the advent of machines in the Industrial Revolution. It not only created a way for employers to coordinate labor according to time slips, it also induced a powerful desire to create efficiency with respect to time. At first, this meant steam engines, looms, tractors, factories, and cars—anything that allowed us to produce faster, work faster, or move faster—but computers, robots, and drones hummed in the distance—what are machines but time-sequenced instructions? Before the advent of Coordinated Universal Time, however, the scientific clock was still clunky in realizing its symbolic ideal. There was a period in American history where people would actually jockey to steal time from one another. On lunch breaks, factory managers would push the minute hand backwards on the clock to squeeze out ‘extra’ hours from their workers. And, when the manager wasn’t looking, workers would push it forward. Of course, this sort of behavior undermines the integrity of the symbol—it’s akin to a shoddy used car salesman twisting the odometer meter backwards. This brings us to an interesting quality of value symbols— not only can they be corrupted, they will be corrupted if anyone is left in charge of them. If everyone reset their clocks when they needed another hour or turned back their odometer when they needed a new car, then the capacity for second-hands and mile tickers to communicate their underlying
CROEV FE RU G S TEOERSY BLOCKCHAIN
“the exchange rate between likes and dollars is seemingly ludicrous—Facebook just raked in $21 Billion in digital advertising revenue.” value would fundamentally unravel. This is the Tragedy of Symbols. We are living at a time when it is more important than ever to put on our critical thinking hats. Are these symbols—the ones we’ve entrusted to coordinate our values—serving us, the people? Take voting for example. Democracy isn’t the vote. Democracy is the inherent values beneath it: self-sovereignty marked by autonomy, equality, and reciprocity—not the fact that you get to put a piece of paper in the ballot box. Are votes, as we know them, living up to this ideal? Ask yourself this question: why is it that, at a time when more people in the United States have the right to vote and the United States has the highest gross spending on elections, voter turnout is so precipitous? If we agree that part of the logic of a vote is that it can’t be
bought but people are buying votes— we should see it unravel as a symbol. People are losing confidence in votes the same way people lose confidence in clocks that don’t count time or odometers that don’t count miles. Looking forward, it’s true, money in politics is not itself particularly new —but new targeting techniques that leverage artificial intelligence are—and they are challenging the underlying assumptions behind voter agency. What happens to the legitimacy of a vote when political ads can be personalized to your particular genetic and hormonal features? When a political force can micro-target you thousands of times a day, slowly but surely edging your biochemical processes to support this or that candidate—all with the cool precision of a scientist? Will the current logic of voting withstand this tidal wave of change?
For Facebook, likes became a symbol mapped to the value of attention. Who cares about attention? Advertisers, social butterflies, everyone—who among us hasn’t logged on to see who liked us?
Now, take the dollar. Its logic is based on the material production of capital. Fueled by our convictions for economic growth—an implicit, common agreement—we create a high-yield financial market, which uses dollars as the invisible hand to orchestrate the allocation of capital towards its most efficient, ‘best’ use. This logic is based on a presumption of market competition. Therefore, if large mutual funds and institutional investors like BlackRock and Vanguard are wedging ever growing profits by implicitly suffocating competition—leveraging the sheer size of their accumulated wealth— then capital is being directed toward monopsonists and monopolists, not its best use. Further, we often forget that capital is at the core of modern markets, not labor. Labor stewards capital—which explains the current crisis in the future of work. For the past 200 years, human labor has played a pivotal role in stewarding the production of more and more capital—and now, with the rise of automation, that’s all changing. Robots, it turns out, are perfectly capable of production. This isn’t even to mention that we are living in an unprecedented period of global economic inequality. With calls for universal basic income, for trade wars and tariffs, for relief plans for
D I P L O M AT I C O U R I E R .c o m
COVER STORY BLOCKCHAIN
‘middle America’ and old manufacturing hubs—is the dollar, as we know it, still capable of expressing ‘universal value’ ten, twenty, one hundred years from now? What we are seeing right now is a crisis of symbols. The symbols of the old world, of the old order are only loosely mapped to these inherent values—we are living in a time where we have dollars that are no longer mapped to labor-based capital and votes that no longer really represent political voice. The only reason we have these crude, macro coordinating devices is because there has never been a way for people to introduce new value symbols that actually matter to them. What we need is an explosion of new symbols, which actually represent the inherent values we care about. Great thinkers have already begun this task. Take, for example, Richard Posner’s Radical Markets, where he argues in favor of replacing votes as we know them with ‘voice credits’ that accumulate and can be spent or traded. At the core of his idea, he presents a new logic behind the symbol of a vote so that citizens can express the intensity of their beliefs, not just their direction, without undue influence. These new symbols for representing political voice, he believes, can better balance the often opposing and long-standing tension between the democratic values of majority rule and minority rights. Now, I want you to imagine your own set of symbols. Imagine whole industries where you believe that the entire model is flipped upside-down. Take how we talk about education needing to do a bake sale while we dump one half of our economy into military or how we’ve cured countless diseases which millions of people still die of every year. These are the kinds of inversions that we can imagine because the current symbolic infrastructure doesn’tallow communities to come around, in a decentralized way, the inherent values they believe in. Let’s be clear. The point of cryptocurrency is not to simply replace the dollar—it’s not just digital cash. Eventually, it’s true, it will make sense for dollars and euros and pesos to be moved onto blockchain because the
Blockchain is not ledgers or databases or immutability or cryptography or Bitcoin or currency or blocks or chains—it’s the idea that any two people can transfer value between each-other, without asking permission.
old is always incorporated into the new. Once the internet became the central infrastructure for information flow, Internet Service Providers moved off telephone lines and telephone lines moved to the internet. The point of cryptocurrencies is to identify where there is a divergence between what we truly value and what our current symbolic infrastructure is capable of articulating. Those two things rarely align—and so, for most of human history, we’ve settled on cracked kettles on which to beat out tunes for bears to dance to. Let’s think about education—one of the most cherished, perennial values known to humanity. Human capital is the best term current economic thinking has for education—but the reality of it is that it’s poorly incorporated into nearly every economic model out there. Why? Because the logic of education and knowledge doesn’t mesh with the logic embedded in a traditional dollar: the efficient production of material capital. Don’t get me wrong. Values symbols like the Learn Dollar in the Learning Economy are not there to replace the dollar—they are there to fill a gaping void in its ability to express a value that’s been there all along, in everyone’s mind. Imagine having the dollar but no clock—you’d be in a barter economy, merely trading one item for another, not creating a new symbolic store for understanding the exchange rate between different value systems— such as the labor of learning or data creation. These new decentralized value symbols are complimentary additions to the existing symbolic infrastructure. Rather than uprooting national economies, they pioneer new frontiers J A N U A RY 2 0 1 9 12
by augmenting them with shared value markets. In fact, we’ve already experienced the first wave of new value symbols: Facebook likes, Duolingo gems, Twitter retweets, etc. What do all of these have in common? Centralized valuebackers—the inherent value of social acceptance is fractured and controlled across a variety of mediums. There are two problems with this: 1) there is an enormous incentive for these companies to cash in on these value systems by selling user data and 2) that value can’t be readily transferred off their platform. Number one is exceptionally important. Think about this: when Facebook likes were first introduced, people thought it was the most ridiculous idea they’ve ever heard. I remember one of my old mentors who described it at the time as nonsensical: “It makes no sense to make an economy around likes—there is an infinite supply of them, therefore each one is worthless.” But here lies the problem: it’s not just about supply, demand, ‘utility,’ pick-your-favorite-buzzword—it’s the whole constellation of logic mapping the symbol onto some underlying value. For Facebook, likes became a symbol mapped to the value of attention. Who cares about attention? Advertisers, social butterflies, everyone—who among us hasn’t logged on to see who liked us? And the exchange rate between likes and dollars is seemingly ludicrous— Facebook just raked in $21 Billion in digital advertising revenue. In the age of the internet, these are the only value symbols that can be created right now. Right now, we
CROEV FE RU G S TEOERSY BLOCKCHAIN
rely on Facebook to uphold the logic of ‘likes’ and create the platform where we can express them across a mass network. The inevitable dilemma, however, companies like Facebook face is this: sell data or perish. It’s not their fault: they have a fiduciary responsibility to shareholders. One that, additionally, gives them an enormous incentive to design their service to be as addictive as possible. But they didn’t create this dilemma: it’s the natural consequence of the current open-information but closedvalue regime. And this is crucial. Where the internet taught us how to transfer information, blockchain is teaching us how to transfer value. The Internet is not packets of data, wires beneath the sea, domain name servers, electricity, phone lines, optical fiber, access points, databases, websites—it’s the idea that any two people can transfer information between each-other, without asking permission. Likewise, blockchain is not ledgers or databases or immutability or cryptography or peer to peer networks or hash functions or Bitcoin or currency or blocks or chains—it’s the idea that any two people can transfer value between each-other, without asking permission. It means any two people can create a whole language around that value. If the internet brought the friction of information transfer to zero, blockchain brings the friction of value transfer to zero. It’s an idea, an elementary idea— that each of us can be in the driver’s seat to decide which value highways we drive on. Keep in mind that the first cars didn’t have highways, or roads, or streets, or, really, anything. The first
drivers were laughed at as they drove ten feet before their automobile broke down in a pothole of sludge and mud while ten of their neighbors sped by on horses. New liberties are always terrifying— and they often feel like standing on the precipice of the abyss. The unknown is petrifying. But we need not leap blindly. We can learn from the past, we can understand how our society has come to represent value today—and we can reach within ourselves to discover which of our values are currently suffocated and unarticulated. From there, we can make a structured leap into the unknown. One toward a better future, a better world—one where you wake up free from the queasiness of our divided day. So, will people create ‘worthless’ symbols? Yes. Will people create whole new languages for understanding health, love, life, liberty, equality? Yes. Will people create symbols that get it wrong? Yes. And we should celebrate them. Why? Because we are currently living amidst a Crisis of Symbols—and people feel that searing, simmering tension in their guts, in their minds—the same way workers felt something wrong when they came back from lunch break only to find that their clock said they never actually left. At a time when workers are working harder than ever and wages are falling, when students are studying more than ever and the value of degrees are plummeting, when more people are eligible to vote than ever and the value of a voting itself is spiraling—it is no coincidence we face unprecedented and pervasive levels of anxiety, depression, and alienation.
The point isn’t that these symbols are worthless, evil, awful, outdated—it’s that we have been trapped by them. We have had no way to exit or augment these systems and opt-into our own value communities.
But the point isn’t that these symbols are worthless, evil, awful, outdated—it’s that we have been trapped by them. We have had no way to exit or augment these systems and opt-into our own value communities. But now we do. And we have a responsibility, a duty, to exit or augment symbolic systems which aren’t serving us, which have diverged from their original goals, have reached their expiration date, or trapped our thinking. Imagine a world where we can organize our time so students can learn at their own pace rather than drooling and brain dead at 7am, and workers can work on their own schedules rather than making difficult decisions between professional success and childcare. A world where people are rewarded for critical thinking and debunking false claims rather than the existing incentives of clicks, likes, and views that have led to an internet dominated by targeted and laundered information for political gain. A world where people are rewarded for their vital data contributions in the multi-billion-dollar algorithms currently extinguishing those very same people’s jobs. Dollars, votes, and clocks are only a small sample of the symbols we can use to coordinate around a much richer, higher plane of value. Our shared commitments to ending poverty, disease, hunger, inequality, ignorance, toxic water, and joblessness are all blueprints for common agreements that could underpin this next wave of shared value markets. And this is only the beginning. It’s time we create whole economies that already existed but had no common language to articulate around their shared values. Welcome to the Age of Value Transfer. ●
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Jacksón Smith is the Chief Technology Officer and Co-Founder of the Learning Economy and a Senior Correspondent and Editor with the Diplomatic Courier.
D I P L O M AT I C O U R I E R .c o m B I G D ATA
GIVING BIG DATA BACK TO THE PEOPLE By: Ana C. Rold
ith the not-so-recent controversy surrounding Facebook’s privacy policies being violated by Cambridge Analytica (and others), the issue of consumer data and privacy has become a hot topic for countries around the world. The Cambridge Analytica scandal was able to reveal just how vulnerable user data is even on secured platforms such as Facebook. In order to begin combatting longstanding and future user data leaks, governments and businesses alike have begun creating applications, policies and regulations that can protect data. But with individuals across the world continuously losing trust in companies’ ability to protect their data, these regulations will do little to sway consumers from demanding more from companies for the right to their personal data. The creation of the General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR for short, put into effect by the European Union in May of last year, signaled a new era in data protection. GDPR aims to create a more defined regulatory environment under which businesses and organizations are expected to not only be more transparent with their customers with exactly what kind of data is being collected and how it is J A N U A RY 2 0 1 9 16
being used, but also protect this data from being leaked and inform consumers in the event of a breach. In this way, the European Union hopes to give EU citizens more control over their user data not only online, but also the data they provide to entities such as banks, retailers, and the government. However, the creation of the GDPR has been met with issues from the get-go. For starters, the sudden dramatic increase in emails asking customers to opt-in to new privacy and consent policies has left many with opt-in fatigue, and the potential for new email scams to take advantage of this fatigue and begin phishing for user data is already on the rise. Similarly, while it is required for any companies that have operations within the EU to abide by the GDPR—including international companies—many foreign company websites, social media platforms and even phone applications have been made unavailable to EU residents due to their delayed ability to set up all necessary data protections and regulations as required by the GDPR. Along with fears that the GDPR will hurt small businesses and hinder the free market, these regulations have yet to instill confidence in consumers and businesses alike that user data can be protected in an effective way.
F E AT U R E
“a recent Asia-focused survey found that people in digitally developing countries were often more willing to give out personal data in exchange for using online services.”
While it may be a while until regulatory structures like GDPR are able to effectively protect consumer data while allowing free markets to thrive, private companies such as Freckle IoT are beginning to develop strategies that could provide consumers with more control over their data sooner. With the creation of their app Killi, for example, Freckle IoT aims to make explicit the actual value of consumer data by paying consumers to share their data, location and insights about ads directly to companies like McDonald’s, GM and Staples. In this way consumers not only choose what pieces of personal data they are sharing with which specific companies, but are also incentivized to share this data as they are directly paid for this data by whichever participating companies they choose to share it with. It is in this way that consumers may be able to begin understanding the true value of their data while gaining control over it in a more personal way. However, while digitally advanced regions such as the United States and the European Union continue to struggle with balancing consumer privacy rights with the needs of companies to be able to leverage consumer data, many digitally
advancing nations in the Middle East, Latin America, Africa and parts of Asia are facing an entirely different set of problems in regards to user data and privacy. First, while privacy concerns are rising in both digitally advanced and advancing areas, the less digitally advanced countries tend to be more trusting towards digital media and how their personal data is handled online. Because of this trust, a recent Asiafocused survey found that people in digitally developing countries were often more willing to give out personal data in exchange for using online services. In fact, the study found that 94 percent of Chinese consumers would agree to let businesses reuse and share their personal data—whereas only 60% of those surveyed in New Zealand, for example, said the same. Conversely, while digitally developing countries tend to trust online companies with their user data more, these countries also tend to have less trustworthy digital environments due to underdeveloped infrastructure and rougher security protections. Perhaps most concerning of all, while users in both digitally developed and developing countries cite social media as a platform from which they consume news, consumers from digitally developing countries tendency to trust
the Internet at face value has made them particularly susceptible to the spread of fake news, with a recent lynching in India due to rumors spread on popular messaging application WhatsApp pointing to the potentially devastating real world implications of putting too much trust in the Internet. With higher trust in online companies’ ability to protect consumer data, lower protections against phishing and leaks and a relative naivete in regards to what constitutes real and fake news, big data has led to inequality between digitally developed and developing nations. Until digitally developing nations enact policies and protections similar to how the digitally developed world is currently tackling privacy concerns, this inequality gap will continue to widen. While the Internet has revolutionized nearly every facet of life for nations around the world, the issue of consumer data and privacy will continue to push the private sector and governments to create solutions that benefit both consumers and companies in years to come—and as the digitally developing world catches up to the more digitally developed nations, this issue will not only continue to hinder individual countries, but the world as a whole. ●
D I P L O M AT I C O U R I E R .c o m CITIZEN SCIENCE
UNDERSTANDING HUMAN BEHAVIOR THROUGH CITIZEN SCIENCE By: Janet Rafner & Jacob Sherson
n this day and age, it is extremely profitable for companies to learn more about human (inter)actions. Without question, Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Apple take the cake on aggregating such data. The trade secret is to create digital neural networks to process and analyze every action—ultimately leading to impressive corporate innovation. Recently, Cambridge Analytica showed the world the potential of massive cognitive profiling but also the potential dark sides. Thus, these companies are also exceptional at manipulating “the fundamental emotional needs that have driven us since our ancestors lived in caves, at a speed and scope others can’t match...Whether you want to compete with them, do business with them, or simply live in the world they dominate, you need to understand [the way these tech companies work]”. More targeted companies like Knack and Lumosity, are attempting to use games to capitalize on our desire to “brain-train” and get assistance in HR applications such as hiring and efficient team formation. However, the companies rarely scientifically document their findings. In the massive BBC-sponsored Brain J A N U A RY 2 0 1 9 18
Train Britain, no effect was discovered in 60,000 participants and Lumosity has since then been fined for false marketing. Social science and behavioral economics research groups have undoubtedly made great leaps towards understanding and analyzing how we tick. However, due to methodological shortcomings such as limited and biased samples they are increasingly falling victim to the reproducibility crisis. So now, imagine what the world would look like if we ‘democratize’ the understanding of human behavior? What if we could conduct responsible, non-proprietary human behavioral research on nearly the same scale? If everyone could tap into those neural network nodes, then everyone could develop services just as personalized as Google provides—opening access to innovation for smaller companies to be able to deliver competitive products. There is a dire need for a large-scale public effort to both give access to all the benefits of this knowledge and to spark important public discussions on its dangers. Even the act of presenting these ideas to the public and including them in the scientific process of inquiry is a critical step to democratizing the data.
F E AT U R E
For these purposes, ScienceAtHome created Skill Lab: Science Detective, a suite of mini-games exploring basic and higher cognitive skills such as 2D and 3D visuospatial reasoning, response inhibition, selective visual attention, visuospatial working memory, reaction times, and written language comprehension of English language. We compare the skill-indicators from the games with classical, validated psychological tasks evaluating the same skills. The game and several applications will be described below but first more about our initial motivations for the development. Investigating Human Problem Solving, Creativity, and Innovation While machine learning algorithms are becoming increasingly powerful, human intelligence is still superior in many respects. It is essential to understand the difference between human and machine intelligence, and develop hybrid-intelligence interfaces that optimally exploit the best of both worlds. By offering complex research challenges to the general public, citizen science does exactly this. Numerous citizen science projects have shown that humans can compete with state-of-the-art algorithms in
terms of solving complex, natural science problems. However, much less is understood as to why a collective of citizen scientists can solve such complex problems. Many research institutions around the world have groups studying this facet of human creativity. Typically, each of these groups has one or two games that they have designed to test creativity in a particular context. However, just like in Google’s algorithms, one needs lots of diverse data to understand subtle interactions. At ScienceAtHome, we believe that we can only unlock the subtle patterns of human creativity by studying it in many shapes and forms simultaneously. We have developed a portfolio of high-dimensional, natural science challenges (within physics, chemistry, and mathematics). At the same time, we are setting up a portfolio of more controlled individual and collective games. We believe that such a “social science supercollider” infrastructure will allow the massive and detailed investigations necessary to overcome current methodological hurdles. In e.g. the Quantum Minds and Alice Challenge projects, we have taken first steps into combining natural and social science investigations. However, it is also becoming increasingly clear that even with data from our current 300,000 volunteers, typical big data methodologies struggle to give clear insights into subtle human strategies. One of the mind-boggling (and perhaps comforting) realizations coming from the social sciences in recent years is the fact that humans are often superior to algorithms because and not despite having limited computational, psychological, and physiological capabilities. As a simple example, human minds have limited storage capacity but this has forced us to develop sophisticated information prioritization algorithms (forgetting :)) that make us immensely efficient when forced to make fast, heuristic choices. Similarly, when balancing exploration and exploitation in complex innovation tasks, both skills and weaknesses play together to influence our choice of strategies. Out of these insights and our big-data frustrations came the concept for the Skill Lab games: by simultaneously investigating complex problem solving and
Numerous citizen science projects have shown that humans can compete with state-of-the-art algorithms in terms of solving complex, problems. However, much less is understood as to why a collective of citizen scientists can solve such complex problems. knowing the cognitive profile of each player, we would be able to perform an a priori categorization of players into persona types and then look for common patterns of learning and exploration within each group. Skill Lab: Science Detective Skill Lab: Science Detective is designed to be a real gaming experience instead of a gamified experience for citizen science research. It is based on the principles of stealth assessment and evidence-centered design. The mini-games are embedded in a story-driven game where the player is a detective. The player’s challenge is to solve the mystery behind strange events happening at a university campus while helping researchers at different labs. We digitally adapted a series of 16 challenges which players can access at points inside the game. The game establishes a pact between citizen and scientist. We give players access to the newest psychologicallyfounded personal cognitive map allowing them to self-assess strengths and weaknesses in their cognitive skills while donating their data. In the fall of 2018 we launched a prototype of this large-scale profiling in collaboration with Danish Public Broadcasting. More than 15,000 people have already participated and because of the citizen science methodology and the publicity by a public service channel, participation is very evenly distributed across ages and by gender. This is something truly unique in the field of social science.
D I P L O M AT I C O U R I E R .c o m CITIZEN SCIENCE
Bridging the Gap Between Biology and Social Phenomena Denmark maintains a Central Personal Registry (CPR) database for government data on each citizen, which provides for up-to-date services. This has established Denmark as a haven for registrybased research, in which any socialscience question (such as entrepreneurship or health issues) can potentially be investigated by correlating to the CPR-data. In the future, genome mapping done by companies such as 23andMe will allow research into how our biology might impact the emergent phenomenology of cognitive and social behavior. However, first efforts clearly demonstrate that we are far from establishing a full microscopic understanding. So far, research based directly on cognitive indicators has either relied on self-reporting, which is small-scale and unreliable, or on the one big database that exists for cognitive profiles: military draft data. Although the latter has given rise to a number of insights it harbors an intrinsic problem: such data is predominantly available for one demographic group: young men. It has recently come to light that much medical testing has been conducted predominantly on males
humans are often superior to algorithms because and not despite having limited computational, psychological, and physiological capabilities. and therefore many documented side effects are much more relevant to men than women. Of course, this is a huge medical problem and a big social issue if we view human interactions based on insights derived in a gender-unbalanced way. In our Danish 2018 pilot, we took steps to demonstrate the applicability of this new database for societal registry-based research. We called for researchers to pose a few brief survey questions for Skill Lab users. These responses can then be correlated with the game-generated individual cognitive profiles to investigate e.g. entrepreneurial intent, risk preferences, cognitive aging, political ideology, as well as relations between language skill and working memory. Imagine how this work can help develop a model of how humans solve problems and reason through choices. It can lead us to a better understanding of cognitive biases, logical fallacies, societal interactions and issues, turning the data into a
J A N U A RY 2 0 1 9 20
powerful tool for humanity to understand cultural and political dynamics. Understanding these issues can help us improve our society in the future. Consider what we might be able to do if we could examine cognitive profiles from the whole world? Could you create a social media digital assistant that detects when you are being manipulated? For that you need much deeper insights than what is currently available. Letâ€™s also consider other challenges: Could we help overworked teachers deliver on the promise of personalized education? Could businesses be more systematically successful if they were less dependent on the intuitions of exceptional, natural born leaders? Just like the thrill of discovering a new continent 500 years ago, today we can get a thrill of uncovering some of the hidden landscapes of our knowledge. One of the most important dark spots is how the individual mind works and how many individuals join collectively to accomplish important achievements. â—?
ABOUT THE AUTHORs Jacob Sherson is Founder and Executive Director at Science at Home and Professor at Aarhus University. Janet Rafner is Director and International Coordinator at Science at Home.
THE FUTURE OF INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION FEB 17–19 | GRAND HYATT | NEW YORK CITY
with industry thought leaders
emerging internationalization trends
the future of international education
FEB 17–19 G R A N D H YAT T NEW YORK CITY
REGISTER TODAY iie.org/summit
D I P L O M AT I C O U R I E R .c o m E D U C AT I O N
MIT SOLVE: I COORDINATING THE FUTURE OF LEARNING By: Jacksón Smith
magine giving every teacher in the world a day back in their time— what would they do? Priya Lakhani, CEO of Century Tech and thirty-five year old mother, posed this question to a room filled shoulder-to-shoulder in New York for the 2018 MIT Solve Challenge, a yearly collaboration to coordinate between the public, private, nonprofit, and academic sectors to reward creative and compelling initiatives for solving some of the world’s greatest challenges in sustainable development: looming climate change, equitable access to healthcare, the transformation of work, and the future of learning. I sat, notebook poised, imbibing the swirling energy of pioneers like Priya whose company uses AI and data mining to allow any educator in the world to learn the unique learning fingerprint of each of their students. Her software saves time by alleviating the administrative overhead of identifying which curriculum is engaging for which students— empowering teachers to quickly understand precisely where students are lagging and offer realtime supplementary lessons, which adapt to the learners so they never fall behind. “Teachers are an incredible workforce,” Priya told me, “Because J A N U A RY 2 0 1 9 22
they don’t spend that [extra] day going to the pub or going to the bar. They actually spend that time making better, timely targeted interventions for the children. And that has, as you can imagine, a huge impact on children’s outcomes.” Alongside Priya, 15 finalists from around the world pitched their ideas for positive disruption in education. Ultimately, judges narrowed this group of EdTech teams down to eight: including UK-based Century Tech; Nairobi-based Eneza Education, which connects schools and students to relevant, affordable courses over SMS; Brazilian-based Livox, which enables millions of non-verbal disabled people to communicate and learn; and Ghana-based Practical Education Network, which trains and supports West African teachers through hands-on science courses regardless of resource constraints. Winners unlocked access to $1 million in Solver funding—and a surprise $150,000 anonymous donation during the closing ceremony—to accelerate and grow their projects for maximum impact for more students and teachers around the globe. Each of their founders leveraged their entrepreneurial persistence to pierce the familiar air of status-quo cynicism
F E AT U R E
even if you’ve built a better mousetrap for teaching students, it’s not always easy to convince people to change their behavior. “Changing the world means getting everyone else to change too,” Priya said, contemplating the pace of technology.
and insist that everyone—no matter class, race, geography, or age—ought to have access to personal, creative, and world-class learning experiences. And technology, wielded like a surgeon’s scalpel, is bringing that world to reality. I side-barred with Sara Monteabaro, MIT’s Senior Learning Community Officer, to understand the toughest challenges facing education. According to her, there are four big bucket problems that emerge year after year: refugee education, preparing youth for the workforce of the future, female empowerment, and twenty-first century skills development. “This year,” she said. “We are looking at these issues from the perspective of teachers and educators.” To solve these problems, the convening cultivated a simple, yet profound ethos: crucial innovation comes from everywhere. “We know that there are innovators on the far corners of the Earth,” Sara’s passion gave life to her words. “It’s really our responsibility to tap into that ingenuity and talent. Open innovation extends beyond those on the MIT campus who have an MIT ID card. We had a finalist who just pitched today—it was his first time ever leaving Uganda.” Absent coordinating devices like MIT Solve,
the impact of these brilliant, worldchanging minds and their solutions are often limited, if not outright suffocated from lack of support. “The Solve model” Sara explained, “uses open innovation to drive the exchange of knowledge between communities where these big global challenges are impacting people the most and then bring that knowledge back to the MIT campus, making sure that we’re providing the resources that only MIT has to offer to those innovators.” MIT Solve thus presents a compelling model for convening innovators and rewarding their impact on the problems that matter to all of us— so what’s next? “We have high hopes,” Sara’s eyes lit up. “We would love to see Solve have a presence on all six, if not seven, continents around the world, to continue our challenges year after year with input from our community, and to have an anchor at home for our Solver alums to stay connected with our partners, members, other alumni, and potential applicants.” As MIT Solve continues to coordinate around sustainable development, Sara raised an important challenge moving forward: communication. “For me, what I always struggle with” she said, “is how do we bring this sort of new age thinking about problem solving and leveraging new age technology to areas around the world who are still using 18th century learning models and have no concept of blockchain, they have no concept of AI, they have no concept of machine learning—how do we bring awareness, how do we build that capacity from a teacher level, how do we disseminate that to students?”
It’s a difficult problem to solve—even if you’ve built a better mousetrap for teaching students, it’s not always easy to convince people to change their behavior. “Changing the world means getting everyone else to change too,” Priya said, contemplating the pace of technology. “And that’s challenging. But it’s crazy that one of the most important sectors of the world, education, doesn’t benefit from it.” Blockchain, in particular, did not seem to make a presence at the competition. “We had a blockchain prize this year,” Sara said. “But none of our finalists were eligible for it because none of them incorporated blockchain. It was a little surprising to me because from where we stand at MIT, blockchain has changed everything.” Whether it’s a dearth of understanding, pre-regulation markets, or lack of standardization, one thing is clear: there is a gap between what MIT knows and what is translated to the innovators that are the prime candidates for the Solve network. Because of this, Sara urged the larger Solve community and its network partners to work with them in figuring out how to bridge the gap between these new, advanced technologies and to the innovators generating solutions. “Something’s not quite connecting,” she said. Despite difficulties in communicating blockchain, MIT Solve is committed to identifying, championing, and scaling the changemakers in society who are disrupting old models and leveraging new tools to really impact lives. Among other things, that means bolstering their support program for Solver teams, tracking their progress, and potentially building out new funds for them long-term. For Priya, that means she will be spending the next year working closely with the Solve community to scale her intelligent learning program. Our conversation finished on a powerful note. “We’re up for the challenge,” she said. “We’re game. Because it’s worth it—if you look at this system today and you’ve got kids, you know how important this is. Every parent writes to me and says, ‘I want that.’” If Priya’s software really can save teachers a day every week, that’s good for all of our children. Now, with further support from MIT Solve, she can save even more days for many more teachers—making the future of learning that much brighter. ●
D I P L O M AT I C O U R I E R .c o m HUMAN RIGHTS
ALARM BELLS RING AS EU GOVERNMENTS TAKE AIM AT FUNDING TO ‘POLITICAL’ NGOS By: Cathal Gilbert & Giada Negri
he government is focusing on NGOs now, of course not in a good way”, says Denisa Kramarova, a lawyer at the Czech NGO League of Human Rights. She was responding to suggestions by some in the Czech Republic’s government that a whopping USD $135 million be slashed from annual funding to non-governmental organisations (NGOs). That represents more than a 20% cut in the yearly budget. As elections approach in early October, Czech politicians from the governing ANO party and the far-right Freedom and Direct Democracy Party (FDDP) have made it clear that they want the cuts to be aimed at what they say are “NGOs with a political agenda”. FDDP’s Lubomír Volný also included in this category of “political” NGOs, People In Need—a Czech non-profit well known for providing humanitarian support. Increasingly, public figures across Europe are twisting the meaning of “political activity” by claiming that NGOs overstep the mark when they campaign publicly for social or policy change: that they somehow encroach on territory reserved exclusively for political parties. J A N U A RY 2 0 1 9 24
This is a deliberate attempt to reduce space for NGOs and all civil society groups whose primary purpose is to amplify the voices of their constituencies. It’s also a clear strategy to shield governments from criticism by organised sections of society. Czech NGOs’ concerns are shared in a growing number of EU countries where right-leaning governments are making similar noises about cutting funding to NGOs in some sectors. In Austria, IGO, a civil society umbrella group, recently warned of “unexpected and existence-threatening cuts in funding for well-established NGOs” working on sensitive issues such as women’s rights and migration that, according to the right-wing Austrian government, do “not fit into this year’s funding priorities.” In Slovenia, during the election campaign earlier this year, Janez Janša, a former prime minister and close ally of Hungary’s illiberal firebrand Prime minister Viktor Orbán, took aim at NGOs, saying “they are planning to attack and try to destroy the nation, family, private property and private education.” Even in Estonia, a country wellknown for its open democracy and positive engagement with civil society,
F E AT U R E
The CIVICUS Monitor, a global platform that rates respect for civic freedoms, reports that almost half of EU member states are now failing to properly protect people’s rights to form and operate civil society organisations, engage in peaceful protest and freely express their views.
a conservative opposition party has run a smear campaign against activists and NGOs who receive state funding. Moves to cut funding to NGOs often go hand-in-hand with such public attempts to damage public confidence in civil society. In some countries, these smear campaigns have negatively affected the financial support that NGOs (and other, less formal kinds of civil society groups) receive through donations from the public. This endangers the sustainability of some parts of civil society— including those trying to protect the environment, promote social justice and defend women’s and minority rights—because they are forced away from state funding, relying instead on sources which are often less stable and sometimes from outside the country. The CIVICUS Monitor, a global platform that rates respect for civic freedoms, reports that almost half of EU member states are now failing to properly protect people’s rights to form and operate civil society organisations, engage in peaceful protest and freely express their views. Countries including Hungary, Poland, France, the UK and Spain are all caught up in this downward slide. As increasing numbers of EU governments elevate the fight
against terrorism, build up their borders and downplay the need to uphold democratic freedoms, alarm bells are ringing. These cutbacks, and the wider assaults on basic freedoms across the EU, should be of serious concern to everyone trying to stem the tide of regressive populism across the union. Targeting NGOs is not the answer to the many problems the EU faces and will prove counterproductive in the long term. Pushing NGOs, including advocacy and human rights groups, to become muzzled, apolitical service providers would be a huge mistake. Community-based voluntary organisations have long served the European cause by giving access to basic economic, social, cultural and environmental rights to all, in some cases also filling an institutional void. But alongside its essential work to deliver services, civil society is a vital driver of accountability as well as a rich source of expertise, innovative approaches and new thinking to tackle local, national and supranational policy debates. Confronted with rampant mistrust in institutions, including national government and EU institutions, and falling faith in democracy, EU member states must recognise
that organised civil society is a vital asset in any attempt to re-engage citizens, help them participate and re-imagine the system. Civil society organisations across Europe, including those in small villages and bigger cities, are already mobilising ahead of the European elections to ensure people’s pressing issues are adopted in candidates’ manifestos. Civil society campaigns are also underway to encourage citizens, and particularly young people, to vote. Public funding for these kinds of activities is vital. We need to heed these early warnings and see these attempts to defund “political” NGOs as the first step in a potentially very damaging downward spiral. As Denisa Kramarova of the Czech NGO League of Human Rights, says “It is not difficult to figure out which organisations will suffer at the end— those that defend human rights and make sure that the government does not overstep certain boundaries”. ●
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Cathal Gilbert is the Civic Space Research Lead at global civil society alliance, CIVICUS. Giada Negri is a Research and Advocacy Officer with the European Civic Forum.
D I P L O M AT I C O U R I E R .c o m THE URBAN 20
THE URBAN 20: A CONTEMPORARY DIPLOMATIC HISTORY By: Ian Klaus
he Group of Twenty (G20) has long been the diplomatic white whale of city diplomats and urbanists. More than the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the BRICs, the Group of Seven (G7), or even the United Nations Security Council, G20 members most accurately represent economic and political power in the world today. And yet, with over fifty percent of the world urbanized and with cities driving economic growth and increasingly the global climate change agenda, city leaders have for years had no formal avenue for engaging the G20. That changed in December, 2017, with the announcement by the city of Buenos Aires in Paris of the Urban 20 (U20) and the convening in October, 2018, of the first U20 Mayors Summit in Buenos Aires. It has become commonplace to note that the global order—with its bedrock post-World War II institutions, alliances, and diplomatic norms—is under strain. The absence of consensus communiqués from the 2017 G20 in Germany and 2018 G7 in Canada both reveal the high diplomatic costs of sudden shifts in policy priorities and disregard for diplomatic practice. The advent of the U20 is meant to elevate the role of cities on this uncertain global J A N U A RY 2 0 1 9 26
stage. It has emerged from the leadership of networks and mayors, and in that sense is part of the larger megatrends of the twenty-first century. But it is not meant to overturn any order, to challenge the Westphalian system. It stems, instead, from a realization that cities cannot act alone to solve global challenges like climate change and income inequality. And it reflects the fundamental truth that nation-states cannot solve those problems without working hand-inhand with cities. In short, the U20 is part of a larger effort to evolve the global order, including the G20, to reflect the reality of power in the twenty-first century and to meet its challenges. Why Now? The G20 has seven engagement groups—including the Business 20, Science 20, and Civil 20 —to allow non-state expertise and perspective into its process. While each has the ability to include issues facing cities, until 2018 no formal group or platform existed to allow municipal officials and city-perspectives to communicate as a collective to G20 leaders and Sherpas. This is not necessarily for lack of effort, and recognition of the need for a collectivecity voice is not new. The Obama Administration gave consideration
F E AT U R E
to integrating urban concerns into G20 processes, and Germany possessed ambitions to elevate urban issues at Hamburg. Leading urbanists, economists and academics like Aromar Revi, Director of the Indian Institute for Human Settlements, and Michael Cohen, Director of the International Affairs Program at the New School, have been advocating for such a development for years. C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40) and other leading networks in the climate change space, meanwhile, have increasingly recognized the need to broaden their diplomatic efforts to include the G20. Indeed, the realization of the U20 is less an intellectual innovation than it is a diplomatic development. Its development is the result of both larger trends and discrete political leadership. On the structural side, cities now possess the ability to organize quickly and efficiently. According to ongoing research at the University of Melbourne, there are currently over 300 city networks. These networks consistently lead to policy exchange and frequent dialogue between officials. Two of these networks, C40 and United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), have played central roles in the creation and orchestration of the U20, with C40 serving as the convener in collaboration
The G20, unlike many other multilateral institutions, does not have a secretariat, making the role of the presidency—or host member— all the more important. with UCLG. C40 is comprised of 96 of the world’s largest cities, while UCLG’s network represents 70% of the world’s total population and is present on six continents. Such networks are now experienced at producing communiqués and charters and have helped develop the practice of city diplomacy. The G20, unlike many other multilateral institutions, does not have a secretariat, making the role of the presidency—or host member—all the more important. The leadership of the City of Buenos Aires thus proved crucial to the launch and subsequent direction of the U20. In the summer of 2017, Buenos Aires Mayor Horacio Rodríguez Larreta proposed the idea to the Mayor of Paris and Chair of C40, Anne Hidalgo, who would ultimately serve alongside Larreta as co-chair. The idea was rather simple: global cities, subject to global economic pressures and possessing significant political
power, communicating on global issues, like climate change, to the targeted audience of G20 leaders and sherpas. The leadership of Buenos Aires and Paris combined with the strength of their city networks, and, Mayors Larreta and Hidalgo launched the U20 on the margins of the One Planet Summit in Paris in December, 2017. THERE’S NO GOING IT ALONE The growth of subnational diplomacy over the last decades has been fueled, in part, by a recognition that nationstates are not moving fast enough to meet global challenges. These alternative efforts are only part of the story, however. As the participation of scores of cities at COP 21 in Paris also shows, many of the more robust diplomatic efforts by cities and citynetworks have in fact sought to influence international organizations, nation-states, and their treaties and agreements. These efforts of diplomatic influence are informed by two strategic assumptions: first, that nation-states can only deliver on the best of their ambitions if they learn to work with, and in some cases empower, cities; and, second, that no matter how many
D I P L O M AT I C O U R I E R .c o m THE URBAN 20
U20 is a platform, and as such, the chair will prove crucial in managing diplomatic interactions and building relationships with the G20 presidency.
commitments cities make or networks they build, they cannot do it alone. In most cases, rapidly growing cities, for instance, do not possess the financing needed to undertake necessary infrastructure projects. In many cases, they do not possess the authority. Or put another way, to undertake the systemic transition to a zero-carbon society, cities need to work with multilateral and national finance organizations; and to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change, nations need cities to reduce their energy use and change urban behavior patterns. The diplomatic logic is collaboration and action rather than resistance. The U20 affirmed this approach in its first public declaration, a Joint Statement in April 2018: “We stand ready to work constructively and collaboratively with G20 leaders to find solutions for our common global challenges.” The twin goals of collaboration and influence, meanwhile, had obvious implications for U20 policy priorities. U20 statements, and adjoining engagement efforts with respective national Sherpas, needed to track roughly to the G20 agenda developed by Argentina. U20 commitments and statements were negotiated through a series of Sherpa meetings, the first hosted by Paris in February, 2018, and
second in New York City in June, 2018. In addition to the cities, these meetings included a wide array of expert participants and observers, including the Business 20, the World Bank, the International Finance Corporation, and the OECD, as well as the Development Bank of Latin America, the Inter-American Development Bank, the French Development Agency, UN Habitat, and many others. The commitments offered by cities emerging from these meetings and ongoing bilateral discussions hewed closely to the priorities of the G20 Presidency. The initial Joint Statement coming from the first U20 Sherpas’ meeting prioritized climate change, the future of work, and social inclusion. Subsequent statements, including the communiqué, presented a combination of priorities of the G20 presidency along with those of cities. Oftentimes, as was the case with food security and gender equality, priorities converged. DIPLOMACY EVOLVES The U20 was conceived in the image of the G20: cities of political and economic power from geo-politically active countries working together on shared goals. And like the G20, the U20 will likely always suffer from institutional ambiguity: Is the goal to deepen diplomatic relationships or to manage crises? Should it have a secretariat? Should its membership be more open? The cities of U20 were nearly unanimous that they did not want a new organization or network. Instead, U20 is a platform, and as such, the chair will prove crucial in managing diplomatic interactions and building relationships with the G20 presidency. In 2019, that role will fall to Tokyo during the Japanese presidency of the G20. That means exciting policy issues around smart cities and pressing ones around aging J A N U A RY 2 0 1 9 28
populations could theoretically be on the table alongside climate change and sustainable development. True to the platform itself, pressing diplomatic questions will also need to be addressed. As the post-World War II order continues to evolve, speed and flexibility in mobilizing collective effort are now key to meeting global challenges, from the counter-ISIL coalition to the 2014 international response to the Ebola outbreak. But such efforts require extensive diplomatic engagement. And perhaps even more pressing, they require someone able to forge consensus. U20 cities include Tokyo, Berlin, Mexico City, Moscow, Beijing, and Tshwane. As with the G20 in times of challenging geopolitics, the U20 chairs may well face moments where they must balance the difficult choice between consensus and progress. The platform is there now for such negotiations and choices. And the diplomat, of course, must believe a path can be found serving both ends. ●
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Ian Klaus is diplomatic adviser to the Urban 20. He is non-resident senior fellow at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. Previously, he was senior adviser for global cities at the US Department of State, and deputy United States negotiator for the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Development (Habitat III).
D I P L O M AT I C O U R I E R .c o m T H E F U T U R E O F WA R
THE W DIGITAL BATTLEFIELD AND THE FUTURE OF WAR By: Ana C. Rold
hile the United States has endured as a world leader in traditional warfare for well over a century, the global battlefield today has shifted decisively in the digital realm. With countries like Russia, Iran, and even North Korea showing signs of extremely sophisticated digital maneuvers capable of infiltrating other countries’ databases, influencing foreign elections, and even altering physical systems such as hard drives and power grids, large-scale digital are already occurring in real-time. Russia’s meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential elections has been one of the most recent and enduring examples of how foreign actors can use cyber attacks to influence even the largest political landscapes, with U.S. intelligence officials directly citing President Vladimir Putin and Russian intelligence services as having hacked the Democratic National Committee in order to leak the emails responsible for harming Hillary Clinton’s electability. Similarly, Russia’s attempt at socially engineering American voters to favor Donald Trump through the buying and promoting of politicallymotivated ads on social media— J A N U A RY 2 0 1 9 30
which were estimated to have reached as many as 126 million Americans on Facebook, as well as countless others on platforms like Twitter and YouTube—has brought social media companies under intense scrutiny. While discussions around how to prevent these sort of large-scale digital attacks are being brought to the forefront of political and social decision-making, little has been done to successfully prevent further forms of infiltration. In addition to foreign actors’ ability to sway political opinion through the use of digital platforms, sophisticated algorithms are also being created that possess the ability to physically alter the world we live in. One of the most alarming examples of this type of hacking is an algorithm known as Stuxnet, a sophisticated computer worm first discovered in 2010 that was created to exploit Windows computers’ zero-day vulnerabilities in order to spread itself rapidly throughout computer systems and target centrifuges used to produce uranium—a computer bug that, if successful, has the ability to shut down or adversely affect nuclear weapons and reactors. Similarly, last year’s WannaCry ransomware
F E AT U R E
As countries continue to experience conflict on the ground, cyber attacks and other forms of digital warfare have ultimately created a much more ambiguous worldwide landscape and disrupted the traditional balance of power between nation-states.
worm saw to it that those with infected Windows computers— which included high-level organizations such as Great Britain’s National Health Service—would find important files on their PC’s hard drive encrypted, with a message demanding $300 in Bitcoin to decrypt the files. With the ability of hackers to infiltrate the real world through the digital realm becoming all too common, it is only a matter of time before bigger systems like power grids and communication systems become vulnerable and all-too-accessible in times of conflict. Because of the speed at which technology enables cyber bugs such as Stuxnet and WannaCry to evolve, it can be extremely difficult for policy makers and government officials to keep up with the everchanging nature of digital warfare. The first step towards defending against any potential digital threats may be in the hands of organizations and individuals themselves. With nearly every person in the world connected to the Internet in some form, it is crucial that individuals become more familiar with the different forms of cyber attacks and the tools already available to them to defend against such attacks.
Two-factor authentication, for example, can be used to help secure personal email accounts against phishing—and while many email hosting services have put such safeguards in place, many of their users have opted out from this important feature. It is vital that something akin to a shared lexicon, for example, be created to assist individuals in understanding difficult technological terms associated with digital security, as well as a more general understanding of the true importance of security in the digital age. Similarly at the organizational level, simple tasks such as securing one’s hardware with a complicated password, encrypting and backing up data on a regular basis, and investing in cyber security insurance are basic necessities to securing one’s data against cyber threats. More importantly, the creation of a security-focused workplace culture through the education of staff on the dangers of using unsecured networks, unsecured websites and password sharing can help both companies and the individuals who work for them better secure company-related and personal data. Ultimately, until more attention is paid on these sorts of basic safeguards, sensitive user and
company data—as well as government data—will remain vulnerable to cyber attacks and foreign actors will continue to pose a real threat in the digital landscape. As countries continue to experience conflict on the ground, cyber attacks and other forms of digital warfare have ultimately created a much more ambiguous worldwide landscape and disrupted the traditional balance of power between nation-states. With technology continuing to advance at an unprecedented rate, the complicated nature of conflict between countries and other actors only stands to become more convoluted. However, by focusing more on understanding the many shapes and sizes cyber threats come in as well as how to better defend against such threats, individuals can better prepare themselves for any potential dangers they may experience online or in the workplace. As the government and other top-level organizations continue to come up with solutions that can safeguard against bigger digital attacks, citizens can rest assured that in times of war, the digital front will remain secure from foreign influencers. ●
OPEN LETTER FROM PHILIP MORRIS INTERNATIONAL CEO
ear Global Leadership Community, As the CEO of Philip Morris International (PMI), I’m often asked why we do not stop selling cigarettes. Perhaps this is the wrong question. The right question might be: “When will people stop buying cigarettes?” Today, consumer demand for cigarettes remains. Even with increasing prevention and cessation efforts worldwide, there are more than 1 billion people who smoke cigarettes. And according to the World Health Organization, there will still be more than 1 billion people who smoke in 2025. These people are your constituents, your neighbors and, perhaps, your friends and family. We have to look at alternative solutions for each and every one of these individuals. That’s why at PMI we are committed to creating a smokefree future. It’s a transformative vision, one that will change society: A future that does not include cigarettes. And we want to get there as quickly as possible. Our ambition is to convince all adult smokers who would otherwise continue smoking cigarettes to switch to J A N U A RY 2 0 1 9 32
scientifically substantiated smokefree products, which are a much better alternative for them. We have invested more than $4.5 billion USD in research, development and production to provide adult smokers with better options. Behind this investment, and every advancement at PMI, is robust science. We are harnessing recent breakthroughs in technology to develop smoke-free alternatives to cigarettes that are much less harmful than continued smoking. Yes, in an ideal world, all smokers should quit tobacco and nicotine consumption completely. This is the lowest-risk scenario compared with cigarette smoking. But we don’t live in a world where this can or will happen automatically—or even anytime soon. Those who are suspicious of our intentions, who block progress without taking time to understand the science and the size of the public health opportunity, do smokers a great disservice. As we drive toward a future that is smoke-free, these detractors have become disablers of public health solutions. They are blocking change, and many smokers are
being denied these alternatives. What is more important: helping smokers or hating us? Frankly, I don’t think it’s reasonable to essentially condemn a population to only smoke cigarettes when there are better alternatives to smoking available. Can you imagine the criticism I would face if, years from now, it was discovered that we had better options to offer people that smoke but left them in the laboratory? That’s why I’m appealing for collaborative action. For consideration and a willingness of governments, regulators, NGOs and individuals to consider the scientific assessment of and evidence for alternative products. To be open to new concepts, conversation and change. Consider this: In the few short years since we have commercialized smoke-free alternatives, millions of men and women have switched to products that are a better choice than continuing to smoke. By working together, through innovative products that meet the different needs of adult smokers, along with forwardthinking regulators and public health officials, we can speed
“at PMI we are committed to creating a smoke-free future. It’s a transformative vision, one that will change society: A future that does not include cigarettes. And we want to get there as quickly as possible.” up the progress to a smoke-free future. A future that will create a better world for the more than 1 billion adult smokers—and the people who care about them. This is why we are dedicated to rigorous science and innovation that can lead to a better future. This is why we must continue to call for an open dialogue across all sectors and of all points of view, including those who disagree with us. This is why we hope that as you read this now, you will look objectively at what we’re trying to achieve and join the debate for change. This is our why.
André Calantzopoulos Chief Executive Officer Philip Morris International
D I P L O M AT I C O U R I E R .c o m G
Extraordinary Women, Becoming Self-Sufficient Against All Odds By: Michelle Guillermin with Elizabeth Winters
eople enduring extreme poverty in conflict zones are portrayed in the news and imprinted on our minds in such a state of despair that it can seem hopeless. Earlier this year I started managing operations at Women for Women International, an organization that tries to get to the hope left in these places and people—specifically women— who have lost everything and are trying to rebuild. We work in conflict-affected areas like Afghanistan, Iraq, Bosnia, Nigeria, Rwanda and, where I had the chance to go last summer, the Democratic Republic of Congo.
On my way there I braced myself to meet a group of our program participants who’d been through a violence and suffering that was beyond my imagination. I knew they’d been chosen to enter our year-long program because of the degree of hardship they’d endured and the disadvantage they faced. I knew they were now about to graduate after working with our local staff day after day, in small class sizes of 25 women each, where they learned marketable skills like farming, bee keeping, and tailoring; rights like land ownership and decision making; and advocacy skills so they could
negotiate for what they need from local governments and within their own homes. But I was not prepared for how fueled by that opportunity they would be. I heard them before I saw them —happy chattering and laughing— a chorus of strong community and stronger friendships. As I turned the corner into a sun-soaked courtyard in Mumusho, the women faced me with beaming smiles and started belting out songs of welcome, swaying in brilliantly colored clothes that kicked up the the rosy African dirt into gentle swirls. I was instantly captivated by these powerful women, so in charge of the moment. ➣
they described how they had started their own businesses and were saving and investing money for the first time in their lives, and how they were doing it as a community— a sisterhood of women who found strength in rebuilding from the same severe past. J A N U A RY 2 0 1 9 34
The end of the program is a time for celebration, with clothes and jewelry carefully chosen for a final gathering. Children of all ages are brought to witness the new-found confidence and self-sufficiency of their mothers and sisters.
D I P L O M AT I C O U R I E R .c o m G
Women express their joy and appreciation through lyrics and songs developed on the spot, unique to the story they are telling.
➣ They led me into their wooden hall where they had spent the past year, learning marketable skills and advocacy techniques. There they described how they had started their own businesses and were saving and investing money for the first time in their lives, and how they were doing it as a community—a sisterhood of women who found strength in rebuilding from the same severe past.
They invited me to one of their “VSLA” meetings—that stands for “Village Savings and Loan Association.” A woman who looked barely 20 years old had been elected leader of the group. She put up flip charts that spoke about balances, loans, and earnings. With the confidence of an MBA and the presentation of a corporate executive, she proudly delivered a track record of collective success.
A metal box with multiple locks was brought in and placed solemnly on the ground. Different women, each with different keys, unlocked and opened the box together. Inside was a stack of worn bills wrapped in muslin. Another cloth was lain beside the box and each woman carefully placed her savings book onto the cloth. The young leader opened them all, drawing her finger down the lines of figures ➣
As the tally met evenly with the books, a collective sigh issued forth from the room. Each woman took her portion and described how this money would be used to buy a chicken, or rent a sewing machine, or pay their child’s school tuition. J A N U A RY 2 0 1 9 36
➣ and counting out bills into individual stacks. Suddenly an urgent chatter rose up and spread to the benches lining the walls. There was an inconsistency in the count! The women crowded in closer as the leader retraced the books’ lines and doled out the bills once again. As the tally met evenly with the books, a collective sigh issued forth from the room. Each woman took her portion and described how this money would be used to buy a chicken, or rent a sewing machine, or pay their child’s school tuition. Their straight backs and proud voices showed how much it meant to them to be taking care of themselves and their families after years of not knowing where to turn. They now turned to themselves and each other. Then, walking in from the searing heat, strode a woman in a puffy gold coat and wrap-around sunglasses—a get up more typical of the village men. She bowed her legs, put her hands on her hips and sauntered around the room with an attitude of arrogance and scorn. I realized the women were demonstrating for me their role play training, where women dress up as village leaders and the men they have to negotiate with in their homes. Two women stood up and approached this “village leader” and vigorously demanded that they be heard. The leader responded with a flash of anger and a loud argument broke out. As the negotiation soured, both parties retreated to separate corners of the room. Everyone clapped and laughed, acknowledging that this was not the way to get things done. The two women approached the village leader again, but this time with quiet airs of authority. The leader initially pushed back, but then began to listen and nod as the women made their case, deliberate and steady. Finally, the leader was persuaded and nodded his consent as cheers roared up from the crowd and the women looked at each other as if to say, “of course he agreed. We knew exactly how to make this happen” And here I sat in this huddle of women, in this hut in the fields of Mumusho, in the middle of “nowhere,” but right in the center of a change I know we need to see in this world. ●
While managing the Village Savings and Loan, each woman’s contribution, loans and earnings are carefully tracked. Numeracy training is an important part of the year long program.
Women enter the program with little to no earning capacity. Through a small stipend and new economic skills, they learn to manage their money through savings, investment and borrowing.
In a tiny room, rough wooden tables and traditional paper ledgers are lit by the sun streaming through the door. The simplest of tools provide a wealth of knowledge and confidence to the women.
D I P L O M AT I C O U R I E R .c o m
D I P L O M AT I C LIFE
NASA Astronauts Descend on Monte Carlo American Legends Gathered to Celebrate the Past, and Look Toward the Future Special Report by Molly McCluskey
hile many Americans were celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday, a cadre of American astronauts descended on Monaco to celebrate the 60th anniversary of NASA, the impending landing of the Insight Mars rover, and the country’s plans to send one of its own into space. Known for its glamour and glitz, and a casino that redefined the term “high roller,” the tiny Mediterranean nation isn’t new to space exploration. Space Systems International-Monaco (SSI-
Monaco) launched its first communications satellite MonacoSat-1 with SpaceX’s Falcon 9 launcher in 2015, and is planning to launch MonacoSat-2 within the next few years. A new agreement between Houstonbased Axiom Space, which runs the world’s first commercial space station, and SSI-Monaco will jointly train one or more Monaco citizens or residents as private or professional astronauts, and fly them on an orbital space mission. Once completed, the flight would make the Principality on the French Riviera the 19th sovereign
J A N U A RY 2 0 1 9 38
nation to send an astronaut to the International Space Station (ISS). Under the agreement, Axiom and SSI-Monaco will also explore the feasibility of attaching a “Monaco Module” to the Axiom station. Several members of the crew of the 1986 Columbia shuttle mission were in attendance, including General Charles Bolden, Dr. George “Pinky” Nelson, pioneering woman astronaut, Dr. Rhea Seddon, American space-walk record holder Captain Michael LópezAlegria, and Seddon’s husband, Captain Robert “Hoot” Gibson. Buzz Aldrin, the
D I P L O M AT I C LIFE
second man to walk on the moon in the famed Apollo 11 mission, was also in attendance. The International Space Station marked its twentieth anniversary on November 20th, and is scheduled to be retired within the next decade. The retirement will result in the loss of low Earth orbit services, critical exploration infrastructure, and the Earth-focused research the space station has been providing for almost two decades. A growing community of countries and corporations are taking up the mantle of lunar explorations, deep space exploration, and Mars settlement. “We’ve been going to orbit now for sixty some years and we’re pretty good at it, but NASA spends a large portion of the budget on the ISS, and they would like to start looking beyond lower orbit,” López-Alegría, a veteran of three NASA Space Shuttle missions and one ISS mission, said. “NASA and the other agencies have decided they want to let commercial companies take up residence in lower orbit, and have an economy.”
“The ISS is a product of five space agencies. Besides NASA, it’s the Russians, the Europeans, the Japanese, and the Canadians,” LópezAlegría said. “It’s an incredible feat of engineering, and it’s proven to be an amazing instrument of diplomacy.”
Last year, Aldrin said that if NASA and other agencies were serious about putting an astronaut on Mars, the ISS should be retired at the earliest opportunity. “We simply cannot afford $3.5 billion a year of that cost,” Aldrin said at the Humans on Mars conference in Washington, DC.
That issue of cost is one frequently at the forefront in discussions about the viability and relevancy of the space program, and a question that was broached during a press conference announcing the new agreement. Bolden, who served as the Administrator of NASA under President Obama, said of the current $20 billion budget for NASA represents less than one half of one percent of the federal budget. “But people forget we’ve never spent a dime in space,” Bolton said. “We spend the money here on earth, building satellites, building robots, training people, enabling us to go do the kinds of things that we talk about today. “When you think about NASA, I hope people won’t just think about space exploration,” Bolden said. “There are some people here who understand the critical importance, and the role Monaco plays with preserving and protecting the planet, and that’s a huge portion of what NASA does.”
1. Astronauts George D. “Pinky” Nelson and Captain Michael López-Alegria sign autographs for students following the screening of “Above and Beyond: NASA’s Journey to Tomorrow.” 2. At a press conference seated, left to right: Dr. Ilhami Aygun, Mr. Guy Beutelschies, Captain Michael López-Alegria, General Charles Bolden, Dr. Rhea Seddon, Dr. George “Pinky” Nelson, Captain Robert “Hoot” Gibson. 3. Standing, left to right : Dr. Rhea Seddon, General Charles Bolden, Captain Robert “Hoot” Gibson, Dr. George “Pinky” Nelson, Ambassador Maguy Maccario Doyle, Captain Michael López-Alegria, Mr. Guy Beutelschies, Dr. Ilhami Aygun.
D I P L O M AT I C O U R I E R .c o m
D I P L O M AT I C LIFE
For López-Alegría, a veteran of three NASA Space Shuttle missions and one ISS mission, and now an advisor for Axiom Space, space exploration serves a critical diplomatic function, as well. “The ISS is a product of five space agencies. Besides NASA, it’s the Russians, the Europeans, the Japanese, and the Canadians,” LópezAlegría said. “It’s an incredible feat of engineering, and it’s proven to be an amazing instrument of diplomacy.” “We get along with our Russian colleagues every day both in space and on the ground,” López-Alegría said, “and that’s not true with maybe of the rest of our relationships with the Russians these days.” In addition to the diplomatic, economic, environmental, scientific and educational aspects, for all of those who had been to space, the impact was also deeply personal. “Being able to see the earth from that altitude, you realize how connected it is, to everything else on the earth,” Seddon, a three-mission veteran and one of the first six women to be accepted into the space program, said. “You see a sandstorm in Africa and then you come back around and you see that sand is over the Atlantic. And you go another orbit and you come and you see that it’s dropping dust on your car back in Houston Texas.” “You can see vast areas of the earth, the grandeur of it, and you can see what man has done to it. You can see things in the ocean and you can see where ships have dumped oil, you can see many things that are not good for the earth. And it gives you a feeling that we need to protect the earth in a great way,” Seddon said. It’s a feeling more people can expect to experience in coming years as space tourism gains traction. According to López-Alegría, now an advisor for Axiom Space, the idea isn’t science fiction. “We have transportation about to debut next year with companies that will take NASA and other partner astronauts to the ISS.” The initial space tourism flights are expected to be quick, suborbital ones, with perhaps twenty minutes of microgravity flight. Those are expected to occur within the next three to five
years. Orbital space flight tourism will take a little bit longer to become reality. And because those initial, suborbital flights will be so quick, Nelson says amateur astronauts, or “space tourists” should prepare themselves. “In the beginning, it’s going to be a short ride, so my advice would be to sit down with a piece of paper and make a list of the things that you want to look at, that you want to notice, and really prepare yourself for the experience so that you can take it in before you go,” Nelson said. A number of challenges are expected to accompany the first wave of space tourism, and one of them is inherently human. “There’s one issue that we still face and that’s the first few hours in space, a lot of people don’t feel well. We don’t understand why, exactly,” Nelson said. “For space tourism, we’ll have to prepare people. Perhaps they’ll have to take a patch like you’d wear on a cruise ship and that can help a little bit.” Since its inception, the NASA space program has not been without its risks. The crew recalled that the flight they flew together, the Columbia shuttle mission in 1986, was the last mission before the Challenger disaster a few weeks later. The Challenger exploded just over a minute into its flight, killing all aboard. In a chilling foreshadow, J A N U A RY 2 0 1 9 40
fourteen seconds before the Columbia mission was set to launch, a booster rocket detected an electronic problem and cancelled it. “Had we launched that day, we would have been the coldest launch, which of course was a factor in the Challenger accident,” Gibson said. Later, in a private conversation, Gibson said that following the Challenger, the momentum of the space program came to a grinding halt. In addition to grieving for their friends and colleagues, the uncertainty over the future of NASA and their program, had left many of the astronauts struggling. “It was the darkest period of my life,” Hoot said. There doesn’t seem to be any halting the momentum for this next era in space exploration, which will be determined by private actors as much, if not more than, the countries that began the space race more than sixty years ago. If, as predicted, the next era brings more private citizens into space, these astronauts seem excited to have more members join their club. “I’m really looking forward to having space open up to everyone,” Nelson said. Hosted by Maguy Maccario Doyle, the Monegasque Ambassador to the United States and Canada, and Permanent Observer at the Organization of American States (OAS), the NASA legends and guests gathered in a series of events ranging from a press conference, a screening of the Rory Kennedy documentary, “Above and Beyond: NASA’s Journey to Tomorrow,” and a classroom visit with local schoolchildren. Several guests also visited Monaco’s legendary Oceanographic Museum, to experience the aquarium, interactive exhibits and touch tank. “Earth science and space exploration have impacted humankind in countless positive and tangible ways,” Doyle said. “Monaco is proud to once again bring together such distinguished international panelists to share their experiences.” ● Editor’s note Diplomatic Courier’s Editor-at-Large Molly McCluskey was the sole journalist to travel with the astronauts and diplomatic corps in Monte Carlo where she had a series of on- and off-the-record conversations.
A DARING ACT OF ESPIONAGE A CONTENTIOUS PLOT A BOLD LAND GRAB
Diplomatica AN INSIDER'S GUIDE TO THE HIDDEN HISTORIES OF EMBASSIES IN WASHINGTON D.C. AND AROUND THE WORLD.Â Subscribe today. https://bit.ly/2oaW3eB
D I P L O M AT I C O U R I E R .c o m
By Meg Evett
Arup Foresight: The Campus of the Future Sodexo Global: Global Workplace Trends Village Capital: Can Automation and Artificial Intelligence Benefit the Workforce? Gallup: The Real Future of Work Bridge: 7 Trends for Workforce 2020 EPSC: 10 Trends Transforming Education As We Know It
J A N U A RY 2 0 1 9 42
The Future of Work
D I P L O M AT I C O U R I E R .c o m
Arup Foresight The Campus of the Future
hat does the future hold for higher-education? Will online education take over on-campus learning? What does a future-proof campus look like? These are just a fraction of the questions surrounding the future of education. Arup, a multinational engineering and design company has studied trends and the future of built environment and society within their internal think tank, Foresight, Research and Innovation. In the report, “Campus of the Future,” Arup Foresight along with experts in higher education explored current trends in higher education and what these mean for the future. With ever-evolving technology, learning no longer requires a classroom. Arup has researched the benefits of student communities while also recognizing the financial pressures pushing universities towards online classes. Arup identified six key findings relevant to the future of higher education. The first is that there are increasingly diverse student demographics, meaning that higher education institutions need to ensure that they are engaging all groups of students and their expectations. There is not only increasing diversity in students’ cultures and backgrounds, but also in student age. As life expectancy is increasing and the world population is aging, there will be students across a broad age range. Second, there is a rising demand for lifelong learning. As technology is constantly progressing and changing, employers and employees alike need to learn new skills, making higher education important not just prior to entering the workplace, but throughout one’s career. While online education has become increasingly popular in recent years, Arup pointed out the importance of on campus
experiences as a trend. Online education is not going anywhere as it allows widespread access to education for many individuals. And learning on a campus provides invaluable experiences as students are able to form long-lasting relationships, network, receive and give in-person feedback, and collaborate among themselves and with professors. However, an important trend affecting academic institutions is that the resources to operate and manage campuses are decreasing. Strategies are required to examine how academic institutions can utilize local resources, respond to feedback, and lessen burdens on the environment. Arup also found that focusing on students and how they best thrive will improve productivity. In addition to education looking different, the physical spaces of
J A N U A RY 2 0 1 9 44
education are changing as well. Traditional lecture halls are becoming less popular, while flexible spaces that promote collaborative learning, self-directed learning, and peerto-peer education are what Arup identifies as the future of education settings. Sustainability is and will continue to be a key consideration in building education spaces. For example, systems to recycle water, increase resilience to extreme weather, and help air quality are being explored and proposed in academic institutions, such as the University of Glasgow. At the national University of Singapore School of Design and Environment, buildings are being designed that produce more energy than they utilize. Such sustainability will be a major trend in higher education and consideration when creating new spaces for learning. As artificial intelligence rises, practices such as data harvesting, integration, and sharing can assist campuses in maintenance and efficiently using resources and cutting costs. Arup also identified in this report that personal choice in when, where, and how to work has major benefits in student innovation and performance. There are no longer strong divides between everyday life and learning. The spaces where living and learning happen are coming together. Academic institutions need sustainable financial support to accommodate these changes and create spaces conducive to the trends driving change in higher education. Building a campus designed for the future requires taking many trends and changes in consideration and necessitates expertise and work from a variety of sectors, including design, management, and the government. ●
Sodexo Global Global Workplace Trends
hat does the average workplace look like? What is the future of the workplace? Will the future be marked by a rise in technology that replaces the need for human work? What do millennials mean for the future of the work environment? How will technology transform the way we live and work? These are some of the questions surrounding the future of the workplace. Sodexo identified seven major trends that the 21st century workplace should pay attention to in order to plan for the future. The first important trend is that Generation Z has arrived in the workplace. Gen Z is often lumped with the Millennials despite the fact that there are important distinctions. Gen Z is the generation born between 1995 and 2012. The year 2017 marked the first full year that Gen Z joined the workplace. Sodexo believes it is important to study and know this generation in order to create a work environment that fosters the most productivity amongst this working generation. Gen Z values a work life balance blend. There are more individuals working remotely, and with the advancements of technology, this is now possible. With Gen Z now in the workplace, it is important to learn about this generation in order to engage them and their talents. Another important trend is the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT)—In which everyday objects, such as appliances, vehicles, and other devices, contain software and technology to transmit data—often eliminates the need for human-to-human interaction. In the future workplace IoT could bring about more productivity, organization, facility management, and ultimately improve the employee experience. Companies need to know how to use such technology to their advantage while also being aware of the challenges it could bring to privacy and security.
While many people have heard of artificial intelligence, what about emotional intelligence (EI)? In order to have a productive and healthy work environment, employers and employees alike need to know how to navigate the immense number of emotions and emotional experiences surrounding them and their coworkers every day. Sodexo identified emotional intelligence as an important trend and crucial skill for leaders in the workplace and companies that strive for high performance. EI can fundamentally alter the employee’s experience and create a more functional and effective workplace. It is clear, with the popularity and ease of companies such as Uber and Lyft, that the gig or sharing economy is here to stay. What does this mean for the average workplace? There are trends that are signaling changes from the traditional office to increase the efficiency of labor and materials.
There is a rise in sharing office space and equipment, and as was already noted as a preference for Gen Z, this means less distinctions between work and life. Employees and organizations have the option to have greater flexibility regarding work schedules and space. Despite this increased agility, there are also considerable liabilities and challenges with sharing resources. Furthermore, there is increased risk of exploitation of employees. The fifth trend identified involves women in the workplace. However, it is no longer just about increasing the number of women in the workplace and ensuring a balanced work environment. The workplaces and employers need to examine whether women feel included and that they belong in the workplace. Are there biases or double standards? What is holding women back in the workplace? These are questions that employers and employees alike need to be asking about their environment to create a welcoming, productive workplace ready for the future. Inclusive leaders are needed for this change. Human Capital Management 3.0 is what Sodexo described the sixth trend in the workplace. As organizations have been working to increase efficiency, they often lose sight of what this does to the employee experience. Workplace complexity can take away from important employee interactions and an enjoyable work experience. The final trend is that employees are the new change agents for corporate responsibility. Companies need to focus on more than their own success. Employees are expecting more of their superiors for a response to social problems. Whether it is a conscious effort to improve sustainability or take a stance on a social issue, employees are advocating for corporate responsibility programs. This will help employers retain both employee trust and respect.●
D I P L O M AT I C O U R I E R .c o m
Village Capital Can Automation and Artificial Intelligence Benefit the Workforce?
his rise in AI confirms many fears that robots and machines will replace the need for humans in many jobs. However, AI will also create many new jobs in different sectors. In fact, Village Capital predicts that AI could create as many jobs as it will replace; the report says it could be as many 375 million jobs by 2030. However, the new jobs AI will create require different qualifications, which could prove to be a problem if the workers whose jobs are replaced by AI do not reskill or retrain for the new jobs created. Village Capital studied startups in order to identify trends emerging in response to increased automation. In June of 2018, Village Capital brought together startups, investors, AI experts, and other leaders to talk about these topics and how to respond to and use AI in a way that benefits the workplace. One trend is to use data to get past hiring biases. While big data and loss of privacy is a concern for many people, it can be harnessed for good causes, including creating more inclusive work environments. The hiring process is very costly. The report notes that recruiting, hiring, and onboarding a new employee can cost as much as $240,000. In the tech industries, there is a lack of diversity, and more inclusive teams have been studied and outperform less inclusive teams by 80%. What does this mean for AI? There are, in fact, AI tools that can assist in these problems. These tools can help reduce both time and cost in the hiring process and increase diversity. AI tools, such as an app called Blendoor, can remove unconscious bias by using an algorithm which hides information on resumes that are not relevant, such as name and address. This helps employers focus on the
information and data about the potential employee that is relevant and gives them feedback about the inclusivity of their hiring process. However, Village Capital noted that algorithms can also have bias. Algorithms are created by humans and are only bias-free if the human who created it is bias-free. Due to this, AI tools and platforms need to be evaluated by third parties. Not only is the hiring process expensive, but so is the training process for new employees. This trend is especially notable with the rising number of jobs in the STEM fields, requiring certain skills. Village Capital noted three major shifts in the workplace. The first is the rise in traditional workers. While fewer companies hire as many full-time workers as they did prior to the
J A N U A RY 2 0 1 9 46
2008 recession, companies are still outsourcing many jobs. The second shift is the rise in freelance workers. This is largely due to the fact that many workers do not make enough money from their traditional job alone and also pick up work in the gig economy, such as driving for Uber. The third major shift is that there is an increase in online learning. Many people are now doing work from home, and as such, less training and teaching is done in person. This all points to areas where AI can help. AI tools can help assist in employee training and engagement on an individual level. AI can use data on individuals’ experiences, interests, and level of expertise to design unique learning paths. Another area where AI can help is in improving skills that are not used in a traditional office space. For example, there is an AI app called Presentr, which helps employers improve their personal training through personalized mobile coaching for speeches and presentations. AI allows for training to be personalized and specific, giving the best results. However, Village Capital noted challenges in privacy and security when using such tools, as well as difficulties if there are cultural or linguistic differences. Companies cannot prevent the age of automation. While there are increased risks of cybersecurity threats and concerns regarding privacy, there are also enormous potential benefits. Organizations, leaders, and startups need to come to terms with the rise in AI and tap into the possibilities it could create. AI can help reduce bias in hiring, cut costs in employee training, and help humans cultivate creativity, just to name a few of the potential advantages of AI and the age of automation. AI won’t replace humans. Humans that effectively use AI will replace humans that don’t. ●
Gallup The Real Future of Work
n report The Real Future of Work, Gallup notes two overarching trends that affect workers the most. One is the way technology has changed work and accelerated the pace of change. The second trend is the difficult recovery from the 2008 economic recession. Employers and employees alike want to know what the future will hold, what the trends point towards, and how to be best prepared. Gallup notes that although there are claims of AI and automation taking over human jobs, in reality, a very small percentage of employees are actually worried about this. Employees understand that technology will change their jobs, but are still required the same, if not more, productivity. Twothirds of French and British employees, half of Spanish employees, and a third of German employees responded to a survey saying that they believed technology would require more productivity from them as workers. Additionally, while machines and technology will take over many aspects of businesses, they cannot take over everything. These areas that require humans, also known as People Analytics, will require quality work from employees. These areas include coming up with creative ideas and solutions, taking leadership, and working together within and between organizations. However, with a rise in the need for developing People Analytics comes a need for new management that allows for more employee flexibility to capitalize on these areas that require leadership and human interaction. Gallup noted that People Analytics is an area in need of significant improvement in many European companies. They pointed out that labor productivity has remained somewhat stagnant since 2010. Management systems need to become less rigid and more conducive to determining what motivates employees to thrive and
succeed in areas that require people analytic skills. A striking statistic from Gallup states, “in none of the four countries (England, France, Spain, and Germany) do more than 30% of employees strongly agree that their performance is managed in a way that motivates them to do outstanding work.” However, in today’s changing workplace, performance management is not as simple as it sounds. There is less and less routine for employees every day, making it crucial that performance measurement is done in a way that they are observing work and outcomes that are in an employee’s realm of control. Additionally, performance management must be sure to measure aspects of work that directly link to an organization’s success. Gallup gave an example of meetings and sales. Having more meetings does not necessarily mean a company will have more sales.
Less than half of the employees in England, France, Spain, and Germany feel that their performance is measured on aspects of work that they can control. Gallup notes that this needs to change in order to have better management and in turn better people analytics within organizations. “When well-calibrated metrics are used to capture employees’ unique contributions, managers and employees can have a more effective dialogue about personal development.” Gallup discovered three domains that are relevant across most organizations that help determine an employee’s success. The first is their individual achievement, or if they are fulfilling their personal responsibilities. The second is team collaboration, or how well an individual is working with their coworkers. The third is customer value, or how an individual’s work is affecting the customers. Another key aspect of performance measurement that Gallup emphasizes is that these measurements must be clear and accepted by all employees. There must be agreement that the metrics are fair. Many of the ways that employees’ work and their success are currently evaluated are inept with the rise of AI and the age of automation. Growth mindset and fixed mindset are terms often used in child psychology classes or in preparing adults for how to be the best parents they can be. However, growth mindset and its distinction are important for all individuals, especially in the age of automation and AI. Organizations will have the best environments when the employees there believe they are always developing and will continue to grow and learn new skills. Ultimately, as automation continually leads organizations to reorient their workforces around enduring human skill sets like creativity and relationshipbuilding, those traits will become more important among managers as well. ●
D I P L O M AT I C O U R I E R .c o m
Bridge 7 Trends for Workforce 2020
ridge, a learning and engagement platform, created this report as a how-to guide for professionals to keep up with today’s workplace and be prepared for changes to come. The world in 2020 should be ready for a workforce that is multitasking on several devices. Standard 9-5 jobs are becoming less the norm, and socially conscious individuals, working on multiple projects, and expecting promotions in shorter amounts of time. The barriers between work life and home life are coming down. While there are benefits to being able to work remotely and not being tied to a 9-5 job, this also means that managers often expect to be able to reach their workers at any hour of the day. Workers may struggle with the feeling of always being in work mode. Social media is still on the rise, and it is going to be important in the professional world. Employers will want their employees to share what their company is doing not just on the company’s social media sites, but also within personal social media sites and networks. Bridge recommends that managers and employers get rid of newsletters within their organization and rather have a personal company Facebook page or use a platform such as Slack, that is easily downloadable on employees’ phones and allows for instant communication within the company. Gen Z and millennials who are entering the workforce more and more every day, are coming to expect to have the option to work remotely rather than at a desk from 9-5. One benefit of this is reduced costs for offices and physical work spaces. However, stress affects both employees and the company, and healthy work environments need to be cultivated. Reducing constant
emails and allowing workers flexibility in their workplace and schedule are methods Bridge points out can assist in reducing employee stress. Training employees should be a continuous process rather than a one-time course upon entering the company. Employees should have the mindset of continually developing critical thinking skills, such as what to do in certain hypothetical situations and creative solutions to difficult problems. Upward mobility is something employees in 2020 will continue to find attractive. This mobility should be encouraged by continuously developing new skills and new training. These skills should be not just to meet company needs but also to help employees reach personal goals.
J A N U A RY 2 0 1 9 48
Collaboration and working in teams are important now and will continue to be critical through 2020. Innovation is a constant in today’s world, and organizations need to have innovation at the forefront of their goals. This is possible through technology, even if a team is countries apart. Bridge points out the idea of having focus teams within an organization, which can meet periodically and discuss their focus, whether it be customer service, the mission, responses to the market, etc. Data is everywhere; however, it needs to be harnessed in a way that is productive and beneficial to both organizations and employees. Engaging employees is important now more than ever, as the trend seems to be more and more marked by Gen Z and Millennials constantly changing jobs. Effective feedback mechanisms within companies can greatly assist in improving employee retention and engagement. Lastly, an important trend is the rise in freelancers and temporary workers, or “temps.” While this can be helpful in reducing costs for companies, effectively training and engaging “temps” is more difficult than doing so with full-time, more engaged employees. However, trends show the rise in “temps” could mean more good than bad. Organizations should have a learning management system, or LMS, to provide 24/7 access for employees. Indeed, in some ways, businesses are becoming more like Hollywood movie production teams and less like traditional corporations, with people coming together to tackle projects, then disbanding and moving on to new assignments once the project is complete. ●
EPSC 10 Trends Transforming Education as We Know It
lassroom or computer? Liberal arts or coding? Degrees or skills? These are questions in students’, employees’, and employers’ minds. The European Political Strategy Center (EPSC) identified 10 major trends dominating education and the future of the classroom. The first trend is that early childhood education is extremely crucial. EPSC noted that investing in early childhood education has incredible results, including higher test scores and improving productivity and skills among students. The second trend is that now, more than ever, it is a skill to know how to learn. While this sounds like a mouthful, it simply means that students should be prepared to be constantly learning, not just throughout school but also throughout their professional lives. As stated in the report, “The average European worker has gone from having a job for life to having more than 10 in a career.” This demonstrates learning and developing new skills happens continuously, and as technology advances, students need to be prepared to continuous skill development throughout their lives. Digital literacy is the new literacy. Today, there is hardly a job that exists that does not require some sort of digital skills. This is especially advantageous for Gen Z and Millennials, the majority of whom have some sort of digital and technological knowledge and skills. EPSC points out that in Poland, the government is paying for over 170 million people of all different ages to receive digital literacy training. In addition, students will be required
to take coding classes during their primary education. The fourth trend is that “humans are not the only ones learning.” Rather, that machines and drones are being developed to do what humans do, and often faster. However, EPSC emphasized that there are still many areas where humans perform better than machines. One example of this would be the medical field. EPSC discovered that doctors were better than AI at diagnosing cancer, however, the best results occurred when doctors worked with the software. With the rise in AI, education needs to have a specific focus on human skills, such as creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, and emotional intelligence.
Another trend is personalized education. Using technology and data, personalized learning is possible and will lead to better skill development, as individuals deal with problems and solving them in their own way. The sixth trend is collaborative, interdisciplinary learning that is powered by technology. The social issues that our society and world face today, require solutions from multiple different experts from different fields. Curricula in the classroom should foster collaboration between students, classrooms, and teachers. This would best prepare students to face problems in the real world and in their professional lives. Entrepreneurship should be encouraged throughout education and included in the learning process. Additionally, learning via technology and being able to take a class from any location and at any time, is becoming a standard option for universities to offer their students. Technology and the workplace are rapidly changing, making it crucial for classrooms to adapt and best prepare students for the ever-evolving world and workplace. These trends show the changes in both schools and offices and how the two can work together as technology evolves and changes what we know. ●
MASTER OR SERVANT? WORLDWEBFORUM, 7TH ANNUAL MEETING ZURICH, JANUARY 17-18, 2019 WWW.WORLDWEBFORUM.COM
30 years of fighting for the rule of law and access to justice. Support the current and future
#Champions ofJustice making the law work for people. www.idlo.int
International Development Law Organization
We are designing a smoke-free future, but we canâ€™t do it alone.
We ask the worldâ€™s leaders to join us in a conversation. 1.1 billion cigarette smokers deserve better options. Support the vision for a smoke-free future.
In the first edition of 2019 the Diplomatic Courier delves into how new technologies, especially blockchain, cryptocurrency, and artificial...
Published on Jan 10, 2019
In the first edition of 2019 the Diplomatic Courier delves into how new technologies, especially blockchain, cryptocurrency, and artificial...