According to some studies, there are 90% chances that by the end of this century, the average global temperature will have increased between 2ºC and 4.9ºC, with a median of 3.2ºC. So in order to address this, decarbonization needs to happen sooner rather than later. We are talking about a transition towards a new energy model: the electrification of the economy and the increase of energy efficiency. Renewable energies will be the key point that will enable this change. In fact, the European Parliament proposed in May 2017 to increase the renewable energy target from the current 27% to 35%.
First up, though Beijing’s use of technology has been horribly effective in infiltrating and controlling public discourse in China, and seeps into our own virtual worlds, that’s a generic outcome of technology. We need to share the blame: look at how uncontrolled the empires of Facebook and other Western companies have been.
We created this particular monster. China has been opportunistic in developing it. And as the Chinese proverb said, when you want to get rid of the bell round the tiger’s throat you may as well ask whoever put it on to take it off. The West needs to create a more effective regime to deal with the threat to personal liberty—and that means combating our own companies, not just those in China.
And before agonising about the days when mandatory study of Xi Jinping’s works becomes part of the British, French or Australian curriculum, we need to see things in a different context. The extraordinary thing is not how successful the promotion of China’s values to the outside world has been, but how clumsy and inept.
Twenty-three centuries ago, the Greek mathematician Eratosthenes sat in the Great Library of Alexandria and tried to find a way to identify prime numbers. He wrote every number from one to 100 in ten rows, and crossed out the one. He circled the two, crossed out all the multiples of two, circled the three and continued. He had created an algorithm, in essence something very simple. His ‘sieve’, as it was called, did what all algorithms do. It took an input, followed a series of well-described steps and produced an output. Input, process, output: that’s all an algorithm is, and has ever been.
Now, researchers at Stanford University have devised a new type of artificially intelligent camera system that can classify images faster and more energy efficiently, and that could one day be built small enough to be embedded in the devices themselves, something that is not possible today. The work was published in the August 17 Nature Scientific Reports.
Marketing slogans aside, since at least the 1980s there has been no presumption that US companies had to operate in the national interest. Goods, capital, and labour could move where they liked — that is the definition of globalisation. Most people believed that if US companies did well, Americans would prosper. But, as the past several decades of wage stagnation have shown, the fortunes of US companies and consumers are now fundamentally disconnected.
The wealth gap alone wasn’t enough to persuade politicians from either party to rethink the rules. But China is. While tariffs are President Donald Trump’s personal preoccupation, fears over losing an economic and cultural war (and possibly a real one at some point) with China is a worry that is shared broadly in the US, no matter what circles you travel in.