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Perhaps Trump was half right about the WHO

Malcolm Potts, professor of population and family planning | July 19, 2020

Over half a century I have had many positive interactions with the WHO. I have a particular admiration for WHO staff who have been first responders during Ebola epidemics. The WHO has earned global respect and influence because of its record of science-based polices. When a mistake is made then the results are especially catastrophic. … Continue reading »

Blockchain for the public good

Camille Crittenden, Executive Director, CITRIS and the Banatao Institute | July 7, 2020

Over the last year, I have had the privilege to lead the California Blockchain Working Group, which delivered its report to the Legislature in early July. Established by AB 2658, the 20-member Working Group comprised experts with backgrounds in computer science, cybersecurity, information technology, law, and policy. We were charged with drafting a working definition … Continue reading »

Out of one, many – the benefits of pooled Covid-19 testing

Julia Schaletzky, Executive Director, Center for Emerging and Neglected Diseases (CEND) and Immunotherapy and Vaccine Research Institute (IVRI) | May 6, 2020

The U.S. is testing about 200,000 people a day — way fewer than the millions a day which most experts say will be needed. We’ll need to be regularly testing anywhere groups of people gather: schools, workspaces, apartment buildings, prisons and more.

Academic labs can help U.S. ramp up coronavirus testing

Julia Schaletzky, Executive Director, Center for Emerging and Neglected Diseases (CEND) and Immunotherapy and Vaccine Research Institute (IVRI) | March 16, 2020

Passengers of the Grand Princess cruise ship affected by COVID-19 recently disembarked at the Port of Oakland and moved into quarantine facilities for several weeks. Out of 46 passengers tested, 21 tested positive, including 19 crew members who likely had been in contact with passengers. One can’t help but wonder why not all of the … Continue reading »

What history can teach us about disease-driven economic panic

Elena Conis, Historian of U.S. public health and medicine | March 13, 2020

You could  ignore cholera as easy as you could ignore a case of arsenic poisoning, wrote historian Charles Rosenberg more than half a century ago. The disease’s symptoms of severe diarrhea and spasmodic vomiting left the victim’s “face blue and pinched, his extremities cold and darkened, the skin of his hands and feet drawn and … Continue reading »

To prevent pandemic, probe viruses that jump from animals to humans

Wayne Getz, professor, Environmental Science, Policy and Management | March 4, 2020

Whether we reside in Asia, the U.S., Europe or elsewhere, we humans are part of a biological ecosystem constantly under attack from infectious and mysterious agents. Today, public enemy No. 1 is the coronavirus COVID-19, which has been linked to bats in Wuhan, China. In just a few months, it has spread to over 70 … Continue reading »

‘Bless you’

Malcolm Potts, professor of population and family planning | February 10, 2020

Even without coronavirus, we have enough coughs and colds to generate a lot of “bless yous.”  But what is the origin of this saying? Renaissance scientists, such as the sixteenth century Flemish anatomist Vesalius, were the first to start to dissect the human body. But the brain presented a problem. There were no chemicals to preserve … Continue reading »

Policymakers must understand 5G’s potential and its pitfalls

Christopher Eldred, Research Analyst, Berkeley Roundtable on the International Economy (BRIE) and Work and Intelligent Tools and Systems | December 2, 2019

    For some, 5G is a miracle network that will bring the internet’s speed, abundance, and possibility out of our pockets and throughout our physical world. For others, it’s the next national security battleground, the winner of which will be the world’s hegemonic superpower. For most, it’s probably just an ill-defined tech buzzword echoing … Continue reading »

5G Won’t Bridge the Rural Digital Divide, Nor Will Telecom Mergers

Jenna Burrell, associate professor, School of Information | November 15, 2019

Jaime is a generational cattle rancher in central Oregon. He subscribes to two Internet services, both of which have stringent data caps that he routinely exceeds. One is satellite-based, meaning it inefficiently boomerangs his data to outer space and back. The other is his cell phone service with Verizon, which he uses to connect a … Continue reading »

Kill science funding and you kill the future tech economy

Lee Fleming, faculty director, Fung Institute for Engineering Leadership | October 29, 2019

This post is co-written by Matt Marx of Boston University. When you hear the word innovation, you might think of Silicon Valley: a place where inventors, engineers, and scientists — funded by deep-pocketed venture capitalists and led by plucky entrepreneurs — build new products and industries from thin air. There’s an increasing sense that the … Continue reading »

The smartest people in the room? What Silicon Valley’s supposed obsession with tech-free private schools really tells us

Morgan Ames, assistant adjunct professor in the School of Information and interim associate director of research for the Center for Science, Technology, Medicine and Society | October 21, 2019

Sure, technologists can be smart. But to assume that expertise in software engineering converts to expertise in child development, public health, or the moral implications of technology more broadly — and that technologists thus need not consult expertise in other areas — has led to the ethical crises raging across the technology world today. Note: … Continue reading »

Fair, Reliable, and Safe: California Can Lead the Way on AI Policy to Ensure Benefits for All

Brandie Nonnecke, Founding Director, CITRIS Policy Lab | May 28, 2019

Co-authored with Jessica Cussins Newman, a research fellow at UC Berkeley’s Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity Amidst claims that artificial intelligence (AI) will add $15 trillion to the global economy by 2030, governments around the world are devoting significant resources to support national R&D of the technology. At the same time, concerns about misuse and unintended consequences … Continue reading »

International Women’s Day: Gender equity by the numbers

Camille Crittenden, Executive Director, CITRIS and the Banatao Institute | March 7, 2019

A recent New York Times opinion piece decried the application of quantitative metrics to evaluate progress toward gender equity (“Stop counting women,” Feb. 23, 2019). The author’s assertion, that such frameworks are “reductive and demeaning” and impede a “gradual organic process of moving toward a society where men and women can both pursue the work … Continue reading »

Resumes, recruiting and recommendations: Data-driven guidelines for employers and applicants

Camille Crittenden, Executive Director, CITRIS and the Banatao Institute | December 5, 2018

As the year-end approaches, for many the winter break means not only holiday shopping and family time but also submitting applications for graduate school, searching for summer internships, or scanning job advertisements. Applicants prepare resumes, mentors draft recommendation letters, and employers (or their designated algorithms) assess both. Given the complicated chemistry of matching an ideal … Continue reading »

Vampires exist! A spooky Halloween post

Wadim Strielkowski, Professor of Economics, Visiting Scholar at UC Berkeley | October 29, 2018

Is everyone looking forward to the forthcoming Halloween? The “All Hallows Evening” is at our doorstep and everyone is preparing for trick-or-treating, brushing off their scary costumes, renting horror movies, carving pumpkins and generally intending to have fun.  Halloween is the holiday that originated from the Celtic rituals in Ireland and the United Kingdom only to be … Continue reading »

Don’t forget people in the use of big data for development

Joshua Blumenstock, Assistant Professor in the School of Information | September 14, 2018

In the rush to find technological solutions to complex global problems, there’s a danger of researchers and others losing track of the hardships and constraints unique to each locality. Designing data applications will require a slower approach that pays far more attention to the people behind the data.

The summer of silent revolution, disruptive innovation and Factfulness

David Zilberman, professor, agriculture and resource economics | July 9, 2018

June is conferences month and this year I attended three – two in Washington (the ICABR Ravello group conference at the World Bank and the IFPRI conference) and then the World Congress of Environmental and Resource Economists in Gothenburg, Sweden. I was most enlightened by a wonderful book, Factfulness, I read on the plane. Altogether, … Continue reading »