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 »
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 »
If one does prove safe and effective, we will face the same challenges we faced then — of making enough to protect the population, without causing harm, and distributing it without exacerbating existing inequities in our society.
The COVID-19 crisis can provide the scientific community an opportunity to reexamine and strengthen our core values on three scales: personal, interpersonal, and societal.
COVID-19 tracking apps are here now and their impact on privacy and civil liberties is the focus of an emerging debate.
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.
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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.
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 »