Articles

349 Items

U.S. President Bill Clinton, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat sign the historic Oslo accord at the White House in September 1993.

Wikicommons/Vince Musi

Magazine Article - Harvard Magazine

The Indispensable Power

| June 16, 2020

When we emerge finally from the grip of the coronavirus, Americans will need to account for a public-health disaster that has killed well over 100,000 people to date and shuttered nearly every institution in our society (including Harvard) for much of the spring and into the summer.

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Magazine Article

Inside China's controversial mission to reinvent the internet

| Mar. 27, 2020

On a cool day late last September, half a dozen Chinese engineers walked into a conference room in the heart of Geneva's UN district with a radical idea. They had one hour to persuade delegates from more than 40 countries of their vision: an alternative form of the internet, to replace the technological architecture that has underpinned the web for half a century. 

Whereas today's internet is owned by everyone and no one, they were in the process of building something very different - a new infrastructure that could put power back in the hands of nation states, instead of individuals.

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Magazine Article

Jack Ma Offers to Supply the US With Covid-19 Tests and Masks

| Mar. 13, 2020

As the US government promises to ramp up more Covid-19 testing, an unlikely billionaire is offering to lend help: Jack Ma, cofounder of the Chinese tech giant Alibaba. Ma's philanthropic organization, the Jack Ma Foundation, said early Friday morning it would donate 500,000 Covid-19 testing kits and 1 million protective face masks to the US.

Chernobyl welcome sign

Wikimedia CC/Jorge Franganillo

Journal Article - Futures

Accumulating Evidence Using Crowdsourcing and Machine Learning: A Living Bibliography about Existential Risk and Global Catastrophic Risk

    Authors:
  • Gorm E. Shackelford
  • Luke Kemp
  • Catherine Rhodes
  • Lalitha Sundaram
  • Seán S. ÓhÉigeartaigh
  • Simon Beard
  • Haydn Belfield
  • Shahar Avin
  • Dag Sørebø
  • Elliot M. Jones
  • John B. Hume
  • David Price
  • David Pyle
  • Daniel Hurt
  • Theodore Stone
  • Harry Watkins
  • Lydia Collas
  • Bryony C. Cade
  • Thomas Frederick Johnson
  • Zachary Freitas-Groff
  • David Denkenberger
  • Michael Levot
  • William J. Sutherland
| February 2020

The study of existential risk — the risk of human extinction or the collapse of human civilization — has only recently emerged as an integrated field of research, and yet an overwhelming volume of relevant research has already been published. To provide an evidence base for policy and risk analysis, this research should be systematically reviewed. In a systematic review, one of many time-consuming tasks is to read the titles and abstracts of research publications, to see if they meet the inclusion criteria. The authors show how this task can be shared between multiple people (using crowdsourcing) and partially automated (using machine learning), as methods of handling an overwhelming volume of research.

WWI chemical weapon firing pipes

Wikimedia CC/Rosser1954

Journal Article - Nonproliferation Review

Gas, Norms, and Statistics: The Jury is Still Out

| 2019

Damir Kovačević, Afrimadona, and Martin Claar's (KAC) statistical adjudication between the potential role of norms versus strategic deterrence in preventing interstate chemical-weapons use is a welcome contribution (Vol. 26, Nos. 3–4, pp. 251–66). The authors conclude that a powerful non-use norm is the most convincing explanation for downtrending chemical warfare. However, closer examination by  David M. Allison and Stephen Herzog in this response to the original article reveals several analytical issues, including inaccurate presentation of data and alternative explanations, that may undermine their results.

Members of the 576th Flight Test Squadron monitor an operational test launch of an unarmed Minuteman III missile

USAF/Michael Peterson

Journal Article - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

The Overwhelming Case for No First Use

| Jan. 13, 2020

The arguments in favor of the United States' declaring that the only purpose of its nuclear weapons is to deter others who possess them from using theirs — in other words, that in no circumstances will this country use nuclear weapons first — are far stronger than the arguments against this stance. It must be hoped that the next US administration will take this no-first-use step promptly.

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Journal Article

Lines, Flows and Transnational Crime: Toward a Revised Approach to Countering the Underworld of Globalization

| Dec. 16, 2019

In this article, we develop a new framework for combating transnational criminal activity. We argue that global illicit flows, perpetrated by organized crime, in the interstices of lawful trade and travel, embody a critical and debilitating non-state security threat in today’s world, one that the Westphalian international system of sovereign states remains ill-equipped to confront. Accordingly, we seek to generate a wider discussion in the field regarding a revised approach to this threat that is situated within a global framework of collaborative law enforcement which incorporates, in appropriate fashion, certain military and counter-terrorist strategies.

The propositions we advance in support of a revised approach to countering transnational crime and its globalized web-enabled criminals include: (a) terrorism is one species of transnational crime; (b) the criminal justice model of arrest, prosecution, conviction and incarceration is a partial and insufficient response to transnational crime; (c) national security and law enforcement functions should be viewed analytically as a “public security” continuum rather than disciplines separated by bright lines; (d) countering transnational criminal organizations effectively may require development of a hybrid law enforcement/military capacity and new strategic and tactical doctrines, including safeguards against abuse, to govern its deployment; (e) joint border management within nations and between them, coordinated with the private sector, is required and inter-agency cooperation and multilateral institutions must be strengthened in accordance with new international norms and (f) North America, a region construed as extending from Colombia to the Arctic and from Bermuda to Hawaii, could develop in the future, together with the European Union, as an initial site for a model pilot of the new approach.