August 12th, 2014
01:39 PM ET

Have Americans given up on space?

For more What in the World watch Sundays at 10 a.m. & 1 p.m. ET on CNN

Fareed speaks with astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of the Hayden Planetarium, about the importance of space exploration – and whether Americans have fallen out of love with space.

What is the Orion spacecraft that NASA is talking about doing?

All of these efforts are trying to get us back into space, with the goal of possibly sending humans to the Mars system, Mars and the moons and the like. And if you have that capacity, then you'll have the capacity to go many other places. You could visit comets. You could go to the Moon easily once you've configured that.

So these are the things that have been discussed. But I don't see it happening in a real tangible way. In the 1960s, we were going to the Moon and every couple of months you saw the next spacecraft ready on the launch pad.

You led off with the ending of the shuttle program. For many people, that was sad. And it shouldn’t have been sad because had the cards been played right, on the next launch pad would have been the next vehicle to continue this adventure in space. And you say, OK, it served us well. Mothball it, but here's what's next. No one was sad at the end of the Mercury program, because the Gemini rockets were ready right there on the launch pad. And no one was sad when Gemini ended because the mighty Saturn 5 was ready to go. FULL POST

Post by:
Topics: GPS Show • Space • Technology
Social media poisoning Middle East politics
July 3rd, 2014
01:54 PM ET

Social media poisoning Middle East politics

Watch "Fareed Zakaria GPS," Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN

CNN speaks with Fareed Zakaria about the killing of three Israeli teens and a Palestinian youth, the role of social media in the Middle East, and the prospects for a peaceful resolution to the crisis. This is an edited version of the transcript.

The violence and the tension between Israelis and Palestinians is nothing new. When did it get to the point that killing innocent teenagers is part of this?

Unfortunately, there’s a long history of terrorism. Palestinians regarded it as a resistance to what they see as an illegitimate occupation. Of course, Israelis regarded it as terrorism. What I think is new here, which is very troubling, is that people are using the new tools of technology, social media, and you're beginning to see radical fringe elements that are able to organize, galvanize support. So what happens after the horrific murder of these three Israelis is you see Israeli right wing extremist groups go on Facebook and create sites that basically say, let's kill Arabs.

On the Arab side, on the Palestinian side, you've had similar kinds of incitement. It's as if we sometimes think that these technologies are somehow going to make everybody get along and cooperate. And instead what's happening is that it's creating a poison within the body politics of both sides, and it's going to be very difficult to walk this down because it's out there now.

Prime Minister Netanyahu has called for calm. Everyone on both sides is calling for calm on this. But can they keep a handle on this, especially when you talk about how now you have this social media element? FULL POST

Post by:
Topics: Iran • Iraq • Israel • Palestinian Authority • Technology
Why U.S. needs to rethink whistleblower rules
June 5th, 2014
03:37 PM ET

Why U.S. needs to rethink whistleblower rules

By Dinah PoKempner, Special to CNN

Editor’s note: Dinah PoKempner is general counsel at Human Rights Watch. The views expressed are the writer’s own.

Edward Snowden’s revelations, first published a year ago today, sparked a global firestorm of debate and outrage about U.S. surveillance practices, not to mention considerable wing-flapping on Capitol Hill over some exceedingly modest legislative reform. But there’s one subject that many surveillance reformers won’t touch with a 10-foot pole: whistleblower protection for people working for the government in the intelligence and national security sectors.

No legislative proposal to protect a contractor like Snowden has gotten traction on the Hill so far. And intelligence and national security workers lack the enforceable rights that other federal employees have against retaliation for calling out wrongdoing.

Worse, no one in the United States has a clear legislative defense against punishment for revealing government secrets to the public – not even if those secrets concern violations of the Constitution, international law, or outright crimes. Indeed, the heavy blunderbuss of the Espionage Act, a law aimed at punishing leaks to the enemy, doesn’t exempt those who try to alert the public to grave misconduct.

FULL POST

Post by:
Topics: Technology • United States • WikiLeaks
May 27th, 2014
11:14 AM ET

Bewkes: TV is taking over the Internet

Fareed speaks with Jeff Bewkes, chairman and CEO of Time Warner, CNN's parent company, about the future of television. Explore how television has evolved since the 1960s during the premiere episode of “The Sixties” this Thursday on CNN at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

Bewkes: Television is a thriving business, not just in America, but all over the world. Advertising revenue, subscription revenue has all come in to create much bigger TV budgets, much more participation of movie actors in TV. And just to think of one show which is dear to my heart, "Game of Thrones," for example, I think it has the biggest cast of any show that's on TV today.

And this is all about the kind of budgets that television can support. So TV is now in a second golden age. And a...

And you think that golden age is mainly because of what forces? What's making this happen?

Bewkes: Well, really, one of the secrets about television today is there's all these channels. And everybody loves their favorite show. But as I think most people know, your favorite channel now may be different than your brother's or your father's.

So in the old days, everyone was sitting around. Every house had one television. And today, there's a screen for everybody. There's not only TVs across every room, but now – this is probably the untold story – television is taking over the Internet. And what the Internet does, is it...

Wait, say that again – so the Internet is not taking over television, television is taking over the Internet? FULL POST

Post by:
Topics: GPS Show • Technology
May 19th, 2014
10:42 AM ET

Should we have the right to be forgotten online?

For more What in the World watch Sundays at 10 a.m. & 1 p.m. ET on CNN

By Global Public Square staff

Do you have something in your past that you would rather forget? A youthful indiscretion that led to a run-in with the police perhaps? A debt that you "forgot" to pay maybe? How about a quickie marriage one night in Vegas that ended in a quickie divorce? In the Internet Age, these are the types of things that can now live forever.

Except perhaps, if you live in the European Union. Let me explain.

Last week, the European Union's highest court decided that parts of your past have a "right to be forgotten" on the Internet. It’s a ruling that effectively censors search engines like Google. Here's how it happened:

A Spanish man filed a complaint against Google because searches of his name turned up links to a 1998 newspaper notice that mentioned some debts. He argued that this old, now irrelevant information infringed on both his dignity and his privacy. And, on Tuesday, the Luxembourg-based European Court of Justice agreed. Google has to stop linking to the Spaniard's property notice, the court said.

FULL POST

Why U.S. should care about surveillance abroad
April 16th, 2014
09:29 AM ET

Why U.S. should care about surveillance abroad

By Laura Pitter, Special to CNN

Editor’s note: Laura Pitter is a senior national security researcher at Human Rights Watch. The views expressed are the writer’s own.

Under growing pressure to rein in domestic surveillance, President Barack Obama recently offered a proposal to end the government's bulk collection of Americans' phone records. Under the new plan, those records would stay with phone companies but be accessible to the government with the permission of a judge. While the proposal is a step in the right direction, many questions remain about how exactly it will be implemented. But  even more important, it is just a small part of what needs to be done on comprehensive surveillance reform.

Still left unaddressed are mass bulk collection and indiscriminate U.S. surveillance practices abroad, which affect many more people and include the collection of the actual content of internet activities and phone calls, not just metadata.

A number of media reports, based on documents obtained by former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden, have exposed the vast and sweeping nature of these programs. According to one story, the NSA taps into main communication links of data centers around the world and collects millions of records every day, including metadata, text, audio and video. Another revealed that a program called "Mystic" had allegedly been recording “every single” telephone conversation taking place in one, unnamed country and then storing them in a 30-day rolling data base that clears the oldest calls as new ones arrive. Another, last month, reported that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, a court that handles intelligence requests, often in secret, authorized the NSA to monitor "Germany” – as in the country of. And yet another claimed that the NSA has developed and deployed an automated system, codenamed “Turbine,”  that could potentially infect millions of computers and networks worldwide with malware implants that can covertly record audio and video.

FULL POST

Post by:
Topics: Spying • Technology
March 25th, 2014
11:47 AM ET

Will computers make human workers obsolete?

For more What in the World watch Sundays at 10 a.m. & 1 p.m. ET on CNN

By Global Public Square staff

Many people are worried that in tomorrow's economy, a machine might take their job. If you think your job is safe, you would do well to remember Watson – that's the IBM computer that beat Jeopardy champ Ken Jennings. If a computer can handle the complex challenge of playing a trivia game like Jeopardy, it is mastering the kinds of subtle judgments that we used to think of as the sole province of humans.

Eric Brynjolfsson and his MIT colleague Andrew McAfee recently wrote a book called The Second Machine Age – an insightful and sometimes startling look at how computers are becoming smarter by the minute. They note that computers can pull off some truly remarkable tasks these days: driving cars by themselves, and even talking to us.

Why is this happening? It's because while all machines improve over time, computers do so on an exponential scale. Moore's law states that computer processing power doubles every two years or so.

A fascinating way to visualize the power of exponential growth is the myth of the invention of chess. In one telling, the inventor of chess – a brilliant man from India – impresses a ruler with his new game so much so that the ruler invites him to name any reward. The inventor's request seems modest: he asks that just one grain of rice be placed on the first square of a chessboard, and then please double the grains on every new square, until all 64 squares have rice.

FULL POST

February 11th, 2014
05:01 PM ET

Understanding the 'Second Machine Age'

Watch "Fareed Zakaria GPS," Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN

Fareed speaks with Erik Brynjolfsson, a professor of management at MIT's Sloan School, and Andrew McAfee, a scientist at the MIT Center for Digital Business about the future of technology and their book The Second Machine Age.

OK, so you guys end the book optimistically. And I want to give you a chance to explain that, even though I think a lot of this will trouble people. So what can you do when confronting this reality of rising productivity and machines that are replacing humans, even at the very high end of the food chain?

McAfee:  Yes.  So for now, we're still adding jobs every month to the economy.  So we have not totally decoupled job growth from economic growth. That indicates that the right policies for right now are to stimulate economic growth. Job growth will come along with it. So let's get our infrastructure in great shape. Let's get our immigration policies correct. Let's fix our educational system and let's create a great environment for entrepreneurship, not because some entrepreneurs get rich and we love rich people, but because entrepreneurs are the great engine of job creation. That's the right Econ 101 playbook for the short-term.

Am I going to be out of a job?

Brynjolfsson: No time soon, but we all have to keep reinventing the way we work together with computers. And that's the part that's lagging right now. The technology is racing ahead, but our skills, our organizations, our economic policies, are lagging behind. We wanted to change the conversation with this book and get people thinking about how to speed up that part of society.

Watch the video for the full interview.

Post by:
Topics: GPS Show • Technology
How India can leapfrog to the future
December 29th, 2013
08:08 AM ET

How India can leapfrog to the future

Watch ‘India at a Crossroads,’ a GPS special, this Sunday at 10 a.m. & 1 p.m. ET on CNN

By Barnik Maitra and Adil Zainulbhai, Special to CNN

Editor’s note: Barnik C. Maitra is a partner at McKinsey & Company’s Mumbai office and co-editor of Reimagining India. Adil Zainulbhai is Chairman of McKinsey India and co-editor of Reimagining India. The views expressed are their own.

In a village 100 miles from any cities in Andhra Pradesh, a young woman, three months pregnant, is getting her first and only medical check-up. This is happening on board a visiting medical van that now comes to the village every month. The paramedic gives her basic vitamins and enters various vital parameters into an online data base.  Two weeks later, when she feels a little unwell, she calls a toll-free number from her family’s mobile phone, connects a $1 monitor to it, and talks to a doctor. He studies her vital signs through the monitor and reassures her that everything is fine this time. Five months and five such virtual check-ups later, it is time for her to go to the hospital. The online doctor sends her an ambulance, which drops her 90 miles away at the nearest hospital, for a safe delivery.

Thousands of mothers in Andhra Pradesh and around India are benefiting from the frugal technologies of wireless connectivity, sensors, software, and having a safer childbirth.

FULL POST

Post by:
Topics: India • Technology
December 2nd, 2013
10:53 AM ET

The end of the World Wide Web?

By Bhaskar Chakravorti, Special to CNN

Editor’s note: Bhaskar Chakravorti is the senior associate dean of International Business & Finance at The Fletcher School at Tufts University and founding executive director of Fletcher’s Institute for Business in the Global Context. He is the author of the book The Slow Pace of Fast Change.  The views expressed are his own.

In a flat world, unflattering news moves quickly. The snowballing effects of the Snowden revelations about U.S. National Security Agency surveillance of Internet traffic threaten to break up the World Wide Web. Consider some of the news since the scandal broke: 100,000 Germans have signed up for a service called Email Made in Germany that guarantees that German email is stored in German servers; some Indian government employees have been advised to switch to typewriters (yes, you read that right) for sensitive documents; the Brazilians are reportedly planning a BRICS-only fiber-optic cable from Fortaleza in Brazil to Vladivostok in Russia, with stops along the way in Cape Town, Chennai and Shantou; the usually unflappable Swiss have begun to build a domestic cloud service for fear of American surveillance.

The chorus of voices to de-Americanize the Internet has grown well beyond those of the usual suspects of Russia, China, Iran and United Arab Emirates. Now, with the grumbling of the EU and the BRICS countries, the dissent risks reaching a tipping point.

FULL POST

Post by:
Topics: Technology
Why China isn’t an innovation powerhouse
October 24th, 2013
10:23 AM ET

Why China isn’t an innovation powerhouse

By Guy de Jonquières, Special to CNN

Editor’s note: Guy de Jonquières is a senior fellow at the European Centre for International Political Economy. This article is based on his recently published paper, Who’s Afraid of China’s High-Tech Challenge?

Some of the sheen may be wearing off China’s miracle growth story as it faces a growing array of economic challenges. But the country’s drive to become an innovation powerhouse and global leader in science and advanced technologies continues to inspire shock and awe abroad.

China has already overtaken the United States and Japan to become the largest recipient of patent applications and is forecast to outstrip the U.S. as the biggest source of scientific publications by 2020. Its universities turn out about 2 million engineering graduates annually, more than any other country.

Beijing’s plans are more breathtaking still. The most far-reaching is the Strategic Emerging Industries initiative, which is backed by state funding of as much as $2 trillion over five years and aims to leapfrog today’s global leaders in sectors such as clean energy, information technology, biotechnology, advanced manufacturing and new materials.

However, as so often in China, all is not quite as it seems. Surging national patent applications, it turns out, have been spurred less by an explosion of innovation than by numerical government targets for filings and lavish state incentives to ensure they are met. This looks suspiciously like a case of “Never mind the quality, just feel the weight.”

FULL POST

Post by:
Topics: China • Technology
October 2nd, 2013
09:31 AM ET

How to write a constitution with Google

For more Last Look, watch GPS, Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN

Google launched a new website called “Constitute” last week with the Comparative Constitution Project. The site is a digital archive of constitutions and other founding documents from more than 175 countries. One of its goals is to assist countries like Egypt that are emerging from political crisis to amend or replace their constitutions.

There’s more demand for this kind of thing than you will think. Every year, approximately five new constitutions are written and as many as 30 are amended or revised. More than 900 have been written since 1789.

If you want to read all of the constitutions in full, you can. But additionally passages of each constitution have been tagged with a topic. Interested in freedom of religion? Looks like you have 167 choices. The right to bear arms, many fewer options. That’s where America is exceptional.

Post by:
Topics: Last Look • Technology
« older posts
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 4,534 other followers