Fast food as scapegoat for fat America
I have been tasked to write on governance in the contemporary era, a time when many knowledgeable commentators believe that democracies across the western world are performing poorly in the face of new challenges arising from demographic and technological change. Commentary on the state of contemporary liberal democracy clearly tends toward the pessimistic: The vague and persistent feeling that democracies have become ungovernable has been growing steadily in western Europe. The case of Britain has become the most dramatic example of this malaise…
The tension between the concepts of “civilization” and “the forces of history” can be tracked around the world from deep antiquity until at least the early 20th century. Since then, for many political reasons, neither the idea of civilization or historically transformative forces has been considered worthy of attention or even to possess intellectual legitimacy for serious world leaders. This may now however be changing as, for example, the European Union’s disregard for the continent’s civilization (as in the determination not to refer to Christianity in its draft constitutions) has troubled many.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution will provide insurgents and terrorists with capabilities that, until very recently, were the preserve of large, powerful, wealthy states. The convergence of new technologies will provide them access to relatively cheap, long-range, autonomous weapons. To define the problem this presents to the United States, this paper will first explore the technologies—powerful small warheads, autonomous drones, task-specific artificial intelligence, and advanced manufacturing—that are providing increased range, numbers, and lethality for dramatically lower cost today.
On April 8, 2019, we gathered around the circular table in the Annenberg Conference Room at the Hoover Institution for another discussion from our research project on Governance in an Emerging New World. This session was led by Dr. Lucy Shapiro, a professor of biology at the Stanford University School of Medicine.
The Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii sits two miles above sea level and over 2,200 miles from the nearest continent. For decades, scientists in this government laboratory have collected data on the atmosphere. In recent years, the world’s eyes have been fixed on a particular set of numbers coming out of Mauna Loa—readings of atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2), a key heat-trapping gas associated with climate change. Since the late 19th century, CO2 emissions have grown to unprecedented levels. In 2013, the daily average concentration of CO2 surpassed 400 parts per million for the first time in modern history. Emissions of CO2 continue to rise, reaching the largest amount ever recorded in 2018, according to the International Energy Agency. Greenhouse gas emissions have resulted in an increase of average global surface temperatures of approximately 1°C since the 1880s.
Once upon a time, only the elite could network globally. David Rockefeller—the grandson of the oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller—was a pioneer networker. According to a recent report, “He recorded contact information along with every meeting he had with about 100,000 people world-wide on white 3-by-5-inch index cards. He amassed about 200,000 of the cards, which filled a custom-built Rolodex machine, a 5-foot high electronic device.”
Emerging innovations within today’s most cutting-edge science and technology (S&T) areas are cited as carrying the potential to revolutionize governmental structures, economies, and life as we know it; others have argued that such technologies will yield doomsday scenarios and that military applications of such technologies have even greater potential than nuclear weapons to radically change the balance of power.