ROBOTICS: China Wants to Replace Millions of Workers with Robots
Will Knight | Technology Review
“China is already the world’s largest producer of everything from clothes to electronics, but much of it depends on low-cost, low-skill labor….The Chinese government is also eager to see its workforce diversify and its manufacturing industries become more technologically advanced. Robots might offer a clever solution to some of these challenges. ”

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: Artificial-Intelligence Research Center Is Founded by Silicon Valley Investors
John Markoff | The New York Times
“The group sounded an open-source theme — open-source software can be freely shared without intellectual property restrictions — and said it was committed to ensuring that advanced artificial tools remained publicly available. ‘Since our research is free from financial obligations, we can better focus on a positive human impact,’ the group said. ‘We believe A.I. should be an extension of individual human wills and, in the spirit of liberty, as broadly and evenly distributed as possible.'”

COMPUTING: This Handwriting Algorithm Could Help Robots Understand Causality
Jordan Pearson | Motherboard
“An algorithm that can reliably break an image of an object down into its constituent parts and make a pretty good guess as to how it got that way could be used in robotic speech recognition.”

CHEMISTRY: Five ways chemicals can save the world from climate change
Harry Hoster | The Conversation
“When it comes to the environment, the chemical industry doesn’t have the best reputation. Yet it has a vital role to play in developing technological solutions to help save us from climate catastrophe, and could create significant opportunities for global economic development at the same time.”

BIOLOGY: The Hidden Power Laws of Ecosystems
James O’Dwyer | AEON
“Despite the skepticism, the kinds of general laws made possible by simplification have remarkable predictive powers. They could let us calculate how many species there are in ecosystems that are too big to sample thoroughly, or how many will be lost after habitat destruction.”

DIGITAL MEDIA: The End of Internet Advertising as We’ve Known It
Doc Searls | Technology Review
“I think the biggest reason people are rejecting ads can be summed up in one word: tracking. Over the past decade, companies have increasingly used technology lurking beneath the surface of online ads to capture as much data about us as possible.”

FUTURE OF CITIES: Mapping 65 Years of Explosive Urban Growth
Tanvi Misra | CityLab
“Much urban growth in the 21st century has been driven by Asia, which now houses 53 percent of the world’s urban population.”

GOVERNANCE is the Global Grand Challenge
for the Month of December

Learn more about Global Grand Challenges in Singularity University’s 2015 Impact Report

DIGITAL GOVERNMENT: Digital engagement is important to voters
Aleida Fernandez | FCW
“According to the survey, security is one area in need of improvement. Nearly three-quarters of respondents said they were concerned about the security of their information when they conduct government transactions online. And recent high-profile data breaches are only increasing those concerns.”

Image Credit: Shutterstock

David started writing for Singularity Hub in 2011 and served as editor-in-chief of the site from 2014 to 2017 and SU vice president of faculty, content, and curriculum from 2017 to 2019. His interests cover digital education, publishing, and media, but he'll always be a chemist at heart.

Follow David: