Germany won't export arms to Saudi 'in current situation': Merkel

The Japan Times

BERLIN – German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Sunday that Berlin would not export arms to Saudi Arabia for now in the wake of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi's violent death. "I agree with all those who say when it comes to our already limited arms exports (to Saudi Arabia) that they cannot take place in the current situation," she told reporters at her party headquarters. Her foreign minister, Heiko Maas, had already said on Saturday that he currently saw "no basis for decisions in favor of arms exports to Saudi Arabia. Germany last month approved €416 million ($480 million) worth of arms exports to Saudi Arabia for 2018. In the past, military exports by Berlin to Riyadh have mostly consisted of patrol boats. Merkel reiterated that she condemned Khashoggi's killing "in the strongest terms" and saw an "urgent need to clear up" the case. "We are far from seeing everything on the table and the perpetrators being brought to justice," she said. Merkel added that she would continue to consult with international partners about a coordinated reaction to the case. Germany and Saudi Arabia only returned their ambassadors in September after 10 months of frosty relations following criticism from Berlin of what it said was Saudi interference in Lebanese affairs. The Khashoggi case has opened a serious new rift with European partners Britain, France and Germany saying in a joint statement earlier that Saudi Arabia must clarify how Khashoggi died inside its Istanbul consulate, and its account must "be backed by facts to be considered credible.

China spotlight: next AI superpower?


Perhaps China's biggest advantage is the sheer quantity of its data. Tencent's WeChat platform alone has over 889 million daily active users. Chinese e-commerce purchases are almost double U.S. totals. But China's data advantage involves more than just quantity. As China witnesses an explosion of O2O (online-to-offline) startups, their data is creating a new intelligence layer unparalleled in the West.

Opinion Beware the dark side of Artificial Intelligence


Artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming ever more powerful. Consulting firm PwC estimates that AI could contribute up to $15.7 trillion to the global economy in 2030, more than the combined GDP of China and India today. The technology will soon be omnipresent--from household appliances to our financial, law and justice systems. That is why we should be very worried about the dark side of AI. And this is not about devilishly powerful AIs making humans slaves, as depicted in science fiction.

Daily Digest October 21, 2018 – BioDecoded


Silicon Valley is in the midst of a health craze, and it is being driven by "Eastern" medicine. It's been a record year for US medical investing, but investors in Beijing and Shanghai are now increasingly leading the largest deals for US life science and biotech companies. In fact, Chinese venture firms have invested more this year into life science and biotech in the US than they have back home, providing financing for over 300 US-based companies, per Pitchbook. Chinese capital's newfound appetite also flows into the mainland. Business is booming for Chinese medical startups, who are also seeing the strongest year of venture investment ever, with over one hundred companies receiving $4 billion in investment.

Iran to use artificial intelligence in legislation


TEHRAN – Yunes Adiani, an official at the research center of the parliament, has said that Iran will use artificial intelligence in legislation. In an interview with IRNA published on Sunday, he said that Iran is the second country that has taken step in applying artificial intelligence in legislation. "It has been six months that we have started this project. In this project we follow the issues of human intelligence and legislation, artificial intelligence and legislation and artificial intelligence and legislation in the world to see what other countries have used by applying artificial intelligence," Adiani stated. Adiani added, "We are considering the kind of intelligence which receives data and helps us solve problems."

PM to attend 4th edition of NITI Lecture Series on artificial intelligence Monday


Prime Minister Narendra Modi will attend Monday the fourth edition of the NITI Lecture Series focussed on'leveraging artificial intelligence for inclusive growth', according to an official statement. Modi will attend the lecture series in which the key note address will be delivered by Jensen Huang, president and co-Founder of US-based technology firm NVIDIA Corporation, the Niti Aayog said Sunday. The government think tank said the 2018 theme for the lecture series'AI for All: Leveraging Artificial Intelligence for Inclusive Growth' is part of the National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence aimed at evolving a robust ecosystem in India for AI research and adoption. Union ministers, policy makers, experts from different walks of life along with Niti Aayog vice chairman, CEO, members and other senior officials will also be present on the occasion. The Union Budget 2018 had mandated the Niti Aayog to come up with a national programme on employing artificial intelligence towards national development and since the Aayog has published a National Strategy for artificial intelligence (AI).

Researchers use AI to predict outbreak of water wars in the future


Important resources like minerals, oil and diamonds often go hand-in-hand with conflict and poor governance. But when it comes to one particular resource -- the most important resource of all -- many think a different theory will hold true. Often referred to as the water wars thesis, it suggests that growing water scarcity will drive violent conflict as access to water dries up for certain communities. Analysts worry that people, opportunistic politicians and powerful corporations will battle for dwindling water supply, inflaming tensions. In a new study, researchers tried to map out how water wars will emerge around the world and which countries are most likely to see water-related conflict in the coming decades.

Artificial Intelligence


Data and tech expects share their takes on the current A.I. revolution A push for a global agreement on autonomous weapons is stalled, much to the chagrin of advocates who believe a treaty is urgently needed. Fully autonomous cars are years away, but it's the automobile where artificial intelligence could have a critical role for the greatest number of people. Artificial intelligence has its own insider jargon. Here are some crucial concepts and terms, defined and digested for the rest of us. From Singapore to Israel, countries besides the United States and China are striving to play a role in the field of artificial intelligence.

Germany's falling behind on tech, and Merkel knows it


"I'm used to bad news," Merkel said, according to a participant's recollection. The German chancellor had just returned from China, where she spent a day in the Shenzhen tech hub visiting companies like ICarbonX, an artificial intelligence (AI) startup focused on disease detection. A trained physicist, Merkel had been impressed by what she saw. The money and manpower China poured into AI left the 64-year-old with little doubt that the country viewed the technology as its key to becoming a global superpower. "We really do have to walk the extra mile to make sure we're not left behind" -- Jörg Bienert, president of a new association representing more than 50 AI startups Germany, by contrast, had no plan for AI. So on her return to Berlin, Merkel met the country's top 32 AI experts at the chancellery to hear how the country was doing. Their assessment was sobering: Germany, they said, has a good track record in AI research, but it suffers from problems ranging from brain drain to a weak record in transforming basic research into real-world applications that are hampering its ability to compete in a new technology race. After three hours, Merkel left concerned -- and made her worries public a month later. "For centuries, or let's say since the age of Enlightenment, we in Europe were used to being the first ones to come up with technological innovations," she told a tech conference.

A.I. could spur global growth as much as the steam engine did, study shows


He noted that China's labor productivity is below the global average, while the economy is transitioning to one reliant on consumption. Seong said he expects AI to have a significant impact in sales and marketing, which could boost consumer spending. He also predicted AI will produce notable returns for supply chain and manufacturing businesses. The McKinsey report laid out how AI will likely impact the economy through multiple channels, including helping or augmenting human labor, substituting it, expanding available products and services, increasing global data flows and creating wealth. But the report noted the implementation of the technology will likely incur a range of corporate and societal restructuring costs, as well as disrupt employment, reducing consumption.