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High-density population and displacement in Bangladesh

Science

Among the many adverse impacts of climate change in the most vulnerable countries, climate change–induced displacement increasingly caused by extreme weather events is a serious concern, particularly in densely populated Asian countries. Reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) project a grim picture for South Asia, the most populous region on Earth, home to about one-quarter of global population, with the highest poverty incidence. A combination of poor socioeconomic indicators and increased frequency and intensity of cyclones and floods renders the region extremely vulnerable. Meanwhile, slow-onset climate hazards, such as sea level rise, salinity intrusion, water stress, and crop failures gradually turn into larger disasters. Within South Asia, Bangladesh stands as the most vulnerable: 4.1 million people were displaced as a result of climate disasters in 2019 (2.5% of the population), 13.3 million people could be displaced by climate change by 2050, and 18% of its coastland will remain inundated by 2080 ([ 1 ][1]). We describe how, faced with such natural and human-made adversities, Bangladesh can stand as a model of disaster management, adaptation, and resilience. The Paris Agreement goal of keeping the temperature rise at 1.5°C or well below 2°C compared to pre-industrial times may not be achieved, given the lack of ambitious mitigation. As a result, the number of people estimated to be displaced by slow-onset events will stand at ∼22.5 million by 2030 and ∼34.4 million by 2050 ([ 2 ][2]). A combination of sudden and slow-onset climate events, which affect all elements of the environment, becomes the main driver of environmental displacement. Migration is an adaptation strategy. An estimated half a million people move to Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh, each year. Migration of this magnitude presents a challenge for Bangladesh given its small land area (147,570 km2) and high population density (∼1100/km2). There is simply little space for retreat: Bangladesh's population is half that of the United States, living on ∼1.5% of the land area of the United States. Usually, three pathways can be discerned with respect to how displaced people are settled: autonomous relocation by displaced individuals (without much government support), government-supported temporary settlement, and planned relocation. In Bangladesh, the first option overwhelms, followed by efforts for temporary settlement, until the government rehabilitates their former residences. Planned relocation or managed retreat in response to climate change ([ 3 ][3]) is not yet happening widely because of space and resource constraints. ![Figure][4] Building migrant-friendly, climate-resilient cities in Bangladesh The map shows some activities being undertaken to build migrant-friendly and climate-resilient cities in Bangladesh. Descriptions of activities are based on publicly available information about the programs, and on discussions with representatives of the NGO BRAC. GRAPHIC: N. DESAI/ SCIENCE Since the founding of Bangladesh in 1971, and even earlier in Pakistan, government-planned relocation of people displaced by riverbank erosion has fueled ethnic conflicts in the Chittagong Hill Tracts in the southeast part of the country, because the move was not backed by consultations with tribal communities. About 100,000 of more than a million Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, fleeing persecution in Myanmar, are being relocated to Bhasan Char, an island in the Bay of Bengal. In land-hungry Bangladesh, most of the 30+ such Chars/mudflats in the bay are already inhabited at different degrees by people displaced by riverbank erosion and climate change. Despite these odds, Bangladesh is a leader in economic growth among developing countries and in mainstreaming climate change into its development strategy. Partially in response to scientific findings, the National Strategy on the Management of Disaster and Climate Induced Internal Displacement (N SMDCIID) adopted in 2015 incorporated disaster risk reduction and rights-based approaches, so that vulnerable communities can enjoy their basic rights to livelihood, food, health, and housing. The Strategy is built on an integrated Displacement Management Framework, in line with the migration management cycle of the International Organization of Migration (IOM). This Framework elaborates responses during the three phases of mobility management: pre-displacement [disaster risk reduction (DRR)], displacement (emergency), and post-displacement (rehabilitation/relocation). Under the Strategy, the government has initiated support for livelihood opportunities, housing, and human development of displaced people in vulnerable hotspots. It is likely that the government-supported community mobilization and disaster management and DRR policies, both before and after adoption of this Strategy, were helpful in lessening the number of casualties from the supercyclone Amphan in May 2020. One way to address displacements under increasing urbanization across the world could be the establishment of peri-urban growth centers and transformation of cities and towns to be migrant-friendly. This option appears practicable for populous countries such as Bangladesh, having little space for retreat from vulnerable hotspots. To achieve this, institutional changes in a city need to be fostered by research, planning, design, and capacity building. Examples from cities such as Durban, Quito, Semarang, and Malé indicate that cities may need to develop general as well as sector-based strategies to manage effective climate change adaptation ([ 4 ][5]). This warrants the linking of adaptation planning and implementation to city priorities. Cities must have access to reliable information and opportunities to share experiences through local, regional, national, and international networks ([ 4 ][5]). National and local governments should develop migrant-friendly plans along three lines: building of resilient hardware, such as low-cost housing, industries for employment generation, and other infrastructure; software, such as legal, policy, and institutional frameworks; and “heart-ware”—the promotion of awareness, reflecting values and ethics. The basic parameters for safe and orderly movement for migrants are to ensure employment, social protection, access to education, housing, health services, utilities, etc. Although government support is important, engagement of the private sector, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), civil society, and university-led research can strengthen municipal adaptation efforts. This is what the International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) in Bangladesh has been doing—to facilitate the transformation of smaller peripheral towns to be migrant-friendly as a climate adaptation strategy (see the figure). Our work has multiple purposes: to shift the tide of migration away from Dhaka and other large cities toward smaller towns, and to decentralize climate-resilient development and facilitate planning for basic services and amenities. In Bangladesh, a majority of those displaced by climate change prefer non-migration from their ancestral roots ([ 5 ][6]) if they are provided support for improving their livelihood, housing, etc. Settlement of displaced people in a town nearer to their ancestral home allows them to maintain psychological kinship and cultural comforts. On the basis of such local context and needs, each migrant-friendly town needs its own development and adaptation plans to address climate risks and economic opportunities. The NGO BRAC has initially identified about 20 towns and municipalities, considering their economic potential and climate stress, to determine whether they can absorb a sizeable number of displaced people. A number of satellite towns adjacent to economic hubs, such as relatively elevated sea and river ports and export processing zones (EPZs), can potentially employ millions of migrants. Investment in manufacturing and/or services is generating jobs through public, private, and community partnerships, such as private investments, government support, and microfinancing from BRAC and Grameen Bank. ICCCAD has formal agreements with many ministries and agencies including the Local Government Engineering Department (LGED), the agency for building and maintenance of rural infrastructure. ICCCAD has been working as an advisor and co-implementer of programs with all stakeholders, including mayors in two small towns in coastal Bangladesh, Mongla and Noapara (see the figure). It is helping town authorities in planning and implementing initiatives that are intended to be hospitable to incoming settlers, so that they can gradually be mainstreamed into citizenship ([ 6 ][7]). The process is based on a participatory, consultative process involving the municipal authorities, host community leaders, and settlers. The Strategy (NSMDCIID) includes options such as supporting livelihood for new settlers and skill development, both in displacement hotspots and in new settlements. Although these towns do not yet have adaptation plans as such, the programs consider risk-informed and socially conducive adaptation measures. BRAC with its Climate Bridge Fund is also currently implementing different programs in five cities: Khulna, Rajshahi, Satkhira, Barisal, and Sirajgonj. For programs under implementation in these cities, the target groups are incoming migrants, who crowd the slums. The activities undertaken in these cities are similar, with some specific activities in each town (see the figure). Most of the new settlers have moved from rural areas rendered inhospitable as a consequence of slow and sudden-onset climate impacts. ICCCAD started facilitating this program 3 years ago with a strategy of learning by doing. Among the lessons learned: (i) Vibrant economic activities in these rapidly growing towns are absorbing increasing numbers of migrants from vulnerable hotspots, and (ii) migrants with energy and agency are engaging themselves in different small businesses, with government support and microcredits from Grameen Bank and BRAC. The fact that an overwhelming share of those displaced by climate change around the world resettle internally indicates that adaptation in-country is the most viable option. The global community dealing with disaster displacement, including the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), primarily recommends this option. However, it requires adequate international support, which developed countries are obligated to deliver (with the language “shall provide”) under the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement. Unfortunately, adaptation finance continues to remain the “poor cousin” of mitigation, the ratio remaining 20:80 despite repeated pledges by developed countries and agencies. For domestic resource mobilization, some countries (for example, Fiji) have introduced an adaptation levy on all goods and services produced and consumed in the country. There are limits to relocation in-country; sudden and slow-onset events sometimes trigger cross-border movement of individuals seeking jobs and protection. The UN Commission on Human Rights argues for looking at such mobility from a human-rights perspective (i.e., the space for realizing the basic human rights of livelihood, health, housing, etc.). Currently, those displaced by climate change suffer an international protection deficit, not qualifying as “refugees” under the 1951 Geneva Convention. Consideration of those displaced by climate change began in 2008 under the UNFCCC, with research and advocacy. The Cancun Adaptation Framework (Decision 1./CP16, paragraph 14f ) provides for different types of climate-induced human mobility (displacement, migration, and planned relocation), different scales of mobility (national, regional, and international), and different actions (research, cooperation, and coordination). This decision recognized migration as an adaptation strategy. The Nansen Initiative in 2011–2012 focused on promoting research and planned relocation. The Paris Agreement established a Task Force on Displacement under the Warsaw International Mechanism, with mandates to make recommendations for averting, minimizing, and addressing climate change–induced displacement. Finally, the Global Compact on Safe, Orderly, Regular and Responsive Migration was adopted in 2018 as the first multilateral framework to cooperate on migration, including in response to climate change. Many major countries and think tanks started looking at climate displacement through a lens of national security, with its characterization as a “threat multiplier,” and a number of nationally determined contributions under the Paris Agreement refer to those displaced by climate change as potentially fueling national and regional conflicts ([ 7 ][8]). However, climate security can be looked at either from a conflict perspective or from a lens of vulnerability-focused human and global security ([ 8 ][9]). The “conflict view” proponents call for closing the borders, but still the result of such a policy ends up being a humanitarian disaster, caused primarily by actions beyond the control of those being displaced or of their home countries. Should we see more of these displaced and disgruntled youth as victims in the hands of human traffickers? If not, we then argue—viewing this displacement in terms of vulnerability-focused human security—that planned relocation internationally can be an effective way forward under paragraph 14f of the Cancun agreement. As multilateral processes are typically very cumbersome and painstakingly slow, bilateral action can be more rapid and effective, and may then gradually feed into regional and global initiatives. For example, the Seasonal Migrant Worker Program in Australia and New Zealand, or New Zealand's Climate Visa Program ([ 9 ][10]), attract migrants from the Pacific Small Island States (although these initiatives are not solely meant for absorbing migrants displaced by climate change). Canada and the United States offered immigration opportunities to typhoon Haiyan victims, but these were based on kinship relations ([ 10 ][11]). Although the EU does not have a common policy, Finland and Sweden changed their earlier liberal policies on climate-induced displacement after the refugee influx from Syria ([ 11 ][12]). There are also provisions of circular migration, as between Spain and Colombia. The IOM continues recommending such migration between developed and developing countries as an adaptation response to climate-induced vulnerability. The Bangladesh Strategy recommends such options as well. Many developed countries already suffer from demographic deficits, with negative growth, and increasingly aging cohorts. The rhetoric in many of these counties, which often is anti-immigrant, cannot change the reality that these countries will need more and more young and skilled labor. Using projected needs of specific skills, developed countries could thus enter into bilateral agreements with climate-vulnerable countries, where those displaced by climate change may be trained in jointly supported educational and training institutions, either for permanent or for circular migration. For example, under the “Triple Win” program, Germany recruits nurses from Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and the Philippines to meet their nursing shortage, while reducing unemployment and contributing to economic development in the countries of origin ([ 12 ][13]). It is only just and fair for developed-country emitters of greenhouse gases to take some responsibility under Article 3.1 of the UNFCCC for their disproportionate contributions to generating this increasing number of people displaced by climate change. Lessons suggest that migration to rich countries can have strong positive impacts on labor market, GDP growth, and public revenue for host countries ([ 13 ][14], [ 14 ][15]). Mig ration is also typically positive for countries of origin, through remittance, transfer of technology, skills, domestic consumption and GDP growth, housing, children's education, and more. In 2017, low- and middle-income countries received more than $466 billion in remittances, three times the amount of official aid ([ 15 ][16]). This presents an important indicator of the effects that bilateral agreements on migration of climate-displaced people may have on promoting many different Sustainable Development Goals. Such migration should be framed as a win-win option, not as climate humanitarianism ([ 10 ][11]). The Bangladesh Strategy (NSMDCIID) argues for creating “opportunities for international labor migration by one or few members of families from the displacement hotspots” (p. 115). Older and underage family members and spouses can stay behind and rebuild their lives with remittance support. We believe this option of selective, not wholesale, relocation as a pragmatic policy can be scaled gradually, as warranted by projected demands of skills over time in developed countries. This relocation is based on bilateral planning and preparation, unlike the conventional, voluntary migration of skilled labor to industrial countries. This option is challenging, though mutually rewarding. However, acceptance of this proposal by Western democracies depends on whether they are ready to embrace and enjoy more of “smart/pooled” sovereignty, with enlightened self-interests under climate-induced vulnerability interdependence, rather than holding on to a centuries-old “Westphalian” model of a zero-sum game in global cooperation. Many have argued that with the increasing number of global commons problems, we now live in a positive-sum world. But such a paradigm shift warrants a vigorous campaign to raise awareness among citizens in industrial countries about the “new normal” of increasing extreme and ever-growing slow-onset events. Those citizens and politicians must face the lead and obligatory responsibility their countries have assumed under the international climate regime to support adaptation in vulnerable countries. Such awareness must confront and overcome the xenophobia and anti-immigration sentiments that often surface in many countries, inhibiting the enjoyment of mutual dividends, which can contribute to real and sustainable global peace and security. Successful implementation of the two options raised above (migrant-friendly towns and bilateral agreements for international migration) could help to germinate coordinated implementation, as stipulated in the Cancun agreement, of global policy frameworks on climate change (UNFCCC), disaster risk reduction (Sendai Framework), and human migration (Global Compact for Migration). As many ideas and actions on planned internal or international relocation of climate change–induced displacement are relatively new in the national and global policy domains, continued research and science-policy interface are essential in order to determine the feasibility, efficacy, and scalability of these options. 1. [↵][17]1. K. Rigaud et al ., “Groundswell: Preparing for Internal Climate Migration” (World Bank, 2018). 2. [↵][18]1. H. Singh, 2. J. Faleiro, 3. T. Anderson, 4. S. Vashist , “Costs of Climate Inaction Displacement and Distress Migration” (Actionaid, 2020). 3. [↵][19]1. J. Carmin, 2. D. Roberts, 3. I. Anguelovski , “Planning Climate Resilient Cities: Early Lessons from Early Adapters” (2011), pp. 5–8. 4. [↵][20]1. S. Weerasinghe et al ., “Planned Relocation, Disasters and Climate Change: Consolidating Good Practices and Preparing for the Future” (UNHCR, 2014). 5. [↵][21]1. B. Mallick, 2. K. G. Rogers, 3. Z. Sultana , Ambio 10.1007/s13280-021-01552-8 (2021). 6. [↵][22]1. S. S. Alam, 2. S. Huq, 3. F. Islam, 4. H. M. A. Hoque , “Building Climate-Resilient, Migrant-Friendly Cities and Towns” (International Centre for Climate Change and Development, 2018). 7. [↵][23]1. E. Wright, 2. D. Tänzler, 3. L. Rüttinger , “Migration, Environment and Climate Change: Responding via Climate Change Adaptation Policy” (German Environment Agency, 2020). 8. [↵][24]1. M. R. Khan , Toward a Binding Climate Change Adaptation Regime: A Proposed Framework (Routledge, 2014), chapter 6. 9. [↵][25]1. H. Dempster , “New Zealand's ‘Climate Refugee’ Visas: Lessons for the Rest of the World” (Centre for Global Development, Washington, DC, 2020). 10. [↵][26]1. D. M. S. Matias , Clim. Change 160, 143 (2020). [OpenUrl][27] 11. [↵][28]1. A. Kraler, 2. K. Caitlin, 3. M. Wagner , “Climate Change and Migration: Legal and Policy Challenges and Responses to Environmentally-Induced Migration” (European Union, 2020). 12. [↵][29]German Development Agency, “Sustainable Recruitment of Nurses (Triple Win)” (2019); [www.giz.de/en/worldwide/41533.html][30]. 13. [↵][31]1. E.-j. Quak , “The effects of economic integration of migrants on the economy of host countries” (Institute of Development Studies, London, 2016). 14. [↵][32]1. V. Grossmann , “How Immigration Affects Investment and Productivity in Host and Home Countries” (IZA, 2016); . 15. [↵][33]World Bank, “Record high remittances to low- and middle-income countries in 2017” (2018); [www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2018/04/23/record-high-remittances-to-low-and-middle-income-countries-in-2017][34]. 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The United Nations needs to start regulating the 'Wild West' of artificial intelligence

#artificialintelligence

The European Commission recently published a proposal for a regulation on artificial intelligence (AI). This is the first document of its kind to attempt to tame the multi-tentacled beast that is artificial intelligence. "The sun is starting to set on the Wild West days of artificial intelligence," writes Jeremy Kahn. He may have a point. When this regulation comes into effect, it will change the way that we conduct AI research and development.


GSTS Awarded Contract for Vessel Risk Detection Using Artificial Intelligence Algorithms

#artificialintelligence

HALIFAX, NS, June 1, 2021 /CNW/ - Global Spatial Technology Solutions ("GSTS" or "the Company") an Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Maritime Analytics company, announced today that it has been selected by Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC) to provide advanced Maritime Risk Detection and Assessment capabilities in support of maritime border security and surveillance. The solution will identify ships in an area of interest and using the cutting-edge techniques of artificial intelligence and machine learning, consolidate a ship's identity, movement history, and risk status with information collected from multiple sensors. Fusing the intelligence into a single operating picture, GSTS's solution enables users to improve Maritime Domain Awareness. The total contract is funded under the Canadian Safety and Security Program. This powerful solution will leverage OCIANA, an AI-based platform developed by GSTS that rapidly processes data from multiple sensor sources to provide intelligence in near real-time.


Is REAL ID A Real Security Solution? 3 Ways It's Designed To Protect You

#artificialintelligence

Soon, your driver's license may not be enough to get you through airport security in the United States. Oct. 1, 2020 is the deadline for U.S. citizens to have REAL ID-compliant state driver's licenses, a requirement passed by Congress in 2005 in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Without a compliant driver's license, those who are 18 and over won't be able to board a domestic flight, unless possessing other specific forms of acceptable identification. The thought behind this was that with standardization, it will become a lot harder to forge documents and gain access to aircraft. While the main idea of REAL ID is to better protect U.S. citizens and their identity, there is controversy over the law.


'Death cross': South Korea's demographic crisis marks a warning to the world

The Japan Times

They're called the Sampo Generation: South Koreans in their 20s and 30s who have given up (po) three (sam) of life's conventional rites of passage -- dating, marrying and having children. They've made these choices because of economic constraints and in the process have worsened South Korea's demographic imbalances. Last year, when the country registered more deaths than births for the first time in recent history, then-Vice Finance Minister Kim Yong-beom pronounced the milestone a "death cross." "I Live Alone" is one of South Korea's most popular reality TV shows. It follows the single lives of movie actors and K-pop singers engaging in mundane activities such as feeding their pets or eating ramen in the middle of the night -- all alone.


Sri Lankan's death in spotlight as Japan debates immigration bill

The Japan Times

The death of a Sri Lankan woman detained at a central Japan immigration facility has been in the spotlight as the Diet debates a controversial bill to revise the immigration law, with critics fearing the revision will worsen conditions for asylum-seekers in Japan. While ruling parties aim to pass the bill during the current Diet session through mid-June to resolve the long-term detention of foreign nationals facing deportation orders, opposition forces have called for its abolishment as the government has yet to figure out the circumstances surrounding the Sri Lankan's death. Ratnayake Liyanage Wishma Sandamali, 33, who had been detained since August last year at the Nagoya Regional Immigration Services Bureau in Aichi Prefecture for overstaying her visa, died on March 6 after complaining of a stomach ache and other symptoms from mid-January. In an interim report over the incident released on April 9, the Justice Ministry did not determine the cause of her death, while her supporters allege the tragedy was caused by the insufficient medical treatment provided by the immigration facility. Opposition lawmakers have argued the bill currently being deliberated at the Diet is meant to expand the immigration authority's power and discretion and that similar problems could happen again as long as the cause of the Sri Lankan woman's death remains a mystery.


A Border Town Confronts the Reality of Police Surveillance

WIRED

In 2019, the border town of Chula Vista, about 15 minutes from Tijuana, became California's first " Welcoming City," highlighting the city's financial and educational opportunities for immigrants. It's also one of the nation's most surveilled cities, where the police department uses license plate readers, drones, and body cameras to track residents and has explored facial-recognition technology. Now, those distinctions are clashing, as residents and activists accuse city leaders of "betraying" immigrant residents by permitting federal immigration authorities to access data from license plate readers. That's sparked a citywide movement questioning the city's police department, its surveillance apparatus, and its relationship with residents and immigration enforcement. Since 2015, the Chula Vista Police Department has quietly amassed surveillance tools as part of a smart city approach to policing.


Artificial Intelligence in Migration: Its Positive and Negative Implications

#artificialintelligence

Research and development in new technologies for migration management are rapidly increasing. To quote certain migration examples, big data was used to predict population movements in the Mediterranean, AI lie detectors used at the European border, and the recent one is the government of Canada using automated decision-making in immigration and refugee applications. Artificial intelligence in migration is helping countries to manage international migration. Every corner of the world is encountering an unprecedented number of challenging migration crises. As an increasing number of people are interacting with immigration and refugee determination systems, nations are taking a stab at artificial intelligence. AI in global immigration is helping countries to automate a plethora of decisions that are made almost daily as people want to cross borders and look for new homes.


Scientific excellence and diversity at Annual Meeting

Science

When members of the scientific community gathered at the AAAS Annual Meeting in February, they did so in front of laptops and tablets from their home offices and dining tables. They presented over Zoom, submitted questions via chat, and caught up with colleagues over social media. The 2021 AAAS Annual Meeting was unlike any other in the meeting's 187-year history, but the fully virtual setting did not dampen enthusiasm for sharing science in keeping with the “Understanding Diverse Ecosystems” meeting theme. Dozens of scientific sessions shared new research in areas ranging from microbiomes to space travel. More than 40 workshops offered attendees the opportunity to discuss strategies for working in the ecosystems of academia and science policy. Plenary and topical lecturers covered timely topics, including Ruha Benjamin on how technology can deepen inequities, Anthony Fauci on the next steps for COVID-19 response, Mary Gray on research ethics, and Yalidy Matos on immigration policies. “The quality of the speakers was absolutely undeniable, and the diversity of the speakers—across gender, race, region—was just extraordinary,” said Sudip Parikh, chief executive officer of AAAS and executive publisher of the Science family of journals. “That is what our vision of the world looks like in a place where science is done with creativity and innovation and excellence.” Selecting a diverse meeting program is grounded in AAAS's values, but it is not without concerted effort, according to Claire Fraser. Fraser, who served as AAAS president through February and now serves as chair of the AAAS Board of Directors, selected the meeting theme and led the AAAS Meeting Scientific Program Committee, which oversees selection of the meeting's speakers. “The diversity doesn't happen by accident. I think it reflects the very strong commitment on the part of the Scientific Program Committee to make sure that not only is the science presented timely and excellent, but the diversity of speakers and participants is as broad as it possibly can be,” said Fraser, director of the Institute for Genome Sciences at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Diversity isn't an afterthought—it's a deliberate part of the very first review of potential scientific sessions, according to Andrew Black, chief of staff and chief public affairs officer. When hundreds of volunteer reviewers evaluate the quality of the submissions before sending the best for consideration by the Scientific Program Committee, they are also looking for diversity across many dimensions, Black said. Among those dimensions are diversity of scientific discipline—befitting AAAS's multidisciplinary membership—but also gender, race and ethnicity, geographic diversity, career stage, and type of institution, including all types and sizes of universities, industry, and government. “Who do you see, who do you hear, and what kind of voices are in dialogue with each other? That's part of our assessment process,” said Agustín Fuentes, professor of anthropology at Princeton University and a member of the Scientific Program Committee. The review process offers opportunities for applicants to diversify their sessions. Applicants are often encouraged to look beyond their own networks to add a range of voices to their presentation to best communicate their ideas to the broader scientific community, Fuentes said. “We need to think very carefully in this moment in time about how do we not only redress past biases and discriminatory practices but how do we create a space, a voice, and a suite of presenters that is very inviting to a diverse audience,” Fuentes said. Added Fraser, “What you end up with is even better because you have such broad perspectives represented.” The committee also emphasized the importance of ensuring that a diverse group of decision-makers have a seat at the table. Members of the Scientific Program Committee, who are nominated from across AAAS and its 26 disciplinary sections and approved by the AAAS Board, represent a broad range of groups and perspectives, Fraser said. “What I firmly believe is that you can't come up with a diverse program like we had this year and like we've had in previous years without that diversity in the program committee,” Fraser said. Commitment to diversity across many axes is part of AAAS Annual Meeting history. In the 1950s, AAAS refused to hold meetings in the segregated South. In 1976, under one of AAAS's first female presidents, Margaret Mead, the Annual Meeting was fully accessible to people with disabilities for the first time. According to the AAAS Project on Science, Technology, and Disability, wheelchair ramps were added to the conference hall, programs were made accessible for hearing-impaired and visually impaired attendees, and Mead's presidential address was simultaneously interpreted in sign language. In 1978, AAAS's Board of Directors voted to move the following year's Annual Meeting out of Chicago because Illinois had not ratified the Equal Rights Amendment. In 1993, AAAS moved its 1999 meeting from Denver after Colorado voters adopted a constitutional amendment to deny residents protection from discrimination based on sexual orientation. Leaders at AAAS note that there is always more work to be done in the present and future—both at the Annual Meeting and year-round. AAAS continues to focus on its own systemic transformation in areas of diversity, equity, and inclusion and on the breadth of initiatives in its new Inclusive STEM Ecosystems for Equity & Diversity program, all to ensure that the scientific enterprise reflects the full range of talent. That goal resonated with many 2021 AAAS Annual Meeting speakers, too. A more diverse group of scientists creating artificial intelligence systems can improve those systems, said Ayanna Howard, a roboticist who leads The Ohio State University's College of Engineering, during her topical lecture, “Demystifying AI Through the Lens of Fairness and Bias.” Said Howard, “We as people are diverse and we're different and it makes us unique and beautiful, and our AI systems should be designed in such a way.” Nalini Nadkarni, a University of Utah biologist who delivered a topical lecture on “Forests, the Earth, and Ourselves: Understanding Dynamic Systems Through an Interdisciplinary Lens,” shared how she reaches young girls to let them know that science—and her own scientific specialty—is a space where they can thrive. She and her students created and distributed “Treetop Barbie,” dressing a doll in fieldwork clothes and creating a doll-sized booklet about canopy plants. The Annual Meeting offers a chance to show that science is best when it is for everyone, regardless of background or perspective, whether they're a kid or just a kid at heart. Said Parikh, “The AAAS Annual Meeting is where the pages of Science literally come alive. It's a place where scientists, no matter what discipline or industry they decided to pursue, can pull back and just fall in love with the idea of science again—like we did when we were kids.”


3 No-Brainer Stocks to Buy in Artificial Intelligence

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In fiction, artificial intelligence is often associated with intelligent androids or dystopian futures. But in reality, the AI market mainly revolves around crunching large amounts of data to make quick decisions. Demand for these services -- which power analytics tools, driverless cars, voice assistants, and more -- is climbing. The global AI market was already worth $39.9 billion in 2019, according to Grand View Research, but could still grow at a compound annual growth rate of 42.2% between 2020 and 2027. That's why many companies are jumping aboard the AI bandwagon.