Sustainable Policy Making: A Strategic Challenge for Artificial Intelligence

AI Magazine

Policy making is an extremely complex process occurring in changing environments and affecting the three pillars of sustainable development: society, economy and the environment. Improving decision making in this context could have a huge beneficial impact on all these aspects. There are a number of Artificial Intelligence techniques that could play an important role in improving the policy making process such as decision support and optimization techniques, game theory, data and opinion mining and agent-based simulation. We outline here some potential use of AI technology as it emerged by the European Union (EU) EU FP7 project ePolicy: Engineering the Policy Making Life-Cycle, and we identify some potential research challenges.

Rob Ford, scandal-prone former Toronto mayor, dies of cancer at 46

Los Angeles Times

Combative former Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, who retained substantial support even after being caught on video smoking crack, engaging in incidents of public drunkenness and hobnobbing with criminals, died Tuesday after fighting cancer, his family says. Ford, a political conservative who became an international news magnet not only because of his behavior but also for his outlandish, often profane rants during his term as mayor from 2010 to 2014, withdrew from a bid for reelection in September 2014 because of illness. His doctors said he had a malignant liposarcoma, a rare, aggressive form of cancer. In April 2015, Ford announced he would undergo major surgery on a cancerous tumor in his abdomen that had not shrunk as much as hoped from chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Ford's medical condition ended a colorful mayoral career that had weathered admitted illegal drug use (after staunch denials), police investigations, a city council vote that stripped him of much of his power and unending late-night TV jokes and parodies.

Few 'bright spots' may offer clues to protecting threatened coral reefs

The Japan Times

OSLO – Some coral reefs are thriving and scientists say they may guide efforts to curb threats such as overfishing and climate change, which are blamed for widespread global declines. A major study identified 15 "bright spots" among more than 2,500 coral reefs in 46 nations, including off Indonesia, the Solomon islands and Kiribati where given local stresses there were far more fish than predicted. And the Great Barrier Reef off Australia, the world's biggest, was performing in line with expectations given its remoteness and high level of protection, lead author Joshua Cinner, a professor at James Cook University in Australia, told Reuters of the study published on Wednesday in Nature. Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, facing a tight re-election battle, on Monday pledged a 1 billion Australian dollar ( 740 million) fund for the reef, which scientists say is suffering widespread coral bleaching due to climate change. The report found that in many coral reef bright spots, local people depended heavily on reefs for food and took part in owning and managing fish stocks, while many also had deep waters near the reefs that fish could use as a refuge.

Eggs And Bacon Bay: Should Australian Town Change Its Name For The Sake Of Healthier Diets?

International Business Times

The mayor of Eggs and Bacon Bay, Australia, says it's time for the Tasmanian community to come up with a healthier name for itself. "If we can promote healthy lifestyles then I think we should," Mayor Peter Coad told the Wall Street Journal. A spokesman for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals says the town might as well be called "Heart Attack Bay." The group started a campaign last month to change the town's name. "Considering the high levels of cholesterol and saturated fat in both eggs and bacon, the area may as well be called'Heart Attack Bay,' " said Ashley Fruno, PETA Australia associate director of campaigns.

Former Toronto mayor Rob Ford dies after bout with rare cancer at 46

The Japan Times

TORONTO – Rob Ford, who catapulted into the international spotlight after admitting he smoked crack cocaine while mayor of Toronto, has died. He died Tuesday at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, according to family spokesman Dan Jacobs. He had been in palliative care for the past few days. In 2014, he was diagnosed with liposarcoma, a rare type of cancer, and received chemotherapy. Ford, who was elected mayor of Canada's biggest city in October 2010, billed himself as a populist, vowing to stop the "gravy train" at City Hall.