MetaNews.2 - April Digest
April showers bring May flowers.
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Top o' the mornin' to ya, Neighbour! Sorry for me tardiness, You see, I was on me way to deliver the daily news when I bumped into none other than the infamous Ms. Murphy-Potty, the most talkative and nosy woman in all of Dublin!
She insisted I join her for a cup of tea and hear all the latest gossip from around the town. And let me tell you, she had quite the tale to tell about old Mrs. O'Connell's cat and the mysterious disappearance of her prized rosebushes. But alas, I couldn't politely excuse myself until I had finished every last drop of her famous morning tea.
So here I am, finally able to deliver the news to you, Neighbour, with the deepest apologies for the delay.
2. April Digest
April showers bring May flowers.
Overall, April 2023 was a month filled with diverse news stories, showcasing both the challenges and the potential for progress and change. As we continue to navigate the complexities of our world, it is clear that there are many individuals and organizations working towards a better future for all even though we can still see some turmoil and uncertainty, as major global issues continue to dominate the headlines and challenge the world's leaders to take action.
Geopolitical tensions continued to dominate the headlines, with conflicts in Ukraine, the Middle East, and elsewhere drawing attention. Leaders from around the world called for restraint and diplomatic solutions to these crises.
Climate change remained a pressing concern, as scientists announced new records for carbon emissions and temperatures. Efforts to address this issue included increased investment in renewable energy and calls for stronger international cooperation.
In economic news, global stock markets experienced volatility amid concerns over trade tensions and geopolitical uncertainty. However, there were also signs of optimism, with positive economic indicators in some regions.
Technological innovation and scientific breakthroughs were highlighted throughout the month. Advances in fields such as artificial intelligence, biotechnology, and space exploration offered hope for a better future.
Cultural events and milestones were also celebrated, such as the Cannes Film Festival and Earth Day. These events served as reminders of the importance of art, culture, and sustainability in our society.
Brazillian Chamber of Deputies approves a project that aims to provide salary equality between men and women.
Meta News #1 - POLITICS / GENDER EQUALITY / LABOR LAWS
BR Headline: Agência Câmara de Notícias - 05/04/2023
The Chamber of Deputies approved a proposal during Thursday's (4) deliberative session, which aims to establish measures to try to ensure salary and remuneration equality between women and men in the performance of work of equal value or in the exercise of the same function. The text will now be analyzed by the Senate.
“Talking about wage equality is talking about women's emancipation," said the delegate when defending the proposal in Wednesday's session. "Women's struggle is promoting the implementation of diversity programs in the workplace that include training for managers, leaders, and employers,” she concluded.
An executive power act will define a protocol for monitoring wage and salary discrimination between men and women. In case of discrimination based on gender, race, ethnicity, origin, or age, in addition to wage differences, the employer must pay an administrative fine equivalent to ten times the value of the new salary owed to the discriminated employee - it will be twice as much in case of recurrence.
A Cambridge Analytica-style scandal for AI is coming
Meta News #5 - AI / TECHNOLOGY / DATA LAUNDERING
US Headline: MIT Technology Review - 04/25/2023
OpenAI is facing investigations by European and Canadian data protection authorities for the way it collects personal data and uses it in its popular chatbot ChatGPT. Italy has temporarily banned ChatGPT, and OpenAI has until the end of this week to comply with Europe’s strict data protection regime, the GDPR. It is likely impossible for the company to comply, because of the way data for AI is collected: by hoovering up content off the internet.
Products should have privacy features designed into them from the beginning. However, “it’s not easy to convince the companies that they should take on privacy-by-design models when they have to deliver very fast,” he says. Cambridge Analytica remains the best lesson in what can happen if companies cut corners when it comes to data protection, says Wiewiórowski, the European data protection supervisor.
Europe is not the only one playing hardball with tech. The White House is mulling rules for AI accountability, and the Federal Trade Commission has even gone as far as demanding that companies delete their algorithms and any data that may have been collected and used illegally, as happened to Weight Watchers in 2022.
Britain shoots down Microsoft’s $69bn Activision deal
Meta News #2 - BUSINESS / GAMING INDUSTRY / MERGERS AND ACQUISITIONS
US Headline: The Economist - 04/26/2023
On April 26th, Britain's antitrust regulator, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), blocked Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard, arguing that the combined firm could gain too much clout and reduce choice for consumers.
The CMA ruled that in cloud gaming, Microsoft plus Activision might become excessively dominant and doubted the effectiveness of ten-year deals in a new and fast-changing market.
Microsoft president Brad Smith has made clear the depth of the tech giant’s anger at the blocking of its acquisition of Activision Blizzard by U.K. regulator the CMA. In an interview with the BBC, Smith said Microsoft’s confidence in doing business in the country was “severely shaken”¹
List of all the countries that have approved Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard so far: South Africa, Japan, Chile, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, and Serbia ¹
“Having considered the additional evidence provided, we have now provisionally concluded that the merger will not result in a substantial lessening of competition in console gaming services because the cost to Microsoft of withholding Call of Duty from PlayStation would outweigh any gains from taking such action.”²
¹ Polygon - https://www.polygon.com/23546288/microsoft-activision-blizzard-acquisition-deal-merger-ftc-latest-news
² Gov.uk - https://www.gov.uk/government/news/cma-narrows-scope-of-concerns-in-microsoft-activision-review
³ LinkedIn Post - https://www.linkedin.com/posts/mark-logan-b945806_ai-is-eating-software-llms-will-dramatically-activity-7045667685111590912-UDuq?utm_source=share&utm_medium=member_desktop
Brazil’s foreign policy is hyperactive, ambitious, and naive
Meta News #3 - GEOPOLITICS / EMERGING MARKETS / DEMOCRACY
UK Headline: The Economist - 04/10/2023
When Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was elected as Brazil’s president in October, his victory speech hinted at his global ambitions: “Today we say to the world that Brazil is back.” In his first 100 days in office Lula, as he is known, has tried to prove this with a series of trips abroad.
On April 14th, as The Economist went to press, he was due to meet Xi Jinping, China’s president, in Beijing. Next week Sergei Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister, will visit Brazil. Lula also wants to lead the fight against climate change and set up a “peace club” to end the war in Ukraine. His top foreign policy aide secretly traveled to Moscow to discuss the idea with Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, in March.
Jair Bolsonaro, a right-wing populist who was president from 2019 to 2022, worsened matters. He bashed China and mostly visited other nationalists, such as Donald Trump. His enthusiastic support for deforestation made Brazil an international pariah. Lula wants to fix this legacy.
His first balancing act will be managing the rivalry between the United States and China. Mauro Vieira, Lula’s foreign minister, has said that Brazil will not have “automatic alignments”. At their meeting, Lula and Mr. Biden focused on democratic values, human rights, and the environment. The United States signaled an intention to donate $50m to the Amazon Fund, a billion-dollar mechanism to reduce deforestation. Germany recently committed more than four times as much.
Marina Silva, Brazil’s environment minister, told The Economist that a priority is to seek investments in renewables, particularly in green hydrogen, a fuel that can be made using solar and wind power. Another important area is satellites.
Brazil will, however, have a chance to play a leading role in climate-change policy. Lula is pushing to host cop30, an environmental pow-wow, in 2025. He is also seeking to reactivate the Amazon Pact, a treaty from 1978 that brings together the eight countries that share the rainforest. Between 2004 and 2012 the annual rate of deforestation in the Amazon fell by 80% thanks in part to tougher laws promoted by Ms Silva, Lula’s climate tsar at the time. She is now back in her old job.
All this means that Brazil is already a global power on the biggest issue for humanity’s future. Lula’s legacy may be better served by spending his energy on areas where Brazil has clout, such as the environment, rather than on grand political topics where it has little or none.
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