National strategies on Artificial Intelligence: A European perspective


Report by European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) and the OECD’s Science Technology and Innovation Directorate: “Artificial intelligence (AI) is transforming the world in many aspects. It is essential for Europe to consider how to make the most of the opportunities from this transformation and to address its challenges. In 2018 the European Commission adopted the Coordinated Plan on Artificial Intelligence that was developed together with the Member States to maximise the impact of investments at European Union (EU) and national levels, and to encourage synergies and cooperation across the EU.

One of the key actions towards these aims was an encouragement for the Member States to develop their national AI strategies.The review of national strategies is one of the tasks of AI Watch launched by the European Commission to support the implementation of the Coordinated Plan on Artificial Intelligence.

Building on the 2020 AI Watch review of national strategies, this report presents an updated review of national AI strategies from the EU Member States, Norway and Switzerland. By June 2021, 20 Member States and Norway had published national AI strategies, while 7 Member States were in the final drafting phase. Since the 2020 release of the AI Watch report, additional Member States – i.e. Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Slovenia, and Spain – published strategies, while Cyprus, Finland and Germany have revised the initial strategies.

This report provides an overview of national AI policies according to the following policy areas: Human capital, From the lab to the market, Networking, Regulation, and Infrastructure. These policy areas are consistent with the actions proposed in the Coordinated Plan on Artificial Intelligence and with the policy recommendations to governments contained in the OECD Recommendation on AI. The report also includes a section on AI policies to address societal challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change….(More)”.

Linux Foundation unveils new permissive license for open data collaboration


VentureBeat: “The Linux Foundation has announced a new permissive license designed to help foster collaboration around open data for artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) projects.

Data may be the new oil, but for AI and ML projects, having access to expansive and diverse datasets is key to reducing bias and building powerful models capable of all manner of intelligent tasks. For machines, data is a little like “experience” is for humans — the more of it you have, the better decisions you are likely to make.

With CDLA-Permissive-2.0, the Linux Foundation is building on its previous efforts to encourage data-sharing through licensing arrangements that clearly define how the data — and any derivative datasets — can and can’t be used.

The Linux Foundation introduced the Community Data License Agreement (CDLA) in 2017 to entice organizations to open up their vast pools of (underused) data to third parties. There were two original licenses, a sharing license with a “copyleft” reciprocal commitment borrowed from the open source software sphere, stipulating that any derivative datasets built from the original dataset must be shared under a similar license, and a permissive license (1.0) without any such obligations in place (much as “true” open source software might be defined).

Licenses are basically legal documents that outline how a piece of work (in this case datasets) can be used or modified, but specific phrases, ambiguities, or exceptions can often be enough to spook companies if they think releasing content under a specific license could cause them problems down the line. This is where the CDLA-Permissive-2.0 license comes into play — it’s essentially a rewrite of version 1.0 but shorter and simpler to follow. Going further, it has removed certain provisions that were deemed unnecessary or burdensome and may have hindered broader use of the license.

For example, version 1.0 of the license included obligations that data recipients preserve attribution notices in the datasets. For context, attribution notices or statements are standard in the software sphere, where a company that releases software built on open source components has to credit the creators of these components in its own software license. But the Linux Foundation said feedback it received from the community and lawyers representing companies involved in open data projects pointed to challenges around associating attributions with data (or versions of datasets).

So while data source attribution is still an option, and might make sense for specific projects — particularly where transparency is paramount — it is no longer a condition for businesses looking to share data under the new permissive license. The chief remaining obligation is that the main community data license agreement text be included with the new datasets…(More)”.

Civic Space Scan of Finland


OECD Report: “At the global level, civic space is narrowing and thus efforts to protect and promote it are more important than ever. The OECD defines Civic Space as the set of legal, policy, institutional, and practical conditions necessary for non-governmental actors to access information, express themselves, associate, organise, and participate in public life. This document presents the Civic Space Scan of Finland, which was undertaken at the request of the Finnish government and is the first OECD report of its kind. OECD Civic Space Scans in particular assess how governments protect and promote civic space in each national context and propose ways to strengthen existing frameworks and practices. The Scan assesses four key dimensions of civic space: civic freedoms and rights, media freedoms and digital rights, the enabling environment for civil society organisations, and civic participation in policy and decision making. Each respective chapter of the report contains actionable recommendations for the Government of Finland. As part of the scan process, a citizens’ panel – also overseen by the OECD – was held in February 2021 and generated a wide range of recommendations for the government from a representative microcosm of Finnish society….(More)”.

The Returns to Public Library Investment


Working Paper by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago: “Local governments spend over 12 billion dollars annually funding the operation of 15,000 public libraries in the United States. This funding supports widespread library use: more than 50% of Americans visit public libraries each year. But despite extensive public investment in libraries, surprisingly little research quantities the effects of public libraries on communities and children. We use data on the near-universe of U.S. public libraries to study the effects of capital spending shocks on library resources, patron usage, student achievement, and local housing prices. We use a dynamic difference-in-difference approach to show that library capital investment increases children’s attendance at library events by 18%, children’s checkouts of items by 21%, and total library visits by 21%. Increases in library use translate into improved children’s test scores in nearby school districts: a $1,000 or greater per-student capital investment in local public libraries increases reading test scores by 0.02 standard deviations and has no effects on math test scores. Housing prices do not change after a sharp increase in public library capital investment, suggesting that residents internalize the increased cost and improved quality of their public libraries….(More)”.

Unity in Privacy Diversity: A Kaleidoscopic View of Privacy Definitions


Paper by Bert-Jaap Koops and Maša Galič: “Contrary to the common claim that privacy is a concept in disarray, this Article argues that there is considerable coherence in the way privacy has been conceptualized over many decades of privacy scholarship. Seemingly disparate approaches and widely differing definitions actually share close family resemblances that, viewed together from a bird’s-eye perspective, suggest that the concept of privacy is more akin to a kaleidoscope than to a swamp. As a heuristic device to look at this kaleidoscope, we use a working definition of privacy as having spaces in which you can be yourselves, building on two major strands in privacy theory: identity-building and boundary-management. With this heuristic, we analyze how six authoritative privacy accounts can be understood in the terms and rationale of other definitions. We show how the notions of Cohen (room for boundary management), Johnson (freedom from others’ judgement), Nissenbaum (contextual integrity), Reiman (personhood), Warren and Brandeis (being let alone), and Westin (control over information) have significant overlap with—or may even be equivalent to—an understanding of privacy in terms of identity-fostering spaces. Our kaleidoscopic perspective highlights not only that there is coherence in privacy, but also helps to understand the function and value of having many different privacy definitions around: each time and context bring their own privacy-related challenges, which might best be addressed through a certain conceptualization of privacy that works in that particular context. As the world turns its kaleidoscope of emerging privacy issues, privacy scholarship turns its kaleidoscope of privacy definitions along. The result of this kaleidoscopic perspective on privacy is an illuminating picture of unity in diversity….(More)”.

The City as a Commons Reloaded: from the Urban Commons to Co-Cities Empirical Evidence on the Bologna Regulation


Chapter by Elena de Nictolis and Christian Iaione: “The City of Bologna is widely recognized for an innovative regulatory framework to enable urban commons. The “Regulation on public collaboration for the Urban Commons” produced more than 400 pacts of collaboration and was adopted by more than 180 Italian cities so far.

The chapter presents an empirical assessment of 280 pacts (2014-2016). The analytical approach is rooted in political economy (Polany 1944; Ahn & Ostrom 2003) and quality of democracy analysis (Diamond & Morlino, 2005). It investigates whether a model of co-governance applied to urban assets as commons impacts on the democratic qualities of equality and rule of law at the urban level. The findings suggest suggests that legal recognition of the urban commons is not sufficient if not coupled with an experimentalist policymaking approach to institutionally redesign the City as a platform enabling collective action of multi-stakeholder partnerships that should be entrusted with the task to trigger neighborhood-based sustainable development. Neighborhood scale investments that aim to seed community economic ventures emerge as a possible way to overcome the shortcomings of the first policy experiments. They also suggest the need for more investigation by scholars on the inclusiveness and diversity facets related to the implementation of urban commons policies….(More)”

Public Administration and Democracy: The Virtue and Limit of Participatory Democracy as a Democratic Innovation


Paper by Sirvan karimi: “The expansion of public bureaucracy has been one of the most significant developments that has marked societies particularly, Western liberal democratic societies. Growing political apathy, citizen disgruntlement and the ensuing decline in electoral participation reflects the political nature of governance failures. Public bureaucracy, which has historically been saddled with derogatory and pejorative connotations, has encountered fierce assaults from multiple fronts. Out of theses sharp criticisms of public bureaucracy that have emanated from both sides of the ideological spectrum, attempts have been made to popularize and advance citizen participation in both policy formulation and policy implementation processes as innovations to democratize public administration. Despite their virtue, empowering connotations and spirit-uplifting messages to the public, these proposed practices of democratic innovations not only have their own shortcomings and are conducive to exacerbating the conditions that they are directed to ameliorate but they also have the potential to undermine the traditional administrative and political accountability mechanisms….(More)”.

Spies Like Us: The Promise and Peril of Crowdsourced Intelligence


Book Review by Amy Zegart of “We Are Bellingcat: Global Crime, Online Sleuths, and the Bold Future of News” by Eliot Higgins: “On January 6, throngs of supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump rampaged through the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to derail Congress’s certification of the 2020 presidential election results. The mob threatened lawmakers, destroyed property, and injured more than 100 police officers; five people, including one officer, died in circumstances surrounding the assault. It was the first attack on the Capitol since the War of 1812 and the first violent transfer of presidential power in American history.

Only a handful of the rioters were arrested immediately. Most simply left the Capitol complex and disappeared into the streets of Washington. But they did not get away for long. It turns out that the insurrectionists were fond of taking selfies. Many of them posted photos and videos documenting their role in the assault on Facebook, Instagram, Parler, and other social media platforms. Some even earned money live-streaming the event and chatting with extremist fans on a site called DLive. 

Amateur sleuths immediately took to Twitter, self-organizing to help law enforcement agencies identify and charge the rioters. Their investigation was impromptu, not orchestrated, and open to anyone, not just experts. Participants didn’t need a badge or a security clearance—just an Internet connection….(More)”.

Realtime Climate


Climate Central …:”launched this tool to help meteorologists and journalists cover connections between weather, news, and climate in real time, and to alert public and private organizations and individuals about particular local conditions related to climate change, its impacts, or its solutions.

Realtime Climate monitors local weather and events across the U.S. and generates alerts when certain conditions are met or expected. These alerts provide links to science-based analyses and visualizations—including locality-specific, high-quality graphics—that can help explain events in the context of climate change….

Alerts are sent when particular conditions occur or are forecast to occur in the next few days. Examples include:

  • Unusual heat (single day and multi-day)
  • Heat Index
  • Unusual Rainfall
  • Coastal Flooding
  • Air Quality
  • Allergies
  • Seasonal shifts (spring leaf-out, etc.)
  • Ice/snow cover (Great Lakes)
  • Cicadas
  • High local or regional production of solar or wind energy

More conditions will be added soon, including:

  • Drought
  • Wildfire
  • and many more…(More)”.

Metroverse


About: “Metroverse is an urban economy navigator built at the Growth Lab at Harvard University. It is based on over a decade of research on how economies grow and diversify and offers a detailed look into the specialization patterns of cities.

As a dynamic resource, the tool is continually evolving with new data and features to help answer questions such as:

  • What is the economic composition of my city?
  • How does my city compare to cities around the globe?
  • Which cities look most like mine?
  • What are the technological capabilities that underpin my city’s current economy?
  • Which growth and diversification paths does that suggest for the future?

As city leaders, job seekers, investors and researchers grapple with 21st century urbanization challenges, the answer to these questions are fundamental to understanding the potential of a city.

Metroverse delivers new insights on these questions by placing a city’s technological capabilities and knowhow at the heart of its growth prospects, where the range and nature of existing capabilities strongly influences how future diversification unfolds. Metroverse makes visible what a city is good at today to help understand what it can become tomorrow…(More)”.