Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The similitude of His light is as a lustrous niche, wherein is a lamp. The lamp is in a glass. The glass is as it were a glittering star. It is lit from a blessed tree — an olive — neither of the east nor of the west, whose oil would well-nigh glow forth even though fire touched it not. Light upon light! Allah guides to His light whomsoever He will. And Allah sets forth parables to men, and Allah knows all things full well. (Al Quran 24:35/36)
Bring Diversity to Artificial Intelligence
By Fei-Fei Li
Artificial intelligence is the quest to build machines with human-like intellectual capabilities. But in an industry known for its struggles with representation, how can we ensure they’re inspired by the full range of human experience? Women make up only 12% of the AI research world and 26% of the tech workforce, while people of color fill less than 20% of leadership roles.
My nonprofit, AI4ALL, is working to reverse this trend by bringing firsthand experience in university AI labs to students of high school age who often feel left out of tech: girls, ethnic minorities and residents of underserved communities. AI is a vast frontier with far more to explore than any single person, group or even nation can manage alone. It will rank among our greatest technological achievements, and everyone deserves to play a role in shaping it. That, more than anything else, will ensure the world of 2030 is a future worth looking forward to.
Li is co-director of Stanford University’s Human-Centered AI Institute
Make Digital Cash Safer for All
By Christine Lagarde
We should consider the possibility for central banks to issue their own digital currencies. A state-backed token, or perhaps an account held directly at the central bank, could help ensure that remote and marginalized regions are included in the digital revolution, and could help protect consumers. Without cash, too much power could accrue to a small number of outsize private-payment providers.
This is not science fiction. Central banks around the world are already considering these ideas, including those in Canada, China, Sweden and Uruguay. Of course, challenges remain, like risks to financial stability. But as technology changes, so must we.
Lagarde is chair of the International Monetary Fund; the above is an extract from a speech she delivered for the IMF at Singapore Fintech Festival
Discover Badly Needed Antibiotics
By Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
For almost a century, antibiotics have made once deadly infections treatable and curable. Now, we’re losing them. The rise of drug-resistant bacteria is jeopardizing decades of progress, threatening our ability to prevent and treat common conditions like pneumonia and urinary-tract infections. The causes are many, including overuse and misuse of antibiotics in humans and animals. But antibiotic resistance is also a market failure.
Compared with other types of drugs, antibiotics are not profitable for the pharmaceutical industry. As a result, there is a serious lack of promising new antibiotics in clinical development. One innovative model to address that is the Global Antibiotic Research & Development Partnership (GARDP). Set up by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative, the partnership is developing new treatments on a not-for-profit basis through public-private partnerships. One new antibiotic showing promise is for drug-resistant gonorrhea, an infection that has failed treatment with last-resort antibiotics in at least 10 countries. If it works, this partnership could be a model for how to increase access to and affordability of medicines, which is key to achieving universal health coverage.
Tedros is director-general of the World Health Organization
Connect Everyone, Everywhere
By Mukesh Ambani
I believe no Indian should be excluded from the prosperity promised by the fourth industrial revolution. That’s why Jio, my company Reliance’s digital startup, has helped India’s mobile-data consumption to surge by over 1,400% since 2014. Within the space of a few years, we have gone from 2G and 3G to 4G and soon 5G speeds. By making voice calls and data affordable to almost everyone in India, Jio now offers a smartphone effectively for free. The U.N. has declared Internet access a human right, and India is where we have made the greatest disruptive contribution to fulfillment of this right.
Now we are determined to connect everyone and everything, everywhere. When data-driven intelligence is combined with society-wide empathy, we can transform the fourth industrial revolution into the first human-centered technological revolution, capable of solving complex problems. The developmental platform we have built in India can benefit the entire planet.
Ambani is chairman and managing director of Reliance Industries
Double Down on Saving Children’s Lives
By Melinda Gates
Perhaps the greatest achievement of the past generation is the fact that the number of children who die each year has been cut in half. On my horizon in 2019? To make it possible to cut child-mortality rates in half again. Over the past three decades, the world has established a group of four organizations that have saved millions of lives. You’ve likely never heard of them, but if you pay taxes, you’ve helped fund their success. Gavi has immunized more than 700 million children; the Global Fund pays for HIV treatment for half the people living with the virus; the Global Polio Eradication Initiative has pushed us to the brink of wiping out the disease. The newest, the Global Financing Facility, is focused on women’s and children’s health, including helping women plan their families—which means their children will be more likely to survive and prosper. All four need new funding this year. But some politicians in donor countries say they should invest less in the rest of the world. Will the world be able to cut child deaths in half again? It depends on what they decide.
Gates is co-founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Put a Price on Pollution for Cleaner Growth
By Justin Trudeau
Pollution isn’t free. Millions of people around the world are already paying its price in the form of catastrophic floods, uncontrollable wildfires, devastating droughts, spreading disease, and unprecedented forced migration.
We have to make a clean economy affordable for everyone—and we have a moral and economic imperative to act now. We are the last generation able to make sure future generations do not pay the full—and incalculable—cost of climate change. We’re also the first generation with the tools to do so.
Pricing pollution is the single most powerful way to cut emissions while driving economic growth. Since putting a price on pollution in 1991, Sweden has grown its economy and cut its emissions by 60 and 25 percent, respectively. Here, at home, the four provinces with a price on pollution in 2017 led the country in economic growth, while Canada led the G7 in economic growth. California hit its emissions reductions targets earlier and at a lower cost than anticipated after putting a price on pollution.
Lower emissions, cleaner air, a stronger economy. The science and economics behind pollution pricing are settled. As of 2019, it is no longer free to pollute anywhere in Canada. In the international fight against climate change, a national price on pollution should be the norm. Indeed, it is already a necessity.
Trudeau is Prime Minister of Canada
Teach Children How to Nurture the Planet
By Jane Goodall
My greatest reason for hope for our future is the passion of young people. When we listen to them and empower them, the next generation is desperate to protect nature. Unfortunately so many children are unable to spend time in nature because of education systems rooted in technology and geared only to the demands of a materialistic world. I began Roots & Shoots in 1991 to provide young people of all ages with the opportunity to choose projects to benefit people, animals and the environment. Today in some 80 countries, groups are taking action to heal the harms we have inflicted. They are, for example, planting endemic species to encourage biodiversity, lobbying legislators about climate change, raising money for victims of natural disasters, volunteering in animal shelters. It is desperately important to encourage them as they work to heal the scars we have inflicted, and I urge philanthropists to invest in the education of young people to nurture the planet. The challenges we face are daunting, but nature is resilient, the human intellect incredible. So now, as our youth joins forces to tackle problems we have created, let us give them the support they need and help them in their fight to save the natural world—on which we ourselves depend.
Goodall is a primatologist and conservationist
Harness GMO Crops to Solve the Food Crisis
By Robert T. Fraley
As someone who helped pioneer genetically modified crops, I’m proud to see how much good they have accomplished. Despite consumer fears, the reality is GMO crops are safe—and can help solve both the sustainability and food-security issues our planet faces in the decades ahead. By combining biotechnology with gene editing, data science and digital tools, it will be possible to improve all the world’s crops. I believe it’s possible to not only double the food supply by 2050 but also to do it on less land than we farm today.
Fraley is former chief technology officer at Monsanto
— The Muslim Times (@The_MuslimTimes) August 23, 2016