China’s most important border is imaginary: the Hu Line

First drawn in 1935, Hu Line illustrates persistent demographic split – how Beijing deals with it will determine the country's future.

Credit: Tomaatje12, CC0 1.0 – Public domain.
  • In 1935, demographer Hu Huanyong drew a line across a map of China.
  • The 'Hu Line' illustrated a remarkable divide in China's population distribution.
  • That divide remains relevant, not just for China's present but also for its future.

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10 ways to prepare for the rise of intelligent machines – MIT study

A new MIT report proposes how humans should prepare for the age of automation and artificial intelligence.

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  • A new report by MIT experts proposes what humans should do to prepare for the age of automation.
  • The rise of intelligent machines is coming but it's important to resolve human issues first.
  • Improving economic inequality, skills training, and investment in innovation are necessary steps.
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COVID-19 is accelerating the pace of automation and the need for UBI

The pandemic has given us an early glimpse at how truly disruptive the fourth industrial revolution may be, and the measures we'll need to support human dignity.

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  • The coronavirus crisis has acted as a catalyst for two powerful transformative forces: automation and universal basic income.
  • These two intertwined forces will undoubtedly gain steam, writes Frederick Kuo, and the pandemic will hasten the acceptance of them from a scale of decades to years or mere months.
  • This crisis has ushered in a glimpse of what a dystopian future could look like as a rapidly advancing fourth industrial revolution inevitably causes severe disruption in our economy and labor structure.
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Harvard group: Here's how the U.S. economy can reopen by August

A bipartisan group of economists, technology and public health experts, and ethicists developed a three-part plan to swiftly and safely reopen the American economy. Could it work?

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  • The three key parts of the plan are testing, contact tracing, and supported isolation.
  • The report calls for significantly increased COVID-19 testing, as well as the creation of a centralized Pandemic Testing Board with "strong but narrow powers."
  • The plan would play out over four phases, the first of which involves stabilizing the essential workforce and prioritizing testing for these individuals.
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Are central bankers tinkering with interest rates too much?

Central banks face a Herculean task to keep economies right-side up.

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  • In the shadow of COVID-19, we're rapidly approaching the point where there's nothing to buy, and no one has any money to buy it with.
  • Central bankers have responded to the coronavirus's economic fallout by tinkering with interest rates and instituting quantitative easing (QE) plans.
  • Artificially lowering interest rates essentially incentivizes debt and discourages fiscal responsibility, whereas other measures, such as subsidized furloughs, may be more effective and better suited to the current situation.
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