Weekly Roundup (9 January-13 January)

Donald Trump’s China stance: What will it mean for the world?

10 January 2017, Canberra, Australia – news.com.au – Indications seem to be pointing to the fact that China is high on the list of international relations ‘problems’ to be ‘solved’ under the Trump administration. Australian academic Professor Greg Austin, however, speculates that while the rhetoric, helped along by a steady, uninterrupted Twitter stream, may well become tenser between Washington and Beijing, in the end, a major rupture in Sino-American relations will not happen; especially a reversal of America’s support of the ‘One China’ policy.

Trump Dossier Spotlights Russian History of ‘Kompromat’

11 January 2017, New York, United States – The Wall Street Journal – In an incredibly salacious twist on the whole lead-up to Trump’s presidency, an unverified report emerged stating that the future president was caught cavorting with prostitutes and indulging in a compromising sex act. The President-elect denied the authenticity of the alleged dossier – calling it ‘fake news’. Nonetheless, reasonable doubt has now been raised that there might be truth behind the insinuations that Trump has been compromised by the Russians. If that is the case, the US president may be open to blackmail from Moscow if he does not follow through on his openly signalled rapprochement with Russia.

‘I think it was Russia’: Trump finally concedes Russia responsible for election-related hacking

12 January 2017, Washington D.C., United States – businessinsider.com.au – President-elect Donald J. Trump made international headlines when he conceded that Russia was behind the hacks of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). Trying to defuse total blame on the Russian government, he declared that America has been open to hacking attacks from all manner of actors – state and non-state. Although Trump seems to be hedging his bets that some form of strategic accommodation can be reached with Moscow, this stands in stark contrast to the fact that US ground forces are being simultaneously deployed to Eastern Europe to prevent Russian encroachments there.

European Parliament Committee Wants Robot Rights

12 January 2017, Brussels, Belgium – National Review – A curious story that might have easily found its way onto the back pages rose to the fore, possibly as an antidote to the Trump domination of the news cycle this week when the European parliament voted in favour of ‘robot rights’. There is the general belief that robots and artificial intelligence (AI) are being designed to serve human manufacturing and service needs, both of which are by nature exploitative. If it is true that we are indeed close to what techno-philosopher Ray Kurzweil says is ‘the singularity’, when machine and human minds fuse into one, then the question this EU policy position begs is, whom will we exploit to do the work of the enfranchised robots (still largely inanimate, unthinking objects) who are now covered by robot rights? And what if AI starts championing the rights of lesser intelligent machines? Are we liable to see ‘work-stoppages’ at a global level?

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