👋 Mari mari!*
Welcome to Tuesday, where Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is in New York to attend the UN General Assembly, Azerbaijan launches “anti-terrorist” operations in Nagorno-Karabakh, and Elon Musk has floated the idea of putting up a paywall to X to fight bots on the platform formerly known as Twitter. Meanwhile, Gianluca Nicoletti in Italian daily La Stampa uses AI to commune with the dead.
[*Mapuche, Chile and Argentina]
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• Putin to Beijing in October: Three industrial warehouses in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv were struck by Russian drone strikes, causing a major fire and killing at least one person according to local authorities. A policeman was also killed and two civilians wounded by Russian artillery fire in Kherson. Meanwhile, Moscow said President Vladimir Putin will meet China’s Xi Jinping for talks in Beijing in October. It will be Putin’s first known trip abroad since the International Criminal Court issued a warrant for his arrest over the deportation of children from Ukraine.
• Azerbaijan launches “anti-terrorist” operations in Nagorno-Karabakh: Azerbaijan has announced a new offensive in its breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh, nearly three years after the country went to war against Armenia over the disputed area. On Tuesday, four Azerbaijani police officers and two civilians were killed in mine blasts, with authorities blaming Armenian separatists. Fears that the simmering dispute in the former Soviet region could turn into all-out war have escalated in recent months after Azerbaijan mounted a blockade of the only land link into the enclave from Armenia.
• American prisoners freed from Iran land in U.S.: Five Americans freed from Iranian detention as part of a prisoner swap deal have returned to U.S. soil, landing in the Washington DC area early Tuesday after an initial stop in Doha, Qatar. The deal included the release of five Iranians held in the U.S. and the unfreezing of $6 billion in Iranian funds. Read French international affairs columnist Pierre Haski on the hard choices of realpolitik.
• India expels Canadian diplomat in tit-for-tat move: India has ordered a senior Canadian diplomat to leave the country within five days, hours after Ottawa expelled an Indian diplomat, as part of a growing rift between the two countries over the killing of Canadian citizen and prominent Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar in June. The expulsions came after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada was investigating “credible allegations” linking Indian government agents to the murder, a concern India dismissed as “absurd.”
• Protests erupt in Libya’s flood-hit Derna against authorities: Hundreds of protesters rallied in Libya’s Derna on Monday, setting fire to the house of the man who was the city’s mayor at the time of the flood, to demand accountability one week after a flood that killed thousands of residents. Following the protests, several Arab broadcasters reported that their journalists were ordered to leave the city. Meanwhile, the UN has warned that a disease outbreak could create “a second devastating crisis” as people are falling ill from contaminated water.
• Australia spots El Niño pattern in spring heatwave: Australia’s weather bureau has confirmed that an El Niño weather pattern was underway as the country’s southeast is facing an unusual September heatwave, raising concerns over a severe wildfire season and leading to the first total fire ban in three years. About 61 bushfires have been reported across New South Wales as of Tuesday morning.
• Musk says X could go behind paywall: Owner of social media platform X Elon Musk suggested the company could introduce a monthly fee for all users, in an effort to combat bots. Musk’s comment was part of a conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the question of online anti-Semitism and what the platform formerly known as Twitter could do to counter the use of bots that “replicate and amplify it.”
Bogotá-based El Espectador devotes its front page to the disturbingly high number of femicides of Colombian women in Mexico over the past decade. The latest case is the murder of Ana María Serrano, the 18-year-old niece of the former Colombian finance minister, José Manuel Restrepo, allegedly by her ex-boyfriend. Families and organizations have denounced Mexican authorities for their handling of the cases. “In Mexico, where the rate of femicides is high, families of victims face stigmatization during investigations of these cases. But when it comes to foreigners, the barriers are greater,” writes the daily.
A nation-wide survey shows 29.1% of Japan’s population is aged 65 or older. It’s a record for the aging country, and far higher than others facing similar demographic trends, like 24.5% in Italy and 23.6% in Finland. According to data gathered by the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research, one in 10 people in Japan is now aged 80 or older, as the country struggles with social security spending.
Re;Memory — a new AI program makes talking to the dead come alive
There are many frontiers being crossed by AI lately, sparking debate and anxiety. But now, we're entering strange, new territory: an algorithm that lets bereaved family members communicate with deceased loved ones in the most realistic of ways. Yet it comes with very real and complicated risks, writes Gianluca Nicoletti in Italian daily La Stampa.
⚰️ Communing with the dead, real or imagined, is an experience that the digital world may now be ready to outflank the human competition. The technical term for these algorithms is "deadbots," which offer a sort of ephemeral evocation of the spirit of a deceased person. The most realistic of these chatbot models is the consolatory Re;Memory. This ectoplasmic recreation, designed by South Korean company DeepBrain, comes almost as a natural evolution to the spiritual seances to which we're accustomed.
🎥 In a promotional video for the chatbot we meet Mr. Lee, who is — or rather, was — an elegant and composed Korean gentleman. Perhaps, being terminally ill, he decided to visit the studios of the company where highly equipped operators recorded a monologue in which he addressed his family, as if he had already passed away. The AI recorded not only his facial expressions but also his gestures and voice. Re;memory then created a video clone of Mr. Lee, with whom it would be possible to interact, after his death, as if it were a video call to the afterlife.
⚖️ Certainly, the issue of the "freedom of one's thoughts to evolve post-mortem" will create a new dilemma regarding the protection of any future digital manifestation of our consciousness. The ethical and legal implications will raise important questions about privacy, consent, and the boundaries of posthumous representation in the digital age — add to that existential anxieties while we're at it.
➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com
➡️ Watch the video: THIS HAPPENED
"I'm running because democracy is at stake."
— In New York, U.S. President Joe Biden commented on his decision to run for re-election in 2024, once again against Donald Trump. Biden said that Trump and his “MAGA Republicans are determined to destroy American democracy,” while he is committed to always defend, protect and fight for democracy. He added that he sought to rally the world to “stand up to Vladimir Putin”, as he will not “side with dictators” like Trump would. Biden, 80, brought up how his age has been seen as problematic for some, saying he knows it “better than anyone” and that it should not be a concern.
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