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Cuba

As The Pope Heads To Mexico And Cuba, A Quieter Vatican Diplomacy Is Tested Anew

In 1998 when Pope John Paul II made a historic trip to Havana, Vatican diplomacy was on full display. Pope Benedict XVI's arrival in Cuba, after a visit to Mexico, reminds us that the influence of the Catholic Church is based above all on its vas

John Paul II and Jimmy Carter in another era (Marion Doss)
John Paul II and Jimmy Carter in another era (Marion Doss)
Stéphanie Le Bars

Pope Benedict XVI does not travel much. The four or five trips abroad that he makes each year, and the speeches that he makes to his foreign flocks, as well as to the leaders of the countries he visits, are therefore key indicators of Vatican positions.

The Pope's trip to Cuba and Mexico, which begins Friday, should be a typical example of this. The United States has already made its stance on the matter clear: they "hope" that Benedict will raise the question of human rights in Cuba. Indeed, the mediation of the Cuban Church facilitated the released of 115 political prisoners over the past two years.

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Future

Robot Artists And Us: Who Decides The Aesthetics Of AI?

Ai-Da is touted as the first bonafide robot artist. But should we consider her paintings and poetry original or creative? Is this even art at all?

Ai-Da at work

Leah Henrickson and Simone Natale

Ai-Da sits behind a desk, paintbrush in hand. She looks up at the person posing for her, and then back down as she dabs another blob of paint onto the canvas. A lifelike portrait is taking shape. If you didn’t know a robot produced it, this portrait could pass as the work of a human artist.

Ai-Da is touted as the “first robot to paint like an artist”, and an exhibition of her work called Leaping into the Metaverse opened at the Venice Biennale.

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