Impact Lab


Subscribe Now to Our Free Email Newsletter

» Currently browsing: Big Problems


Clearview app lets strangers find your name, info with snap of a photo, report says

January 21st, 2020 at 1:35 pm » Comments Off

It may not be long before you’ll have to forget about walking down the street anonymously, says a New York Times report.  ”Just a face in the crowd.” That figure of speech may one day need a footnote to explain it. What if a stranger could snap your picture on the sidewalk then use an […]



Davos 2020 : the World is drowning in debt

January 16th, 2020 at 1:11 pm » Comments Off

New York (CNN Business)The world’s already huge debt load smashed the record for the highest debt-to-GDP ratio before 2019 was even over. In fact, it broke that record in the first nine months of last year. Global debt, which comprises borrowings from households, governments and companies, grew by $9 trillion to nearly $253 trillion during […]



The coming surge of separatism

January 8th, 2020 at 11:37 am » Comments Off

Why splittists will be on a roll around the world FROM CATALONIA to Kashmir, and from Hong Kong to Scotland, separatist movements will make headlines in 2020. At best, this will lead to political turbulence and tension. At worst, it could lead to violence. Across the world, two types of identity-driven movements are increasingly clashing—and […]



The retirement crisis is real and frightening, as these six charts show

December 17th, 2019 at 12:49 pm » Comments Off

An uncertain retirement may be lurking just over that ridge.(Dennis Curran) Is the “retirement crisis” just a scare story? That’s what conservatives would like you to believe as they rail against proposals from progressives in Congress to expand and increase Social Security. Andrew Biggs, a former Social Security official, wrote recently in the conservative National […]



Volkswagen demonstrates first successful real-world use of quantum computing to help optimize traffic routing

December 14th, 2019 at 1:30 pm » Comments Off

A quantum computer from D-Wave. Copyright: D-Wave. Volkswagen AG has successfully demonstrated the world’s first live use of quantum computing to help optimize traffic routing. During the Web Summit conference in Lisbon, Portugal, nine public transit buses used a traffic management system developed by Volkswagen scientists in the United States and Germany, powered by a […]



Boomer homes to flood US market, but who will buy them?

December 1st, 2019 at 12:48 pm » Comments Off

Baby Boomer home sales will flood the housing market: Report Baby Boomers’ homes will be sold on a large scale over the next 20 years, but with millennials refraining from home ownership, who will be buying them? The U.S. housing market is on the verge of being inundated with homes for sale on a scale […]



Robot debates humans about the dangers of artificial intelligence

November 30th, 2019 at 1:40 pm » Comments Off

Project Debater argued both for and against the benefits of artificial intelligence An artificial intelligence has debated the dangers of AI – narrowly convincing audience members that the technology will do more good than harm. Project Debater, a robot developed by IBM, spoke on both sides of the argument, with two human teammates for each […]



Why the world is running out of sand

November 25th, 2019 at 5:05 pm » Comments Off

It may be little more than grains of weathered rock, and can be found in deserts and on beaches around the world, but sand is also the world’s second most consumed natural resource. A South African entrepreneur shot dead in September. Two Indian villagers killed in a gun battle in August. A Mexican environmental activist […]



$69 trillion of world debt in one infographic

November 23rd, 2019 at 1:13 pm » Comments Off

Two decades ago, total government debt was estimated to sit at $20 trillion. Since then, according to the latest figures by the IMF, the number has ballooned to $69.3 trillion with a debt to GDP ratio of 82% — the highest totals in human history. Which countries owe the most money, and how do these […]



The internet is getting less free

November 14th, 2019 at 12:09 pm » Comments Off

A protester holds an Amazon box made into a sad face as part of a protest against the company’s cloud services contracts with Palantir, which supports ICE. Election interference and government surveillance on social media are hurting internet freedoms.   Amazon has been under fire from protesters lately for assisting surveillance technology company Palantir — […]



Can you make AI fairer than a judge? Play our courtroom algorithm game

October 29th, 2019 at 2:50 pm » Comments Off

Can you make AI fairer than a judge? Play our courtroom algorithm game The US criminal legal system uses predictive algorithms to try to make the judicial process less biased. But there’s a deeper problem    . As a child, you develop a sense of what “fairness” means. It’s a concept that you learn early […]



Human actors are changing the spread of disinformation

October 28th, 2019 at 11:31 am » Comments Off

Disinformation campaigns used to consist of trolls and bots orchestrated and manipulated to produce a desired result. Increasingly, though, these campaigns are able to find willing human participants to amplify their messages and even generate new ones on their own. The big picture: It’s as if they’re switching from employees to volunteers — and from […]



Future of Work : The new age of employment