Horizons newsletter – Week 7 // 2017
Horizons is a bi-monthly Dasym Research initiative to show you how the Dasym themes have been in the news. We publish the Horizons on our website and as an email newsletter. If you wish to receive the email, please contact Investor Relations.
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The Next Great Migration?
Although political migration dominates the debate in Europe, 90% of global migration is a result of economic reasons. One important future economic migration flow will be from Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) to Europe. With the EU’s population peaking at 526 million in 2050, (2015: 508 million) and its share of non-working population increasing to 50.1% in 2060 (2015: 27.8%), European welfare states will be needing fresh labor supplies to maintain their living standards. On the other hand, SSA’s gloomy economic forecasts and corresponding lack of employment, combined with drought and food shortages caused by ‘desertification’, will push SSA migration to Europe. Most importantly though, Africa’s population will explode in the coming years, changing the demographic balance between Europe and SSA. In 1950, Europe’s population was more than three times that of SSA, but in 2100 SSA’s population will be more than six times bigger: there will be, for example, many more Nigerians (750 million) than Europeans in 2100. Since recent migration waves are just the tip of the iceberg to come, economic migration from SSA might dominate future European politics.
Disruptive innovation in politics
How to counter the global crisis of trust in politics? An interesting solution is the use of new technology in governance. India for instance has launched a massive biometric system (“Aadhaar”) that is linked to bank accounts, subsidies and social services, which brings transparency and efficiency to notoriously inert government services. China is rolling out a social-credit system that ascribes scores to online behavior, which can then facilitate personalized policy. In the U.S., Countable is a political e-platform that allows citizens to easily see what legislation Congress is debating and it can quickly generate letters to representatives, this way helping citizens to make their voice heard. Furthermore, in the wake of President Trump’s migration policy, the civil rights organization A.C.L.U. has teamed up with Y Combinator and a range of tech firms to generate money and assistance for people who are disadvantaged by this policy. There are differences between these cases: the Chinese and Indian example are more top-down whereas the American ones are bottom-up. All however, point towards a closer relationship between citizens and their rulers, which might generate renewed trust in politics.
Computer tackles imperfect information game poker
After defeating grandmasters at chess in 1997 and Go in 2016, an artificial intelligence system called Libratus recently defeated professional players at heads up no-limit Texas hold’em, a one-on-one version of poker. While computers have figured out the optimal strategy in calculation games such as chess and Go, poker is of a different caliber: it requires reasoning and intelligence that has proven to be difficult for machines to imitate. The biggest obstacle lies in the hidden information. In an incomplete information game it is very complicated to figure out the ideal strategy given every possible approach your opponent may take. By applying game theory – the mathematics of strategic decision making – Libratus managed to find the best strategy and outbluff its human opponents. Regardless of whether Libratus will become smarter and will learn how to master the multiplayer version of Texas hold’em, its algorithm has brought new skills that could make major contributions to many real-world applications: to fight cyberwars, plan medical treatments, perform negotiations and other tasks that require complex decision-making with limited information.