What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow Out of this stony rubbish? Son of man, You cannot say, or guess, for you know only A heap of broken images, where the sun beats, And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief. – T.S. Eliot, the Waste Lands The scientific consensus is clear: climate change is real, and humans are the biggest driver of recent climate change.
“Every period of human development has had its own particular type of human conflict—its own variety of problem that, apparently, could be settled only by force. And each time, frustratingly enough, force never really settled the problem. Instead, it persisted through a series of conflicts, then vanished of itself—what’s the expression—ah, yes, ‘not with a bang, but a whimper,’ as the economic and social environment changed. And then, new problems, and a new series of wars.” – Isaac Asimov, I, Robot The elephant and the dragon No analysis of the APAC region is complete without an understanding of the tensions in the region.
“There’s no such things as survival of the fittest. Survival of the most adequate, maybe. It doesn’t matter whether a solution’s optimal. All that matters is whether it beats the alternative.” ― Peter Watts, Blindsight Let them eat cake One of the biggest concerns for the near future is the wave of progress dubbed “the 4th industrial revolution”.
However, the regional, near-future narrative is not so rosy. The world, in general, will hit 8.5 billion people by 2030. Today, the Asia Pacific region holds 60% of the world's population and the two most populous countries in the world - India and China - and a significant chunk of that future growth will come from this region.
“The future is already here. It’s just not evenly distributed.” – William Gibson In The Silk Roads: A New History of the World, Oxford scholar Peter Frankopan chronicles the birth of much of what we call civilization today – on the legendary trade network spanning from China to Persia. His history describes a past where decisions made in India and China shook the world, and ideas from the Mediterranean swept it. Post-Industrialization, these lofty roles belonged to the West – indeed, the economic center of gravity of the world has until now been between America and Western Europe, the economic powerhouses.
An exploration of megatrends within the Asia-Pacific region There is a tide in the affairs of men. Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune; Omitted, all the voyage of their life Is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat. – Julius Ceasar, ACT III Scene IV Introduction Throughout history, there have been sequences of events that are absolutely inevitable, beyond the control of any emperor or tyrant. If we, like Shakespeare, insist on seeing them as tides, one could say that the task of historians is to study little wavelets from the past and try to piece together the biggest tides that shaped the day; and what we manage to cobble together we call history, as we know and study it.
Sri Lanka just came out with a draft bill for a proactive, national cyber-defense entity. This entity functions by designating systems as Critical Information Infrastructure (CII) and then appointing people responsible for reporting security breaches and so on and so forth. The legalese looks like this: Part V 18(1) states that “the Agency shall identify and recommend to the Minister the designation of a computer or computer system as CII for the purposes of this Act, if the Agency is satisfied that- (a) the computer or computer system is necessary for the continuous delivery of essential services for the public health, public safety, privacy, economic stability, national security, international stability and for the sustainability and restoration of critical cyberspace or for any other criteria as may be prescribed and the disruption or destruction of which would likely to have serious impact on the public health, public safety, privacy, national security, international stability or on the effective functioning of the government or the economy; and (b) the computer or computer system is located wholly or partly in Sri Lanka… The current proposed version gives the Agency the right to designate even corporate computer systems as CIIs, bust down their doors, inspect […]
A whitepaper distilling LIRNEasia's current thoughts on the possibilities and issues with the computation extraction of syntactic and semantic language from digital text.
The study by our bd4d team built on the Social Connectedness Index concept introduced by Michael Bailey (the team lead for economics research at Facebook) and others.
A personal reflection on the people of CPRsouth
On the 13th of February, a team from Lirneasia – comprised of Professor Rohan Samarajiva, Dr. Sujata Gamage, and myself – presented some of our research at the Trivedi Center at Ashoka University in Delhi, India. Ashoka, for those of us who are not familiar with it, is a private university that focuses on liberal arts: their capital stems from philanthropic contributions. The Trivedi audience were a mix of high-level academics and students – most with a base degree in computer science. Trivedi is dedicated to putting together datasets on Indian politics.
by Keshan de Silva and Yudhanjaya Wijeratne One of the most useful datasets we have is a collection of pseudoanaonymized call data records for all of Sri Lanka, largely from the year 2013. Given that Sri Lanka has extremely high cell coverage and subscription rates (we’re actually oversubscribed – there’s more subscribers than people in the country; an artifact of people owning multiple SIMS), this dataset is ripe for conducting analysis at a big data scale. We recently used it to examine the event attendance of the annual Nallur festival that happens in Jaffna, Sri Lanka. Using CDR records, we were able to analyze the increase in population of the given region during the time of the festival. A lengthy writeup describes it on Medium, explaining the importance of the festival and the logic for picking it.