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  • OPINION

    Innovation no fix for urban transport ills

    News, Leonid Bershidsky, Published on 03/07/2018

    » Urban transportation is undergoing a revolution. Offerings such as Uber and Lyft, as well as car- and bike-sharing services are widely believed to reduce congestion and generally make urban dwellers more mobile; driverless cars are expected to provide further benefits. Yet the notion that these innovations always make things better is far from a given: The new services are a net good only if they complement traditional public transportation systems rather than compete with them.

  • OPINION

    The Cambridge Analytica red herring

    News, Leonid Bershidsky, Published on 21/03/2018

    » Facebook is being hammered for allowing the data firm Cambridge Analytica to acquire 50 million user profiles in the US, which it may or may not have used to help the Trump campaign. But the outrage misses the target: There's nothing Cambridge Analytica could have done that Facebook itself doesn't offer political clients.

  • OPINION

    Secretive Russian billionaire vents to US conservatives

    News, Leonid Bershidsky, Published on 13/03/2018

    » It's not every day that a Russian billionaire submits a op-ed piece to the Daily Caller, the conservative US website. When the billionaire in question is as media-shy as Oleg Deripaska, something extraordinary is going on. As the unfortunate recipient of an oversized role in the "Trump-Russia" scandal, he has had enough and is not quite sure how to defend himself.

  • OPINION

    The cyber whodunnit and the global blame game

    News, Leonid Bershidsky, Published on 21/12/2017

    » The US government has officially attributed to North Korea the WannaCry ransomware attack, which encrypted hundreds of thousands of computer drives around the world in May, 2017. And yet as with a series of other highly public cyberattack attributions, little evidence for the claim was made public. It's time for the cybersecurity world to follow the advice of the Rand Corporation and set up an unbiased international consortium that would seek to attribute attacks based on a common set of rules.

  • OPINION

    Coup against Mugabe is really nothing to celebrate

    News, Leonid Bershidsky, Published on 17/11/2017

    » As leader of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe has survived longer than Stalin in the Soviet Union and Mao in China. If it's coming to an end -- which seems likely given his apparent inability to emerge from house arrest after the military took charge -- it's worth reflecting on the mistakes he made to end such a remarkable run.

  • OPINION

    Authoritarian cryptocurrencies are on the march

    News, Leonid Bershidsky, Published on 18/10/2017

    » With Russia and China both embracing the idea of sovereign cryptocurrencies, it's time to ask a simple question: Why is a technology threatening to decentralise money so attractive to highly centralised, authoritarian regimes?

  • OPINION

    Brexit parade is in the EU's favour

    News, Leonid Bershidsky, Published on 03/05/2017

    » Leaked details of a dinner conversation between UK Prime Minister Theresa May and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker suggest that the Brexit talks won't just be contentious -- they'll be brutal. At this point, the perception helps Ms May as much as it does the EU leaders. After the June election in the UK, however, Ms May will be at a disadvantage.

  • OPINION

    That special human 'thing' will always beat AI

    News, Leonid Bershidsky, Published on 19/12/2016

    » This year's news about what artificial intelligence can do in the arts has been both exciting and scary. Neural networks have learned to paint like masters and compose sophisticated music. Those of us in creative endeavours might be as endangered by technological advances as blue-collar workers are often said to be -- though we are protected by certain limitations that technology is never likely to overcome.

  • OPINION

    Merkel, Juncker fight the dreamers

    News, Leonid Bershidsky, Published on 08/07/2016

    » It is increasingly clear that the European Union (EU) is about to waste the crisis brought on by the UK's withdrawal vote. The leaders of the nation states have no stomach for any meaningful reform of EU institutions, the bureaucrats in Brussels are forced to take a back seat, and federalist dreamers are unceremoniously shunted aside.

  • OPINION

    Crimean conflict simmers on with Jamala's victory

    News, Leonid Bershidsky, Published on 18/05/2016

    » Ukraine may not be able to win its wars against Russian-backed rebels and against domestic corruption, but it has just beaten Russia in spectacular fashion at the Eurovision Song Contest. The political message has been amplified by the pundits, but the Russians and Ukrainian voters themselves seemed unwilling to be dragged into the propaganda war.

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