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AI threatens human rights, says UN

A moratorium on AI systems like facial recognition technology is against human rights.

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AI threatens human rights, says UN
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The United Nations (UN) has called for a moratorium on Artificial Intelligence (AI) that threatens human rights.

A moratorium on AI systems like facial recognition technology is against human rights.

"AI technologies can have negative, even catastrophic effects if they are used without sufficient regard to how they affect people's human rights," warns UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet.

She also noted that various AI technologies breach the rights like privacy and freedom of movement and expression.

“Countries must regulate or ban the ones that pose a direct threat to the right,” says Michelle.

 

 

Meesam Javaid

Meesam Javaid is a senior editor at GNN, known for writing top quality content which garner very high readerships and has been covering every field of journalism, including politics, media, sports and scholarly articles. Meesam Javaid is nothing less than a Veteran Editor and has been writing for GNN for the past 2 months.

Pakistan

Pakistan continues to report decline in COVID cases, deaths      

Around 475 fresh coronavirus cases emerged while 10 people succumbed to the disease in the last 24 hours, taking the total death toll to 28,728.

Published by Mehak Javed

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Pakistan continues to report decline in COVID cases, deaths      

Islamabad: Amid a steady decline in Covid-19 infections, Pakistan's coronavirus positivity ratio further fell to 1.1% with 475 new cases. 

According to the latest figures issued by the National Command and Operation Center (NCOC), 475 persons were tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 24 hours. 

The total number of cases has reached 1,284,840.

As many as 1,242,236 patients have recovered from the disease.

Punjab

The number of patients swelled to 443,094 in the province with 13,023 causalities.

Sindh

The number of infections has surged to 475,616 in the province, while the death toll has reached 7,621.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

The confirmed cases have surged to 179,995 in the province with 5,842 casualties.

Balochistan

There are 33,479 confirmed cases while 360 patients have died from the infection so far.

AJK and Gilgit-Baltistan

There are 34,556 coronavirus cases in the AJK while the death toll has reached 742. On the other hand, there are 10,411 cases in GB with 186 coronavirus deaths.

Islamabad

There are 10,411 cases in the capital city while 954 people have lost their lives.

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World

'Very high risk': WHO warns of likely spread of Covid omicron variant globally

The global health body designated the variant B.1.1.529, which was first spotted in South Africa, as a “variant of concern” on Friday.

Published by Faisal Ali Ghumman

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'Very high risk': WHO warns of likely spread of Covid omicron variant globally

LONDON: The omicron variant of the coronavirus is likely to spread further and poses a “very high” global risk, according to the World Health Organization, which warned Monday surges of Covid infections caused by the variant of concern could have “severe consequences” for some areas.

“Given mutations that may confer immune escape potential and possibly transmissibility advantage, the likelihood of potential further spread of Omicron at the global level is high,” the WHO said in its risk assessment on Monday within a technical brief to its 194 member states.

“Depending on these characteristics, there could be future surges of Covid-19, which could have severe consequences, depending on a number of factors including where surges may take place. The overall global risk related to the new VOC [variant of concern] Omicron is assessed as very high,” the U.N. health agency said.

The WHO designated the variant B.1.1.529, which was first spotted in South Africa, as a “variant of concern” on Friday.

It said in its report on Monday that it is “a highly divergent variant with a high number of mutations ... some of which are concerning and may be associated with immune escape potential and higher transmissibility.”

-- Known unknowns -- 

However, there are still considerable uncertainties and unknowns regarding this variant, it said, repeating that sentiment Monday.

First of all, experts don’t yet know just how transmissible the variant is and whether any increases in infections are related to immune escape, intrinsic increased transmissibility, or both.

Secondly, there is uncertainty over how well vaccines protect against infection, transmission and clinical disease of different degrees of severity, and death. And third of all, there is uncertainty over whether the variant presents with a different severity profile.

The WHO has said it will take weeks to understand how the variant may affect diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines. Preliminary evidence suggests the strain has an increased risk of reinfection, however.

Early data suggests that the variant is spreading in South Africa more rapidly than previous strains did and that the variant could be starting to trigger a new wave of infections, according to an analysis by the Financial Times.

Covid symptoms linked to omicron have been described as “extremely mild” by the South African doctor who first raised the alarm over the new strain.

Read more: South African doctor who first spotted the omicron Covid variant explains the symptoms

It’s very important to remember that, so far, there have only been a small number of cases reported around the world in several southern African countries and a smattering of cases in the U.K., France, Israel, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Australia, Canada and Hong Kong, but none yet in the US so it could take a while to fully understand what specific symptoms, if any, are attributable to the omicron variant on a wider scale.

It’s also too early to tell what degree of health risk the new variant poses at a global level; the international community has already seen several increasingly virulent strains of the coronavirus, first with the “alpha” variant and then the “delta” variant, which is currently the globally dominant strain.

Covid vaccines have greatly helped to reduce severe infection, hospitalization and death, so new variants are closely monitored to assess whether, and how, they might impact the efficacy of vaccines.

-- Mitigation plans --

The WHO urged member states to enhance surveillance and sequencing efforts to better understand variants, including omicron, and to increase community testing to detect if omicron is circulating.

It also called on member states to accelerate Covid vaccinations “as rapidly as possible,” especially among high-priority groups.

News of a new variant spooked global markets Friday but European stocks climbed Monday morning. The region has already been battling a sharp surge in infections caused by the delta variant, putting pressure on health services in a number of countries, including Germany and the Netherlands.

The WHO urged countries to put in place mitigation measures to prepare for a possible increase in Covid caseloads “and associated pressure on the health system, ensure mitigation plans are in place to maintain essential health services and necessary health care resources are in place to respond to potential surges.”

SOURCE: CNBC

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Technology

Twitter mobile slowdown to remain until all banned content is removed: Russia

Twitter has been subjected to a punitive slowdown in Russia since March

Published by Siddra Sumreen

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Twitter mobile slowdown to remain until all banned content is removed: Russia

Moscow: Russia will continue slowing down the speed of Twitter on mobile devices until all content deemed illegal is deleted, state communications regulator Roskomnadzor told Reuters, as Moscow continues to make demands of Big Tech.

Russian authorities have taken steps recently to regulate technology giants more closely by imposing small fines for content violations, while also seeking to force foreign companies to have official representation in Russia and store Russians' personal data on its territory.

Twitter has been subjected to a punitive slowdown in Russia since March for posts containing child pornography, drug abuse information or calls for minors to commit suicide, Roskomnadzor has said.

Twitter, which did not immediately comment on Monday, denies allowing its platform to be used to promote illegal behaviour. It says it has a zero-tolerance policy for child sexual exploitation and prohibits the promotion of suicide or self-harm.

Videos and photos are noticeably slower to load on mobile devices, but Roskomnadzor eased speed restrictions on fixed networks in May.

Roskomnadzor said Twitter, which it has fined a total of 38.4 million roubles ($511,900) this year, has systematically ignored requests to remove banned material since 2014, but has taken down more than 90% of illegal posts.

"As of now, 761 undeleted posts remain," Roskomnadzor said. "The condition for lifting the access restriction on mobile devices is that Twitter completely removes banned materials detected by Roskomnadzor."

The regulator has said it will seek fines on the annual turnover of Alphabet's Google and Facebook in Russia for repeated legal violations, threats the two companies did not comment on at the time.

"We also reiterate that the social network Twitter has been repeatedly found guilty by a Russian court of committing administrative offences," Roskomnadzor said.

SOURCE: Reuters

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