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How could policy address risks from carbon dioxide removal (CDR)?

— All options for removing CO2 from the atmosphere and sequestering it for the long term must be assessed for their potential to contribute to reducing climate change risk, but also for their uncertainties, limits and possible adverse impacts.

© 2022 KSSW:R.Comet

First Kinetic Space Safety Workshop hosted at EPFL in May

— The first Low Earth Orbit Kinetic Space Safety Workshop, organised by ClearSpace, AXA XL Insurance, LeoLabs, along with eSpace – EPFL Space Center and the EPFL International Risk Governance Center (IRGC), was held last month at the SwissTech Conference Center.

Photo from Unsplash by Matthew Brindle.

IRGC project: environmental sustainability of emerging technologies

— The International Risk Governance Center (IRGC) is conducting project work to look into ways to ensure the environmental sustainability of emerging technology outcomes (ESET). The objective is to develop guidance for those who develop technologies that might indirectly have an adverse impact on the environment, and those who fund, incentivise, deploy or regulate such technologies.

© 2022 EPFL

International workshop to address problem of space debris

— A workshop at EPFL will bring together an international and interdisciplinary group of experts to find solutions to the pressing issue of space debris and safety. Taking place on May 4-5, the Low Earth Orbit Kinetic Space Safety Workshop is open to participants both in person in Lausanne and online.

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IRGC 2021 annual report

— IRGC’s annual report provides an overview of the many topics we work on with external experts, offering a contribution from the field of risk governance on issues such as: low-carbon transition risks, climate intervention techniques, risk of collision with space debris and environmental sustainability of emerging technologies.

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Nine recommendations for the governance of AI systems in Europe

— Governance functions traditionally performed by humans are increasingly informed and sometimes automatically executed by machine learning algorithms (governance by machine learning) to benefit society. Therefore, it is necessary to think also about the governance, or regulation, of AI systems. Work conducted by IRGC for the EU TRIGGER project concluded with nine recommendations for the governance of AI systems in Europe, presented in this spotlight on risk article.

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How to think safely about Solar Radiation Modification?

— In this ‘spotlight on risk’ article, we present a possible decision framework to help policymakers become more confident that thinking about possible use of stratospheric aerosol injection (SAI) is not dangerous. If concrete scientific evidence is found that SAI can contribute effectively to reducing global temperature increase caused by rising atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations, and if research and populations find that the risks associated with SAI are acceptable, then a clear framework will be necessary. 

© 2021 EPFL

New policy brief highlights urgency for acting on space debris

— Action on collision risk from space debris is needed now to ensure future operations in space, according to a new policy brief from the EPFL International Risk Governance Center (IRGC). The publication offers a range of technical and policy options that could help avoid potential disruptions to space-based services such as environmental monitoring, weather forecasting and communications.

Group photo taken at IRGC's 2019 expert workshop on synthetic biology © 2019 EPFL

New book from IRGC workshop on synthetic biology

— The new book "Emerging Threats of Synthetic Biology and Biosecurity" is part of NATO's Science for Peace and Security Programme and comes out of discussions from an IRGC expert workshop on synthetic biology.

Aengus Collins © IRGC / EPFL 2021

Deepfakes challenge to trust and truth

— From personal abuse and reputational damage to the breakdown of democratic politics through the manipulation of public opinion, deepfakes are increasingly in the spotlight for the harm that they might cause to individuals and society as a whole. Tanya Petersen discussed these issues with Aengus Collins, deputy director and head of policy at EPFL’s International Risk Governance Center.

© 2021 EPFL

EPFL works to address debris collision risk

— Space debris threatens human safety in space and puts at risk critical space-based infrastructure that supports services such as the internet, global navigation and climate monitoring. A new project from the EPFL International Risk Governance Center (IRGC), in collaboration with the EPFL Space Center (eSpace) and Space Innovation, is studying the governance of risks related to space debris and assessing policy options to ensure the safe and sustainable use of space.

People's hands using social media © 2021 iStock

A physical party to prove you're a real virtual person

— The ease of creating fake virtual identities plays an important role in shaping the way information – and misinformation – circulates online. Could ‘pseudonym’ parties, that would verify proof of personhood not proof of identity, resolve this tension?

© 2021 Keystone

The time to take low-carbon transition risks seriously is now

— A successful climate policy means preparing for unintended adverse impacts, such as job losses in declining energy sectors or potential environmental impacts of scaling up renewables. That’s the message of EPFL researchers in their latest policy brief that provides a roadmap for anticipating and mitigating the risks of transitioning to a low-carbon economy and society. It calls on decision-makers to plan ahead and take systematic action.

A robot arm with red cubes and contact icons placed on a table © 2020 iStock

Crossing the artificial intelligence thin red line?

— EPFL computer science professor tells conference that AI has no legitimate roll in defining, implementing, or enforcing public policy.

© 2020 iStock

A call for better governance of climate engineering technologies

— In a study for the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment EPFL’s International Risk Governance Center (IRGC) has brought together a group of global experts to point the way forward for international policymakers grappling with the risks and benefits posed by Carbon Dioxide Removal and Solar Radiation Modification.

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Evaluating the risks posed by deepfakes

— EPFL’s International Risk Governance Center (IRGC) has published one of the first comprehensive overviews of both the risks posed by deepfakes and the potential responses to them. The study aims to serve as a primer for countering the threat posed by deepfakes.

© Marie-Valentine Florin / EPFL

Marie-Valentine Florin recognized by the Society for Risk Analysis

— Marie-Valentine Florin, the executive director of EPFL’s International Risk Governance Center ([email protected]), has been named a Fellow of the Society for Risk Analysis for her contribution to the field of risk analysis.

IC Dean James Larus © EPFL

James Larus named IRGC Academic Director

— James Larus, Dean of the School of Computer and Communication Sciences, has been appointed the new academic director of the EPFL International Risk Governance Center (IRGC).

ADN ingénierie génétique © iStock

Evaluating the risks posed by synthetic biology

— Last week, nearly 70 experts from around the world gathered at EPFL for a workshop on potential threats arising from synthetic biology. Technologies developed in this field aim primarily at treating diseases and combating the effects of climate change, but they can also have unintended consequences or even be used for malicious purposes.

© iStockPhotos

CRISPR – beyond genetics

— CRISPR-Cas9 is a tool that enables the genome to be edited, like word processing, enabling us to cut or cut-and-paste genes. Easy to use, highly efficient and quick, CRIPSR has revolutionized genetics. But by modifying human embryos, a Chinese scientist has opened Pandora’s box. In the following article, published in the March 2019 issue of EPFL Magazine, EPFL researchers explain.

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