CAO Daily Editorial analysis for UPSC IAS 28-October, 2017

Current Affairs Only Daily Editorial Analysis for Competitive Exams


28th October, 2017

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The flaming fields of Punjab {Agriculture}

(The Hindu)


Context

This article talks about farming technique which has been banned but still in use

In news

Despite the 2015 ban on crop burning, farmers in the State continue to set fire to paddy residue to make way for the next crop

What is the ban?

  • In 2015, the NGT was forced to stop the practice of stubble burning after thick smog enveloped the northern skies with the onset of autumn yet again, and acute respiratory problems were reported to be worsening in the national capital.
  • In its order, the tribunal fixed a penalty for burning paddy residue.
  • The fine for small land owners with less than two acres of land indulging in crop burning is Rs. 2,500.
  •  For medium land owners holding land over two acres but less than five acres, it is Rs. 5,000.
  • And those with over five acres have to cough up Rs. 15,000 for every instance of crop burning. The NGT banned the burning of paddy straw in four States — Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh — and Delhi.

IssuesRelated image

  • Burning of paddy stubble in Punjab is a relatively new problem.
  • Most of the stubble burning takes place over three weeks in October-November, releasing particulates and smog-forming carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide, which drift from the fields over almost the entire Indo-Gangetic plain.
  • Air pollution

Possible solutions

  • One of the ways to resolve the problem of stubble burning would be by generating power through biomass energy plants.
  • One approach is to plough the stubble back into the ground, which would save on inorganic fertilizers and add to soil organic content.
  •  Another option is the tractor-mounted “Happy Seeder” machine developed by Punjab Agricultural University, which adopts a no-tillage system to cut the stubble close to the ground and collects it, sows wheat seeds for the next crop, and spreads the cut straw on the field as mulch.

Firmly disagree that AI needs to be regulated: VMware’s Pat Gelsinger {Sci. & Tech}

(Livemint)


In news

Dell Technologies subsidiary VMware’s CEO Pat Gelsinger on digital disruption and the impact of newer technologies like artificial intelligence on business models of companies

 Few  technologies used by various industriesImage result for AI regulation

  • General Electric (GE). They are into engines, oil rigs, power plants and are now focused on software skills because they need analytics to adjust their turbines. GE is also building smart power grids that both store and deliver energy, which accounts for up to 3-4% of the improvement that makes an extraordinary difference to efficiencies.
  • Another example is Bosch, which was once an old-line industry but is now becoming connected and Internet of Things (IoT)-centric, and needs to be managed and automated.
  • Honeywell works on HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) systems that are now being connected, automated and secured. Retailers today are innovating for new shopping experiences, to compete with players like Amazon. Hence, their online store experience becomes a digital experience.
  • Some of the big disruptions are Uber and Airbnb. One is the largest transportation company but owns no cars.
  •  The other is the largest hotel chain that owns no hotel rooms. Every industry is being revolutionized by technology in some manner.

Reasons not to regulate AI

AI is a fundamental technology

Artificial Intelligence is a field of research and development. You can compare it to quantum mechanics, nanotechnology, biochemistry, nuclear energy, or even math, just to cite a few examples. Fundamental research fields or technologies should not be regulated. All of them could have scary or evil applications, but regulating them at the fundamental level would inevitably hinder advances, some of which could have a much more positive impact than we can envision now.

 It is way too early

If you ask any expert as of today what should be regulated in AI the answer would have to be, inevitably, “we don’t know.” If you take a look at the research being carried out at Elon Musk’s Future of Life Institute on the topic, you will realize that all projects are researchy in nature (e.g. see this one about how to better estimate probabilities for self-driving cars) and most of them are at their infancy (see description of this project on how to teach Deep Learning about moral concepts).

 Regulate, at what level?

Question would be: at what level would you do this? Would you want the US government to regulate its research and deployment in general while other countries (including perhaps North Korea) would freely continue to innovate and deploy their latest advances? Clearly not. I am guessing people like Musk proposing regulation have not even thought about this, or are many thinking of a regulation at the UN level? Good luck with that.


Reign of King Xi {International Politics}

(Indian Express)


Context

World may need to worry about his pursuit of the ‘China dream’, fuelling of nationalism through military adventure

Why in news?Image result for Reign of King Xi- jiping

In another time, the announcement that the Communist Party of China has enshrined President Xi Jinping’s political doctrine and his name in its Constitution would have been called a coronation. World leaders have scrambled to hail the move, led by US President Donald Trump who called it an “extraordinary elevation”.

Key Points

The party unanimously passed the amendment to include “Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era” as one of its guiding principles at the end of its week-long congress.

The Chinese Communist Party has only added only one leader, Mao, to the constitution while he was alive. The party added Deng’s name and vision for China to the constitution after he died in 1997. No other Chinese leaders have had their name added to the constitution.

Xi is poised to become very, very powerful

  •  Experts say that Xi’s addition to the constitution gives him a vast political mandate and means he could be in power longer than most Chinese presidents.
  • The recent norm in China is for the president to take on two five-year terms.
  • Xi is currently beginning his second five-year term, but now it’s more likely that he could potentially end up taking on a third or fourth term.
  • Alternatively, Xi could step down after his second term but still hold sway over the direction of the country.

 Global influence by 2050

Xi laid out some ambitious targets for the next 30 years and more. The first batch should be achieved from 2020 to 2035, Xi said. China will be a top ranked innovative nation by 2035 with a large middle-income population and narrower wealth gap. China’s soft power should be boosted, Xi said.

India’s Concern

They will affect India’s economic prospects, border security, neighbourhood relations, and global ambitions. With the unveiling yesterday of the Politburo Standing Committee, we now have some tentative answers, although they are far from encouraging.


 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • Areef khan

    Guys you had done a great job thanks can you provide economics optional study material for IAS ACC. To the syllabus.

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