Insights

General Politics

Why Iran might be Saudi Arabia’s best hope in 2019

General Politics

The last couple of months have been “suboptimal” for Saudi Arabia, to say the least. The Khashoggi murder has brought the leadership around the crown prince, Mohammad bin Salman under severe international and domestic pressure. Rumours of wider discontent with “MBS” were likely one reason why King Salman extended by another year costly household allowances at the expense…

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The economics of data

General Policy

Most assessments of the impact of AI on European labour markets conclude that it will have two key impacts: displacing human labour and driving productivity. In the long run, both of these effects can be positives. In the short run, they are likely to be disruptive and disorienting. The reach of automation into parts of the cognitive labour market that have heretofore…

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Information quality in the age of AI

TMT

The initial promise of the internet age was for a free and open space to exchange information. However the advent of algorithm-driven content raises important questions about what we see, how much we share a common information landscape and the reliability of what we rely on for news.

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Risks in AI: re-evaluating the regulatory rulebook

Financial Services

AI is already transforming the delivery of financial services. This is true both at the highly sophisticated end of the market, where firms make use of AI to execute high-frequency trading strategies and at the level of the individual retail investor, where AI can tailor and deliver financial “robo-advice” to consumers. Deferring to machine judgement and automation is by…

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AI and the transformation of European healthcare

General Policy

Healthcare systems across the OECD, whether publicly or privately funded, face a range of challenges that threaten their financial and operational sustainability. The demographic crunch is the backdrop to this. Life expectancy has risen inexorably over recent years, but quality of life has often failed to keep pace. More people are living longer, but frequently with…

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What should a national strategy on AI policy look like?

General Policy

The use of big data to drive machine learning and artificial intelligence will transform the way people live and work and the way economies function. In making a national strategy for AI, policymakers will have to weigh priorities that span everything from workplace regulation to industrial policy. What should a national strategy for AI look like? Is one even possible…

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Disappearing over the Horizon

Energy & Commodities

During Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to the UK yesterday, he and Theresa May were asked about the fate of Hitachi’s Horizon nuclear plant at Wylfa in Wales. Abe’s response, that they did not discuss it, did nothing to reduce anxiety about the multi-billion-pound project. Overnight, Japan’s Nikkei newspaper reported that Hitachi has decided to freeze the…

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General Politics

The speaker, government and parliament: do two wrongs make a right?

General Politics

Sovereignty is a tricky word. It’s misused or abused almost as often as it’s used – and it’s been used far more since the UK’s EU referendum date was set almost three years ago. Despite its nebulous character, it gets at the heart of something every human cares about: Who governs me? Who represents me? Who is in control?

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General Politics

The real challenge of Romania's first EU presidency

General Politics

Romania’s presidency of the EU Council - formally launching this week - has already received a dose of high-profile scepticism both in Brussels and Bucharest. Politicians ranging from president Juncker to president Iohannis expressed doubts about Romania’s preparedness for its first ever stint at the helm of the EU, 12 years after its accession. In fairness, it will not…

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General Politics

Global Counsel Holiday Reading List 2018

General Politics

At the end of each year, the Global Counsel team has a tradition of sharing among ourselves a selection of our favourite articles (or podcasts) from the past year. Last year, we decided to risk sharing the tradition. The response was positive enough to encourage us to do so again. 

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Funding the fund

Financial Services

Last week the US announced it will oppose a further increase in IMF quotas, because the Trump administration believes the fund has ample resources already and countries have adequate alternatives to draw on if they get into difficulty. 

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Might the UK's investor visa end in tiers?

General Policy

The immigration debate in the UK has traditionally focused on the lower end of the labour market. The movement of large numbers of workers from across Europe and from further afield to take up roles in the UK economy captures attention from the media and the public. But the announcement that the Home Office is suspending the less familiar Tier 1 (Investor) immigration…

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General Politics

Spain's European reinvention?

General Politics

I have just spent an interesting week in Madrid talking with people from every part of the political spectrum. There was a lot of talk of Spain flexing its muscles more in Europe. In the background to these conversations, Spain was pushing hard for – and got – concessions from the UK over Gibraltar that prompted Pedro Sánchez to trail the prospect of co-sovereignty for…

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Paris 2.0 or bust?

Sustainability

We’re a few days away from the start of the annual climate negotiations – or Conference of the Parties (COP) – this year happening in Katowice, Poland. It is already being hailed as Paris 2.0 or the COP that puts the agreement found in Paris into action with associated rules and procedures. With Ireland on the verge of becoming the first country to require its Strategic…

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General Politics

Negotiating a Brexit deal has proved hard enough, but the ratification process could be just as challenging

General Politics

With British prime minister, Theresa May, stating that the Brexit talks are in their endgame, it is worth looking ahead at where the risks for the government will be most acute in the process required to ratify an agreement under the Article 50 framework.

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General Politics

Killing vegans?

General Politics

That probably got your attention. It certainly got enough attention to ensure that the editor of Waitrose’s food magazine, William Sitwell, had to stand down after he joked that "killing vegans, one by one" was preferable to publishing a feature on plant based recipes. The story broke on World Vegan Day: talk about bad timing.

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General Politics

A look ahead: 2019 Indonesia presidential elections

General Politics

Election season has begun in Indonesia. Presidential and parliamentary elections will be held simultaneously on April 17th, 2019, where approximately 187m Indonesians (out of approximately 265m) will be eligible to vote. The presidential election will be a repeat of the contest in 2014 between former general Prabowo Subianto and incumbent president, Joko Widodo, who is…

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General Politics

Tea with Xi

General Politics

For a very powerful head of a huge and centrally controlled nation, President Xi Jinping of China has a remarkably relaxed air about him. He exudes composure, in public at least.

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