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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Thursday 6 December 2018

Technology

Image: Getty Images

Montréal and the machine

The smart money is on Canada boosting its economy via jobs in artificial intelligence. But will it pay off?

Canada’s G7 presidency is drawing to a close but before it does, the G7 conference on artificial intelligence kicks off today in Montréal. Academics, industry leaders and government officials will discuss how the technology can be developed and deployed responsibly, while also being an engine for economic growth. It’s a field in which Canada has emerged as a leading player; there are more than 200 AI startups across the country. With Canada's economy expected to slow – in part due to dwindling oil production – the Canadian government is promoting AI as a source of well-paying jobs and prosperity. But before that can come to pass, a common set of standards for its safe use is needed. In June, Canada and France issued a joint declaration stating that the sector should be defined by a commitment to human rights, diversity and innovation. Let’s hope that their G7 counterparts join them in aiming to achieve those goals.

Design

Image: Alamy

Jobs for the boys?

London’s Design Museum is debating why there are so few women working in the industry.

Despite making up the majority of those studying for careers in design, women are drastically outnumbered in the British design industry. That’s the message that will be discussed at the Design Museum in London as it launches its Women Design debate series, which begins tomorrow. The museum’s research shows that since March 2018, women have made up just 22 per cent of those working in design-related roles in the UK, despite 70 per cent of those studying design-heavy subjects at UK universities being female. The museum’s co-director, Alice Black, says that the findings demonstrate “a real failure to draw on all the talents out there”. However, the issue isn’t restricted to the UK. Major institutions around the world should take the Design Museum’s lead and find ways to rectify the imbalance in their respective design sectors.

Urbanism

Image: Getty Images

Park and ride

It’s high time that Detroit’s city officials rethink the metropolis’s addiction to the car.

Glance at an aerial photo of Detroit and you’ll be in for a shock. Nicknamed Motor City for good reason, the number of car parks and garages in Detroit’s urban core remains staggering. About half of the city’s footprint – 800 parcels or 67,000 individual car lots – is taken up by these spaces. The result is a vicious cycle that means residents remain dependent on their vehicles, an issue compounded by a beleaguered public-transport system. The fact that the lots bring in regular streams of cash, largely concentrated in the hands of a small group of private owners, exacerbates the problem. City Hall needs to rethink how taxes could lead to repurposing these spaces for residential use or novel public-space projects – a better plan for urban regeneration. Watch this (car) space.

Art

Image: Kris Tamburello, Faena Art

Public service

The most dazzling pieces at Art Basel Miami Beach are off limits – but an enterprising hotel is helping to make work available to all.

Perhaps because of its countless champagne-drenched soirées, Art Basel Miami Beach can feel like a bit of a citywide party. Many of the most dazzling pieces remain inside the trade-fair hall and this year Art Basel Miami Beach’s organisers have decided to do without the section of the fair dedicated to public sculptures and installations. It’s an interesting choice at a time when larger fairs are having to redefine themselves and their mission and it speaks of its willingness to place the market and collectors at the core of proceedings. But the public won’t be entirely left out – as part of Miami Art Week, beachfront hotel Faena is hosting installations and a week-long series of talks and events. The highlight is Tavares Strachan’s We Belong Here (pictured), which has been planted in the sand. It’s sure to attract a wave of visitors.

From Monocle 24

Image: Shutterstock

Who’s burning the Gävle goat?

The Foreign Desk: Explainer

It is tradition in the small Swedish town of Gävle to erect a giant straw goat to celebrate Advent. However it is also tradition, or at least it has become so, to try to destroy it in increasingly imaginative ways. Andrew Mueller investigates.

From Monocle Films

Monocle Christmas Market 2018

Tyler Brûlé and his merry team got festive last weekend with the annual Monocle Christmas Market at Midori House. Our favourite retailers shared a mulled wine with subscribers and other guests – and everyone met Santa Claus, of course.

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