1. LGBT marriage in Taiwan: Legalisation of same-sex marriage in Taiwan may be backtracked

“The original landmark court decision in May 2017 made Taiwan the first place in Asia to legalise same-sex marriage – it ruled the change must be implemented within two years and sparked a wave of optimism in the LGBT community.

But almost 18 months have already passed as the government drags its feet in the face of conservative opposition.

A referendum on whether marriage should only be recognised as between a man and a woman in Taiwan’s Civil Code won more than seven million votes Saturday, as did another calling for same-sex unions to be regulated under a separate law.

Gay rights activists had proposed that the Civil Code should give same-sex couples equal marriage rights, but only garnered three million votes.”

Read the full article on Channel NewsAsia: Taiwan’s same-sex couples put future on hold after vote defeat

 

  1. Genetically engineered babies: Questions are raised as a Chinese scientist claims to have successfully edited the genomes of a pair of twins

“He Jiankui, a genome-editing researcher from the Southern University of Science and Technology of China in Shenzhen, says that he implanted into a woman an embryo that had been edited to disable the genetic pathway that allows a cell to be infected with HIV.

In a video posted to YouTube, He says the girls are healthy and now at home with their parents. Genome sequencing of their DNA has shown that the editing worked, and only altered the gene they targeted, he says.

The scientist’s claims have not been verified through independent genome testing or published in a peer-reviewed journal. But, if true, the birth would represent a significant — and controversial — leap in the use of genome-editing. So far these tools have only be used in embryos for research, often to investigate the benefit of using them to eliminate disease-causing mutations from the human germline. But reports of off-target effects in some studies have raised significant safety concerns.”

Read the full article on Nature: Genome-edited baby claim provokes international outcry

 

  1. AI lawyers: Automation of labour-intensive legal work may result in firms cutting lower-level employees

“Those platforms will mine documents for evidence that will be useful in litigation, to review and create contracts, raise red flags within companies to identify potential fraud and other misconduct or do legal research and perform due diligence before corporate acquisitions.

Those are all tasks that — for the moment at least — are largely the responsibility of flesh-and-blood attorneys.

Increasing automation of the legal industry promises to increase efficiency and save clients money, but could also cut jobs in the sector as the technology becomes responsible for tasks currently performed by humans.

Advocates of AI, however, argue there could actually be an increase in the sector’s labor force as the technology drives costs down and makes legal services more affordable to greater numbers of people.”

Read the full article on CNBC: Lawyers could be the next profession to be replaced by computers

 

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