2021

Exascale computers are introduced

The world’s first exascale computers are expected to come online this year. During the early 20-teen years, scientists were skeptical that exascale would be reached by this date (Link). However, exponential computing progress continued. In 2018, supercomputers performed the

first exascale calculations. These supercomputers were only able to perform at this speed for certain types of calculations and were not considered true exascale computing. In March 2018, the US Department of Energy announced that they were partnering with Intel and Cray to deliver an exascale computer by the end of 2021. This computer is expected to be installed in the Argonne National Laboratory and will be used to conduct experiments in high-performance computing and artificial intelligence. Exascale computing is estimated to be on approximately equal to the computing power of the human brain. Exascale is the targeted threshold by the Human Brain Project.

Russia’s Runet law enables the Russian government to cut off all domestic internet services from the world at will. 

Signed into law in 2019, RuNet aims to allow the Russian authorities to control data traffic and restrict access to the global internet from Russia in case of certain threats. These threats will be determined by Russian authorities. By 2021, all subordinate legistaltion is expected to have been passed, and RuNet will be fully in force. Drawing comparions to China’s greeat firewall, RuNet represents an authortarain approach to controlling information flows amongst its citizens. It has been reported that less than 23% of Russian’s population agrees with the law.

U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement goes into effect.

This year the USMCA goes into effect. This treaty represents an update to the North American Free Trade Agreement that governs more than 1.2 trillion dollars worth of trade amongst the treaty particpants. The widespan treaty covers changes in tarriffs for automobiles, changes for Mexican workers allowing them to more easily unionize, decreeases of milk tariffs in Canada, increasaed IP protections, increased environmental protections, and protections against currency manipulation,