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BRINK News is transitioning to This Moment platform on as of March 31, 2023. Read the update here.

Quick Takes

BRINK: 2022 by the Numbers

A healthcare worker in a biohazard suit, mask, and face shield tests an unseen patient for coronavirus with a mouth swab. Another helathcare worker in a mask stands behind her, against a green wall.

A health care worker in Shenzhen, China, administers a test for COVID-19. China's zero-tolerance COVID policy has continued for two years, locking down major hubs of economic activity.

Photo: Unsplash

BRINK is a platform dedicated to issues of global risk and resilience, and elevated concern about risk in this volatile year showed in the significant growth in BRINK’s audience: Overall traffic to BRINK’s site in 2022 grew 40% compared to 2021.

In a year that saw Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, China’s extended COVID lockdown, widespread inflation, and the prospect of global economic recession, the three top-performing pieces on BRINK were:

Why Does China Persist With Its Zero-COVID Strategy? by Xianbin Yao, De LaSalle University Manila

How the Ukraine Conflict Is Impacting India’s Economy by Venkatachalam Anbumozhi, Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia

What Is the Future of NFTs? by Yan Ketelers, Venly



And the most popular pieces in each of our categories were as follows:



How the Ukraine Conflict Is Impacting India’s Economy

The Pilot Shortage Will Only Get Worse As the Decade Progresses

How Inflation Is Impacting Constructions Projects



Germany Can Lead a Green Hydrogen Revolution

Practicing for Disasters: How One Ski Town Prepared for the Worst

How Are Corporations Responding to Climate Change? (BRINKEvent)



75 Years On, India and Pakistan Remain Enemies

Why Is Autocracy So Appealing? (podcast)

Italy’s Right Turn Is About Cultural Issues (podcast)



Why Does China Persist With Its ‘Zero-COVID’ Strategy?

What Should We Do With All the Empty Offices?

How Do You Avoid Retirement Boredom?



What Is the Future of NFTs?

India Has Become a Major Player in Low-Orbit Space

The Metaverse: A 5-Year Forecast of How It Will Affect Your Business


In Practice:

Are You Happy to Be Electronically Monitored by Your Company?

Can a 4-Day Work Week Work?

Is a 4-Day Workweek the Cure for Burnout?

When It Comes to AI in Daily Life, Americans Are More Concerned Than Excited

Even before ChatGPT burst onto the scene and into the collective conversation, artificial intelligence has been ubiquitous for anyone connected to the internet. A recent survey from Pew shows how people feel about using AI in their daily life.

The survey found that 38% of respondents said they were more concerned than excited about AI’s increased use in daily life, while only 15% said they were mostly excited. The largest share of people, 46%, said they were equally concerned and excited. 

The survey also revealed a disconnect between people’s general awareness of AI in their daily lives and their understanding of how it actually is being used. Americans can correctly identify common activities that rely on some form of AI — from product recommendations you see online to music recommendations to wearable devices that analyze exercise and sleep patterns. But only three-in-10 were able to correctly identify all the uses of AI asked about in the survey (there were six total scenarios). 

How Much Growth Potential Is There in the Metaverse?

For all its hype, the Metaverse has yet to live up to its potential. Even though it’s still evolving, businesses are seeking to understand the opportunities in this digital future. 

A new report by Statista reveals what growth in the Metaverse could look like over the next decade. According to the analysis in its Advertising & Media Markets Insights, a conservative scenario forecasts 15% of the digital economy shifting to the Metaverse, while a more optimistic view has it around 35%.   

Also in the report: the largest segments in terms of revenue in 2030 will be gaming ($163 billion) and e-commerce ($201 billion). By then, the metaverse’s reach is projected to be 700 million people, worldwide. 

China’s Official Count of COVID Deaths Differs From What Many Experts Estimate

In February, China declared a “decisive victory” for its handling of COVID, citing its low mortality rate when compared to other countries. An official count from the government puts the total death toll at 83,150 (as of Feb. 9), which would give China the lowest death rate per capita of any other major country: six deaths per 100,000 people, compared to the U.S.’s 337 and the U.K.’s 307. 

But researchers who have been studying the pandemic say that China has vastly undercounted its deaths from the disease. Reporting from the New York Times rounded up four separate academic studies looking at China’s most recent COVID wave that accelerated after the government relaxed its Zero-COVID restrictions in December. They all pointed to similar results: That wave may have killed between one million and 1.5 million people.

While there is no way to confirm China’s official count, researchers say that the way officials counted deaths was incomplete as it only accounted for those who died in the hospital, not those who died at home. Noting gaps in the data, many epidemiologists, such as those from Fudan University in Shanghai, developed models based on previous outbreaks to determine how the virus might spread across China’s population.  

“If the data say what we think they say, this was an explosive wave,” Lauren Ancel Meyers, a professor of biology and statistics at the University of Texas at Austin, told The New York Times.

Despite Forming New Trade Area, Intra-Continental Trade Still Low in Africa 

When Africa created the world’s largest trading area — the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) — in January 2021, it set out to stimulate intra-regional trade and strengthen African economies. Participants hoped to boost intra-African trade by around 40%.  

But the continent is still a long way from achieving its potential when compared to other regions’ internal trading numbers. According to the most recent Ibrahim Index of African Governance, most African countries mainly trade outside of the region. Only five African countries do most of their trading in Africa: Mali, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Lesotho.

Intra-continental trade only constitutes around 12% of Africa’s total trade, compared to 66.9% in Europe, 63.8% in Asia, and 44.4% in the Americas.

The report underscores the importance of this trade agreement as a mechanism to bolster Africa’s resilience: “The dependence on external markets leaves the continent highly exposed to crises and shocks in other parts of the world, as showcased by the impact of COVID-19 and the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war.”

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