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Actually Relevant is a news curation service that evaluates stories based on how important they are for humanity. Our AI system reads hundreds of stories each week and turns some of the most relevant 1-2% into a website, newsletter, and podcast.

People at CEA mentioned that a service like this could become part of this forum and encouraged us to collect feedback. So here we go:

  1. Do you consider the stories vastly more relevant than the average news item that you see in other news outlets?
  2. What do you like about the overview?
    If you subscribed, what convinced you to do so?
  3. Anything we should do differently?
    If you didn't subscribe, what stopped you from doing so?

Most important stories of the week - 3-8 June

Human Development

"The world’s best investment": ~$100bn investments in global health since 1994 will save >40m lives by 2040
Vox Future Perfect, June 04
Policy Cures Research found that $97.9 billion spent on combating infectious diseases in poor countries since 1994 will avert 40.7 million deaths by 2040, yielding a $49.7 trillion benefit. "The full investment will avert, the report finds, about 40.7 million total deaths between the years 2000 and 2040," said Vox Future Perfect.
Article | AI analysis

Global child malnutrition: Unicef report finds 181m children in severe food poverty
The Guardian, June 06
A Unicef report reveals that one in four young children globally are at risk of irreversible harm due to poor diets, with 181 million children consuming only two food groups daily. "This can have an irreversible negative impact on their survival, growth and brain development," said Catherine Russell, Unicef’s executive director.
Article | AI analysis

Planet & Climate

Climate change impacts groundwater quality: Millions affected by rising temperatures
SPIEGEL, June 07 The article discusses how climate change is impacting groundwater quality and biodiversity, affecting millions of people. "According to the press release, little was previously known about how the warming of the Earth's surface as a result of climate change affects groundwater." - SPIEGEL
Article | AI analysis

Risk to global coastal cities: Thwaites "Doomsday" Glacier is melting rapidly
BBC Science Focus, June 06
The Thwaites Glacier in West Antarctica is melting faster than expected, posing a significant risk of sea level rise. "Courage means accepting the need to adapt, protecting coastal communities where it’s possible to do so, and rebuilding or abandoning them where it’s not," said Dr. Kaitlen Naughten.
Article | AI analysis

Existential Risks

International Health Regulations: WHO commits to global pandemic agreement
WHO, June 01
The World Health Assembly agreed on critical amendments to the International Health Regulations and committed to finalizing a global pandemic agreement within a year. "The amendments to the International Health Regulations will bolster countries' ability to detect and respond to future outbreaks and pandemics," said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
Article | AI analysis

Potential conflict in South China Sea: New Chinese law raises global tensions Asia Times, June 04
China’s new law to arrest foreign nationals in the South China Sea could trigger a military confrontation with the US. "If a Filipino citizen was killed by a willful act, that is very close to what we define as an act of war. Is that a red line? Almost certainly," said Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
Article | AI analysis

Science & Technology

Carbon capture: Iceland's Mammoth plant aims to remove 36,000 tons of CO₂ annually
BBC Science Focus, June 07
Climeworks has unveiled Mammoth, the world’s largest direct carbon capture and storage plant in Iceland. "Mammoth aims to remove 36,000 metric tons of carbon from the air each year – roughly the same as taking 8,600 cars off the road," according to BBC Science Focus.
Article | AI analysis

AI-based weather forecasting: Microsoft’s Aurora predicts weather and air pollution levels
phys.org, June 05
Microsoft has unveiled Aurora, an AI-based weather forecasting system that can predict global weather and air pollution levels more quickly than traditional systems. "Microsoft describes it as a system made with 'flexible 3D Swin Transformers, with Perceiver-based encoders and decoders.'" (phys.org)
Article | AI analysis

Get involved

  • Evaluation instructions. Do you work in any of the following areas? If so, we'd love your help to improve our evaluation instructions for news items: AI Risks, Pandemics, Nuclear War, Natural Catastrophes.
  • Sources. Do you have a good overview of global news in any of the following areas? If so, are there any additional sources that we should screen? Current list of sources: Human Development, Planet & Climate, Existential Risks, Science & Technology.
  • Project team. Actually Relevant is a not-for-profit side venture. We're happy about anybody who wants to contribute, especially if you have expertise in journalism, social media, web-development, or AI engineering.

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I didn't know the site and have looked at it just now for the first time. I like it and think it offers news which are way more relevant than usual.

One comment I have is that the 'general news' section covers the 'popular' wars in Gaza and Ukraine while neglecting other conflicts which are currently taking place and threatening harm to many people, e.g. in Sudan. I would've liked to hear about more of them.

Thanks for the feedback!

The system has picked up on Sudan (https://actuallyrelevant.news/?s=sudan) to some extent, starting in May 2023 with the UN warning of a "full-blown catastrophe", in September 2023 on Sudan having fallen "over the edge of mass atrocities", in February 2024 with ~11m people uprooted and ~19m children out of school; and recently highlighting 18m affected by food insecurity.

Still, the system would probably benefit from news sources that specialize on under-reported conflicts. If anybody knows a good one, please let us know!

Cool project - I tried to subscribed to the podcast, to check it out. But I couldn't find it on pocketcasts, so I didn't (didn't seem worth me using a 2nd platform).

I wanted to subscribe because I've wanted an audio feed that will help me be in touch with events outside my more specific areas of interest that i hear about through niche channels while I commute, while not going quite as broad / un-curated as the BBC news (which I currently use for this) -- and this seemed like potentially a good middle ground.

tiny other feedback: the title feels aggressive to me vs. some nearby alternatives (e.g. just "relevance news" or something) - since it nearly states that anything that is not there is not actually relevant at all, which is a fairly strong claim I could see people getting unhappy about.

Thanks so much for the feedback!

I submitted the podcast to PocketCasts. I should be available within a few days. (Also Podchaser and a few others I had missed.)

I agree that "Actually Relevant" can come off as dismissive or confrontational. I'll check how big of an issue this is for other people. Maybe we can balance this impression somehow with other aspects of the service. I'm hesitant about changing the name as that would be quite a hassle.

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