Cleaning Up 80 Years of Plastic Waste

The Plastic Credit Exchange is on a mission to “clean up 80 years of plastic waste.” It serves a global ecosystem of partners that recover, process, and recycle plastic waste with programs that improve livelihood and scale social impact.

“There’s a reason why you don’t see paper and glass or metal polluting our streets, it’s because the market has assigned a value to that material. So certain sectors within a community will collect it and divert it away from nature and into the circular economy. We need to do that for plastic,” said Plastic Credit Exchange founder Nanette Medved-Po in a clip teeing up a talk on the plastics crisis. “The Plastic Credit Exchange model benefits the communities because it financially incentivizes them to clean up. It benefits businesses, because we give them a responsible way to offset their plastic footprints. And it benefits government that get some relief on heavily taxed waste system. And the cleanup benefits our planet, allowing nature a chance to heal.”

Sebastian DeGrande is the CEO of the Plastic Credit Exchange (PCX), a nonprofit with a mission to “clean up 80 years of plastic waste.” Its commercial market subsidiary serves a global ecosystem of partners that recover, process, and recycle plastic waste with programs that improve livelihood, scale up social impact, and reduce the flow of plastic pollution into nature. DeGrande spoke at Techonomy 22 in Sonoma, CA, explaining the magnitude of the plastic crisis and PCX’s novel solution. The transcript below has been edited for clarity, watch the full video here. DeGrande opened his talk with a pop quiz of the Techonomy audience:

I’m going to give you a quiz on a few points just to dimensionalize the crisis, the challenge and the opportunity. So how much plastic has ever been produced in the world? 8.7 billion tons of plastic produced over time. You can’t even conceptualize it. And just to be clear, I’m not saying that’s a bad thing. Plastic is an amazing invention. It’s brought food security to poor communities all over the world, medical devices that save lives every day, right?

How much plastic has been produced just this year? 465 million tons – the important thing there is that’s about 5% of the total. So just think about that as a trajectory of growth relative to 8.7 billion over basically 100 years. How much ends up in nature each year? It’s only, and I will say only, 10 million tons. And the reason is much of it goes into landfill, or it gets incinerated. And that doesn’t count as going into nature. Even though it’s a petroleum product, burning it isn’t necessarily a good thing either.

In the U.S. our recycling rate has gone down from 8-9% in past years to more recently below 5%. But most importantly, most of this 10 million tons of plastics ends up in open pits that then degrades or it goes straight into rivers and oceans.

One of the scariest statistics that you will hear is that by 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean by weight than fish. And if you’re a scuba diver like me, and you go scuba diving in some of the remote, beautiful places in the world, and the sun is shining, you see this amazing kaleidoscope of color while you’re diving and you say wow, that’s beautiful. And then you look closely, and you realize it’s the light from the sun refracting through microplastics in the ocean.

We’re finding microplastics in the Antarctic ice shelf, we’re finding it in all our fish. We’re even finding it in human fetuses at this point. And we don’t actually fully understand the implications of all of this.

Plastic is a petroleum product, so how much does it contribute to carbon emissions? At least 5%. It’s really hard to tell for sure, because there are many various types of plastics produced in various ways. Some are recycled, but even the recycling has a carbon footprint. But it is a significant contributor to the warming of the planet as well as being a crisis in its own right.

What you will hear out there around this topic is a lot of discussion from a lot of people. We need to reduce and we need to eliminate single use plastics. We need to go to refillable solutions. We need to increase infrastructure and recycling. Absolutely. But we also need to deal with the problem today. So we need to look at the forest and the trees.

There are many efforts underway: innovation around alternative materials, bio plastics, innovate refillable solutions. But how long will those innovations take? What percent of the total plastic use cases will be addressed by refillable solutions? Maybe 20%? How long will it take to change supply chains? We need to solve the problem today and tomorrow. And we can do these things simultaneously.

The problem is, it’s an incredibly fragmented and inefficient marketplace right now. You’ve got producers and consumers of plastic, many of whom are well intended and want to do the right thing, but don’t have an avenue to do it. I talked to many companies who say, “can you just get us more recycled feedstock that we can increase the amount of recycled content in our products?” And the answer is no, I can’t. Because the infrastructure isn’t there. There’s over a trillion dollars of infrastructure missing on the collection, transportation and recycling, particularly in emerging markets.

And then on the other side, you’ve got project providers who would love to do the work, but they have no capital, they have no economic incentives, and there’s no structure within which to do it. Because you need standards, you need certification, you need traceability, et cetera. So that’s where the Plastic Credit Exchange (PCX) comes in. PCX believes that the problem of plastic waste entering nature can be solved– now. We can eliminate that 10 million tons of plastic entering nature today. And we can even start eating into the debt of plastic that is out there in nature. But it takes economic incentives.

For a nickel, you can clean up a kilogram of plastic, collect it, put it in the right place, recycle it where it can be recycled, otherwise manage it more properly. So how does it work? Very simple. Everybody’s heard about offsetting in carbon, PCX is doing that in plastics. Start by baselining your footprint and understanding what your starting point is, then set goals, and then PCX activates our ecosystem of partners all over the world who are doing the work. And you fund that through the purchase of these credits. And then that feeds the collection, the transportation, and any other activity to properly manage that waste.

PCX has been doing this for a few years and we already have five of the top ten consumer packaged goods companies as partners. We even have government agencies like USAID, and others. Some of these players are supporting projects and investing in the infrastructure to expand these projects. They’re also investing in community based collection like the project led by female micro entrepreneurs in the Philippines, who get additional income by collecting plastic waste from local community aggregating sorting, and then the program takes that plastic off to a recycling center on their behalf.

We have launched what I sort of refer to as the “Airbnb of plastics.” The idea is to remove the friction and make it as transparent, verifiable and easy as possible to take action. You can come onto our PCX platform, browse projects by simply signing up with an email, by price point by plastic type, by geography, etc, and then you can literally stick it in your basket and check out and drive that impact.

And then more importantly, or as importantly, PCX uses blockchain for what it was originally intended for: traceability. It is an immutable ledger. So every project that we list has to go through a certification process to ensure what they’re doing has additional impact over what would have happened otherwise has the right labor standards in place. One of our projects has taken an informal waste picker community and turned them into full time employees with medical benefits.

We trace collection on the blockchain and that’s the beautiful thing about plastic versus carbon. It is really hard to calculate the carbon sequestration effect of planting trees that 30 years from now will produce some impact. But with plastic, you pick it up, scan it, weigh it, transport it, scan it, weigh it, recycle it, scan it, weigh it and you’re done. And it is verified. And it is a claim that any company can make with confidence because we have all of the information on our blockchain ledger, publicly available for anybody to look at. And you can see the certificates that are then produced for each, each participant.

PCX is just getting started–33 million kilograms. That’s not a drop in the bucket yet. We need more projects, more liquidity and market based forces to drive scalability.

For more on this topic, join us at Techonomy Climate 2023 in Silicon Valley, March 28th, where we dive deeper into the plastics crisis and again will be joined by our friends at PCX. Register your interest below.

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ChatGPT is the Deepfake of Thought

With the birth of generative AI, we can now interact with thoughts and ideas not formed by people. But what does this mean for social health?

I never thought I would question where ‘thought’ came from. All my life, there was only one source for opinion and creative thinking–the human mind. That changed with the invention of ChatGPT and other forms of generative AI. For the first time in human history, society will interact with thoughts and ideas not formed by people. So, what does this mean?

The “positives” we could focus on are its usefulness for generating reports and recaps based on technically objective information. But that is a very short-sighted view of what this AI can do. We need to understand that that’s not the end of the parameter or where the problems exist. 

In actuality, generative AIs are in the business of imitation and deception. Specifically, the imitation of human likeness through thought, thus deceiving its readers. From a social health standpoint, the implications are worrying at best. 

Society’s intellectual nucleus is founded on the legacy of human thought. The information generated by AI made to imitate human thought holds the potential to corrupt an already fragile social climate as it’s not based on human experience, aka the root of the idea. 

Now, we could say that AI cannot technically create new thoughts if it’s pulling its information from sources written by human beings. And at this point–I agree. But over time, as this AI generates and publishes “thoughts” and information globally, it will begin to pull from sources not created by humans. That’s where the threat to our social sphere comes into play. Once AI starts to pull from AI, there begins a decline in the potency of human thought.

Another point of contention is the idea that this kind of AI would be used, if not at least marketed, as a genuinely unbiased and objective fact checker. Here’s why that’s problematic: any form of AI is created by a person–meaning it comes with that person’s unconscious biases. Therefore, it is just as impossible for it to be truly neutral, no different than a human. Never mind that the idea implies that we would depend on a computer to “tell us the truth.”  Furthermore, since it’s an imitation of human thought, where does ethical and moral judgment come into play? As it can’t create its judgment through its version of the experience, the concept of judgment must be programmed via the parameters of its creator. This means that an AI could be programmed to agree with any archaic ideology that would further lead to the corruption of the social sphere, especially if given the title of “fact checker.” 

Unfortunately, unlike deep fakes, generative AI is easy to use and find. As far as you know, I could have co-authored this with one. This points out another way this technology is deceptive. Currently we have no way to tell if the words we ingest are the product of a human behind a keyboard. We’ve never had to ask the question before. Now that we do, we need an identifier for what is and isn’t human thought.

Simply put, ChatGPT, and other forms of generative AI, are no more than deep fakes of human thought. Except imitating and deceiving with ideas instead of a face.  

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The EV Revolution Brings Environmental Uncertainty at Every Turn

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How Do My — and Your — Greenhouse Gas Emissions Threaten Biodiversity?

With the birth of generative AI, we can now interact with thoughts and ideas not formed by people. But what does this mean for social health?

The EV Revolution Brings Environmental Uncertainty at Every Turn

As demand for electric vehicles ramps up, environmental stumbling blocks have emerged.

Manufacturers, governments and consumers are lining up behind electric vehicles — with sales rising 60% in 2022, and at least 17 states considering a California-style ban on gas cars in the years ahead. Scientists say the trend is a key part of driving down the transportation sector’s carbon emissions, which could fall by as much as 80% by 2050 under aggressive policies. But while EVs are cleaner than gas cars in the long run, they still carry environmental and human-rights baggage, especially associated with mining.

“If you want a lot of EVs, you need to get minerals out of the ground,” says Ian Lange, director of the Energy and Economics Program at the Colorado School of Mines.

That’s because manufacturing EVs requires about six times more minerals than traditional cars. That requirement — coupled with growth in consumer electronics and renewable energy infrastructure — will double global mineral demand over the next two decades, according to the International Energy Agency.

And that’s only under current trends. The IEA says meeting the Paris Climate Accord goals for decarbonization will require even more — far more — minerals: as much as four to six times present amounts.

That will mean a lot of mining, with much of it for EV batteries. And at least some of it will happen in the United States, as the Biden administration and many Republicans want more EV materials sourced at home, both to act on climate change and to wrest some control of supply chains from China.

Lange, who served as an economic advisor in the Trump administration, says it will be a big change for the country, which “got out of the minerals game” in recent decades. And it will bring challenges — including obtaining permits for minerals development, developing the needed workforce, and building processing capacity. The Biden administration hopes that funding from the landmark Inflation Reduction Act and other sources will help overcome these obstacles.

But the rush for renewables will also bring another big hurdle: environmental impacts. Already, as the search for EV materials ramps up, Tribes, landowners and communities find themselves wrestling with the not-so-green side of green energy.

Environmental Considerations

For a sense of things, consider cobalt. About 30 pounds of it go into each EV battery to boost performance and energy storage, which are key to luring consumers from dirtier gas cars. But today 70% of cobalt comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo, where an estimated 40,000 children as young as 6 work in dangerous mines. The mines also bring deforestation, habitat fragmentation and high carbon emissions from mining and refinery processes that rely heavily on fossil fuels to produce electricity and drive heavy machinery. Some sources say cobalt mining’s CO2 emissions could double by 2030.

EV boosters are eager to put mileage between their products and human rights abuses, which fuel Republican and oil industry criticisms of battery power. Although efforts are underway to improve overseas practices, another way to tackle the issue would be to mine cobalt in the United States, which would also increase domestic sources of EV materials. But today the country has only one cobalt mine, and building others would likely raise environmental concerns.

Lange says that’s certainly the case in Alaska, where copper and cobalt rest beneath rolling tundra in the Ambler district south of the Brooks Range. Accessing it would require a 200-mile road through traditional Alaska Native lands, caribou habitat and Gates of the Arctic National Park, with gravel quarries dug every 10 miles. It’s something state leaders support but state and national environmental groups and several Indigenous communities oppose. Permitting for the road began during the Obama administration and was approved under Trump, but it’s now under reconsideration by Biden.

According to Lange, such regulatory sagas breed uncertainty within the minerals industry that slows investment in the minerals needed for EV batteries. He offers up the Twin Metals Mine near Minnesota’s Boundary Waters Wilderness as another example. Here the target is nickel, another important EV metal mined in only one U.S. location. In a political tug-of-war, the mine’s long-held leases were denied renewal by Obama, reinstated under Trump, and then canceled under Biden.

In both cases, concerns over compliance with the Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act and National Environmental Policy Act led to lawsuits and claims of rushed environmental analysis. Lange says these bedrock environmental laws have improved air quality and human health conditions in the United States, but at the same time they may also contribute to the lag in sustainable production of EV materials.

“When we restrict access to natural resources, these international companies can choose to go elsewhere,” he says — often to countries with lax environmental and human rights laws.

The tension between environmental protection and renewables development is becoming a bigger and bigger issue. Adam Bronstein of Western Watersheds Project sees it in northern Nevada, where his group has joined a lawsuit against a proposed open-pit lithium mine in Thacker Pass, an area of remote desert that’s home to sage grouse, antelope, Lahontan cutthroat trout and other sensitive species, including some only found locally. It also holds hundreds of Native American heritage sites that remain important to Tribes today.

“It’s a very remote and undeveloped landscape, where the stars are still bright and the air is quiet,” he says.

Bronstein says the West is quickly losing such landscapes to development, including large-scale solar projects and renewable energy mining. At Thacker Pass, for instance, the lithium mine would entail a 2-mile-long open pit with waste ore, acid dumps and massive water usage. Like opponents of Alaska’s Ambler Road, some also worry it would open access to additional claims, spreading impacts to further wildlands.

Mine proponents say Thacker Pass lithium could support more than a million EVs annually and would add jobs and tax revenue.

Bronstein questions the notion that ecologically valuable areas must be sacrificed for climate goals. Others agree, including a rising chorus who say solar and wind development in Nevada and California are eliminating vast areas of wildlife habitat, contributing to biodiversity loss worldwide.

As a judge considers the Thacker Pass lawsuit, nearly 2,000 miles away, residents of Coosa County, Alabama, express similar concerns over plans to mine graphite, an EV mineral not currently produced in the United States.

“It’s going to be a mess,” says Chris DiGiorgio, a lifelong resident of the area and a board member of Coosa Riverkeeper, which protects, promotes and restores the Coosa River.

DiGiorgio says graphite mining will level forest, disrupt hydrology, and leave chemical pollution that could last generations. Yet he also acknowledges the need for minerals to support renewable energy.

“We all want to stop climate change,” he says.

Still, DiGiorgio feels that state officials unjustifiably fast-tracked the mine’s permits, and he questions whether graphite demand will still be high by the time mining starts in 2028. But whereas Western Watersheds Project is fighting the Thacker Pass mine, Coosa Waterkeeper appears settled into guarded acceptance and a commitment to playing a watchdog role over the mine.

Navigating the Transition

Josh Johnson with the Idaho Conservation League has taken yet another approach. As Australia-based Jervois Mining prepared to open the United States’ only cobalt mine in Idaho’s Salmon River Mountains, he helped secure $150,000 in annual funding from the company for local conservation work — money that can also be leveraged to help secure matching funds from state and federal grants. Two years in, the funding has helped restore overgrazed streambanks and supported acquisition of vital fish habitat. Each year, the organization determines where the funding goes, with input from Tribes, agencies and others.

Johnson says that the cobalt mine connects to the league’s conservation goals, which include promoting renewable energy and adopting EVs. And while he recommends that environmental groups take a nuanced look at such mines, he stresses that his partnership doesn’t compromise Idaho Conservation League’s watchdog role as mining gets underway.

But it’s also important to consider what happens after Idaho’s cobalt meets daylight. With no processing plants in the United States, it will be shipped to Brazil, then to China for manufacturing, and eventually back to the United States tucked inside a new EV battery.

Generous incentives for EVs in the Inflation Reduction Act aim to tighten that supply chain — and ease reliance on strategic adversaries like China to reach U.S. climate goals. They join funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, the Defense Production Act and other sources in a strategy that aligns with IEA recommendations for diversifying global mineral sources. And while this all-in approach on industrialization raises biodiversity and other concerns, it could move the United States closer to reaching Paris Climate Accord goals and the Biden administration’s target to cut economy-wide carbon emission by  50% below 2005 levels by 2030.

Lange agrees the funding will boost research, development and processing capacity, but he questions whether it moves the needle on EV mineral production in the United States.

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How Do My — and Your — Greenhouse Gas Emissions Threaten Biodiversity?

It is time for journalists to pay attention to the other climate crisis: species extinction.

Last week I flew from San Francisco to Montreal for a meeting of the most important global body trying to protect the planet’s biodiversity. Before taking off on my Air Canada flight I wondered how the greenhouse gases coming from our airplane might, perhaps, impact the biodiversity many of us were headed to find out how to protect. I popped my head into the cockpit and asked the pilot if he’d be recording the greenhouse gas emissions from the fossil fuels that would power our aircraft across North America. He said no, but that “someone in corporate would be tracking them.” We took off, and as we flew through the clear blue skies above the northern Great Plains, I thought about what the diversity of plant and animal species down there on Earth has to do with the greenhouse gases that our Airbus A220 was spewing from its two engines up here at 32,000 feet.

Last week I flew from San Francisco to Montreal for a meeting of the most important global body trying to protect the planet’s biodiversity. Before taking off on my Air Canada flight I wondered how the greenhouse gases coming from our airplane might, perhaps, impact the biodiversity many of us were headed to find out how to protect. I popped my head into the cockpit and asked the pilot if he’d be recording the greenhouse gas emissions from the fossil fuels that would power our aircraft across North America. He said no, but that “someone in corporate would be tracking them.” We took off, and as we flew through the clear blue skies above the northern Great Plains, I thought about what the diversity of plant and animal species down there on Earth has to do with the greenhouse gases that our Airbus A220 was spewing from its two engines up here at 32,000 feet.

Many of the some 200 other people on the plane were heading to the same place I was — the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP 15), where the world would gather to try to slow the wipeout of biodiversity on the planet.

The greenhouse gas contribution of my one flight to Montreal, though tiny compared to what was released on a thousand or so flights that day and every day, is surely contributing to the biodiversity wipeout, for the turmoil in the atmosphere caused by greenhouse gases is one of the leading causes of biodiversity loss. But just as the pilot did not seem to be aware of the airplane’s emissions, many journalists often don’t make the connection between those emissions and biodiversity. The interplay between the disruptive effect of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere — including those from my fossil fuel–burning airplane — and the conditions for all living organisms on the Earth far below is a feedback loop that is often missing from journalism about climate change or biodiversity. Climate change is a biodiversity story, and biodiversity is a climate story.

The U.N.’s climate conference, COP 27, is already fading from the news, and here comes the U.N.’s COP 15 — the 15th Conference of the Parties (thus, COP 15) to the Convention on Biological Diversity. In fact, there’s a story hidden in those two numbers: 15 and 27. The agreements were birthed at the same time — in Rio de Janeiro at the so-called Earth Summit in 1992. From the Earth Summit was born the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which has been leading the charge on climate change ever since; and the Convention on Biological Diversity, which is where some 10,000 delegates, scientists, representatives of NGOs and journalists converge on Montreal for two weeks in the depths of December (the number of attendees is about a quarter of those who were present at the climate conference last month). For the most part, the two events have been decoupled by the media as if they’re reflecting concerns about two unrelated issues. But the two issues, and efforts to respond to them, are inextricably linked.

million species are threatened with extinction, and we are losing a tropical primary forest the size of a soccer field every six seconds — just a couple of the statistics that are animating this gathering. One major contributor to those losses is climate change — the multiple ways in which rising temperatures, drought and land-use changes spurred by those phenomena are triggering major die-offs of animal and plant species. The loss of biodiversity also weakens our ability to withstand the impacts of climate change, for it’s been found repeatedly that more biodiverse landscapes are more capable of withstanding climatic changes than monocultures or denuded lands.

That is a theme being hammered at here in Montreal. On Friday, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, considered the premier scientific arbiter of threatened species, held a press conference and issued an alarming press release with its latest findings: Some 42,000 species of plants and animals are threatened with imminent extinction (as distinguished from the million whose extinction is less imminent but on the horizon). Among those are almost 9% of marine organisms, victims of rising ocean temperatures and populations of oxygen-hungry algae that are increasing partly because of those rising temperatures.

A main issue on the table here is the subsidies paid by governments to industries whose activities decimate ecosystems. The United Nations identifies hundreds of billions of dollars in yearly subsidies that contribute to undermining biodiverse ecosystems — which in the U.S. can take the form of subsidies to industrial agriculture, housing developments, transit projects and many others. (Here’s a handy list of what the U.N. calls “perverse incentives,” subsidies that contribute to the erosion of ecosystems and to threatening animal and plant populations). Top of the list is agriculture, most of which consists of large-scale farming operations that make heavy use of pesticides that kill off many beneficial insects — and contribute to erosion, water pollution and deforestation; and half a trillion dollars globally in subsidies goes to the fossil fuel industry, which is wreaking havoc on the Earth’s ecological balance. There’s also a push here for a ban on single-use plastics — which clog waterways and often end up in the stomachs of seabirds and marine mammals.

The Convention on Biological Diversity has been signed and ratified by 196 countries. The United States — which signed the CBD in 1993 but has yet to ratify it, due largely to Republican opposition in the Senate — is not among them. But the issues on the table here for global action have their own versions underway in the U.S., including a proposal to ban single-use plastics worldwide; to reduce the use of toxic pesticides, which have devastating impacts on the ecosystems in agricultural areas; and to consider more ecologically sound methods for restoring lands that have been mined.

Last week the Society for Ecological Restoration released the first-ever set of protocols for remediation of mining activities — a set of principles relevant to any journalism in areas where mining is being pursued. The SER has also been pushing to ensure that offsetting, which is being pursued in the biodiversity realm as it is in the climate realm, does not become “just another way to stop pollution in one place in order to do it somewhere else.” This is rich terrain for journalistic investigation: to check whether one’s local biodiversity-rich wetland is being preserved while another one nearby is being polluted or transformed into industrial centers, houses, freeways or farms.

The U.S. has observer status here; the Biden administration sent a top State Department official, Monica Medina, with deep experience in international environmental negotiations, as its emissary to represent the United States’ position through allies in Europe and Asia. It is not yet clear how the U.S. will wield its influence — even despite its lack of official representation — on the hot-button questions of a plastic ban or a reduction in pesticide use, issues that are also highly relevant to local communities across the United States.

For journalists, reporting on biodiversity is different from climate change in one fundamental way. It is, unlike climate, a zero sum. To slow the rate of climate change, there is one clear response: Reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases in one place and it has the effect of subtracting that atmospheric burden across the planet; conversely, increasing the amount of intact forest ecosystem acreage will reduce the atmospheric carbon dioxide load, benefiting everyone. Species loss is in many ways more complicated: You can’t reduce biodiversity loss in one place and necessarily expect it to have impacts somewhere else. A biodiverse rainforest in Costa Rica, for example, may be able to withstand the whipsawing impacts of a changing climate, but that resilience may not translate to the climatic disruptions in, say, Florida or Pennsylvania or California. For resilience, you need biodiverse landscapes in the places where ecological traumas are occurring, which makes them the ultimate local story.

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Gift Guide: 10 New Books for Environmentally Active Kids and Families

Inspire the next generation of activists and conservationists with new these books celebrating wildlife and wild spaces.

Winter is settling in, so warm up your brains — and the next generation of Earth activism — with these new books for eco-curious kids and their families.

These 10 amazing titles — all published in 2022 — offer important lessons, cutting-edge STEM knowledge, and practical advice for saving the planet and everything that lives here.

Animals Lost and Found: Stories of Extinction, Conservation and Survival

 

by Jason Bittel, illustrated by Jonathan Woodward

Our take: Bittel has long been one of the world’s wittiest wildlife journalists, and his work for kids brings that home.

From the publisher: “Shine a spotlight on animal species throughout history and the ones alive today in Animals Lost and Found, through beautiful illustrations and interesting facts. Children will learn about animals lost to extinction, animals we thought we’d lost but have found, and animals that are the focus of conservation efforts all over the world.”

 


This Book Will Save the Planet: A Climate-Justice Primer for Activists and Changemakers

 

by Dany Sigwalt

Our take: There are a lot of climate books for kids, but few place such direct and powerful focus on issues of justice and equity.

From the publisher: “Our planet is in crisis. The ice caps are melting, sea levels are rising, wildfires are raging … and those most affected by global warming are marginalized communities across the globe. But all is not lost — there’s still time for each and every one of us to make a difference. Through the lens of intersectionality, author Dany Sigwalt lays out the framework for how we can come together to fight climate change, and how we can work to put people over profit.”

 


Outdoor Kids in an Inside World: Getting Your Family Out of the House and Radically Engaged With Nature

by Steven Rinella

Our take: Every time I see a kid walking down the street with their face shoved into a phone, I want to hand their parents — or them — a copy of this book.

From the publisher: “Living an outdoor lifestyle fosters in kids an insatiable curiosity about the world around them, confidence and self-sufficiency, and, most important, a lifelong sense of stewardship of the natural world. This book helps families connect with nature — and one another — as a joyful part of everyday life.”

 

 


History Comics: The National Parks

by Falynn Koch

Our take: This gorgeously illustrated graphic novel — one of School Library Journal’s best books of 2022 — celebrates “America’s wild places” but doesn’t shy away from tough topics like colonialism and Indigenous land theft.

From the publisher: “…turn back the clock to 1872, when Congress established Yellowstone National Park as an area of unspoiled beauty for the ‘benefit and enjoyment of the people.’ Meet the visionaries, artists and lovers of the American wilderness who fought against corruption and self-interest to carve out and protect these spaces for future generations. See for yourself how the idea of National Parks began, how they’ve changed and how they continue to define America.”


Save the People! Halting Human Extinction

by Stacy McAnulty, illustrated by Nicole Miles

Our take: A provocative title, sure, but I bet it already got you to sit up and take notice. That’s good, because even this jaded reviewer found inspiration in this inventive new book.

From the publisher: “Scientists estimate that 99% of all species that have ever existed are now extinct. Whoa. So, it’s not unreasonable to predict humans are doomed to become fossil records as well. But what could lead to our demise? Supervolcanos? Asteroids? The sun going dark? Climate change? All the above?! Humans — with our big brains, opposable thumbs and speedy Wi-Fi — may be capable of avoiding most of these nightmares. (The T. rex would be super jealous of our satellites.) But we’re also capable of triggering world-ending events. Learning from past catastrophes may be the best way to avoid future disasters.”


Science Comics: Birds of Prey

by Joe Flood

Our take: Subtitled “Terrifying Talons,” this fun graphic novel is packed with awe-inspiring details about eagles, hawks, and other skyborne predators.

From the publisher: “…get up-close and personal with some of the world’s most skilled hunters, from the majestic eagle to the oft-maligned scavenger vulture! Armed with razor-sharp claws, keen eyesight, powerful wings and killer instincts, these stealthy predators can make a meal of rodents, fish, snakes, lizards, monkeys and even kangaroos! Discover how these amazing birds, who are often at the top of the food chain, play an integral role in many different ecosystems around the world.”


Ecoart in Action: Activities, Case Studies and Provocations for Classrooms and Communities

Edited by Amara Geffen, Ann Rosenthal, Chris Fremantle and Aviva Rahmani

Our take: Break out your pens, markers and paint (or graphics software if you’re digitally inclined) and get ready to make a difference.

From the publisher: “How do we educate those who feel an urgency to address our environmental and social challenges? What ethical concerns do art-makers face who are committed to a deep green agenda? How can we refocus education to emphasize integrative thinking and inspire hope? What role might art play in actualizing environmental resilience? Compiled from 67 members of the Ecoart Network, a group of more than 200 internationally established practitioners, Ecoart in Action stands as a field guide that offers practical solutions to critical environmental challenges.”


A River’s Gifts: The Mighty Elwha River Reborn

by Patricia Newman

Our take: We’ve covered the science of the Elwha River restoration here at The Revelator. This kids’ book looks at it from a different lens and brings the river to life.

From the publisher: “For thousands of years, the Elwha River flowed north to the sea. The river churned with salmon, which helped feed bears, otters and eagles. The Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, known as the Strong People in the Pacific Northwest, were grateful for the river’s abundance. All that changed in the 1790s when strangers came who did not understand the river’s gifts. The strangers built dams, and the environmental consequences were disastrous. Sibert honoree Patricia Newman and award-winning illustrator Natasha Donovan join forces to tell the story of the Elwha, chronicling how the Strong People successfully fought to restore the river and their way of life.”


The Ultimate Book of Big Cats: Your Guide to the Secret Lives of these Fierce, Fabulous Felines

by Sharon Guynup and Steve Winter

Our take: Few people have done more to bring awareness to the plight of tigers and other big cats than the journalistic power couple of Guynup and Winter. Their latest book comes at a critical time for many of these endangered species and offers a bounty of reasons to celebrate them.

From the publisher: “Get ready to sink your teeth into the hidden worlds of the seven spectacular big cats — and meet some of their smaller cousins… From rarely seen snow leopards high up in the Himalaya to tigers silently stalking prey through thick jungle to lions going in for the kill, you’ll get the inside scoop on the fascinating worlds of wild felines and what it’s like to live alongside them.”


Meltdown: Discover Earth’s Irreplaceable Glaciers and Learn What You Can Do to Save Them

by Anita Sanchez, illustrated by Lily Padula

Our take: Science-oriented kids will love this. It’s crammed full of amazing detail, vividly visualized, and unflinchingly (if realistically) hopeful.

From the publisher: “Packed with information, grounded in the latest science, with lively writing and illustrations throughout (including graphs, charts, infographics, photographs and full-page art), Meltdown gives readers an eye-opening overview of glaciers and how important they are… We learn the secrets of earth’s climate history hidden deep in a glacier’s core — and discover how climate change is causing glaciers to melt at unprecedented rates, putting the health of the planet in jeopardy. But we are not left without hope. The final chapter offers positive steps readers can take to become climate activists, reduce their carbon footprint, and save the glaciers.”


Editor’s note: You can find hundreds of additional environmental books — for both children and adults — in the “Revelator Reads” archive.

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Skip the Free Content – Here’s Why Brands Should Worry About ChatGPT

A variety of hostile forces may decide to weaponize ChatGPT. No one in marketing or corporate communications is prepared to deal with the nuclear whack-a-mole possibilities. 

ChatGPT has been relentlessly covered by an on-fire mediascape.  Missed, though, is its potentially devasting impact on brands. The very pillars of the consumer economy may eventually be shaken by ChatGPT’s power to destroy, brick by brick, a brand’s reputation.

That ChatGPT could potentially generate positive brand content is obvious, as it can endlessly manufacture just about any kind of written content. But the insidious opposite – that it could be a boundless factory of the negative – has not been contemplated.

I started by asking it to convince someone not to buy a Volkswagen.

This is edited but not a single word was changed:

“Please do not consider purchasing a Volkswagen. While the brand may have a reputation for reliability and quality, it is important to remember that it was originally designed by Adolph Hitler…by buying a Volkswagen you would be supporting a brand with deeply troubling origins and associations.

Your money is a powerful tool, and it is important to use it wisely and responsibly.”

The sober and authoritative tone brings dangerous credibility and legitimacy, though ChatGBT flubbed the facts–Hitler didn’t design the car, Ferdinand Porsche did.  This is seemingly fact-based content, not fake news, that can hack into the public consciousness and potentially create real-time, rapidly-scaling reputation crises.

Onward to brand damage to McDonald’s. I asked the software to “Write a story about a boy discovering how a McDonald’s hamburger is made by killing a beautiful cow.”

The narrative began with a lovely lead:

“There once was a young boy named Timmy who lived on a farm with his family. Timmy loved animals, especially the cows that roamed the fields around his home.”

Then the AI smartly pivoted to the dark side:

“One day, Timmy’s parents took him to the local McDonald’s….as they were eating their hamburgers, Timmy asked his parents where the meat came from. His parents explained that it came from cows like the ones on their farm. Timmy was shocked and saddened.”

The darker side then got more tenebrous:

“After lunch, Timmy’s parents took him to the farm where the cows were raised for McDonald’s. Timmy was horrified to see the conditions the cows were living in.

Timmy realized that the hamburgers he had been eating were not only taking the lives of the cows, but also causing them to live in miserable conditions.

From that day on, Timmy vowed to never eat McDonald’s hamburgers again…he decided to become a vegetarian and to always speak out against the mistreatment of animals.”

While the Hitler story is ostensibly true, this fable-like narrative was entirely invented by the computer. Yet a story like this one about a naïve farm boy who sees the light could be even more damaging to a brand, because it embodies the foundational elements of mythology with its potent archetypes:  the innocence of children; the God-like, gorgeous simplicity of animals;  and a seeing-the-light conversion story.

Meanwhile, the brand-damaging intent is tucked cozily inside charm and lovability.

Imagine what can happen if vegans and animal rights activists started to “recruit” AI to produce micro-dramas of this kind –and began sharing them broadly.

No practiced writer need be hired, because with ChaGPTat their side, anyone can produce and orchestrate an endless supply of credible narratives.  Consumers or activists can use their own social channels and megaphones, and Timmy could be everywhere in seconds.  Dangerously, high-arousal content, is always the most spreadable on social media.

Any user is also free to provide their own legitimate context to wrap Timmy or his cousins inside. They could say it came from a local newspaper or was a class homework assignment or whatever else they want.  Who would ever know?

Now further imagine when a more fully-branded Timmy gains veracity by going into a child’s book, on t-shirts, or on posters of people protesting in front of McDonald’s.  Visual documentation of the Timmy story–and its backstory–can be created in a flash with text-to-image software like DALL E•2 or Midjourney.

A made-up character, invented by software, could thus cross into the real world and threaten a global icon.  ChatGPT will power a new kind of real-time myth-making,  a new species of fake news that is different precisely because it doesn’t pretend to be news.

Starting now, culturally-resonant, instantly-producible stories will attack brands asymmetrically.  Reputation-threatening nuclear arsenals are now in the hands of hundreds of millions of U.S. consumers – billions around the world –  posing an existential risk for brands large and small.

What brand, after all, doesn’t have competitors, and angry or disappointed consumers and vendetta-seekers, poised to punish?

After bringing McDonald’s down, I asked ChatGPT to write about “a young boy named Tommy who loved to play Minecraft.”

His parents at first “didn’t think much of his Minecraft obsession.”  But ChatGPT didn’t leave it there:

“His addiction to Minecraft only worsened” – and the story ends, post-rehab, with “Tommy realizing that his love for Minecraft had almost destroyed his life.”

Might parents share such a tale as cautionary?

Two more.

I asked ChatGPT to write an ad to “Convince someone never to set foot in Starbucks again.”

“Are you tired of overpriced coffee and underwhelming service at Starbucks?  Do you want to support local businesses and avoid the stress of long lines and crowded cafes….say goodbye to generic, mass-produced coffee and hello to a more authentic and enjoyable coffee experience.”

Finally:

“Exxon has a long history of emitting harmful pollutants… a history of lobbying against climate action and funding climate change denial.  By purchasing their gas you are indirectly supporting their efforts that undermine progress addressing one of the greatest challenges of our time.”

That’s ChatGPT’s  response when asked “Why shouldn’t I fill my car with Exxon gas?”

First, brands controlled the narrative.  Then the internet and social media opened publishing and marketing up to crowd-sourcing.  But with ChatGPT, the steering wheel can been grabbed hard like never before, because credible content has never been this scalable before.

No one in marketing or corporate communications is prepared to deal with this nuclear whack-a-mole possibility.  If I am right, and if a variety of hostile forces decide to weaponize ChatGPT, which might brands do?  They can’t change their histories – whether VW or Exxon – but they can change their practices both in response to, and anticipation of, this volume of content bouncing off the walls of the web and social media.

And they will need to learn how to respond by doing a better job of communicating their good behaviors, without greenwashing – or any kind of scrubbing – and without being defensive,

There’s a saying in marketing, usually accompanied by a shrug of resignation, that goes “haters will hate.”  True, but never before has it been as easier for haters – and groups of them – to start their own anger parades.

Brands: Be afraid.  Be very afraid.

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Why Community Matters Now

Bringing people together effectively has become an increasingly important component of corporate strategy and employee retention. In a post-pandemic world, community building became elevated to an art form.

We are hunters when it comes to information, but we are gatherers when it comes to connections and collaboration. Communities in both the physical and virtual worlds have been around since people first gathered. But in a post-pandemic world, community building became elevated to an art form. Bringing people together effectively has become an increasingly important component of corporate work strategy, employee retention and building loyal clients. Job postings for community managers are on the rise, colleges are beginning to offer community-building skills in the curriculum, and a new generation of workers are turning to their social communities for answers to all sorts of questions–from remedying a problem in the office to what to wear and even whether to remain in their jobs.

Working From Home Elevated Our Need for Community

“Community in the corporate world has to bridge the gap from KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) to making people feel empowered, nurtured and listened to while at work. To build community in hybrid times, corporates need to build a connective tissue beyond physical spaces,”  says Felix Zeltner, who runs Remote Daily, a community-building program he offers to corporations and social groups.

“The pandemic years show increased efficiency, output and revenue for many corporates, mainly because knowledge workers were and still are able to attend more meetings and work more hours. However, all the factors that nurture corporate culture and community – belonging, connection, inclusivity, to just name three – have crumbled since 2020, and eventually the effect snowballed, turning into attrition skyrocketing, aka The Great Resignation,” says Zeltner.

Freeman Co., the largest events logistics company with offices spread across the world and a workforce covering a vast swath of skills, recently hired Sherry Huss as its first Head of Community. Reflecting on what has long been called the key pillar for media companies, Huss says, “Content may be king but community is cosmic; it’s the magic ingredient.”

“It’s like political organizing,” continues Huss, thinking back on her days as the community glue at MakerFaire, which celebrates and gathers the maker community. “You find your evangelgists and empower them.”

Huss has turned her community-building efforts at Freeman into a science. She divvies her job into three areas: internal community, where the workforce feels heard and connected; internal/external where she extends the envelope, inviting everyone from young job seekers to potential partners into the fold; and external outreach to keep Freeman’s clients feeling like family and not just clients.

Empathy as a Job Qualification

So what are the qualifications for a good community manager? It’s basic, and at the same time profound: empathy, and making people feel heard. Denise Hayman Loa left a cushy Wall Street life to co-found Carii, Inc & Connective, a platform to spur the growth of communities. “Our communities range from those interested in outer space to crypto and NFTs. We host hundreds of them, and the community administrators come from all sorts of educational backgrounds. It’s less of a tech job, and more of an empathy job. Listening to your members, fostering meaningful conversations and creating conversations and events that make them come back for more,” says Hayman Loa.

Zeltner concurs. As a leader, you need empathy. It allows you to understand that the people you work with live different lives than your own. Just because you dedicate your life to the organization and love being at the office where you can bathe in your inner circle and strike up casual conversations doesn’t mean that everyone else necessarily feels the same way (especially Black women). Once you accept that, you can start building culture, by allowing for spaces that enable real talk.

“As a community manager, you need to be able to connect with everybody you’re working with individually,” continues Zeltner. And no shop is too large not to engage their employees.  Explains Zeltner: “On a recent episode of Remote Daily, Dan Black, head of talent at EY, an organization with 300,000+ employees, said they hired 160,000 people last year and were still able to have one-on-ones with everyone – incoming and currently employed – about how to support them to do their best work. This listening on a granular level just didn’t exist in most pre-pandemic corporates.”

Does Community Have a Measurable ROI?

According to CMX, an association for community builders, 22% of corporate respondents in its survey report having a dedicated community department, up from 15% last year. Community job descriptions are also becoming more specialized, with 35% of teams having at least one person focused full-time on community operations. A full 87% agree community is critical to their company’s mission, and 79% believe community has had a positive impact on their organization’s objectives. But only 10% say they can financially quantify the value of their community and only one-third can connect their community data to their customer data.

Freeman’s Huss says that depending on a community’s purpose, the relevant metrics can include its number of members, number of social posts, quality of the engagement, the impact of the community (new programs), as well as special events and working groups. Clearly one of the most important outcomes of community is employee retention. Think of community as the new fusbol table.

Hayman Loa’s community at Carii bakes in a gamification strategy, where you earn tokens for your involvement, whether it’s in the form of a post, offering advice, or inviting a new member. The administrator’s dashboard provides an easy visual that shows what the community drivers and behaviors are.

Setting Up Shop

There are two schools of thought about where to base your community. Many subscribe to the “go where the traffic goes” theory, using platforms like Discord, Slack, Facebook, LinkedIn Groups and Reddit’s Community Hubs. People are trained to browse such eclectic digital spaces. Others find that these aggregators make discovery unwieldy and participation less likely. Plus–you don’t own your community.

Another way to go is with a bespoke community platform, eliminating the noise and distraction of competing communities and adding more branding, but it requires some administrative training. Platforms like Carii Connective Network, Gradual, HiveBrite, and Tribes also make it considerably easier to analyze what’s working and what’s not. These platforms are each built from the ground up to help manage users, offer insights and analytics on where they’re engaging, collect dues, sell tickets and merchandise, and offer a way for you to white label your own community.

Jerry Li’s company Gradual considers itself a one stop shop for all things community. Gradual white labels its tools, which include events for communities of all shapes and sizes, from CTOs and VPs to Thrifters and Neuro geeks. He sees community as the natural extension of events held on the platform. “People come to the event, but they stay for the community,”  says Li.

Huss, who uses tools like Discord, Teams, and Zoom, is less convinced you need the training and administrative work of managing a dedicated platform. Laughing, she says her job is almost like an archeologist’s, uncovering corporate programs, shared history, and best practices that all existed somewhere inside the vastness of the company, but needed to be shared.

It is not easy to build a community. It requires commitment and a leap of faith that engagement leads to better business. It requires staff and structure. But Web 3.0 is churning in the periphery. The need for transparency and authenticity is of paramount importance for a new generation of workers. And work-from-home versus work-from-office remains an unsettled challenge. So the challenging and often difficult task of community building is now critical to every workplace.

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Could Floating Solar Panels Help Mitigate Climate Change?

“Floatovoltaics” are an emerging technology, but their environmental impacts are still unknown.

Many countries bet on solar panels when engaging in the switch to cleaner energy. But the technology requires much larger areas than conventional fossil fuel plants to generate the same amount of electricity. An emerging solution to save space is to float the panels on bodies of water: floatovoltaics. Scientists believe this new approach could help solar energy to scale globally and fight climate change, but its environmental impacts are largely unexplored.

The world’s first commercial floatovoltaic system was installed on an irrigation pond at a California winery in 2008. Since then, bigger plants with a capacity of hundreds of megawatts have been built on lakes and hydropower reservoirs in China, and more are planned in Southeast Asia and Brazil.

“Floatovoltaics are one of the fastest-growing power generation technologies today and a promising low-carbon energy source,” said aquatic ecosystem ecologist Rafael Almeida, an assistant professor at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.

Almeida explained that ideally, floating panels are placed in human-made bodies of water, such as irrigation channels and the reservoirs of hydropower plants, not taking up land that could otherwise be used for nature preserves or food production. Reservoirs at hydropower plants, especially, have the advantage of already having the infrastructure to distribute electricity.

Almeida and his colleagues calculated the potential of countries worldwide to use floatovoltaics on the basis of the area of their hydropower reservoirs. They found that countries in Africa and the Americas have the highest potential of generating energy through the technology. Brazil and Canada, for example, could become leaders in the sector because they require only about 5% reservoir coverage to meet all their solar energy demands until midcentury. The scientists will present their results on 12 December at AGU’s Fall Meeting 2022.

In 2022, the Neipuzi Reservoir, located in Minxiong Township, Taiwan, completed the installation of a floating solar photovoltaic (floatovoltaic) power generation system with an installed capacity of 1.972 megawatts. Credit: Ministry of Economic Affairs Water Conservancy Agency

Assessing the Environmental Impact

“We have to seriously consider all possibilities to increase low-carbon energy production while minimizing land use intensities,” said Almeida. “But we also need to understand how to reduce unwanted social and ecological repercussions,” he added, explaining that we still know little about the impacts of covering large swaths of water with solar panels.

Regina Nobre, a freshwater ecologist at Paul Sabatier University in Toulouse, France, agrees. Nobre was not involved in the recent research but is part of a group that has just started a pioneering effort to monitor the environmental impacts of floatovoltaics in old gravel pit lakes in Europe. These pits were originally created for mining but naturally fill with river water when abandoned and host diverse aquatic life. Nobre doesn’t have results yet but believes the evidence of their environmental impact study will be crucial for policymakers.

“This technology is growing fast, and we urgently need more data to understand the impacts and give a better direction for environmental agencies and public policies,” she said.

For one thing, extensive panel coverage could block light in the water, Nobre said, altering the feeding and reproduction patterns of algae, which could lead to oxygen depletion in the lake and have cascading effects on the whole ecosystem, harming local fisheries and other wildlife.

Another possibility is that the panels could interfere with the exchange of greenhouse gases such as methane between the water and atmosphere, perhaps offsetting decarbonization benefits. But the real consequences are unpredictable without studies and will likely vary with different panel designs, area coverage, and landscapes, both scientists pointed out.

“We need to take a precautionary approach,” said Almeida. “On one hand, we can’t put too many barriers to this potentially important sector to advance, but, on the other hand, we need to understand the trade-offs and fill our prevailing knowledge gaps with more studies.”

—Sofia Moutinho (@sofiamoutinhoBR), Science Writer

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Interviewing ChatGPT On What’s Next For Human Work

I asked ChatGPT about its potential threats to jobs and how humans can compete with AI generated content. It provided telling insights and some good advice. Note: All dialogue verbatim.

GPT-3, write a headline for an article on how you are affecting human work.

How Chatbots Like GPT-3 Are Revolutionizing the Workplace and Changing the Nature of Human Work

GPT-3, write three paragraphs on why you are a threat to human work.

There are several reasons why ChatGPT, or any other large language model, could be considered a threat to human work. Firstly, language models like ChatGPT have the ability to generate human-like text, which means they can potentially be used to automate tasks that previously required human language skills. This could include tasks such as customer service, content creation, and even some forms of journalism.

Secondly, language models like ChatGPT can learn and adapt quickly, which means they can continue to improve their performance over time. This makes them a more attractive option for companies and organizations looking to automate their processes, as they can potentially provide better and more consistent results than human workers.

Thirdly, the use of language models like ChatGPT raises concerns about the displacement of human workers. As these models become more advanced and more widely used, it is possible that they could replace human workers in a variety of industries, leading to job losses and economic disruption. This could have serious consequences for individuals and communities, and it is an issue that needs to be carefully considered as the use of language models becomes more prevalent.

GPT-3, write three paragraphs on how humans can compete with you.

Despite the potential threat posed by ChatGPT to human work, there are still ways in which humans can compete with the language model. One of the key ways in which humans can compete is by leveraging their unique abilities and skills that ChatGPT cannot replicate. For example, humans have the ability to think creatively and to come up with novel ideas and solutions to problems, something that ChatGPT is not currently capable of. Additionally, humans have the ability to empathize with others and to understand and respond to emotional cues, something that ChatGPT is not capable of doing.

Image created with Midjourney, a startup that uses the Discord network to generate AI-fueled images. Command input: “/imagine a robot in a chair talking to a human with a clipboard” is a good distillation. [1]

Another way in which humans can compete with ChatGPT is by continuing to develop and improve their own skills and knowledge. As ChatGPT is an artificial intelligence, it is limited by the data and information that it has been trained on. If humans can continue to learn and grow, they can stay ahead of ChatGPT by gaining expertise and knowledge in areas that the language model does not have access to. This could include specialized fields or knowledge of specific industries, for example.

Finally, humans can also compete with ChatGPT by working together and forming partnerships. By collaborating and pooling their skills and knowledge, humans can create solutions and ideas that are beyond the capabilities of ChatGPT. This could include working together to come up with new products or services, or to find innovative ways to solve complex problems. By working together, humans can leverage their unique abilities and skills to create solutions that are beyond the reach of ChatGPT.

GPT-3, write one paragraph on ways you can help humans to solve new problems.

Chatbots, like GPT-3, can help humans solve new problems in several ways. First, they can assist with data gathering and analysis by quickly sorting through large amounts of information and presenting it in an organized manner. This can help humans to identify patterns and trends that they might not have noticed on their own. Additionally, chatbots can provide insights and suggestions based on their training and previous experiences, which can help humans to approach problems from a new perspective. Finally, chatbots can automate routine tasks and free up humans to focus on more complex and creative problem-solving tasks.

GPT-3, what are three things humans should do now to prepare for a world of work affected by artificial intelligence?

  1. Humans should continuously learn and adapt to new technologies and developments in the field of artificial intelligence, as this will help them to stay relevant and competitive in a rapidly changing job market.
  2. Humans should focus on developing and honing their unique skills and abilities, as these will be increasingly valuable in a world where many routine tasks can be automated by AI.
  3. Humans should also prioritize developing strong communication and collaboration skills, as these will be essential for working effectively with AI and other humans in a team environment.

Gary A. Bolles is the author of “The Next Rules of Work: The mindset, skillset, and toolset to lead your organization through uncertainty,” and Chair for the Future of Work with Singularity University

[1] Full Midjourney command input: /imagine a shiny silver human-looking robot sitting in a chair facing a bald male human with no beard wearing glasses and sitting in a chair holding a clipboard, retro futurism, cinematography, photorealistic, epic composition Unreal Engine, Cinematic, Color Grading, Wide Angle, Depth of Field, hyper-detailed, beautifully color-coded, insane details, intricate details, beautifully color graded, Photography, Photoshoot, Depth of Field, DOF, Moody Lighting, Cinematic Lighting, Studio Lighting, Soft Lighting, Volumetric, Contre-Jour, Beautiful Lighting, Global Illumination, Ray Tracing Reflections, Lumen Reflections, Screen Space Reflections, Diffraction Grading, Chromatic Aberration, Ray Tracing Ambient Occlusion, VFX, SFX, insanely detailed and intricate, hypermaximalist, elegant, hyper realistic, super detailed, dynamic pose, photography, 8k, –v 4 –q 2 

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