Filming humpbacks, AI deepfakes, Schwarzenegger on climate, oil companies reject climate proposals
June 5, 2023 - The Nett Report
The Political Divide
“For the truth to some is no longer empirical. It’s no longer based on data, nor common sense, nor even common decency. Telling the truth is no longer the benchmark for public service. It’s no longer the salve to our fears, or the guide to our actions. Truth is now considered malleable, by opinion and by zero-sum endgames.” – Tom Hanks, commencement speech at Harvard University
AI deepfakes could turbocharge the political divide
Recently surfaced artificial intelligence deepfakes have had Hilary Clinton praising Ron DeSantis and Joe Biden “unleashing a cruel rant at a transgender person,” according to a May 30, 2023, article in Reuters. They “are among thousands surfacing on social media, blurring fact and fiction in the polarized world of U.S. politics.” The story says “in total, about 500,000 video and voice deepfakes will be shared on social media sites globally in 2023.”
Political divide hits baseball over LGBTQ issues
When the Los Angeles Dodgers gave Community Hero Award to the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, reactions set in, according to a story in the May 31, 2023, issue of The Daily Windup, a baseball newsletter. The Sisters organization uses humor to expose bigotry, but Senator Marco Rubio said the award was disrespectful to Catholics. The Dodgers rescinded the invitation but reversed course when other organizations said they would pull out of the awards event. Dodger pitcher Clayton Kershaw declined to comment and instead said he would focus on promoting “Christian Faith and Family Day” at Dodger Stadium. Blue Jays relief pitcher Anthony Bass retracted a Twitter post that was anti-LGBTQ, and Trevor Williams of the Nationals called for fellow Catholics to rescind their support of the Dodgers.
Future of Work / The Economy
“We use ChatGPT to write code….[Software development that] used to take anywhere from eight to 10 weeks…now can be done in less than a week.” - Girish Mathrubootham, CEO, Freshworks
Bill Gates – one company will dominate the personal assistant space
An interview with Microsoft founder Bill Gates in the May 23, 2023, issue of CEO Daily reveals his sense that one company will create the truly all-knowing personal AI assistant that everyone uses. “Whoever wins the personal agent, that will be a big thing because you’ll never go to a search site again. You’ll never go to a productivity tool again. You’ll never go to Amazon again. Everything will be mediated through your agent.” Gates also said, “health and education are the two domains outside of tech that are most likely to be “revolutionized” by A.I. over the next few years.”
Fortune CEO Survey names biggest threats to business
The annual Fortune CEO Survey released on June 2, 2023, provides an insider’s view of what CEO’s see as the greatest threat to business:
26% - recession
22% - cybersecurity
16% - inflation
16% - talent acquisition and retention
13% - geopolitical tension
6% - climate change, sustainability
3% - supply chain
2% - rapid technological advancement
Even though recession tops the list, 60% of the CEOs think headcounts will grow in 2023, and only 25% think they will shrink.
No one gives a s—-. “As long as they keep talking about global climate change, they are not gonna go anywhere. Cause no one gives a s--- about that. We’re talking about pollution. Pollution creates climate change, and pollution kills.” - Arnold Schwarzenegger in an interview on the CBS news show Sunday Morning.
Electric trucks beat diesel in cost comparison, encouraging EV semi adoption
A May 29, 2023, story in CleanTechnica reports on a study in Sweden where diesel-driven semis were compared to Tesla semis. Using a 553-kilometer route between Helsingborg and Stockholm, two different battery sizes in the Teslas were compared with diesel fuel priced artificially low. The larger battery crimped load capacity but could make the route without recharging along the way. The smaller battery Tesla had a larger load capacity but needed to stop for a quick charge en route. Both were cheaper to operate than the diesel version. Savings would be even greater if the price of diesel were higher. “Researchers now anticipate that their findings will hasten the shift from diesel to electric power in heavy goods vehicle transportation.”
Global investment in clean energy overtakes fossil fuel financing
The International Energy Agency says that investment in clean energy technologies such as EVs, renewables, and storage has overtaken investment in fossil fuels for the first time. As reported by CNBC on May 25, 2023, “global investment in energy is slated to hit roughly $2.8 trillion in 2023 … with over $1.7 trillion of that set to go on clean energy technologies. A “growing gap between the investment in fossil energy and investment [in] clean energy” is being fueled by:
The cost of clean energy, such as solar and wind, getting cheaper,
Many governments seeing “clean energy sources — renewables, electric cars, nuclear power — as a lasting solution to their energy security problem, in addition to climate change,” and
Industrial strategies like the United States’ Inflation Reduction Act and other programs and policies in Europe, Japan, India, and China.
Oil companies reject climate-related proposals by shareholders
A group of shareholders put forward more than a dozen measures to mitigate climate change at Chevron and Exxon Mobil’s recent annual meetings. U.S. News and World Report posted the story on May 31, 2023. Among the measures was a proposal that “Exxon set medium-term goals for reducing emissions from fuels burned by customers.” Only 11% of shareholders supported the proposal. Similar proposals to Shell, BP and Total also failed.
Machine learning points to pneumonia as the leading ICU Covid killer
Cytokine storms, when your immune system responds to infection or immunotherapy drugs more aggressively than it should, have been thought to be the major killer of Covid patients in the ICU. However, a story in IEEE Spectrum on June 3, 2023, indicates that secondary pneumonia is the leading killer. Northwestern University researchers used machine learning to review electronic health records of pneumonia in ICUs where patients received assistance breathing from mechanical ventilators. “Some 35 percent of patients were diagnosed with a secondary infection, also known as ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP), at some point during their ICU stays. More than 57 percent of COVID-19 patients developed VAP, compared to 25 percent of non-COVID patients. Multiple VAP episodes were reported for almost 20 percent of COVID-19 patients.”
The Nett Light-Side
“Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions.” - Dalai Lama XIV
Filming humpback whales in Tonga
While the world of humans fights over political divides, struggles to overcome pollution and pandemics, and tries to find a path between economic growth and sustainability, humpback whales and their calves go on with their lives. This short film by MacGillivray Freeman about the challenges of creating videos of these beautiful creatures is worth watching.
About Carl Nettleton
Carl Nettleton is an award-winning writer, speaker, thought partner, facilitator, and subject-matter expert regarding water, climate, sustainability, the ocean, and binational U.S.-Mexico border affairs. Nettleton Strategies, the consultancy he founded in 2007, is a trusted source of analysis and advice on issues at the forefront of public policy, business, and the environment. He helps people to think strategically about their options for change. He is also the founder of OpenOceans Global, a nonprofit addressing ocean plastic in a new way.
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