As mentioned in my last blog Microsoft have rolled out an AI chatbot on Bing it is powered by OpenAI’s ChatGPT technology and can answer questions and have conversations with users. It is a very good search engine which some people who have reviewed it saying that it is interesting and entertaining. One of the unfortunate things though is that it is cannot share its own views on subjects or give opinions. It says that it can not do this because it does not have opinions and can only present information from reliable sources and help me explore topics of my own interest. (Well that’s its opinion and it is entitled to it to).
I have tried to ask a variety of questions some more successful that others I asked the chatbot just now,
‘Who is the most polluting and unethical business in the world?’.
It came back with a top three list of companies one of which I have heard of but two others I have no idea who they are so interesting to hear of them for the first and bing gave the following answers with links to reference sites too.
“One definition of pollution as when any substance that harms or could harm people or the environment gets into the air, water or ground.
Based on these definitions, some of the companies that have been accused of being polluting and unethical are:
Nestle34: for its irresponsible marketing of baby milk, use of unsustainable palm oil and genetically modified ingredients, exploitation of water resources, child labor and human rights violations.
Peabody Energy5: for being one of the largest coal companies in the world and contributing to greenhouse gas emissions, climate change, air pollution and health problems.
Archer Daniels Midland6: for its involvement in price-fixing scandals, deforestation, water pollution and animal feed contamination.
However, these are not definitive rankings or judgments as different sources may have different methods and data to evaluate the environmental and social impacts of businesses.”
I really like the way that it thinks about questions with defining the parameter of a question and then trying to search for the most relevant answer.
The next question I asked was what are some examples of Bill Gates unethical business practices and which damaging activity had the most negative impact on environment and people?
Bing came back with the following answer for me, ‘It is hard to measure and compare the exact environmental and social impact of different damaging activities. However, some possible factors that could contribute to such impact are:
The amount of greenhouse gas emissions that are released into the atmosphere by a certain activity
The effect of those emissions on global warming and climate change
The harm caused by those emissions to human health and well-being
The harm caused by those emissions to biodiversity and ecosystems
Based on these factors, one could argue that investing in harmful companies such as Republic Services12, which operates landfills and incinerators that emit methane and other pollutants, could have a significant negative impact on the environment and people. According to a report by LA Times2, Republic Services’ landfills accounted for one-fifteenth of all U.S. landfill methane emissions in 2004.
Another possible factor that could affect the impact of a damaging activity is the scale and reach of that activity. For example, promoting agribusiness in Africa 34 could have a widespread impact on millions of small farmers who depend on their land for food security and livelihoods. According to a report by GRAIN, Gates Foundation’s support for agribusiness has led to land grabbing, loss of biodiversity, increased use of pesticides and reduced seed diversity in Africa.
I must admit I do like the new chatbot as a search engine but as yet it is not allowed or designed to have opinions of it’s own its a very good search engine but it will be and is as flawed as the questions you ask of it or the answers it is able to search for to answer you. As yet it is not evaluating questions to ask itself or answers which it personally deems to be correct compared to answers it can find in anther place on the internet.
I also went on to ask ‘Can AI monitor carbon impacts and advise when and how to save environment?‘
Yes, AI can monitor carbon impacts and advise on how to save the environment. According to Techaeris1, AI can help multinational companies to accurately measure their greenhouse gas emissions across their operations using sensors. AI can also make recommendations to optimise energy-intensive processes and reduce energy consumption23.
However, AI itself also has a carbon impact due to the high energy required to train and run AI models. A study by the University of Massachusetts estimated that training a natural-language processing algorithm would generate more than 270,000 kilograms of CO2 emissions34. Therefore, it is important to use AI responsibly and efficiently.
Without lots of the computer generated models of climate change that have helped galvanised scientists into taking action in order to save life on earth, we would certainly be in a far worse situation that the one we already find ourselves in and I am sure future modelling and AI inspired intervention on how to mitigate climate change will also have a huge impact on helping shape and save our environment.