Championing responsible innovation in partnership with the Bassetti Foundation
Author: Christopher Roberts
Christopher's Author Bio: Founder and editor of Technology Bloggers, Christopher is passionate about sustainable technology and environmental initiatives. He wants to popularise critical thinking, promote responsible innovation, and excite you about the world around us.
This is the first in a new series on AI – Artificial Intelligence.
Artificial intelligence is rapidly changing the way we work, bringing about new opportunities and challenges. In this article, we’ll explore how we can prepare for the changes ahead.
AI is being increasingly used to automate tasks and processes in the workplace. By taking on mundane and repetitive tasks, AI can free up employees to focus on more complex and creative work. For example, AI can automate data entry and analysis, freeing up time for employees to focus on strategy and decision-making. This can lead to increased efficiency, productivity, and profitability for organisations.
AI can also support decision-making processes by providing real-time data and insights. This can help businesses to make better decisions faster and more accurately, improving their competitive edge. AI can also help to identify patterns and trends in large datasets, providing valuable insights that can be used to inform strategy and decision-making.
While AI can bring about many benefits in the workplace, it’s important to consider the ethical implications of its use. One key concern is the potential impact on employment. As AI becomes more advanced, it’s likely that it will replace some jobs that are currently done by humans. This could lead to job losses, particularly in industries that rely heavily on manual labor or routine tasks.
Another concern is bias. AI systems are only as unbiased as the data they are trained on. If this data is biased, the AI system will be biased too. This can lead to discrimination and inequality in the workplace. It’s important to ensure that AI systems are trained on diverse and representative data to avoid bias.
Preparing for the Future
To prepare for the future of work in the age of AI, it’s important to focus on skills that cannot be automated. These include creativity, problem-solving, and emotional intelligence. By focusing on developing these skills, employees can enhance their value in the workplace and prepare for the changes ahead.
It’s also important to consider the ethical implications of AI use. Organisations should prioritise diversity and representation in their data and AI systems to avoid bias. They should also provide training and support to employees who may be affected by the introduction of AI.
AI is going to take bloggers jobs!!! The content of this post was written entirely by the AI ChatGPT, based on a few prompts I gave it. All I’ve done is add this conclusion and the opening lines. Oh, and the images were generated by DALL·E – completely new images, generated specifically for this post.
England’s approach to COVID restrictions this January is very different to last January. It’s also worlds away from how European neighbours are reacting.
Many countries are now imposing tighter travel restrictions, and implementing lockdowns, while England (and to some degree the UK) is moving in the opposite direction.
For example, the “red list” of countries has been scrapped, as has the need to get a pre-departure test when travelling. Isolation periods have also been reduced and were masks not mandatory in indoor public spaces, you could be mistaken for thinking the pandemic was over.
England’s libertarian approach comes as the country’s infection rates hit an all time high. One in 15 people in the UK had COVID in the last week of December. Not since the pandemic started, or in the last year, in the last week! 🤯
So why is the UK making these decisions?
Do the statistics offer any justification for these changes?
The UK is now 90% vaccinated. Nine in 10 people aged 12 and over have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Around 80% are “fully vaccinated” having had two doses, and around 60% have also had a booster (or third) jab. 💉
While hospitalisations started to rise quite rapidly at the end of the December, they’re also still nowhere near to the 40k numbers we saw last January.
Why is this?
There are many reasons, but the two biggest seem to be: Vaccinations and Omicron.
Vaccination has undoubtedly helped to weaken the link between infections and deaths. Despite there being around 3 million more infections in December 2021 than January 2021, there were around 30k fewer COVID related deaths.
This chart shows that link between cases and deaths.
You can see last year in weeks 44 and 45 (January 2021) cases and deaths hit their peak – I’ve used this as the baseline maximum, 100%. Until week ~60 (May 2021) cases and deaths were fairly well aligned, cases went up, deaths went up. However that link has been slowly weakening. Since May 2021, cases have risen and fallen, with deaths hardly moving, and that’s in no small part thanks to vaccinations. By May 2021, around 1 in 3 people were fully vaccinated and 2 in 3 had had at least one dose.
In week 95 (the last full week I have data for) deaths were around 11% of January 2021 levels, while cases were almost 190%. The virus no longer has the same ability to kill as it once did.
N.B. Cases shown aren’t positive tests, but the ONS infection study estimates. Deaths are those within 28 days of a positive test, by date of death. Deaths have been moved forward by one week, to better align them to cases.
The other contributing factor is Omicron. In the last month, UK COVID cases have been rising exceedingly fast. This is in part due to the more infectious Omicron strain of the virus.
At the start of December 2021, around 1% of UK cases were the Omicron variant, with Delta making up the vast majority of all cases. Last week, 96% of all cases were Omicron. That’s insane growth! Omicron took over as the dominant strain in around 2 weeks, almost wiping Delta infections out in the space of a month.
You can explore this more with this fantastic tool by Our World In Data – the University of Oxford.
Omicron appears to be easier to spread, more dominant, but less deadly. The levels of Omicron in the UK are surely also helping to keep deaths low – compared with if all cases were the Delta strain.
Do the statistics justify fewer restrictions?
So do the statistics give us confidence that England’s approach at the moment is well founded? To a degree, yes. It’s unclear if the decisions have been made based on science, or politics, but so far at least, England’s libertarian approach looks like it offers a good balance between freedom, autonomy and safety.
The more cases there are, the greater the risk of mutation. That could be seen as a concern, but mutation lead to Omicron defeating Delta, which (so far) hasn’t turned out to be a bad thing.
Is the COVID-19 pandemic over?
With more global cases than ever before, it’s undeniable that COVID-19 is still very much a pandemic. But, if we’re able to live with the virus in general circulation, without mass deaths or hospitalisations (just like we do with flu each winter) there is hope, that we may be nearing the beginning of the end of the period where COVID ruled our lives.
This is going to sound nuts, but I believe the most important company of this decade will be a “car” company. Specifically Tesla.
Here are my thoughts.
“Tesla’s mission is to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.”
That’s a direct quote from Tesla’s website. It’s what their founder, CEO and Technoking (yes, that really is his title! 😂) Elon Musk believes, so much so, that Tesla’s patents are open-source – the goal being so others can benefit from the advancements Tesla have made.
Elon believes that even with access to Tesla’s intellectual property, competitors still won’t be able to compete, thanks to the companies software and manufacturing excellence.
The first step to becoming a great organisation is having a mission people truly care about and believe in. In my book, there aren’t many missions stronger than trying to make the world a better place to live.
Tesla’s diverse business(es)
It’s a great misconception to believe that Tesla is a “car company”.
It’s in the servicing industry, providing the parts and labour required to maintain all Tesla products 🛠️
It’s a rapid-charging network, with more than 25,000 Supercharging stalls globally ⚡
It’s an insurance provider, providing cover for those driving it’s cars 📄
It’s a software company, designing it’s own mobile apps and the in-car interface ⚙️
It’s an AI robotics firm, developing the code for Full Self-Driving (Level 5 Autonomy) and the Tesla Robot 🤖
It’s a supercomputer manufacturer, building the most powerful computer of all time, to support it’s AI 🖥️
It’s a currency trader, holding Bitcoin and selling in multiple currencies around the world 💱
All-in-all, Tesla has a huge number of areas of speciality, and is vertically integrated to the extreme!
Tesla aims for the moon, in EVERYTHING it does
Tesla has a culture of being the absolute best in class at everything they do. Tesla doesn’t settle for second best, if they commit to something, they’re aiming to be the best.
They didn’t just aim to make a fast electric car, they aimed to make the fastest production car in the world – and they did!
They wanted to build safe cars, and they really did – when released, the Model 3 was the safest car the NHTSA had ever tested! The Model Y received top marks too.
They aren’t satisfied with a Gigafactory, they’re aiming to be able to produce 10 terawatt-hours of battery capacity by 2030. VW is a leader in electrification among the legacy automakers, “boldly” aiming for 240 gigawatt-hours of capacity by 2030. Tesla is aiming to produce that (and another 10gWh) from their new Berlin factory alone… in the next few years!
They aren’t aiming for gold standard driver assistance aids, they’re working on fully autonomous vehicles, which are already 10 times safer driving than a person. Entertainment centres on wheels, with Netflix built-in, and no need for steering wheels.
They aren’t even satisfied with the cars as they are when they sell them, so they’re constantly tweaking, enhancing and upgrading them with free, over-the-air software updates. Extras include: entertainment upgrades like the YouTube app and Fallout Shelter game; Sentry mode, a security camera recording system; power boosts and range improvements; faster charging speeds; mapping upgrades and charge station updates; and much, much more.
The entire fleet provides data to Tesla and their neural nets are constantly learning and improving features, be that airbag deployment safety, automatic wipers sensitivity or full self-driving accuracy.
They weren’t happy welding individual parts together, and now use a Gigapress/gigastamp, which speeds up production and improves quality – stamping car bodies out like toy cars! This helps them to produce a car every 2 minutes!
They have Elon Musk
Whatever your opinion of the man, he’s a visionary, with extraordinary determination, and the ability to galvanise a cult-like following. He’s had huge success in the past with Zip2 and X.com (which became PayPal), and his current companies are doing pretty well too!
In September, SpaceX sent four regular people into space. They orbited the Earth for 3 days, higher than the ISS and higher than any human has been since we went to the moon. The Starlink satellites are rolling out rapidly, offering high-speed, low latency internet globally.
Having multiple companies which can integrate and share knowledge is a huge bonus. For example, what other car manufacturer is able to send a car into space – like Elon did with Starman in his Tesla Roadster.
His approach to a problem is to make the product ten-times cheaper through relentless efficiency and looking at the problem in a new way. One example can be seen at SpaceX, the view there was that throwing a rocket away after each launch was a big contributing factor to its cost. Elon often likens it to throwing away an aeroplane after each flight, it’s madness! So SpaceX engineered self-landing rockets, a phenomenal idea, cost saver and huge achievement!
Musk also owns The Boring Company, which is creating tunnels under major cities to enable significantly faster transportation – another service Tesla cars could benefit from.
The knowledge sharing across his companies is a huge advantage, Tesla’s competitors just don’t have.
I’ve been meaning to write this post for a few months now, and started working on it in September. This was before Tesla’s huge Q3 deliveries and financial results, and the massive stock growth which followed – making them the 6th biggest company (by market capitalisation) in the world! It seems like these developments further support the thinking that Tesla will be the biggest company in the world this decade.