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  • #74. 📊McKinsey report on economic potential of AI | 🛢️Shell increases fossil fuel production | 🛑SF wants to stop self-driving vehicles

#74. 📊McKinsey report on economic potential of AI | 🛢️Shell increases fossil fuel production | 🛑SF wants to stop self-driving vehicles

PLUS: Accidental AI job rejections | ChatGPT-powered Mercedes | ship emissions' impact on Marine life | larger, weaker trees | VW ID.7 | 500,000 EV tuk-tuks in Sri Lanka

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This is a huge report by McKinsey; key points include:

  • Generative AI could add $2.6 to $4.4 trillion annually to the global economy across 63 different use cases, roughly doubling when used in software for other tasks.

  • Around 75% of the value could be in customer operations, marketing and sales, software engineering, and R&D with potential for high impact in banking, tech, and life sciences.

  • Generative AI could automate 60-70% of work activities, especially those requiring understanding of natural language, typically associated with higher wage and educational requirement occupations.

  • The automation potential of generative AI could accelerate workforce transformation, with estimates suggesting half of today's work could be automated between 2030 and 2060.

  • It can enhance labor productivity but necessitates investments in skill development and transition support for workers; if managed well, it could significantly contribute to economic growth.

  • Despite the promise and excitement around generative AI, full realization of benefits will take time and presents challenges like risk management and skill development requirements.

  • AI in hiring can unintentionally discriminate, as illustrated by Amazon's 2015 algorithms that were biased against women.

  • The biases arise because AI is often trained on past data that may reflect societal inequalities.

  • AI's potential for misinterpretation can harm candidates, e.g., misunderstanding resume gaps, being ill-equipped for diverse facial recognition or speech patterns, or scanning social media unfairly.

  • Job seekers can combat AI errors by maintaining direct human connections, such as follow-up emails or phone calls.

  • Many companies may not fully understand how their AI hiring systems function, often sourced from third-party vendors.

  • Legislators and legal systems are still grappling with how to regulate and address these AI-induced discrimination issues.

  • Mercedes-Benz is integrating the AI tool, ChatGPT, into its cars and app, enabling more complex voice interactions.

  • The car company has initiated a beta program, allowing 900,000 US Mercedes drivers to add ChatGPT to their vehicles via a software update.

  • ChatGPT will enhance the existing "Hey Mercedes" voice assistant, expanding its command responses and enabling full conversations.

  • The integration will allow drivers to ask the voice assistant complex questions and receive more comprehensive answers while maintaining focus on driving.

  • The tool can potentially improve voice assistant experiences in cars, which have been inconsistent.

  • General Motors is also reportedly developing a ChatGPT-powered voice assistant for its vehicles.



  • A study from Chalmers University of Technology finds ship emissions, particularly water discharged from exhaust gas scrubbers, pose a significant threat to marine ecosystems.

  • Over 90% of harmful contaminants in the examined ports originated from scrubber discharge water, which is usually released directly into the sea.

  • Traditional Environmental Risk Assessments (ERAs) fail to consider the cumulative impact of various emission sources, hence, a more holistic approach is needed.

  • While scrubbers help reduce airborne sulphur emissions, they contaminate seawater with heavy metals and toxic organic compounds, leading to marine acidification.

  • Only about 5% of global fleet have scrubbers installed, but these larger, fuel-hungry ships account for about 30% of shipping industry's total fuel consumption.

  • The researchers suggest stricter regulations on scrubber discharge water and wider adoption of cleaner fuels to reduce environmental impact.

  • Rising global temperatures extend growing seasons, resulting in larger but weaker trees.

  • Faster growth rates lead to thicker growth rings but less dense and weaker wood.

  • As wood density decreases, carbon content also reduces, lowering trees' CO2 absorption capacity.

  • Fast-growing trees tend to have shorter lifespans, affecting forest longevity.

  • Extended growing seasons alter the ratio of earlywood to latewood cells, further decreasing wood density.

  • Despite potential forest expansion, the rate of carbon uptake from forests may decrease due to climate change.

  • Shell intends to increase fossil fuel production despite a net-zero emissions pledge by 2050.

  • The company aims to grow its natural gas business, asserting it aligns with its climate goals due to lower CO2 emissions compared to coal.

  • Shell is appealing a Dutch court order from 2021 to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 45% by 2030.

  • Critics argue Shell's increase in production is a "huge risk," potentially delaying compliance with the court order.

  • A report from the International Energy Agency suggests peak demand for oil and gas is expected within a few years.

  • Shell's plans exceed what's needed for net zero emissions, according to the IEA.


  • San Francisco officials and transportation agencies are requesting a delay in the expansion of autonomous taxi services due to safety and congestion concerns.

  • Autonomous vehicles from companies like Waymo and Cruise have caused problems, such as blocking traffic, stopping abruptly, and interfering with emergency situations.

  • Jeffrey Tumlin, director of transportation for the SFMTA, voices concerns about the impact of autonomous cars on public transit, especially during its recovery.

  • The officials insist on more safety data before full-time deployment of these self-driving taxis.

  • Prior ride-hailing and shared mobility companies often had tense relationships with cities and regulatory agencies.

  • Research engineer Tejas Santanam suggests autonomous vehicle services should collaborate with public agencies instead of viewing them as obstacles.

  • The Volkswagen ID.7 is designed with a focus on aerodynamics, with a Cd of 0.23, making it one of the most aerodynamic cars the company has manufactured.

  • Detailed design elements such as the wheel rims, underbody, and exterior body shape significantly contribute to the vehicle's reduced drag.

  • The design team used extensive computer simulations and wind tunnel tests throughout the iterative development process.

  • An almost entirely enclosed underside and small spoilers ensure smooth airflow beneath the car, reducing turbulence.

  • The quiet interior due to reduced wind noise, coupled with a Harman Kardon premium sound system, offers an immersive audio experience.

  • First deliveries of the ID.7 are expected to start in China, followed by the US and Europe, with pricing yet to be released.

  • Sri Lanka plans to convert half a million fossil-fueled tuk-tuks to electric versions within the next five years.

  • The island nation currently has around 1.2 million tuk-tuks in operation, contributing significantly to air pollution.

  • The Ministry of Transport and Motorways, the Ministry of Electricity and Energy, and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) are coordinating this transition.

  • The plan will be carried out in three stages: an incubation phase involving the conversion of 200 tuk-tuks, a demonstration phase, and an acceleration phase.

  • The scheme was inspired partly by a fuel crisis in the country and the rising cost of fossil fuels, leading to a socio-economic crisis.

  • The UNDP sees this project as a key element of Sri Lanka's development towards a green and inclusive economy.


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