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ChatGPT: a radical new age of data curation begins - what are the implications for sustainability?

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By Alex Hong

· 3 min read

It is no secret that we generate and consume enormous amounts of data on a daily basis in the era of digital media. Our digital activities do have an impact on the environment, but this is frequently forgotten. Advocates for sustainability and circularity will become more and more important as we look to the future in determining how the digital landscape will be shaped. ChatGPT is an effective tool for promoting digital curation while advancing sustainability and circularity objectives in this situation.

Business analysts at Acumen Research and Consulting estimate that the global market for generative AI will reach USD 110.8 billion by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 34.3 percent between 2022 and 2030. In 2021, the market for generative AI was valued at USD 7.9 billion. Greater implications than can be seen by numbers alone result from the use of ChatGPT in the majority of our productive lives in the near future.

Digital curation is fundamentally about making the most of the information at our disposal. We can reduce the amount of data we create and consume by curating content, which will eventually result in a more sustainable and circular digital ecosystem. By giving users curated, pertinent information that is catered to their needs, ChatGPT is uniquely positioned to support this effort. ChatGPT can help lessen the overall carbon footprint of our digital activities by minimizing the amount of unimportant content that users must sift through.

ChatGPT has effects that go beyond simple content curation in terms of promoting sustainability and circularity. The software that powers ChatGPT is based on machine learning algorithms, allowing it to grow and learn over time. This implies that ChatGPT will become more effective and efficient as more people use it, ultimately resulting in even greater reductions in digital waste. ChatGPT is advancing a more circular digital economy where information is carefully managed, optimized, and reused by developing an intelligent and flexible tool for digital curation.

A crucial advancement in sustainability is ChatGPT's ability to help people develop their critical thinking skills and recognize the genuine demand for accurate and impartial information. Users can trust the information they receive because ChatGPT's algorithms are based on factual objectivity and accuracy. ChatGPT can advance sustainability and circularity initiatives by fostering accurate and trustworthy information, which will promote well-informed decision-making. A growing number of people who are knowledgeable about the most important sustainability issues will "move the needle" for sustainability advocacy and action much more quickly.

However as in any ground-breaking technology (or way of thinking), there will be some shortcoming (that will be overcome in the future) of AI-power curation that we need to be aware of:

  1. Privacy concerns: Privacy violations are a possibility with any technology that depends on data. It's critical to ensure that personal data is handled responsibly and ethically because ChatGPT may collect user personal data in order to offer customized recommendations.
  2. Need for human oversight: ChatGPT can give users access to curated and pertinent information, but it can't comprehend nuance and context the way a person can. Without adequate human oversight, ChatGPT's responses might be insufficient or mistaken, leaving users perplexed or frustrated.
  3. Human biases: Because ChatGPT can only be as good/effective as the data it uses to train, if the training data contains biases, those biases will be reflected in the model’s output. While we know that biases are a human trait that help us through our evolution to “shortcut” responses to daily scenarios, it can affect output when we unconsciously apply some of these biases to train ChatGPT. For example, ChatGPT’s suggestion might be biased if the training data favours a particular demographic which could result in recommendations that are deemed unreliable or unfair.
  4. Misinformation and disinformation: Although ChatGPT is intended to give users accurate and trustworthy information, it is still susceptible to the dissemination of both types of false information. Bad actors can alter the data used to train ChatGPT, producing responses that are incorrect or misleading and may have unfavorable effects.
  5. Tech reliance: Although ChatGPT is an effective tool for digital curation, there is a risk that users will rely too heavily on its suggestions, which could result in a lack of independent thought and decision-making.

It is my opinion that ChatGPT represents a potent tool for promoting digital curation and advancing sustainability and circularity advocacy. It is a crucial development on sustainability. ChatGPT is laying the groundwork for a more sustainable and circular digital ecosystem by minimizing digital waste, fostering accurate information, and enabling more effective resource use. Tools like ChatGPT will become more and more important in fostering a more sustainable and prosperous future for all as we continue to navigate the difficulties of a rapidly changing digital landscape.

illuminem Voices is a democratic space presenting the thoughts and opinions of leading Sustainability & Energy writers, their opinions do not necessarily represent those of illuminem.

Photo by Steve Johnson on Unsplash
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About the author

Alex Hong is the Executive Director of Digipulse Data and strategic advisor. He is the Chief Sustainability Coordinator of the Youth Networking Business Committee (YNBC). Alex is LinkedIn’s Top Voices (Green) in Singapore 2022 and represents the Global Blockchain Business Council (GBBC) as the Ambassador of Southeast Asia.

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