ChatGPT and similar AI models will disrupt the knowledge industry

In case you’ve missed it, last year chatGPT (a so called AI language model) had it’s breakthrough. ChatGPT was created by OpenAi, an initiative where one of the founders were Elon Musk. OpenAI was intended to ensure that the development of AI technology was done in a democratic way and accessible to everyone. However, this was thwarted when Microsoft bought OpenAI to make it a propriety technology. Anyhow, AI is here to stay, and most likely the development will now accelerate and soon enough there will be a disruption in how the world economy works. AI will and in many cases already have begun to disrupt whole industries, turning everything on its head.

How will those of us working in the knowledge industry be affected by this revolution? It might be too early to say, but I asked chatGPT what it had to say:

Language models like ChatGPT are already disrupting the knowledge industry and are likely to continue doing so in the future. These models have the ability to process and analyze vast amounts of information from a wide variety of sources, and can then generate human-like responses to questions and prompts.

One of the key ways that language models will disrupt the knowledge industry is by democratizing access to information. In the past, individuals and organizations often had to rely on experts or specialized databases to access information and insights. Now, with language models like ChatGPT, anyone with an internet connection can ask complex questions and receive answers in real-time. This has the potential to level the playing field for students, researchers, and other knowledge-seekers, regardless of their background or location.

Another way that language models will disrupt the knowledge industry is by transforming the way that we learn and teach. With the help of these models, we can now create personalized learning experiences that are tailored to the needs and interests of individual learners. This can help to increase engagement, motivation, and retention of knowledge, and can also help to address the challenges of teaching in diverse and rapidly changing environments.

Finally, language models will also disrupt the knowledge industry by changing the way that we think about expertise and authority. In the past, experts were often defined by their education, experience, and credentials. Now, with the rise of language models, anyone can access the same information and insights as these experts, regardless of their formal qualifications. This will likely lead to a shift in how we define and value expertise, and may also lead to changes in the way that we evaluate and reward knowledge and innovation.

So there you have it. With the power of AI, everyone is an expert in anything, right? Well it remains to be seen whether formal training and education has any impact on how well we can utilize and internalize the power of AI language model. One must also remember that language models doesn’t generate any new primary knowledge (at the moment), but it can and do generate new insights and knowledge through synthesis and analysis of existing knowledge. Exciting times indeed.

Who owns your wastewater?

Or at least the energy it contains? Let’s start by defining the issue.

Wastewater generated by households contain significant amounts of energy in the form of latent heat. The heating of the wastewater comes from, among other things, everyday activities in our homes, like showering, cooking and washing. The extra heat energy greatly benefits treatment processes in the wastewater treatment plant, especially denitrification, and WWTP design in fact relies on the added heat energy for its proper function.

Property owners on the other hand are becoming increasingly aware of the energy potential of wastewater and society are calling for increased energy efficiency of buildings.

In this case there is a matter of conflicting interests, where property owners have an incentive to save money and energy by recovering heat from wastewater, while municipal WWTP need the heat to continue BAU. There are proponents for regulation and even prohibition of building-level heat recovery from wastewater as widespread adoption would incur cost increases downstream.

However, this raises a few interesting questions. Should energy efficient appliances be regulated too? Can dishwashers become too energy efficient? What about showers? There are solutions on the market that recovers 30-80% of the heat energy from shower water, either through heat exchange or recirculating the shower water. Should these be banned? Maybe we should also ban taking cold showers, since those who enjoy this strange pleasure don’t contribute their share to the common good.

Maybe a fee corresponding to the temperature deficiency of the wastewater that a property generates? How about 4 SEK per Δ°C m3 below 20°C?

Provocative questions, but what is your opinion? Who owns the energy in the wastewater? How do we resolve this conflict of interests in the most efficient way (by this I mean efficient in an overall way for society)?

Nuclear energy would put an end to CO2 anxiety

Well it’s true, don’t blame me if it hurts your feelings. Let me explain why.

Currenly the so called western civilization has fallen into some form of collective hysteria about CO2 emissions and how this fertilizer gas could eventually spell the end of mankind. I personally do not worry too much about the possible warming of our globe, and a meter or two of sea level rise – it is not so dramatic as some would like us to believe. But okey, there are other valid arguments that indicates that getting off the fossil-fuel addiction is a good thing regardless, not least the fact that it will be increasingly costly to produce oil as the low hanging fruit gets picked.

So let us look at the problem. Globally we emit about 35 Gt of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere per year and about 50% of this comes from electricity and heat generation, while another 20% is added by the transport sector (source). As we aim to electrify large parts or even all of our transportation system, including passenger flights, there will be an addition demand for electricity, and the worst case scenario would be if this added capacity came from coal powered plants. Electricity generation using fossil fuels is already one of the worst offenders in terms of CO2 emissions and the combined coal, natural gas and oil related emissions from India and China and US amount to 7.7 Gt yr-1, or 22% of the total CO2 emissions! If we include the rest of the world, the numbers are 13 Gt yr-1 and 38% respectively.

This means that by shutting all fossil fuelled power plants in the world we could reduce total CO2 emissions by 38%, if we replace the capacity with low CO2 intesive alternatives. Nuclear power generation has one of the lowest CO2 footprints (about 16 g/kWh for old generation II plants, compared to coal, which has 1000 g/kWh emissions) of any technology. In short nuclear powerplants have the following selling points:

  • It’s safe, and new plants will be even safer
  • It’s reliable and continous (no need for energy storage)
  • 4th generation technology mean we have virtually unlimited fuel available (>1000 years worth)
  • the land use footprint is small (high power density) compared to solar PV and windpower

So is appears to be a no-brainer, right? Why would anyone worried about CO2 and climate change ever turn down a safe, clean, reliable technology for electricity generation? My guess is that this position is based on legacy ideology with roots in the 60-ies and 70-ies, which is wierd. Would anyone sane person judge the feasibility of solar PV today, based on the performance and cost of solar cells in 1975?